Day 3: Advent Sunday #1 (a simple ornament to make, too)

Today (03 December) is the first Sunday of Advent.

My family had no traditions based on church-going; my Dad was raised Mennonite (born in Russia, emigrating at age 1) and my Mum was raised, like most Norwegians, in the Lutheran church. But together they did not belong to any church, although they let us know early that we could choose any religion we wished and they wouldn’t mind, so long, said my Dad, as we didn’t try to convert them. Fair enough.

Anyway, the upshot is that I personally love the old traditions and yet have rarely practised them at home. So for now I enjoy reading about the traditions others follow and gathering ideas for the day when I am settled again.

As to Advent:

advent wreath 01

The Advent candles stand for Hope, Joy, Love, Peace and Light.

I have been doing some reading on the traditions of Mennonites and Lutherans. Traditions and beliefs may differ, but I think we can find ways to bring Light and Love, Peace, Hope and Joy into these darkest days of winter (well, here in the northern hemisphere, they are, anyway) and also into these dark days in the world in general.

Mennonite dove 01

Mennonites were among the world’s first peaceniks, from the 1500s to present times.

To add to the Peace in the world, I begin with myself, as I often find it easy to move from calmness to agitation, from positivity to negativity. I am finding ways to remind myself of my ultimate goal, which means abandoning any negative path I may step onto and returning to a positive path. Rhonda Byrne, who wrote The Secret and other books, says we don’t need to be positive 100% of the time; 51% will begin to tip the balance. So when I catch myself thinking negative thoughts (many times a day, still), I remind myself “51%” and that usually does the trick.

When dealing with a person who is unrelentingly negative much of the time, I find it helpful to remember that this is often a way of protecting oneself from hurt and disappointment. Then I do my best to accept them as they are and not get drawn into the negativity. It is quite a balancing act at times!


I don’t know about you, but I find symbols rich with meaning. They evoke days long past, not only in my own life, but through my family’s and the world’s long history.

Symbols that are meaningful to me include candles, greenery, shapes such as hearts and stars, angels and red berries. Colours, too, can  bring us feelings of Peace and Joy. Above are some examples of Scandinavian Wheat Weaving, a skill I hope to master one day. I’ve done a little some years ago and really enjoyed it. I like the circle with the greenery, too; If I were making this I’d use a small glass jar to hold a candle and wire that to the circle. If you try this, do be careful that the candle doesn’t touch the sides of the jar. I prefer not to leave candles unattended in a room, even if I’m only going out for a few minutes.

Something I did for a few years before I moved to Edmonton was to make a sort of ‘curtain’ across he large front window of the places where I was living. I had collected some shiny red mini-apples because I love their colour. I had previously placed them in an old wooden bowl I have, but one year I had an inspiration:  I tied a long piece of red yarn to each one and suspended them from the curtain rod. I hung them at different heights the first year; I just varied the heights for interest, after that I hung them so that they formed an arch. It was very simple and quite pretty.

My Auntie in Princeton used to make crocheted snowflakes (that look like very fancy stars) from cotton thread (sizes 10 – 30). ONce made, they are starched and pinned flat to dry. I have a couple of books with patterns and plan to carry on her tradition. She would make one of each pattern in her book, then give away sets. Before I begin giving them away, though, I plan to make enough for myself so that I can hang them in a front window. The apples may be hung somewhere else! [unless the snowflakes find their home on my tree 🙂 ]

I have also formed candle holders from crumpled tinfoil, setting a small red votive candle in the middle of each and lining them up on top of a short bookcase with greenery from the bottom branches of the Christmas tree tucked around them. The silver foil reflected the light of the candles and looked nicer than one might expect. And, for me, candlelight is always symbolic of Inner Light.

Make a Simple Cinnamon Ornament:

This is a great activity to do with children of any age and ability!

Simple and not too expensive ornaments to make are Cinnamon Hearts. I buy a large bag or more (you will need at least 2 cups) of ground cinnamon at an Asian market, where it is much cheaper. Dollar stores are a good source, too, sometimes. You will need a can or two of inexpensive unsweetened applesauce, too (again, at least two cups worth). Put two cups of applesauce in a bowl and add two cups of ground cinnamon to make a medium soft dough. Add more applesauce if the dough is too dry and more cinnamon if it is too wet. It should be similar to cookie dough. For variety, you can divide the dough and add other spices to each portion: ginger, cloves, allspice, mace, etc. I would use a tablespoonful first and then adjust according to how it smells to me. This spicier dough would be perfect for gingerbread boys and girls.

Christmas cinnamon dough 01

You can mould this into shapes if you like, but keep them fairly thin (about 1/4 inch) so that they will dry properly. I find it simplest to roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick, dusting a little extra cinnamon on the counter and on the rolling pin so nothing sticks. Then use small cookie cutters to cut out your favourite shapes; hearts, stars, etc. Gather the scraps together, knead them briefly, then roll out again and cut more ornaments. Repeat until it’s all used up! Then use a toothpick or a drinking straw to create holes that can be used to hang the ornaments later. Depending on the size of your cutters, you should get at least two dozen ornaments.

If you have time, you can place them on baking sheets or anything that will hold them safely and allow them to dry at room temperature. This works best in a fairly dry atmosphere. Or do what I do and line a cookie sheet with baking parchment and set your shapes on it. They can be close, but it’s best not to let them touch each other. Put them in a very slow oven (either set it at a very low temperature or pre-heat, then turn the oven off) and leave the sheets in so the ornaments will dry out. If you use the latter method and the shapes are not dry enough when you check them, repeat the process.

Once dry, thread a piece of yarn or ribbon through the hole and hang them on your tree, add them to a wreath or place them in a bowl in your entryway. they are lovely added to a banner made by tying several lengths of raffia together (use enough strands to provide the necessary strength, then join the bunches with simple knots), then hanging ornaments from it. Faery lights are nice to use, too, if you have an outlet close by.

Christmas cinnamon dough hearts 01

Add one to the ribbon when you wrap a gift (turn them into gift tags by writing the recipient’s name and the year on each with a glitter pen or fabric paint. The puffy paint works well, but choose a colour that looks good with the red-brown of the ornaments) or they can be offered to guests to take home as they leave. But for that, have some tissue ready to wrap them and perhaps a bit of cardboard (pieces of old cereal box sides work well) for support.

You can also hang some from a chandelier if you have one, or bend a wire coat hanger into a circle and cut the hook off. Tie greenery all around it, add some ribbon or yarn bows and hang the cinnamon ornaments (I like stars for this) at intervals. This is a nice touch for an entry or a hallway.

These keep indefinitely if wrapped carefully for storage and handled with care.

[The images for this post are ones I found on the internet, as I don’t have any of my own here.]

Well, that’s it for today, my friends. It’s nearly midnight but it IS still the 3rd! See you tomorrow! I wish you all Inner Peace through the coming days.

I have posted a link to this song before, but I think it fits my thoughts today and is worth remembering:

Let There be Peace on Earth and Let It Begin With Me.




Summer 2017 — 2/3 done and counting . . .

. . . well, it was 2/3 done when I began writing this post (sigh) and now the end is in sight. Some days, I have to tell you, I like to say that phrase differently: “The End is Insight”.

This will be a long post, I think, so do find yourself a cuppa, or even a bucket, of tea or whatever boosts your spirits, and settle in for a lengthy set of glimpses into my summer this year (so far). It’s great to have you here for a visit again; just like old times, isn’t it? I’ve missed posting (but you are about to see some of the reasons why) and I’m hoping that once the white stuff arrives I will be more settled and have time for regular posting. I’m already working on some posts looking ahead to Christmas. Only 100 days to go, you know, which will matter if you plan to make things . . .

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Two of the items I brought from my older storage units. The old scale lost its surface but works better than any new scale I’ve ever used. The bookcase will be holding crafty supplies now that we are nearing the end of summer.

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A few of my herbs. In the round pot are rosemarie, lavender and two basil plants, as well as heliotrope (because I love the scent and that it dates to Victorian times), a marigold and the two original iris plants.

Above are only a few of the hundreds of pictures I’ve taken of the Echinacea plants. My cousin S was given two by one of her co-workers and they spent last winter buried in the ground, but still in their pots. So I transplanted them to a new bed that my cousin M helped create. To their left are two zucchini plants and to the right, five more zukes. I bought the seeds and planted them later, so I’ve only had three fruit to eat so far, although there are at least two more waiting to be picked. I mistakenly assumed these were plants that would run and had planned to train them up the side of the shed wall. However, they don;t run and therefore are likely way too crowded. But they shaded the Echinacea, so all has not been lost.

Thee have been flowers galore:

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Healthy food likewise:

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There has been baking:

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. . . and putting by of foods (to use one of the old, beloved, terms):

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Did I mention the gardening and the fruit trees? We had two long beds, one smaller square bed and assorted containers including two hard rubber bowls that were originally meant to hold grain for horses. There are three apple trees and a plum tree, as well as a cherry (the cherry will appear in the next post) Here’s a few of the gardening photos:

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We have gone from the threat of flood (I posted about that a couple of posts back) to the even more real threat of fire and instead of bringing things from the storage to go through, I found myself taking my most precious things from here and putting them into the storage . . . We’re probably done with that now, but have had only one day of rain (and that was off and on), so I’m still living out of my suitcase, kept ready in case we suddenly need to leave. Some people had only twenty minutes warning; some had less.

The summer has included entertainment provided by Spooky the cat, visits to two fall fairs, a week-long visit to my one remaining Auntie, who is now 92, and a fair bit of crafting. But it’s getting late, so I will leave all that for the next time.

Thanks so much for dropping by, in spite of my long absences and irregular posting. I appreciate your visits so much! Until next time, then . . . Love and Light to each of you. You have all been in my thoughts and prayers, along with your families and friends. I know there have been huge challenges around the globe this past year.

Thankful on Thursday: Three Things

First of all, and this is not part of my ‘Three Things’, I’m thankful for this idea, which I found on The Snail of Happiness’ post. Feel free to start your own list or lists.

I quote Ms. snail here (in case you would like to leave a note with either or both of the ladies who began, and are carrying on, this lovely idea):  You may wish to let Ms. Snail know you are spreading the word as well.

“Emily of Nerd in the Brain originally created Three Things Thursday, but it’s now being hosted by Natalie of There She Goes.”

Three things that I am thankful for today are:

A) A place to lie that is low-key, with little pressure and a lot of acceptance of me as I am. That’s not always easy to find.

B) More than enough to eat and nearly all of it healthy 🙂  As much as possible of it is grown here, much is purchased from local growers (sadly, we have just come to the end of the local asparagus season; no more until next year, as we prefer to eat seasonally.  The treats tend to be home-made, often baked by cousin S. She is a very good baker and those treats are tempting, I can tell you! This week it’s been rum and raisin chocolate muffins, with the raisins soaked for half an hour in a cup of rum before she began. The alcohol is baked out, but the scent and flavour remain . . . We have one a day, along with a cup of hot herb tea. Very nice, indeed.

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C) beauty, in such a variety of forms that I had a hard time selecting a ‘few’ representative images. As you can see I love nature and weather, and especially old things, with their peeling paint, their rust, all the details that tell me they hold a multitude of stories. I shall never know those stories, but I do love knowing they exist. To me, new things are, for the most part, soul-less and uninteresting. There are a few exceptions, of course.. 🙂

That’s it for today, my friends. In the face of daily challenges, personal or global, I think it’s good to practise gratitude for what we do have, large and small.

And a favourite classical piece to lift your spirits:

Let’s each be that wee girl, taking one small action and starting a flashmob of joy! Have a great weekend, all of you. See you again soon.  Love and Light  ~ Linne

Back soon . . .

. . . “God willing and the creek don’t rise” as we used to say. And the creek IS rising; many creeks, all over the central province.


This is normally a small creek . . .

Roads are closed all over the place due to landslides and flooding. Heading to downtown Salmon Arm earlier today, we passed nearly two miles of parked ‘big rigs’, in some cases double parked, too. We ourselves had to change routes a couple of times on our way to SA and later on the way back from Vernon, where we’d had lunch and done a bit of shopping.

I’m doing better; nearly rested up from the long trip back from Tacoma.

Lots to write about and responses to your kind comments to catch up with.

Wait ’til you see what my friend and I were doing when we finally made it to creating . . .next post, I promise, but here’s a preview:

IMG_7803[1].Guess what these are? I’ll share soon. Anticipation 101, remember?

A new day is dawning . . .


Take care, my friends. I wish you lovely days filled with creativity, laughter and all that good stuff . . . and maybe some chocolate!