Happy New Year
Thank you for the many happy times you have given me this year.
The photos in this family collage, were taken during our Christmas celebrations.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Favorite Colors...Red and Purple
I am passionate about color. My favorite colors are red, purple and yellow. Every year I make a new red Christmas table cloth. My Mother mentioned that of all the Christmas table cloths that I have made, this years table cloth is her favorite.
I also made a new decorative shower curtain for the guest bathroom...a lovely purple/peach iridescent silk fabric.
I am not very good at sewing...straight stitch is good enough for me. You might wonder why I have a sewing machine that is computerized and one that has many decorative stitches and will even embroider. I don’t have an answer for you and I only know that it is capable of all this fancy stuff because that is what the user manual tells me. All kidding aside I do make a lot of pillows, curtains and table cloths on this machine...using the straight stitch. This year my resolution is to learn how to use the machine and all it’s bells and whistles. I have had this sewing machine for eight years, so perhaps it is time to learn to use it and all it's capabilities
Here is a photo of the table set for my book club Christmas party.
And here is a delicious and colorful cake one of the members brought to the party.
Labels: Decorated House
Monday, December 24, 2007
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, introducing their charming family, Gryla, Leppaludi and The Christmas Cat, has brought me more joy than I could ever have imagined. I have met through my blog other bloggers, some from my homeland and others from far and near. Thank you all for your visits and kind words.
Labels: My Art
Sunday, December 23, 2007
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.
Labels: My Art
Saturday, December 22, 2007
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.
Labels: My Art
Friday, December 21, 2007
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.
Look who Gluggaaerir saw when he looked in our windows.
Labels: My Art
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Bjugnakraekir.......Sausage-swiper and Gryla and Leppaludi
Bjugnakraekir.....Sausage-swiper is number nine. He will seek high and low to find the sausages that have 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.
Meet Gryla and Leppaludi the Jolasveinar’s parents. Are they not the most charming couple?
Gryla the Jolasveinar’s Mother, is a huge Troll. She is hideous to say the very least. Her nose is big and crooked. She has big warts on her face with wiry hairs sticking out of them, big teeth, some worn down to a stub, shifty eyes, stringy hair and horns on top of her head.
She has enormous bony hands with long sharp nails, her feet a hoofs and she has a long tail.
It was recorded in the 13th Century that she had 15 tails with a 100 sacks on each tail and 20 children in each sack. It makes me shiver just to think about it, and I think and hope, that whoever recorded this story was prone to exaggeration.
Her diet is one that strikes fear in every Icelandic child, she eats naughty children, just like her pet, the Christmas Cat. Oh! the horror!!! Is it any wonder that the children are particularly good this time of year? As this is the time of year that Gryla and her family, venture from their caves in the mountains, down to the farms, towns and cities.
Leppaludi, whose name means Ragamuffin, on the other hand is a pitiful specimen of a Troll. He according to some telling is Gryla’s third husband.
Her first husband was Gustur whose name means Gust, as in a gust of wind. His death is suspicious and there has been much speculation and talk about just how much of a hand in his death Gryla had. I shall not go into that here, I might frighten you away with just mentioning one of the theories that I have heard. Shivers and more shivers!!!
The second unfortunate husband was Boli his name translates into Bull. Boli did not resemble is name at all. He was a sickly Troll and it is said that he was bedridden for a Trolls age and that he faded away in his sleep.
Leppaludi is the Jolasveinar’s Father. He is slovenly Troll that wears torn and tattered rags, that have been patched numerous times, by whom remains a mystery. He is an uncouth slobbering slacker, who usually waits in the cave, for Gryla to bring unfortunate naughty children, for his dinner.
Today he ventured down from the mountains to check out the story Gryla told him, about how hard it is to find misbehaving children in this day and age. Leppaludi is afraid of Gryla’s wrath and did not want to contradict her story, so for once he roused himself and followed her, the Christmas Cat and the Jolasveinar down to civilization. At worst, he thought to himself I could go to Bæjarins Bestu and steal some Pylsur and Cokes.
Labels: My Art
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Skyrgamur......skyr-gobbler arrived today and made a straight line for the dairy, where he found a barrels 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 that has been an stable part of the Icelandic diet for more than 1,100 years.
Whole Foods imports Skyr from Iceland's Skyr.is. I am very happy about that...it is nice to have one of my favorite foods from Iceland in my refrigerator here in the States.
Labels: My Art
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Hurdaskellir....Door-slammer and The Christmas Cat
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.
The Christmas Cat (Jolakottur) has been striking terror in the hearts of Icelandic children for generations.
The Jolakottur, is an enormous and ferocious ugly specimen of a cat, who has an appetite for misbehaving children. Naughty children did not get new things to wear for Christmas, thus they would have to stay in bed, miss all the festivities and worse, be eaten by the Christmas Cat.
Oh! The horror of it. I was always a good girl, really I was ;) My Mother always made sure I would have something red to wear, a candle and playing cards for Christmas. And I am here to tell the story, so obviously the Christmas Cat never ate me.
It is not enough that in Iceland adults had to worry whether their Christmas dinner would be delayed or stolen. Whether they and their animals would be scared out of their whits by the pranksters, whose progress we have been following here, the Jolasveinar. Their children had to deal with the Christmas Cat, Grila and Leppaludi who had a huge appetite for naughty children.
Now, the Jolasveinar have become generous benefactors to good children. They each leave them a gift in their shoe. If the Children have been naughty they will get a potato in their shoe instead of a gift. They are still up to the tricks that their name conveys , however, they never forget to leave something in the children’s shoes.
Not a bad life, I would say, for the modern Icelandic Children, who get a present in their shoe for 13 days, before Christmas. Furthermore there have been no reports of children having been eaten by the Christmas cat, Grila or Leppaludi, instead one hears an occasional report, that someone found the dreaded potato in their shoe.
This is a true story.
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 had enough and asked me to take my cousin back to his house.
When we opened the door there was a new fallen snow and 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 that I could carry him back to his house.
Some time ago, when I was in Iceland, he told me how grateful he was that I had saved him from the Christmas Cat, when he was a little boy.
Labels: My Art
Monday, December 17, 2007
Askjasleikir.....Bowl-licker and Nisse
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.
Today I am going to show you a little Nisse (Pixie) that I made a few weeks ago. He is on his way to California...perhaps he has arrived there already. He was worried about his hat getting crushed...I told him not to worry. Then I gave him a little kiss...he gave me a wink and a smile and said "I will be happy with my new family in California" I told him that I would never send him to a place where he would not be happy. We both smiled.
Labels: My Art
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Pottasleikir.....Pot-scraper and Theodore
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.
Meet Theodore, he does not answer to Ted or Teddy.
Theodore is the first needle felted piece I made after taking Amy Rawson's class at joggles.com three years ago. Do you think Victor will like him?
Labels: My Art
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Thvorusleikir.....Spoon-licker Names and Christmas Meme
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?
I have been tagged by my good friend and fellow Doll Artist Dawn Alice Rodgers from Art with a Soul. Who was Tagged by our friend Suzanne Urban of Smirking Goddess Studio.
Rebecca of Cre8Triva also Tagged her readers.
Now I must Tag someone...and that someone is you...if you are so inclined...if not that is also OK!!!
Here are the rules one must follow:
1. Post these rules on your Blog.
2. Link to your Tagger. This is a wonderful PR tool for the Google search engines. Hence the name Tagged!
3. Share 5 facts about yourself on your Blog. Some facts can be random & some unusual. Sharing on Tagger's Blog is optional.
4. Tag 5 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their Blogs.
5. Let them know they are Tagged by leaving a comment on their Blog.
1. As long as I can remember I have adored Christmas and the traditions that we have established over the years.
We celebrate Christmas Eve in the traditional Icelandic way. At around 4:00PM the men in our family smoke their yearly cigar, we like the cigar smell mingling with the smoked lamb fragrance.
At 6:00PM we cue Icelandic music that has the Church Bells of Reykjavik ringing, we kiss everyone and wish them Gledileg Jol. Then we have our dinner, after dinner we open all our presents.
Christmas morning we have and combination of an Icelandic and American breakfast and then we open stocking presents.
We love wind up toys and we all play with them. Many of the stocking presents are from years past and we all have a good laugh...someone always says “I got that one last year” or “Wow, I have not seen this one for years” Silly Putty lasts a surprisingly long time.
2. Each year I make something related to Christmas. Cards, ornaments or little figures. I always find something I would like to make but it is too late to make it that year. I file it away in my mind...sometimes I remember to make it the following year.
3. Every year we love to watch the same movies. My all time favorite is Ingmar Bergman’s “Fanny and Alexander”. It is in Swedish and my son and I sometimes say the lines with the actors. My son loves “It’s a Beautiful Life”. My Husband loves “Christmas Vacation” I pretend not to like it...but it never fails to make me laugh. My Daughter in law loves “The Sound of Music”.
We also watch as many Christmas movies in the season as we can find on TV. I also love to watch the old TV shows Rudolf, Frosty the Snow Man, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas...the animated version, to name a few.
4. Each year I decorate the tree/trees with a different theme. I have antique ornaments that my Mother in law gave me. I also have Red, gold and blue themes. For 34 years my Mother has given my son a silver sleigh bell for Christmas. They are still here, but I suspect they will be going to Denmark soon. I always use them no matter what the theme...silver goes with everything.
5. The first time I put up our Christmas tree with all the lovely antique ornaments that my Mother in law gave me, our new kitten pulled the tree down while we were at a Christmas party...many beautiful ornaments were broken :(
About 5 years later I again pulled out all the lovely antique ornaments again, another new little kitten found them fascinating and made toys out of the best and most beautiful ones...many broke as kitten aimed for the fireplace.
This year I will again use the antique ornaments on our living room tree...no kitten, however there will be a baby in the house.
Labels: My Art
Friday, December 14, 2007
Stufur....Stubby The Costume, and a Little Nisse
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, is 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.
Speaking of small...here is a little Nisse (Pixie) Angel that I made for my little half Danish Grandson Victor. He is inspired by a little Nisse (Pixie) from Birgitte Krag Hansen’s wonderful book Pixie Felt.
Labels: My Art
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Giljagaur........... Gully-gawk arrives today. He is a handsome and most happy fellow. He has passion for 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.
Some time ago some of the ladies in my knitting group at The Knitting Room in Medford, NJ asked me to make a Santa that could go on a felted bag or a coat lapel. Here are some of the Santas that I made.
Back in April I made lady and baby faces for the Knitting Room. They were well received and many of the ladies in the knitting group own them.
Labels: My Art