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Saturday, 31 December 2011

First Footing A New Year Tradition

In days gone by the New Year was started with a custom called first footing which was supposed to bring good luck to people for the coming year.  As  midnight passed and the 1st of January was with us people would wait for a dark haired person to arrive who would be carrying a lump of coal, bread, money and some greenery which would bring good luck to the family for the year ahead. The visitor would then take a pan of ashes out with them signifying the end of the old year.

Did you know this tradition is still popular here in the UK mostly in the North of England and Scotland.
I can remember as a child in the 1960's being asked to go outside to get a lump of coal from the coal shed then to come back in via the front door. I would then pass the lump of coal to my brother who would then throw it onto the open coal fire.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Christmas 2011 and New Year 2012 Greetings!

The host of this blog asked me recently to share any photographs that I have of my Christmas. So here they are... I have nothing to sell, just some images to share... that might bring you pleasure.

I live in Lapland, Finland, although I am British. My decorations are a mix of both cultures, where wooden elves and straw decorations are more in keeping with the season and less is more.

The English side of me however, has twinkling tree lights on my indoor tree...something not on sale locally...and I purchase from the UK instead. :D

Outside we have snow of course and our outdoor Christmas tree with static green lights. Very calm.

With candle decor, created by a cone of snowballs with a candle in the middle.

A large wooden elf by our doorway

....and a metal cut out lantern hanging from the Pine tree.

A peeking elf by the front door.

Plus a wreath on the door.

We can get so much snow that the council tractor comes most days to clear it away. Today for instance we woke to a good foot of snow. These photo's of the tractor were taken on the 21st.

Indoors we have a traditional electrical candle set. This photo was taken from the outside and the reflections on the window made it look like a St.Lucia girl (a Dec 13th tradition in Finland and Sweden celebrating the return of light). She looks just like she is wearing the crown of light! You can also see an eery image of her smiling face! :D I love it! How magical!

Here it is from indoors...

These are in my kitchen. Traditional card cutouts of Tonttu's (Elves), log Tonttu's and straw Olkipukki goats. The Goats stem from distant tales of the God Thor riding across the Yule skies, his magical chariot being pulled by Goats called Tanngrisni "gap-tooth" and Tanngnost "tooth grinder". Over the centuries, it would seem that Thor became Santa... and Goats became Reindeer! However, Goats still feature strongly in Finnish and Swedish Christmas', by way of decorations and also on cards. Sometimes Santa is still seen with a Goat here!

Our Christmas table.

I have a number of decorations around the room...

A straw mobile, again with straw goats.

An old English Avon Nativity set.

An old singing Avon Snowman, again bought in England.

A reindeer fur covered Finnish Santa. Is this how he used to look, before he changed to wearing red and white?

Our Christmas tree indoors is a fake one, whereas the one outside is real. My eldest son wanted to decorate the tree this year and he loves red. I think he did a fine job!

Here are just some of the decorations on it....

A wooden elf figure.

I was given this heart as a present many years back by a Norwegian friend, one whom I have long lost contact with, (pre Facebook!) and every year, I place it at the core of the tree. :D

This year, I wrote each of our names on a bauble and the year with a gold felt pen. When Christmas is over we will all sign each others, as a reminder that we were all together for this Christmas and keep the bauble. Our sons now live away, as they are in education, so who knows what next year will bring, when they are already 19 and 21 years old? I hope we will be celebrating together again next Christmas though! :D

May I wish you all Season's Greetings.... Merry Christmas (Hyvää Joulua) and a Happy New Year (Onnellista Uutta Vuotta) from Sodankylä, Lapland in Finland.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

New Frizbee Kitty Stuffed Animal Sewing Pattern from Snowdrop Patterns!

Snowdrop Patterns introduces our first Frizbee pet sewing pattern!  The Frizbee Kitty sewing pattern includes pattern pieces, instructions and supply list.  Perfect for beginners! 


Snowdrop Patterns

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Peasant Silver Buttons

I recently bought some interesting silver link buttons and was hoping to find out more about them, when I came across this superb book on the subject: "A Collector's Guide to Peasant Silver Buttons" By Jane Perry. It has opened up a whole new field of interest in button collecting and knowledge for me.

The book is a large paperback, illustrated throughout with clear black & white photographs of buttons. The author has divided the book into sections about:-
  • Flat and other one-piece buttons
  • Domed buttons
  • Filigree buttons
  • Round or contoured buttons
  • Appendices (covering terminology, silver marks and dating etc)
The buttons are grouped by country or geographical region, covering Europe, Asia and the Americas, which made it simple to identify the origin of the buttons I had purchased. The buttons were normally used to fasten men's jackets and waistcoats.

This one is from Dalmatia.

The next two are Spanish.

And this one is Croatian.

The book is very clearly written and will certainly help me to better describe these buttons if and when I decide to sell them. Jane also keeps a useful up-to-date guide to prices for these buttons, (which she will email to purchasers of the book on request). The guide prices are reached by keeping an average of prices achieved at auctions and sales during the previous year.
Have a lovely Christmas folks!
Posted by Julia of Love Buttons HQ

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Vintage Glass Buttons

Morning everyone! Hope you are all enjoying the run up to Christmas. Having tried to brave the shops last Sunday, I decided that the rest of my gift shopping was going to be carried out online, in shops like Etsy and Folksy. So much more civilised - and you get to support independent artists and crafters rather than faceless corporations.

Here are a few gift ideas for the sewing and craft lovers in your life - or they would make an ideal gift for a button collector or glassware collector!

This first set of three clear glass buttons has a moulded, lacy pattern decorated with gold lustre. [Sorry - this set has now been sold.]

This pair of beautiful, bronze lustred buttons are made in the style of Bimini (although not by that company). They could be converted into earrings by a jeweller or used as a decorative accent on a handmade project. They cost £6.00 for the pair from Love Buttons HQ.

Finally, these charming red glass buttons with painted detail in white and gold. They have a folk art appeal and would brighten up many a Christmas project! They cost £5.00 for three from Love Buttons on Etsy.

Cheerio until next time ...

Posted by Julia of  * Love Buttons HQ * Love Buttons on Etsy * Love Buttons on Folksy * Love Buttons on Misi * Love Buttons on Ebay *

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Vintage ladies and their buttons

Looking through my collection of victorian cdv's etc i found these ladies in their victorian finery.
What a nightmare having to undo all those buttons!