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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year


Happiness is “to find out, that I was missed by Monika and MizBohemia”. I am here for you.
I have had a wonderful Christmas and much fodder for blogs. After reading some of my favorite blogs, I am a bit embarrassed, as I may sound to some, like a Pollyanna. Facts are facts, my happiness has no bounds at the moment. I ask those of you who like twists and turns to a story, to stay tuned, as no ones life is without strife. I am making a New Years resolution to be an honest blogger. In the spirit of honesty I am listing my other resolutions here.
#2 To study Danish, in order to be understood when I try to speak Danish......what the heck, let’s also add French. My French needs improvement judging from the looks on a French speaking person's face, when I utter, what I think of as French.
#3 To loose more weight.......Ok! I know this is not very original and I have failed miserably in the past.
#4 To exercise more..............Actually I don’t have a choice, as I will be required to do that,after my double knee replacement surgery. This will take place on January 18, 2006....I promised you strife :)
That seems to be it for now. I am sure I will come up with many more tonight, when I hear what resolutions my family is making. Then again they are perfect, and probably don’t need to make any (this is said with tongue firmly placed in cheek)
Happy New Year to you all. See you soon.

Posted by Mo'a :: 1:01 PM :: 7 Art Connoiseurs

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Saturday, December 24, 2005

Kertasnikir.......Candle-beggar


Kertasnikir.....Candle-beggar appears on Christmas Eve as the children wait in anticipation while their parents light the Christmas candles. When the family leaves the living room to get the children. Kertasnikir slips into the room and takes as many candles as he can carry.

The Jolasveinars and my project to count down to Christmas, by showing and talking about them each day, has brought me more than I could ever have imagined. I have met through my blog other bloggers, some from my homeland and others from far and near. I have received e-mails from friends and fellow artists. Some I had not heard from for a long time. Thank you all for your kind words.
My family and I, wish all of you that celebrate Christmas. Gledileg jol, Glaedelig jul and a Merry Christmas.
Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish friends. And to my friends who celebrate Kwanza, Happy Kwansa.

Posted by Mo'a :: 9:08 AM :: 9 Art Connoiseurs

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Friday, December 23, 2005

Kjotkrokur.......Meat-hook


Kjotkrokur.......Meat-hook jumps up on the roof and lowers his long meat hook down the chimney to snatch the Hangikjot, that is being cooked for Christmas Eve dinner. When the household notices that the meat is gone, they give chase to meat hook, calling and screaming at the top of their lungs. Kjotkrokur is limber and fast. He quickly hides behind a big bolder and sits down to feast on the stolen meat.

Posted by Mo'a :: 9:06 AM :: 1 Art Connoiseurs

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Gattathefur.....Door-sniffer


Gattathefur....Door-sniffer is number eleven. He has a nice big nose and remarkably he never gets a cold. He can smell the good smells of Christmas from afar. Today he can detect the lovely smell of Laufabraud and there is the fragrance of Hangikjot that hangs in the rafters. He tip-toes to the kitchen door, so that he can delight in all the good smells of Christmas cooking. As he is standing there in ecstasy, the housewife walks by and startled by his presence screams. Gattathefur unperturbed smiles and raises his nose higher.

Posted by Mo'a :: 7:41 AM :: 3 Art Connoiseurs

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Gluggagaegir.......Window-peeper


Gluggagaegir.........Window-peeper. He sneaks around looking in all the windows, to case the premises for what he can steal. The people in the house scream in fright, when they see his face in the window. Gluggagaegir only laughs and makes faces to scare them even more.

Posted by Mo'a :: 9:10 AM :: 3 Art Connoiseurs

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Bjugnakraekir.......Sausage-swiper


Bjugnakraekir.....Sausage-swiper is number nine. He will seek high and low to find the sausage that has been hidden from him. Sometimes they are hidden so well, that he can not find them. Today luck was on his side, he found a string of seven.

Posted by Mo'a :: 7:31 AM :: 2 Art Connoiseurs

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Monday, December 19, 2005

Skyrgamur.....skyr gobbler


Skyrgamur......skyr-gobbler arrived today and made a straight line for the dairy, where he found a barrel of skyr* He gobbles down all the skyr and is rewarded with stomach aches and pains. He is heard far and near, as he cries out “I should not have eaten all the skyr”.

* Skyr is a dairy product similar to yogurt.

Posted by Mo'a :: 9:39 AM :: 5 Art Connoiseurs

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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Hurdaskellir....Door-slammer


Hurdaskellir........Door-slammer is the seventh to arrive. He waits until everyone has gone to sleep, then slams all the doors in the house. He delights in the different sounds they make. The household wakes up startled from their sleep, children cry and dogs bark. All this is music to Door-slammer’s ears.

Posted by Mo'a :: 7:29 AM :: 4 Art Connoiseurs

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Saturday, December 17, 2005

Askjasleikir.....Bowl-licker and Icelandic Blogs


Askjasleikir.......Bowl-licker is a very brave little fellow. He sneaks around waiting for someone in the household to put down their food bowl. Then the brazen little fellow snatches it away and licks it clean. Askjasleikir has to be fast on his feet to get away from the bowl's angry owner.


Through this blog I have met two Icelandic ladies that have left comments on my blog. Monica is also announcing the arrival of each of the Jolasveinar. She has a great sense of humor and the illustrations she uses are hilarious. Visit Monica, you will see what I mean.
My other new friend is Greta. I found her Icelandic Artists blog on Google, when I was researching the Icelandic Jolasveinar. I have learned so much about Iceland through her. She announced my Jolasveinar in one of her blogs. She is very thoughtful. My Jolasveinar have opened many new doors for me, for that I am grateful.

Posted by Mo'a :: 9:16 AM :: 4 Art Connoiseurs

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Friday, December 16, 2005

Pottasleikir.....Pot-scraper and The Christmas Cat


Pottasleikir.....Pot-scraper arrived today. He found the big stew pot unattended. He grabbed it and hoisted it outside to have himself a good meal. There in the pot were four pieces of meat. He has not had such luck for many years.


When I was twelve years old we lived next door to my Aunt and Uncle's house. One of my little cousins was a four years old boy, who had a way of testing ones patience. One evening just before Christmas he came over to our house for a visit. My Mother and I were baking cookies and my father was wrapping presents. He was getting in every ones way, snatching a cookie here, playing with the tape, getting hold of the scissors and asking questions over and over. Finally our patience wore thin so we used the Christmas Cat threat, which started with us saying “The Christmas Cat will get you if you are not good” and ending by knocking on any handy wooden surface while he was not looking and saying “That is the Christmas Cat, he is trying to get you”
Why we did all the knocking still amuses me. Did we think the Christmas Cat was so polite, that he would knock? My little cousin told us that there was no Christmas Cat and that we were just teasing him. Finally my Mother asked me to take my cousin back to his house. When we opened the door there was a new fallen snow and there, coming from around the corner of our house right up to the door were cat prints. The little cousin screamed in terror, grabbed my leg and tried to pull me away from the door. Finally after soothing him and hearing promises from him to be good, he agreed to me carrying him back to his house. Last time I was in Iceland he told me how grateful he was, that I had saved him from the Christmas Cat, when he was little.

Posted by Mo'a :: 7:49 AM :: 6 Art Connoiseurs

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Thvorusleikir.....Spoon-licker and Names


Thvorusleikir...Spoon-licker likes to lick the wooden spoon, that is used to stir the pots. When he sees his opportunity he shoots into the kitchen and grabs the spoon and holds it tight with both hands. This poor fellow is long and skinny and always hungry, as there is not much nourishment on a wooden spoon. Today he was lucky as you can see and has licked the spoon until it is clean.

It is interesting to me how many translations of the name Jolasveinar there are. I have come across Yulelads, Yuletide Lads, Yule Goblins, Christmas Elves, Christmas Men and Christmas Lads. I am sure there are many more.
There have been over 80 recorded names for the Jolasveinar themselves describing their looks or their tricks. I wonder why names such as Bandaleisir....Strap looser, Faldafleikir....Skirt blower this name I have also seen translated as Skirt flipper
Hlodustrangi....Barn roll, have the Jolasveinar become more politically correct?

Posted by Mo'a :: 5:40 PM :: 0 Art Connoiseurs Link to this Masterpiece!
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Stufur....Stubby and The Costume


Stufur....Stubby. He is very small and timid,he is afraid of his aggressive brothers, hardly dares to do any mischief at all. He waits in the corner of the kitchen, where the housewife is frying the meat, in the hope that she will leave the pan behind. Stufur lives in anticipation, sometimes he is lucky and sometimes not.


The costumes that I used for the Jolasveinar, are based on the Icelandic costume the men wore in the 18th century. Sheep skin shoes (saudskinnskor), that were very thin and without soles and had hand knit inserts (leppar), imagine walking in these shoes over the lava fields. Short breeches and hand knit woolen socks, nice and warm. A sweater loosely based on the lopapeysa, I say loosely as the designs I have made on the Jolasveinar sweaters, are not as ornate and intricate as the real thing. Mittens (vettlingar) and a woolen hat.

Posted by Mo'a :: 12:41 AM :: 0 Art Connoiseurs Link to this Masterpiece!
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Monday, December 12, 2005

Giljagaur.....Gully-gawk and Needle Felting


Giljagaur........... Gully-gawk arrives today. He is a handsome and most happy fellow. His passion is the froth, that forms on the warm milk as it comes from the cow. He sneaks into the barn and while the milk maid is not looking, Giljagaur dips his finger into the milk pail and licks the froth off his finger. Giljagaur, was lucky today.


I have loved the story of the thirteen Jolasveinar, as long as I can remember. When I was a little girl I was given Christmas cards with drawings of them, by Eggert, that I had carefully colored in, with color pencil. I still have nine of the cards and suspect that there were actually only nine in the beginning, as in some of the stories there were only nine are mentioned. One of my favorite Christmas songs is about, Jolasveinar one and eight, who came down from the mountains, and the adventure they had along the way..
I have wanted to create the Jolasveinar for many years, but could not find a medium to work in, that would fit my image of them. This spring, I took a class on needle felting on the internet, with Amy Rawson, through joggles.com. I took to the medium right away and practiced designing and making various figures, until I felt ready to work on the Jolasveinar. I started working on them, in the middle of October and have eleven done, with two more to go. I did them in sequence, so that I could show them all here day by day, as they arrive.
This project has been the most satisfying one I have ever done. I look forward to going to my studio every day. I started this blog to have a place to show them and to tell their story. I tell the stories in my own way, with the poems from a book called Jolin Koma (Christmas is coming) by Johannes ur Kotlum, which was first printed in 1932 and had it’s sixteenth printing in 1994, as one of my guides.

Posted by Mo'a :: 7:52 PM :: 3 Art Connoiseurs

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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Stekkjastaur.....Stiff-legs and Jolasveinar


The first to arrive is Stekkjastaur.....Stiff-legs, he sneaks into the sheep shed, hoping to milk one of the ewes, for his favorite drink. He is particularly stiff today, after his long walk from his mountain home. The sheep startled , jump and tumble about the shed, and due to Stekkjastaur’s stiff legs, are able to get away. Poor Stekkjastaur will have no milk today.


Today December 12th is a big day in Iceland, the first of the 13 Jolasveinar, variously called Yule Goblins, Christmas Men or Christmas Lads, arrives down from the mountains. Today's arrival is named Stiff-legs then comes Gully-gawk, Stubby, Spoon-licker, Pot-scraper, Bowl-licker, Door-slammer, Skyr-gobbler (Skyr is like yogurt) Sausage-swiper, Window-peeper, Door-sniffer, Meat-hook, and on the 24th, Christmas Eve, the last but not the least, Candle-beggar. Then they leave for the mountains one by one, the last one leaving on 12th night, January 6th.
These charmers were first mentioned in print in the 17th century and were known by various names which differ from region to region, with up to 80 names recorded.
Most of the names reflect the tricks they played. They coveted things people found hardest to do without during the lean times and the blackest Artic nights, that is food and light. Their parents were real charmers, their names are Gryla (Ugly) and Leppaludi(one who wears tattered clothes). It was said that Gryla and Leppaludi liked to feast on misbehaving children and were used as bogeymen to terrify children into obedience. The family pet was an enormous Black Cat who had the same culinary habits as Gryla and Leppaludi.The children of today, do not have to worry about Grila's, Leppaludi's and the Cat's former culinary habits, as they now probably prefer a Pizza or a Hamburger with a Coke.
In the 20th century the 13 Jolasveinar have mellowed and evolved from bogeymen into benevolent beings. They are now entertainment for, and friends to children. Each night when the children go to bed they leave their shoe on the window sill. If they have been good, they will recive a gift from each of the Jolasveinar, as they arrive from their mountain home. If they have been bad, they will find a potato in
their shoe.

Posted by Mo'a :: 4:45 PM :: 5 Art Connoiseurs

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Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Amazing Brobro


My parents cat, found out that I had told a story about Brie. He was in a bit of a sniff about it, so I decided that I would give him one minute, out of his fifteen minutes of fame.
My parents had a friend staying with them over a weekend, 12 years ago and hey decided to take her to a lovely restaurant in the country. As they got out of the car in front of the restaurant, a very handsome young black and white cat came running towards them purring loudly, he followed them up to the door of the restaurant, then disappeared into a group of other cats. My parents were curious and asked about the cats, they were told that the black and white one had been dropped off in front of the restaurant and that the others were feral cats. They also said that they would be delighted, if Mother and Dad would take the little black and white one home, as he needs a good one. After dinner, the little one came up to them just as they exited the restaurant and was scooped up by my Father as he said “come with us little one, you now have a new home”
They named him Figaro, as he loves to sing, he does that with various types of purring, from soft to very loud, accentuated with an occasional meow. The first time I met him he came right to me and my Mother said to him “meet your sister” and I replied, barely heard above the loud purring, “hello Brobro”, since then that is what some of us call him. Well it is a lot better than Hub Cap :)(see Shadow in The Night)
Figaro aka Brobro is loved by everyone in the neighborhood. He waits at the school bus stop with the children in the morning. Sits with then neighbors in their yard, as they have their evening cocktail. Plays with and occasionally teases, the other cats. His relationship with the dogs in the neighborhood is unequal. One of the dogs is a mineature poodle and when they meet, Brobro goes on is back as an invitation to play. Next door is a young hunting dog mix, who spends her outside time tied up, Brobro will go just close enough to her, so that she will chase him, and run out of rope, at that time Brobro will stop and look back in triumph. When my Mother chats with a neighbor outside, Brobro will sit by her side, taking in the conversation, giving an occasional meow as a contribution. My Mother’s greatest fear, for all these years, has been, that someone will steal him, as he has been known to go into peoples houses for a snack and a snooze. Much to my Mother’s relieve, he always returns home.
He has his inside routines also. In the morning he is my Father's cat and requires stroking and being talked to before my Father picks up his newspaper to read.
In the evening, he will sit on my Mother's lap, while watching television or taking a nap. He goes in and out of the house all day and evening,and occasionally he will stay out longer that my Mother likes, she will then go and open the door and sing "Figaro, Figaro" I think he does this on purpose, just to hear my Mother sing.
At five o’clock every evening he has a cocktail, cocktail shrimp that is. Several weeks ago he lost interest in the shrimp, that and his labored breathing alerted Mother and Dad to something being wrong, come to find out that he has a heart condition. All is well now, as he is on medication and eating his shrimp again.
He has a good life my Brobro.
I could regale you with more stories about Brobro/Figaro, as there are many, however, I will save them for an other time.

Posted by Mo'a :: 1:48 PM :: 0 Art Connoiseurs Link to this Masterpiece!
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Snow in New Jersey

We had our second snow of the season yesterday....first snow was a dusting and this one did not live up to expectations. We had been promised a good, stay at home, make a thick soup, light a fire and some candles, cozy under blankets, listen to Christmas music, kind of snow, instead we got a scant inch and freezing rain. All was not lost, as we decided to decorate the family room Christmas tree. When we finished decorating, as a reward, we did all of the above , it was ever so cozy.
This morning the sun is out and the snow and ice sparkles like so many diamonds. I use the Rhododendrons as my thermometer, today their leaves have unfurled, from their curled into a cylinder look they had yesterday. I fear that by tomorrow the snow will be gone again.....this seems to be our fate here in Southern New Jersey.
Here are some photos, taken yesterday and today.

....a Rose by any other name......Ornamental Cabbage


The bird feeder.The squirrels have brought it down to the ground three times. I have repaired it each time with Apoxie Sculpt, adding more and more design to it, one time this dragon and in front of it a baby dragon.


A photo taken of the Rododendron in the sun, this morning.

Posted by Mo'a :: 11:31 AM :: 0 Art Connoiseurs Link to this Masterpiece!
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Monday, December 05, 2005

Family Christmas


Yesterday, Ken (my husband) and I helped my parents decorate their Christmas Tree. As we unwrapped the decorations , I noticed that some were in their original gift boxes, with neatly written dated labels, describing, who had given them to my parents. Mother told us about the decorations she had bought and the reason she had bought them. Occasionally she would say, remember when you gave me this one, or I remember when you made this one. As we sipped on our first glass of eggnog this season, we shared our memories of Christmases past and rejoiced in the fact that we had all been together for Christmas every year, since Ken and I married, with the exception of two. The time my Father was in the hospital, although we spent most of our time there with him. And another Christmas, when just after graduating from college, our son spent Christmas in England, where he was working at the time. He called us three times Christmas Eve, the third time at exactly 6pm our time.
We start our celebration at 6pm Christmas Eve, by listening to a tape of the bells of Reykjavik, announcing the start of the season and a choir singing our favorite Icelandic hymn. We say Gledileg Jol (Merry Christmas) to each other and start the our Icelandic celebration. For dinner we have hangikjot (smoked lamb) potatoes and peas in white sauce, and red cabbage. For desert we have rice pudding with one almond, whoever gets the almond receives and extra gift......usually marzipan. Christmas day is our American version of Christmas, starting with a big breakfast and the Christmas stockings. We cook a big meal together, listen to music, read our new books, watch our favorite Christmas movie and end the day full of joy and to much good food. This year we will have a new member in our family, our son’s Danish sweet heart, and without doubt new traditions will be created. I love Christmas :)

Posted by Mo'a :: 1:43 PM :: 3 Art Connoiseurs

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