Saturday, December 15, 2018

Plans For The Winter Solstice - Part 2


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Good Saturday morning, my friends, and welcome! Today's post is a continuation of my previous post, Plans For the Winter Solstice - Part 1, where I discussed a few of the ways we have celebrated this lovely day in the past, and how I am carrying on those traditions into the present.  Today I am going to continue on that theme, and share with you some ideas for a few crafts you can make, and books you can enjoy reading together to add to your festivities.  I'll also include the recipe for Grammy's Cabbage Soup that I mentioned in my previous post, but now, on to the crafts!

❅ ORANGE CLOVE POMANDERS

One of my favorite crafts to enjoy on this day is making orange clove pomanders. This is such a
lovely craft, and they look so pretty when you place several in a basket along with a few little springs of greenery. One little trick I'll share with you that makes studding them with cloves a little easier, is to mark your design with an ice pick or perhaps a wooden skewer, and then insert the cloves into the holes.  These are great fun to make, and they smell absolutely wonderful! I usually dust mine with a bit of ground cloves as well, and the fragrance is just divine. They look equally as pretty tied up with a length of red ribbon and hung in just the right spot. I plan to set out a few in a little basket, as well as tie up one or two in some black and white checked fabric strips for a little primitive touch.

❅ SOLSTICE LANTERNS

This year I plan to make a solstice lantern, and **maybe** I can even entice Kate to join in the fun! I came across this idea several years ago, inspired by this post. You will find the instructions for how to make them there, but I am going to variate a little in making mine.

Instead of sequins, I plan to use shapes cut from black construction paper. Following are links to the templates I plan to use. There are a number of designs for stars, here,  and here are a few for the moon, and finally, here is the one I think I'll be using as my pattern for the sun. My thought is that I will print the templates out and trace around them on the construction paper. If you need to adjust the size of the images,  just right click on the image and save it as a picture and then insert them into a document and adjust the size. I hope that makes sense. If you happen to have them, stickers might be another option, especially for the stars, and you could use scrapbook paper to make the shapes, as well!

I also plan to add a wreath of greenery around the top, and perhaps, a handle. I thought it might be nice to take the lanterns and go out on a solstice evening walk. I know I discussed this idea in my previous post, so you could either choose to time your walk just as the sun is about to set, or even later in the evening when it is dark.  The lanterns would also look lovely without a handle, sitting on a shelf or to adorn your dining room table while you enjoy a hot bowl of Grammy's Cabbage Soup! Here's the recipe.

❅ GRAMMY'S CABBAGE SOUP

1-2 pounds of pork, roast or loin
4 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch slices (2 cups)
 2 medium stalks celery, chopped (1 cup)
1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
4 cups chopped cabbage (about 1 medium head)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
4 cups water
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (you can use less if you don't like it too spicy!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes, undrained

Mix all ingredients in 3 1/2- to 6-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat setting 8 to 9 hours (or high heat setting 4 to 5 hours) or until pork and vegetables are tender.

And now onto the books!

❅ BOOKS FOR CHILDREN (AND ADULTS, TOO!)  

❅ Dear Rebecca, Winter Is Here
by Jean Craighead George

This little book is my absolute all time favorite for sharing with children on this day.  But who am I kidding? I read it again on the winter solstice every year, and probably will again and again!

I am going to share two passages from this book with you that illustrate why I love this particular one so much!  Among other things is that it is presented as a letter between a grandmother and her granddaughter, a sweet sentiment that makes the read all the more lovely!


"Dear Rebecca, I turned on the lights to eat breakfast this morning and put on my coat to go outside. Winter is here. It was brought by by little hands of darkness. Each little hand is a few minutes long. In summer they began bringing winter.  They pulled the night over the edges of the dawn and dusk and made the days shorter.  On June 21, while you were cooling under the house, winter began."

and towards the end, is this lovely passage;

"I light the fire in my fireplace.  You sing jolly songs with your friends. And while you are singing, summer begins. On the 22nd of December, little hands of light begin to push back the edges of the darkness minute by minute. Before very long, you will take off your shoes and and jump over bluebells. I will eat my breakfast outdoors in the sunshine. The birds will return as the days grow longer. The frogs and turtles will come out of the warm mud, and the next thing you know, I'll be writing. Dear Rebecca, summer is here!"

Oh my! I don't know if these words move you as they move me, but they just thrill me!  Perhaps it is grounded in my love of the changing of the seasons, or memories of my own grandmother, though I don't recall her ever writing me a single letter! But I think at the heart of it, it is the kind of grandmother I hope to be. Sharing snippets of my day, things I observed in nature, quotes and passages from books, with my own grandchildren, even in letters! They may find it fun when they are young, or leave the letters unopened in their teens, perhaps. But I do hope they will keep them, and that one day, when they are older, they will be able to return to those sweet sentiments and meet with me again, even after I am gone. I don't mean to sound glum, I really think the idea is lovely. I know I love having things that once belonged my grandmother, and if I had personal letters, that would be all the sweeter!

But now, before I forget, here are a few other books we've enjoyed over the years, all of which are lovely to share with the littles in your life, or even for yourself!  I know for me, I will never grow too old to enjoy a beautifully illustrated picture book!

❅ The Shortest Day
by Wendy Pfeffer

❅ The Winter Solstice
by Millbrook Press

❅ The Return of the Light: Twelve Tales From Around The World For The Winter Solstice
by De Capo Press

The following titles do not focus on the solstice, but make lovely reads on this day.

 The Story of the Snow Children
by Sibylle von Olfers

❅ The Tomten
by Astrid Lindgren

And now, my friends, I will close.  I do have a few other books, more along the lines of the history and how to celebrate line and geared more toward adults, that I want to share with you, but I am going to wait and share them on Monday.  Today I hope to finally get around to baking some cookies, and I need to get an early start!  I pray that your day is blessed and that you have been inspired to indulge in your own celebrations!  And if you have your own traditions for celebrating the solstice, please leave a comment and share them with us!

Until then,
Kim

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