happy holidays


Merry Christmas, Hauskaa Joulua, Frohe Weihnachten, Joyeux Noël!

My warmest good wishes for a peaceful holiday week to all you dear readers and friends, however you celebrate it, or not. I am so very grateful for your visits and friendship over the years.

I am still baking and cooking and cleaning in preparation for tomorrow. Some of our family will be here for our own blend of Finnish and German Christmas Eve traditions. Our latest wave of the Pineapple Express should be over soon and we may have a sunny green Christmas. Hope yours is a beautiful and safe one.

winter solstice fog




It is a foggy winter solstice morning, conducive to stirring some ancient pagan feelings. Being too lazy to go out, I went searching through my photo archives for certain recalled images to mark this occasion.

Long ago I wrote, in part:

Those of us in the northern Hemisphere can now breathe a collective sigh of relief that the sun has not disappeared forever and the days will be getting longer! Spring will come and we can begin planting again. I think of all the ancient cultures of the world that observed the solstices with festivals, rituals and great architecture to appease the spirits, long before Pope Julius tacked the celebration onto Saturnalia, the Roman winter festival, or jule became Christmas. It seems to me that we’ve lost some connection to nature’s rhythms and a universality of a common human celebration not based on a multitude of divisive religious doctrines.

Happy Winter Solstice, dear readers. Now we can watch the days get longer, a few minutes at a time. Enjoy your holiday preparations for the celebration of light.

the Canuck version

Here’s a bit of fun and truly delighful art work for those of us in need of a light-hearted break in the midst of decorating, letter writing, poring over recipes and food shopping lists:

A Moose in a Maple Tree – The All Canadian 12 Days of Christmas

Screen shot 2014-12-17 at 11.32.50 AM

The song is written by Troy Townsin, illustrated by Jennifer Harrington and performed by Canadian Ska legend Chris Murray. More here.

Cards from Christmases Past


Christmas 1999


Christmas 2000


Christmas 2001

I am going through the stash of my own designed and printed extra cards from past Christmases to choose from for this year’s mailings. (Because I cannot print new ones this year). I find a few from pre-blog days which I’ve not shown before and thought to add a little bit of early holiday spirit and colour to these pages. I hope you enjoy them. Now back to those letters!

busy time of year


It has been a week of hard work cleaning house, putting up the door wreath and a few lights outdoors and doing some baking.


It’s a start on getting ready for Christmas but first we had weekend guests, our dearest friends who always bring flowers or a lovely plant, this time a stephanotis with heavenly scent! New to me, what a delight!


Now to the Christmas letters, cards and some gifts to go in the mail. I thought I was making an nice early start a couple of weeks ago when I was about to do a test print of my card design for this year. As I fired up the printer, a little plastic gear fell out in little pieces and the paper feeder would not work. Husband hopes to repair it if he finds the part and a repair manual but it won’t be in time for the mailing. So, we will be handwriting cards and letters, just like the good ol’ days, eh! My handwriting has become atrocious but at least I have lots of extra cards from past years, some my own, some commercial. These days more and more of us correspond by email which lessens the handwriting chore and those trips to the post office. But I do still love real cards and letters.

And how are your holiday preparations coming along?

spooky halloween


Whether you call it Hallowe’en, All Hallow’s Eve, Samhain, Day of the Dead or Kekri, may it be a spine-tingling, fun and safe one. Our heavy heavy rains have finally stopped just now and it might be a dry night for the little ghosts and goblins.

If you fancy a visit through my past Hallowee’en posts to put you in the spirit, click here. As you will notice, the image above is a reworking of a favourite one used before.

Midsummer 2014

Husband, youngest daughter and I enjoyed a wonderful Midsummer Fest at the Scandinavian Center today. This time we caught the raising of the Midsummer Pole, a delightful Swedish tradition.


Beautiful Swedish women in their ethnic dresses march around the field to music, carrying the long rope of birch leaves and large rings decorated with birch leaves and flowers.


Hearty strong Swedish men carry forth the birch-twined long and very heavy pole.


This man is preparing the hole for setting the pole. Gorgeous Swedish outfit! Meanwhile the women are placing the decorations on the top of the pole.


Up, up, up it goes!

Of course we enjoyed the many displays by each Nordic country. The highlight is always the extremely well-organized Viking Village that is built and inhabited by Reik Félag, a Norse Culture Recreation Society. (Here are some photos of it taken in a visit in 2009.)

It is interesting to read how differently countries around the world celebrate the solstice.

Happy Summer Solstice, Midsummer and Hauskaa Juhannusta!

read these


Instead of words from me, here are some suggested readings, both related to textiles, which inspired me this week:

On Thursday June 12th Charllotte Kwon, owner of Maiwa Handprints and founder of the Maiwa Foundation, received an honorary doctorate from the University of the Fraser Valley for her work empowering artisans from developing nations and battling poverty by providing a market for their traditional crafts. Read her wonderful address to the audience.

A rare, 2000-year-old funeral shroud went on display at a museum in Lima, Peru. The pre-Incan, fragile textile is part of Paracas textiles that Sweden is returning to Peru. Stunningly gorgeous work that has preserved for so very long. Do check out all the links in this article to see some of the work. Many thanks to Susan for sending this to me!

Image above: A section from a collagraph test print which I later made into a card.

a heart


Happy Friendship Day! Happy Valentine’s Day!

No, there is no snow here. All is green – green moss on rocks and lawns, evergreen trees, spikes of green spring flowering bulbs poking through the soil, some with white blossoms (snowdrops). No signs of heart’s red in the garden yet.

This image is from the archives, previously posted here.

Happy New Year 2014


In these last hours of the old year, like Janus I look back and look forward. The days slowly begin to lengthen. It is a good time to express my gratitude and thanks for this past year’s conversations with all of you dear friends and readers. I hope we have many more in the New Year of 2014.

I always hold hopes for a fairer and better world for everyone and hopes for a greener Earth.

I wish you all a New Year of happiness, good health, inspiration and abundant creativity!

Onnellista Uutta Vuotta! Allen ein frohes Neues Jahr! Bonne année!