12.06.2007

Santa! Who Is He Anyway?

The Legend of Santa Claus

The character we know as Santa Claus, is a blend of many different cultures, customs, legends and mythological creatures. His earliest ancestors date back to a time when the earth was ruled by sky-riding gods. But much of his legend is based on the life of St. Nicholas, a fourth century bishop from Patara, in what is now Turkey.

The mythological characters of Odin, Thor and Saturn gave us the basis for many of Santa's distinctive characteristics. St. Nicholas' appearance was transformed into the image of the fat, jolly winter spirit reminiscent of the ancient Nordic/Teutonic god Odin.

The basis for the Christian Era Santa Claus is Bishop Nicholas. The Orthodox Church raised St. Nicholas to a position of great esteem. The Roman Catholic Church honoured Nicholas as one who helped children and the poor. St. Nicholas became the patron of children and seafarers. His feast day is December 6, and was commemorated with an annual feast which eventually marked the beginning of the Medieval Christmas.

St. Nicholas was legendary for his kindness and generosity and was a champion of children and the needy. Through his benevolence we find the two basic principles of the holiday spirit - giving to others and helping the less fortunate - as well as the tradition of hanging stockings by the chimney. According to one legend, there were three Italian maidens whose father had lost his fortune. The three maidens were to wed, but their father couls not afford the dowries that were necessary. When St, Nicholas heard of this, he went to their home late one night and tossed three bags of gold down the chimney. The bags miracously landed in each of the sisters stockings, that were hung by the fire to dry. A variation of this story, is that as each girl was to wed, he anonymously tossed a bag into an open window. This may have been used as a way of explaining how Santa Claus delivers gifts to homes that have no chimney.

After the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century, the veneration of Catholic saints was banned. But people did not want to give up their annual visits from the gift-giving saint, and they did not want to forget the purpose of the holiday. In some countries the festivities of St. Nicholas Day were merged with Christmas celebrations. St. Nicholas underwent a transformation into a new, non-religious form, but he retained his generous spirit.

In Germany, he appeared as Weihnachtsmann, in England as Father Christmas, and in France as Pere Noel. In areas where St. Nicholas was still seen as a gift-giver, he developed a host of other characters as helpers. Two of his most famous helpers were Knecht Ruprecht and the Belsnickle. Depending on the location, they were either helpers or St. Nicholas himself, but in all cases they were fearsome characters. It was not only their duty to reward good children but also to punish naughty ones.

Knecht Ruprecht, meaning Servant Rupert, was also known by other names, such as Black Peter, so called because he delivered presents down the chimney for St. Nicholas and became blackened from the soot. In some places the image of St. Nicholas merged with Knecht Ruprecht to form Ru Klaus, meaning Rough Nicholas, so named because of his rugged appearance; Aschen Klaus, meaning Ash Nicholas because he carried a sack of ashes and a bundle of switches; and Pelznickle, meaning Furry Nicholas, referring to his fur-clad appearance. The Pelznickle was also known as the Rider of the White Horse, which was one of the names given to the Nordic god Odin. This name indicates the northern influence in these legends, and shows that the debased god was still alive in the folk beliefs that had been suppressed by Christianity.

Not all of St. Nicholas' companions were frightening. In fact, the Christkindl, meaning Christ Child, was thought to accompany him in many countries. Often seen as a fair-haired young girl, this angelic figure was sometimes the gift-giver also.

Immigrants to the New World brought along their beliefs and customs: Scandinavians brought their gift-giving elves and Germans brought Belsnickle and Christkindlein (and their decorated tree). The American Santa Claus figure received his name from the Dutch. During the 1600s the Dutch introduced Sinterklaas. Many of the English speaking children mispronounced the name as Santy Claus. After many years of this mispronunciation, Sinterklaas became anglicized into Santa Claus.

In 1808, the American author Washington Irving created a new version of the old St. Nicholas. In his History of New York, Irving gave the first detailed description of the Dutch St. Nicholas. He described the arrival of the saint on horseback, this one rode over the treetops in a horse drawn wagon, dropping gifts down the chimney. He also described Santa as a Dutchman who smoked a long stemmed pipe, wore baggy breeches and a broad brimmed hat.

The Dutch-American Santa Claus achieved full Americanization in 1823 in a poem 'A Visit from St. Nick' (The Night Before Christmas) by Clement C. Moore. His poem gave an Arctic flavor to Santa Claus's image. He substituted eight tiny reindeer and a sleigh for the horse and wagon. He included such details as Santa's wink, nod, laugh and the myth by which the 'jolly old elf' returns up the chimney. It is Moore's description that we think of today: "He had a broad face, and a little round belly, that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly."

In 1863, a German immigrant, Thomas Nast, gave a visual image of the jolly gift-giver that was to become widely accepted. He depicted a rotound Santa for Christmas issues of Harper's magazine from the 1860s until the 1880s. When Nast was asked to illustrate Moore's verse for a children's book, he showed us a softer, kinder Santa who was still old but less stern than the ecclesiastical bishop St. Nicholas. He dressed this elfin figure in red and endowed him with human characteristics. Nast added such details as Santa's workshop at the North Pole and Santa's list of good and bad children.

In 1931, artist Haddon Sundblom added the final touches to Santa's modern image and the legend. On billboards and advertisements for Coca Cola, Sundblom featured a portly, grandfatherly figure with human proportions and a ruddy complexion. The elf of Moor'es poem was replaced with a human sized, exhuberant, twinkle-eyed Santa Claus.

In the modern version of the Santa Claus legend, only Santa's toy shop workers are elves. There is also a ninth reindeer - Rudolph - who has a shiny red noes, who was introduced in 1939 by Montgomery Ward.

There is no going back, no untangling: Santa Claus was Sinterklaas; Sinterklaas was St. Nicholas. The giving and receiving of gifts turned into an integral part of the season when Sinterklaas was anglicized to Santa Claus, and the two became one in the popular legend, a symbol of the generosity of the Christmas Spirits.

Courtesy of Santa Claus: A Legend in the Making

11.16.2007

Fabulous Apron Finds Friday

Yes I know, posting late in the day seems to be becoming a trend. *sigh*

Anyhoo, today is all about aprons! :o) Have you noticed how much aprons have come back in style? It's not just for us "vintage apron fanatics" anymore. It's become soooo "tres chic"! I've always liked aprons myself. I have some vintage ones including one that is made out of a flour sack and hangs in my pantry. Hmmm, guess I should have taken a pic? :oP

So without further ado, here are some of my favourite new apron designers.

Heavenly Hostess has so many wonderful apron designs from halter to cocktail to gardening, you just have to check them out! Here is one of my faves which happens to be a gardening apron, however I don't have a garden and I'd buy it anyway. :o)



Sommer Designs doesn't have as many choices but what she does have is simple, classic and fresh. I find it hard to choose a favorite since most of her aprons are made from my favourite designer fabrics!



Another apron designer I love is Megan of Creative Outlet Designs! I've been coveting her cherry polkadot apron for some time now. Drool!




And last but not least is Carolyn's Kitchen. Carolyn West(as seen in Adorn) offers vintage-inspired aprons and matching glove sets. How fun is that! Don't miss the giveaway to win this fun Dorothy apron & glove set over at The Apronista!



Other places to find hip handmade aprons are ETSY & eBay. Have fun and have a fantastic weekend! :o)

11.15.2007

7 Random Things..Betty..and ah..aH..AHHH-CHOOO!

Yes, it's true...I'm sick AGAIN! Can someone please stop the ride, I want to get off! *sigh* I took Sugar & Spice to a gym where they have Tot Time on Fridays. This was the 1st time for us so of course we got sick. Ugh! Luckily Mr. Smarty Pants who catches colds at the drop of a hat and was still recovering from the last one did not pick up this particular bug. *whew* Maybe his immunities are finally starting to kick in?? I certainly hope so. I think mine are pretty much gone for good. At least we'll all be well for Thanksgiving. *crosses fingers* :o)

Ok so on to the 7 Random Things about me. I know I've been tagged before but hey I'm sure I can think of more things right? *wink*

I was tagged this time by Megan of Creative Outlet Designs. (I was actually tagged like a week ago but, ya know, sickness and all......)




Here's the rules you must abide by if you're tagged:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself: some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.


So here goes:
1. I wanted to be a ballerina when I was a little girl. And yes, I was in love with Mikhail Baryshnikov. *swoon*

2. I like fantasy art, especially fairies! One of my fave fairy artists is Amy Brown.

3. My fave coffee flavor is peppermint mocha, or some variation of mint and chocolate anyway. yum!

4. In college I dated a number of musicians, in particular guitar players, and I bought my own electric guitar and tried to learn to play myself. In case your wondering, I do not play or own a guitar anymore. :oP

5. I'm claustrophobic. Nuff said!

6. I'm a "closet" photographer, I just need a better camera. Not that mine is bad...

7. During my twin pregnancy I was really into poker, especially Texas Hold'em. I played an XBox poker game alot when I was bedridden but I haven't touched it since.

So now I'm tagging 7 others:

Michele of MJD Boutique
Ellie of Little Wanda Crafts
Karyn of Fat Orange Cat
Susan of My Sweet Imaginations
Ari of The Happy Cactus
Anjee of BabyBluebonnets Boutique
Pam of Sew Gracious

Have fun gals! :o)

So speaking of Megan, it's time to welcome Flat Boutique Betty!


This is Megan's newest project. Flat Betty is her alter ego that will travel the world raising money for wonderful charities and organizations plus meeting lots of new friends and having amazing adventures on the way!

Are you a Betty???? Do you strive to make a difference - however big or small - and look for the beauty in others? If so - embrace your inner Betty and snag one too!

You will even be entered to win a skinny scarf from Creative Outlet Designs done with the Summer in the City fabrics!


Stay tuned for Fabulous Finds Friday. :o)

11.09.2007

Fabulous PINK Finds Friday

I know it's a little late for Fabulous Finds today but hey, better late than never right?

Christmas is right around the corner and I wanted to highlight all of the girly-girl toys out there now. I sooo love the color pink and to see a classic toy turned pink just tickles me....well PINK! :o)

Toys R Us has what they call the PINKtacular Collection. You can only get these at Toys R Us...or maybe eBay. *wink*

For babies there's the classic Fisher-Price Corn Popper. What baby or toddler doesn't love this toy? It's always laying around the floor of just about any toy store you visit. Now you can get a pink one for your little girly-girl.



Fisher-Price Little People are another one of those universally-loved toys and now the classic school bus and airplane are, you guessed it, pink!



Anyone else have one of those Lil' Snoopy dogs or Chatter Phones when you were a toddler? Here they are made just for our girly-girls. And you can't beat the prices too!



How about pink for the preschoolers? I loved Lite-Brite when I was a kid. Of course mine wasn't pink. ;o)



Boys aren't the only ones who like to pretend to mow the lawn. Here's an adorable pink bubble mower for your girly tomboy.



Here's some fun games for the older girls. How about a new "twist" on an old classic. *snicker*



Check out the Pink Boutique Edition of Monopoly. I don't think the guys will want to play this one. Isn't it all about the shopping? *wink*



So have fun this Christmas and get your PINK on! :o)

11.02.2007

Fabulous Giveaway Friday

And the winner is.......



Congratulations Angie of Scrapnmoms Moments! You've won a pair of handmade earrings made by little ole me. I used a random number generator I found online to get the number 9 and Angie was the 9th comment left on my Trick or Treat? post.

Thank you to everyone who visited on Halloween! It was a lot of fun visiting everyone's festive blogs. We'll definitely have to do it again next year! :o)

I had really wanted to post pics yesterday but was so worn out by all the activities whilst being sick this past week that I was just too darned tired! I'm feeling better today and am looking forward to getting some extra sleep this weekend. Anyhoo, here are some fun pics from Halloween night of our little trick or treaters in action.

Trick or Treat

Army Guy

Flower Girl

Butterfly Girl

Trick or Treat


And here's our house decorated on Halloween night!
As you can see I didn't finish the pumpkin after all. :oP

Our Haunted House

Our Haunted House


I'm going to bring back Fabulous Finds Friday next week so stay tuned! :o)

10.31.2007

Trick or Treat?

No tricks here today, just yummy treats! :o) For any festive visitors who stop by this post and comment you'll be entered to win a pair of handmade earrings by little ole me. I'll draw one name from the comments on Friday November 2nd. I just love the holidays!

In a couple of hours we'll be taking the kiddos trick or treating. This will be Sugar & Spice's first time! They're going as a flower & butterfly. Awwww. :o)
Of course Mr. Smarty Pants is going as, what else, an army soldier. No surprise there, eh?

So we started carving our pumpkin last night but unfortunately ran into a bit of a snag. Mr. Smarty Pants wanted a pirate ship like on the package(see pic below) but half way through both the teeny-weenie, and quite delicate imo, saws that came with this kit broke! Sooooo, I still need to finish it...somehow. Not sure if that's going to happen at this point since Honey still isn't home from work, but here's what we have so far....





We did have alot of fun doing this Halloween craft.
Can you tell which one's supposed to be me? :oP



Lastly, we made roasted pumpkin seeds. Mmmmm, yummy!



*~* Sugar & Spice Roasted Pumpkin Seeds *~*

Ingredients
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, rinsed and dried
6 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter



Directions
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F(120 degrees C). Spread the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast for about 30-45 minutes, until a nice golden brown hue. In a large bowl stir together 2 tablespoons of the white sugar, salt, and pumpkin pie spice and then set aside. Heat the oil & butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and sprinkle the remaining sugar over them. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts. Pour the seeds into the bowl with the spiced sugar mix and stir until coated. Allow to cool before serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.




Hope everyone has a BOOtiful Halloween! :o)

Wordless Wednesday - Happy Halloween!

Halloween Wreath


For more Wordless Wednesday click here!

Feeling festive today and want to share it with other bloggers?
Then join the fun at the Halloween Blog Party!!

10.30.2007

Resistance.Is.Futile....

Aggghhhhhhhh! Run away, run away!!!!!


Halloween Candy



Halloween Candy


Seriously, I have a very hard time resisting temptation. I don't generally buy candy, cookies, cake, soda....ok pretty much anything to do with sweets because I KNOW I'll eat it if it's in the house.
Honey bought bags & bags of candy last night to hand out to the trick or treaters (hopefully) coming tomorrow night. Now all of this "temptation" is calling to me. I swear I can hear it saying, "eat me...eat me...."

Yes I admit it, I've had about five already. :o(
It's even harder to resist when I'm sick since all I wanna do is reach for comfort food...er...um...candy?

The only one who wants the candy more than me? THE CANDY MONSTER!

Candy Monster



Halloween Candy


Halloween night can't get here fast enough. Take my candy, please!

10.29.2007

Pumpkin Patch 07

So even though I've been sick as a dog....again...we braved the Pumpkin Patch this weekend. I loaded myself up with Dayquil, told Honey we were going "no matter what" and we drove the 45 minutes it takes to get to the beautiful Love Creek Apple Orchard which is hosting their annual Pumpkin Patch. We couldn't have asked for a more perfect day, and that's not easy to come by in Texas. :o)
Here are some highlights from the day:




This lone beauty was the last apple of the season in the whole orchard. I took this shot when we were on the hayride. Doesn't it look tempting?
I really wanted to pick it! *snicker*




Sugar would have walked all day if we'd let her. She had her own ideas about where she wanted to go too. Thankfully there were alot of distractions to slow her down.







Spice really wanted to hug & squeeze this baby chicken.




Of course we had to take some yummy kettle corn home with us. Doesn't it look scrumptious? As you can see we don't have alot left. :o) Tonight or tomorrow night we'll be carving that pumpkin in the pic.




Anyone else visit a Pumpkin Patch this October?
Is it an annual tradition?

10.25.2007

Boys Will Be Boys!

I'm sure you've noticed I haven't been posting much lately. I've been focusing on family and holiday plans coming up but I'm ready to start getting back to the blogging world. Hopefully I'll keep it up. :oP
Again, thank you to everyone who has commented the last few weeks. I'm sorry I haven't been visiting you all as usual but I will try and visit as many of you as I can very soon. :o)

So my "boys" dug out the military strategy board game Risk a couple of weekends ago and Honey has been teaching Mr. Smarty Pants how to play. Our little "soldier" is obessed with anything military right now, especially the Army! He wears anything with camouflage, wants camouflage bedding, games, toys, etc for Christmas, is going to be an Army man for Halloween and plays military strategy games on his computer. And yes, he is only 6! He's very smart, hence the nickname, and can play PC games that Honey plays. They play Starcraft together too(a space war strategy game). It boggles my mind, since he couldn't really read too well when he first started playing these, that he knows about everything in the game, including things Honey didn't know even though he's played the game for years!

So anyway, getting back to Risk, I took a few shots the first time they played and thought I'd share.



I was lucky enough to find a vintage world globe for Mr. Smarty Pants at Goodwill a week ago. I went to drop off things we were donating but decided to take a peek and see if I could find any fun treasures. To my surprise this awesome globe was tagged at only $4! The base was loose but that was so easy to tighten. I think it might be from the 70's? Anyone know? Mr. Smarty Pants has been wanting one ever since falling in love with Pawpaw's antique globe so I just had to pick it up for him. What do you think?

10.06.2007

Fresh Start

I want to thank everyone who has wished me well and also sent encouragement my way about the biz. While I am feeling better(finally), I'm still not 100% and really need to make a new doc appt to get some testing done. Something just has't been quite right with me for the past year or so. Pretty much since giving birth to the twins.
My mom passed away 2 years ago from ovarian cancer and all my family on my moms side has had some form of cancer so I have to be really vigilant. I felt I was having symptoms that were a lot like my mom so I went to my OB to check it out a few months ago. She did an ultrasound among other things and then told me that she thinks that I'm dealing with IBS. Ugh! She gave me a prescrip for a med that I was only on for a week when I had to stop due to a "24 hour" headache side effect. I just couldn't take it! I get headaches & migraines anyway and having one that won't go away was just not gonna cut it. The side effect ended up actually being a blessing in disguise because it turned out that this drug was taken off the market about a month after I tried it. My OB said I needed to go to a GI doc and I have to admit I still haven't made the appt. Denial maybe?

So this past few weeks I've given alot of thought to what I want to do with my biz. While I love making jewelry it isn't selling and I've been itching to learn new crafts plus do something with my drawing. I was really inspired by Sandi of Portabellopixie since she recently went from boutique clothing designer to fabric designer. I've become a fabric addict, I used to want to be a fashion designer and I've loved to draw since I was a kid so I've been seriously thinking about giving fabric design a try. I really want to focus all my attention on it so will not sell childrens jewelry on eBay & ETSY anymore. I'll still make jewels for my girls of course. :o) To feed my need to bead I may make earrings to sell on ETSY. As far as eBay goes I will still list antiques & collectibles from my moms estate and resell the kiddos clothes & gear. I have also been playing around with custom photo invitations for awhile now so I may still try a listing and see how that goes on eBay. So those are my biz plans, at the moment anyway...it could always change again. :oP

I wanted to point out to any swap-bot swappers checking out my blog that pics of swaps are posted on my Flickr account whenever I receive a package or when my packages are received by my partners so you can check them out here if you like. I haven't posted pics on my blog since the bead swap so thought I'd better point that out to any curious swappers lurking here. teehee. I joined a bunch of swaps on swap-bot.com(it's really addicting) after the bead swap but after the last 3 current ones are finished I'm most likely not going to join any more until after the holidays. I have lots of shopping to do for family & friends and we have family coming to town plus we'll be going out of town and need to really save our money. I definitely love swapping though so I won't be quitting altogether, you can count on that! :o)

It's time to put the girls to bed but I plan to blog again tomorrow. Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday weekend! Honey is actually off work for 3 days straight! We're very excited to have him around and Mr. Smarty Pants has lots of games, movies, etc planned with his daddy. :o)

9.20.2007

Thursday Blursday

Uggghhh! I am sick sick sick! Mr. Smarty Pants got sick last week, we even took him to acute care on Sunday. The inlaws came to visit and we had to keep him away from papaw because he's very susceptible to infections. Then the girls got sick and, last but not least, me. Today has been the worst! Sucks too because Honey is never here due to his "lovely" job. I'm starting to really get this "single-mom-thing" down....except today. Uggghhh! I wasn't too bad the past few days, just really tired, but this afternoon.....ugghhhhh!

I'm feeling depressed too. :o( I feel like giving up the jewelry biz again. My jewelry just doesn't sell. Not even for charity! :o(
I have to give a huge thank you to Anjee of babybluebonnets(who won) and princess*bunny*02 for bidding on the Cafe Paris set. I thought it might go at $9.95 and I had really hoped to donate more to the charity so thank you very much gals!
Oh and yes I have tried ETSY, no luck there either. :o( It's probably just because I feel so "craptacular" but I've been feeling pretty discouraged lately. Hopefully I'll feel better soon.

Ok time to go lie down on the floor and let the girls whack me with their toys. I'm so pathetic today! *sigh*