Never Miss the Chance to Dance posted by on December 31, 2012

There are many songs about life and dancing.  One particular song comes to mind.   “Life’s a Dance you Learn as you Go, sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow”.   Obviously, we have to learn to walk before we can dance.  We fall many times as infants when learning this new way of mobility.   As we grow we stumble through many of life’s situations and others we glide through with expertise on the dance floor of life…..(or not) depending on the talents we were blessed with…. or the lack thereof.


Jan 2012 - Never Miss the Chance to Dance(Be sure to read the poem at the end)


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Then just as we grew into an adult, we start to revert back to childhood…. and again, we start to stumble and fall, just as we did when we were small.  The difference is, our bones break because  now they are old, brittle and porous.  Yes, the dance of life is a difficult journey and some of the heartaches are unbearable.  However, I think that most believe that  “It is better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all”.

In reflecting on the past year and so much incredible sadness, I ponder  …when we lose a child, a loved one or a beloved pet, would we forfeit the experience of having held them and loved them so we did not have to experience the pain of losing them?

Although I angrily question why some of us are given children, only to have him or her taken away,  I always end up with the same answer…Although the pain of losing was and will always be unbearable, I would never want to have lived without the experience of loving such a precious spirit…. so the answer would obviously be that a few precious years of loving that special person will leave incredible memories to help temper the incredile pain of losing them.

In other words…..We should never miss the chance to dance.

I recently found a very insightful poem about dancing on the internet, written by a young lady, who describes herself as 19 years old, a hopeless romantic and only listing her name as Jessica S.  What a beautiful poem Jessica has written so I share it with you today:

Dancing Feet

By Jessica S.


I wish I had the balance

To walk through life unscathed–

To walk high on my tippy-toes,

And never be afraid.


I wish that I were graceful

So I could dance with ease

Through trials and tribulations,

And never skin my knees.


I wish that I were elegant,

And flexible, and strong.

If I were things like that,

Then nothing ever could go wrong.


But I’m no ballerina,

I’m just your average klutz.

I trip over flat surfaces–

My knees are scarred with cuts.


I wish that I had someone

to help me walk with grace,

Who’d never let go of my hand,

Or throw me off my pace,


To help me keep my balance,

And kiss away the pain.

We’d dance through life together,

Through the sun or through the rain.

And with a dancing partner,

I know life would be so sweet.

Oh, how I wish I had another pair

Of dancing feet.





Giving Thanks at Thanksgiving posted by on November 3, 2012

My heart has ached for the mother who posted a quilt on the Sew Forum with a picture of her son and I could barely read through my tears as she stated, “I lost my son in Afghanistan”.  My heart ached because he will no longer be at Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other family gathering.  Through tear soaked eyes I asked myself, why does this have to happen?  Why does mankind always have the need for greed and the need to control?  Why does one sect of mankind feel the need to force their particular beliefs on someone else and insist that they comply or be killed for their opposition?  Why can’t we just live in this world and let
others live the way they want as well?”

I pondered that beginning with Christ, who sacrificed his life on the cross for us, each of our fathers, others, sons and daughters who have lost their lives, fighting for our freedom, have also sacrificed their lives so that we might live in freedom.  Thus this design signifies the Thanks in Thanksgiving for all those you have sacrificed so that we might live…and live in freedom.

Thanks - Giving Thanks at Thanksgiving

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Unfortunately, throughout history there has been an element in mankind that has the need to be in control and they can be predatory, cruel and vicious.  Like the devastating previous wars, hatred of certain beliefs resulted in 9 –11.  Because of 9-11, Mothers and Fathers, Sisters and Brothers are still losing their loved ones on foreign soil.  It matters not where in this big world all these wonderful young men and women call home, be they British, Canadian, Australian, European, American, Israeli,  or from any other continent , our wonderful allies came to America’s aid.  These wonderful humans are someone’s Mother, Father, Sister Brother, Son or Daughter, and they are loved.  When they die… when they give the ultimate sacrifice and their loved ones suffer tremendously.  Anyone who has lost a child knows that you never get over the loss of a child…. They are your flesh and blood and a part of you dies with them.

Therefore, this Thanksgiving, let us pause to thank our military members, wherever they may be from, who have and will continue to sacrifice their lives so that we might live in freedom.  Let us also give thanks to families of those fallen military members, who have to face each day knowing that their loved one  will not return.  Many of us will be missing a loved one from the dinner table this Thanksgiving…  as well as all the other Holidays.  Let us each pray that each will heart will heal from these devastating losses.


How Did Labor Day Come To Be posted by on September 3, 2012

Halfree - How Did Labor Day Come To Be

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As we grow up and the years pass, we think of Holidays as merely a day off from work and a time for Barbeques.  However, rarely do most of us know why, how, or what caused a Holiday to be established.   Therefore, our History Lesson for September is about Labor Day.  I will tell you up front that the U.S. Department of Labor does NOT mention this story and merely states that “Labor Day, the first Monday in September is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers……a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”

Research states that George Pullman, of Pullman, Illinois, and owner of the railroad Pullman Cars, developed a model “planned worker community in Pullman, Illinois, which he owned and rented to his employees/workers who built and operated Pullman Railroad Cars.

In the panic of 1893 (another severe depression)  George Pullman laid off and cut the wages of many employees after the public quit traveling by Pullman rail cars and  thus his income plummeted.

However, Mr. Pullman did not reduce the rent for the laid off and reduced pay workers who lived and rented from him in model community.  As a result, many of the workers joined the American Railway Union (ARU), led by a man named Eugene Debs.  The ARU members then determined  to go on a wildcat strike and refuse to run any trains containing Pullman cars.

In retaliation, the railroads then began hiring replacement workers and many blacks, crossed the picket line to become employed, which greatly increased hostilities.   The “then” US Attorney General, who was a former attorney for one of the railroads then used his influence with President Grover Cleveland and obtained an injunction barring the unions from striking.  Federal troops were called in to enforce the injunction.  Thousands of US Marshals and US Army troops moved in to enforce the injunction.  The arrival of the military resulted in the wounding of many and deaths of some of the strikers.  There was also excessive property damage.

After the conflict and deaths, President Cleveland and Congress then made reconciliation between the railroads and the unions a “top priority” and pushed through legislation for a holiday, and Labor Day became a Federal holiday in 1894 to honor laborers.

I find it ironic,  that the Government instituted a Holiday…… after calling in the U.S. Marshalls and the U.S. Army….  to force those workers to stop striking and then call for a Holiday to “exhibit the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations”.

The Department of Labor website even goes on to tout…….“The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families.

In other words, lets beat them, kill them and force them to work to get those trains rolling and then we will set aside a Holiday to honor their esprit de corps.

And we celebrate this day????????   Hell with Labor Day….I’m skipping it and going straight to Halloween!

Mothers Day Free Design posted by on May 3, 2012

Do you know that Mother’s Day was championed by a woman who was never married and never had children?  History tells us that the founder of Mother’s Day was Anna Jarvis, a  school teacher.

Anna wanted to honor her deceased mother Ann Jarvis, who had unsuccessfully attempted  for a long time to establish “Mothers Friendship Days” as a support group  to reunite families that had been divided during the Civil War and as a way to deal with the aftermath of the war.  Ann Jarvis wanted an annual memorial for mothers, who she felt bore the incredible pain of the loss of sons and husbands in the Civil War, more than anyone else.  However, she died in 1905 without seeing her dream fulfilled.  Her daughter Anna Jarvis would continue her mother’s efforts.

May 2012 - Mothers Day Free Design


In 1907 daughter  Jarvis and her supporters  persuaded her mother’s church in Grafton, West Virginia to celebrate Mother’s Day on the second anniversary of her mother’s death, which happened to be on the 2nd Sunday of May that year.  Anna sent 500 white carnations to that church to be given to all of the mothers in the congregation in their honor.  Anna chose the white carnation as the symbol for Mother’s Day because its whiteness stood for qualities like purity, innocence, sweetness and pure love, all of which Anna felt about her mother.

By the following year, Mother’s Day was also being celebrated in Philadelphia.  Anna Jarvis and her supporters continued their letter writing campaign directed at ministers, businessmen and politicians, urging them to establish a national Mothers Day.  By 1911, Mother’s Day was celebrated in almost every state in the nation. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson made it official by proclaiming Mother’s Day a national holiday that was to be held each year on the 2nd Sunday of May.

Unfortunately and as usual, corporate greed took over and in less than nine years after its inception, Mothers Day became totally commercialized.  Anna Jarvis was so angry that she became an opponent of the holiday and filed a lawsuit and spent all of her inheritance fighting what she saw as an abuse of the celebration she had campaigned so hard for.  She detested the purchase of greeting cards as she found that to be a sign of people being too lazy to write a personal letter.

Ana Jarvis ended up growing bitter over what she perceived as the total corruption of the holiday she created.  She abhorred the commercialization of the holiday and grew so enraged by it that she filed a lawsuit  in 1923 to stop a Mother’s Day festival.  She believed that her Mother’s day sentiment was being sacrificed for greed and profit.

In 1923 She was even arrested for disturbing the peace at a war mothers’ convention where women were selling white carnations to raise money.  This mockery of Mother’s Day was more than Anna Jarvis could take as she had implemented the use of White Carnations as the symbol for mothers portraying their pure love.

Anna eventually lost her inheiritance and all of her assets fighting the establishment who destroyed the real meaning of Mothers Day.  Anna died alone in a sanatorium in 1948. Shortly before her death, Jarvis told a reporter she was extremely sorry she had ever started Mothers Day.

Let’s get the corporate greed out of Mothers Day and instead of buying something as a last minute afterthought, let us  honor our Mothers by making something special which requires a personal touch.

Lets restore the true meaning of Mothers Day and remember the pain and suffering of all Mothers from their bearing children to losing them.


Twitterpation posted by on March 31, 2012


I see the Mocking birds hopping on the fence and dancing up and down doing a dance you do not see them perform in the summer or winter.  I look out the window and see the cardinals carelessly hopping around on the grass, chasing each other and being totally oblivious to that green-eyed fur baby watching every move.  So, although dinner is cooking, I quickly shut off the stove and with my kitchen towel in hand, I streak out the door and flap my arms, attempting to save their lives….. return to the stove only to look out again and see them acting giddy and foolish, chirping away as they sit on the top of the lawn chairs, dangerously  flaunting their wonderful red costumes, again tempting 3 fur babies.    Yes….Its April and they are twitterpated.

Say again…….twit·ter·pat·ed  [twit-er-pey-tid]

apr121 - Twitterpation


Twitterpated is an adjective which attempts to describe that indescribable excitement, characterized by over stimulation i.e., the acceleration of a heartbeat and rise in body temperature due to the chemical crashing of hormones when one feels those “chicken bumps” or “goose bumps” when experiencing love, be it a first time or a new love.   Yes…. April is when a most creatures, two and four legged,  become twitterpated.

Now, since April 1st is April fools day……doesn’t it make good sense that someone twitterpated, acts like a fool, totally losing control of all good and common sense?

April is, of course, my favorite Month.  It is my whole family’s birthday and it’s spring.  Everything “springs” forth.  Everything is turning green and turning beautiful.  The ugly brown left from winter’s cold disappears and bald trees and bushes suddenly burst forth in leaves and color.  Yes, and Mother Nature is busy encouraging the birth of all creatures to replenish the earth.

The origin of the word appears to have been around 1942 when first used in the movie of Bambi.  Who
could possibly say it better than Friend Owl, when speaking to Thumper and Bambi:

“Yes. Nearly everybody gets twitterpated in the springtime. For example: You’re walking along, minding your own business. You’re looking neither to the left, nor to the right, when all of a sudden you run smack into a pretty face. Woo-woo! You begin to get weak in the knees. Your head’s in a whirl. And then you feel light as a feather, and before you know it, you’re walking on air. And then you know what? You’re knocked for a loop, and you completely lose your head! …..And that ain’t all. It could happen to anyone, so you’d better be careful.”

I’ve always loved that word.  I use it frequently in the spring when I see adorable creatures acting giddy and foolish or when I see a daydreamer, smiling at the ceiling.  No doubt, they are indeed twitterpated.  The marvelous talent of those Disney animators and storytellers in the “good old days”, sadly, will never be repeated.   When I see previews of the “claymations” and weird looking creatures now forced upon us, I wonder if Walt Disney is groaning in his grave at some of the Disney productions.  I for one, do not like them.  They cannot begin to compete with the beauty, tenderness and charm of the original beautifully illustrated and animated movies.  How sad to discard such great talent.  Just give me Bambi, Thumper,  and all those charming Disney movies.

The birthstone of April is the diamond and we all know that diamonds are a girl’s best friend.  They certainly are my favorite! And, I have managed to collect several since it is my birthstone!   The birth flower for April is typically listed as either the Daisy or the Sweet Pea.  I love them both.

From whence did the month of April derive?  Well, you have to understand that at one time according to the Roman calendar, March was the first month. So naturally, April was the second month of the ancient Roman Calendar, which was dedicated to the goddess Venus.  Therefore, one theory is that April could be from the Latin word Aprilis (“month of Venus”); or (2) the Latin word apeire, which means “to open”, referring to the season when trees and flower s begin to “open” or (3) some believe the name April was derived from the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite.

None-the-less……It’s a wonderful month in my eyes….Who could ask for more, Twitterpation, Diamonds, Daisies and LOVE.


St. Patrick, Shamrocks & the Ides of March posted by on March 3, 2012

The shamrock, which looks like clover, has 3 leaves per stem.  According to legend, Saint Patrick brought religion to the Irish people.  He taught them that the shamrock was representative of the Trinity in that there are three diving beings in one God, i.e. the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Although the legend that is told states that St. Patrick drove the snakes from Ireland, in reality, Ireland has no snakes because it is an island, separated from the rest of the continent so the snakes could not get  to the island.  Therefore, it appears that the analogy of St. Patrick to driving the snakes out of Ireland is a metaphor for St. Patrick bringing Christianity to Ireland and driving out the pagan religions, since many of the pagan religions used serpents as a symbol in their worship.


mar20122 - St. Patrick, Shamrocks & the Ides of March



 The earliest known Roman calendar organized its months  around three  (3) days, which served as  a “reference point” for counting other days.  Those three days were:

Kalends          Nones               Ides

  • Kalends  comes from the word Kalendrium, which means  “account book” in Latin.  Therefore, Kalends ( the 1st day of the month) was in Roman times, as it is now, the date on which most bills are due.
  • Nones  refers to the 7th day in March, May, July and October and the 5th  day in all other months.  It was supposed to be the day of the half moon.
  • Ides comes from the Latin word  “Idus”  and indicated the  day that was the approximate “middle of the month” or the 15th day in March, May, July and October and the 13th day in all  other months.   As well, the Ides  is supposed to be the day of the month on which there is a full moon.

Therefore, although it is not widely discussed,  the Ides occurs each and every month of the year on either  the 15th or 13th day of the month, depending on the  month.

The “Ides” became known due to a narcissistic fellow known as Julius  Caesar.  In a “nutshell”, Caesar emerged as the leader of  the Roman world after some events, i.e., the first invasion of Britain, the death of Crasus and a  standoff between Caesar and Pompey, which sparked a civil war and Caesar emerged as the “winner” .  He then:

  •  assumed control of the government,
  • began extensive  reforms of Roman society and government, and
  • after all  of his “reforms”, proclaimed himself “dictator in perpetuity”.

A group of senators  were not happy  with the Caesar dictatorship and  wanted  to go back to their prior “Constitutional government” so under the direction of  Brutus, they conspired to assassinate the dictator.  The assassination took place on the “Ides of March”.

Much to their dismay,  their hopes  to restore a constitutional government failed because Caesar had  instituted too  many reforms to undo, the government became too large and instead of returning to the Constitutional government” that they killed for,  it became the Roman Empire, which ultimately  crumbled into ruin.  Look out  America….History does repeat itself!

“Beware of the Ides of March” has since morphed into a date with a sense of  dread or foreboding, since it was the day of  the murder of Caesar.

Fancy that…….the IRS deadline for taxes is near the  Ides of April……..What  a novel idea!

February Complimentary Design posted by on January 30, 2012

February 20121 - February Complimentary Design

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How do we define love?  Just what is love?  Most of us have experienced a feeling of strong emotion for something or someone.  The question is… is it love?  Love is certainly a complicated subject.  It appears to be multi-sensation; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, which tingles your very core.  However, lust can give the same short-term goose-bump sensations.


It appears that Love is a mystery.  Mankind has tried throughout time to define what “love” is, but without much success.  We love our children and our love is so deep that most of us would gladly give our life to spare that of our child.  Some of us are passionate in our love of our four legged children, i.e., fur babies.  They give us so much love and ask so little in return. We love music.  Music also stirs our senses.  When a familiar song plays, it can instantly transport you back to a place in time, so long ago, and magically play a video in your mind of where you were and what you were doing.


Most of us seek love; most of us want to be loved; and most of us want to give love.  We experienced Puppy Love, when we knew we were in love forever.  Perhaps it lasted a few weeks. Sometimes we misconstrue “love”.  It seems that those marriages of 40 and 50 years lasted because they were good friends and were accepting of each other and their faults.  That permitted them to stay in love because when we no longer are friends, we can no longer be lovers because all those petty annoyances balloon into gigantic issues resulting in disastrous endings to relationships.


Many of us love embroidery…but that’s different than loving a child or a spouse.  Many men love their cars…  especially those 57 Chevy’s, Corvettes and Mustangs.  Some wives are convinced their husband loves his car more than them.


The ancient Greeks thought they were wise enough to define love so they pronounced that there were four (4) categories of love:


Agape:   An unconditional reciprocating love for another,  i.e.,  the fatherly love of God for humans, as well as the human reciprocal love for God and consequently and necessarily extending to the love of one’s fellow man.


Eros: Passionate Love – mostly sexual.   In ancient Greek mythology, Eros was the Greek god of love. His Roman counterpart was rumored to be Cupid (which translates into “desire”). In some Greek myths, Eros is said to be the son of Aphrodite.  Eros was said to cause mischievous interventions in the affairs of gods and mortals causing bonds of love to form…. often illicitly.


Philia: Displaying love by sharing resources and expecting something in return. Philia is usually translated as ‘friendship’ indicating that the notion of philia must be mutual.  Therefore, this would exclude relationships with inanimate objects.  Thus, if you have heard that you cannot love something that cannot love you back, this would be the Greek theory of  “Philia”.

Storge:  Referred to as familial love or natural affection, i.e., such as the love of a parent toward a child, loving felt between parents or children and the “social storge”  being the form of love between friends and their desire to care compassionately for each other.


Thus, it would appear that Love is “widely” and “loosely” used.  Usually, Love for the opposite sex  means that you feel a strong attraction to that person, who early in the relationship gives you goose bumps and you desperately want to be close to them all the time. You feel the need to cater to their wants, needs and desires.  We think we know we are in love when we feel these wonderful sensations but alas, sometimes it is short lived and that “wanting to cater” suddenly turns into feeling like a “servant” and then instant rebellion.  The domino effect sets in and the the refusal to “serve” causes the “former recipient” of that adoration to become angry at being “rejected” since  that they are no longer “served”.  Sadly, there is a fine line between Love and Hate and some cross the line and pursue hate and violence with the same surging emotions being used against the one they “used to love”.


In the end, I guess it really comes down to respect….or the lack thereof.   In other words… and let live.  As Adults, we need to respect each other and accept the other for what they are, without pushing our agenda on them and without permitting them to push their agenda on us.  If our agendas are in conflict….walk away!  Never put yourself in the position of being a “slave” to anyone.  Be kind, be respectful, but remain firm in your convictions of self-worth.  Practice “reciprocal” love.   Never do all the “giving” without “getting” the same love and respect in return.  That way Love can remain in our hearts and minds.





















Free Design and Dedication posted by on January 1, 2012

The pain of losing a child can only be completely understood by the parents of that child.  Losing loved ones is painful, but to lose a son or daughter is a pain that never heals.  A Mother’s anguish is especially hard since that child developed in her womb and grew from her flesh and blood.

To help numb the pain, I like to imagine that our loved ones try to help heal our hearts by being one with nature.  I like to imagine our lost children as a snow angels.  Weston loved snowboarding so I am sure he is in Heaven, happily swooshing in the snow.  Thus, this month’s free design.  I wrote the below poem dedicated to my baby sister and her husband, who lost their handsome son to Aspiration in December 2011.


Dsc01526 - Free Design and Dedication

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Dedicated to Our Snow Angel

You were given to us on a beautiful March day;

On a cold December day, You were taken away;

You were but a boy, just leaving his teens,

Your wings had not developed, nor had your dreams.

There are no reasons and no one knows,

So, why did you leave us?  Why did you go?

We loved you so much; you were so special you see.

I am but an empty shell…that’s all that left of me.

Some say you are with grandparents, I hope that may be.

However, that gives no comfort.  I want you here with me.

You were our baby.  We loved you so.

So why did you leave us?  Where did you go?

Our hearts are so broken and this I know,

Time cannot heal such a big empty hole.

If love could have saved you, you would never have died.

If tears could bring you back, you’d be here by our side.

Now I am left to imagine, just where you might be;

Are you floating on a cloud, watching over me?

I know you’re an Angel, as you were one here on Earth.

You’ve always been an Angel, from the time of your birth.

Maybe you’re making snowflakes or just playing in the snow;

Maybe you’re riding on the wind, teaching it how to blow.

Could you just touch my cheek or ruffle through my hair,

Please just do something….Just let me know you are near.

Perhaps my little angel, you can brush your wings in the snow;

to help numb my pain let me see your wings glow.

Wherever you are, please know your not alone,

Because most of me died with you,

The day God took you home.

Written by Aunt Stacey La Raine

FREE DESIGN & Christmas Legends posted by on November 29, 2011


Legends abound about most things and many are abundant and conflicting. Some are familiar, some or not, but it is always interesting to look back at history and reflect on how traditions developed from the various parts of the world. Regardless of our beliefs, we are all shaped in some way by the many traditions which have developed throughout centuries of history and all are interesting and extremely important to each of us who follow our specific tradition. These are but a few of the numerous legends:

The Manger/Nativity Scene: It is said that Saint Francis of Assisi visited the Holy Land and was shown the birthplace of Christ. Thus, upon his return home, he was inspired to construct the first nativity scene somewhere around 1223, to remind people of the holy birth. This Manger/nativity scene was said to have been a “living one”, i.e., using live people and animals to depict the scene.



Dec2011 - FREE DESIGN & Christmas Legends


Christmas Tree: One beautiful legend states that three virtues, being Faith, Hope and Charity, were sent from Heaven to find a tree as high as hope, faith as great as love, as sweet as charity and specifically, that the chosen tree must have the “sign of the cross” on every bough. Faith, Hope and Charity searched the forests of the North until they found the evergreen Fir tree. It was lighted from the radiance of the stars and became the first Christmas Tree. Another legend states that Martin Luther was walking on a bright snow-covered, star-lit night thinking of the birth of Jesus. He was awed by the beauty of the evergreen trees and the stars so he cut a tree, took it inside and put candles on it to represent the birth of Jesus coming from the stars to bring us eternal life. Thus, his interpretation was that the evergreen tree is meant to remind us of the “everlasting life” and God’s forgiveness of sinners. The lights on the tree are meant to remind us that Jesus is the light of the world.

Candy Cane: Legend has it that the Candy Cane represents the Shepherd’s crook, the Shepherds being amongst the first to arrive after the birth of Jesus. The colors of the candy cane have special meaning as well. The white stripe is a symbol of purity. The “wide” red stripe represents the sacrifice of Christ. The narrow red stripes are meant to represent our own human sacrifices. The peppermint plant which flavors the candy cane is in the hyssop plant family, referred to in the Old Testament, was used as a medicinal herb for cleaning.

Christmas/Advent Wreath: Early in history, many wreaths were made of holly since the Celts believed that holly had magical protective powers. Roman mythology told that holly was sacred to Saturn, the sun god and pagans worshiped holly. Another tradition known as the Advent Wreath appears to be a Lutheran custom that originated in Eastern Germany. Advent for most churches in the Western tradition begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day (Sunday usually nearest November 30) and ends of the Christmas Eve (Dec 24). The “Advent” symbolizes the “coming” or “arrival” of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent. The round Advent Wreath was meant to symbolize God’s eternity and mercy. The Evergreen of the wreath meant to symbolize God’s “everlastingness” and our immortality. The Advent wreath had/has four (4) candles. Three of the candles (representing the 3 weeks prior to Christmas) were/are purple/violet which represents penance, sorrow and a yearning from the deliverance of evil. The final week prior to Christmas is represented by the rose/pink candle, representing the hope and joy and deliverance by God who has heard the cries of the people for deliverance. Advent wreaths, minus the candles are the traditional Christmas wreaths displayed by many at Christmas.

Holly Leaf: The sharp pointed edges of the holly leaf are symbolic of the crown of thorns that were placed on the head of Jesus. The red berries are symbolic of the blood that Jesus shed for our sins.

Mistletoe: There are numerous mistletoe legends. It is said that some Christians believed that the cross on which Christ was crucified was made from the Mistletoe Tree, and the tree was so ashamed that it shrunk into a parasite bush. Another legend is that the Druids believed that the Mistletoe had magic powers…. so long as it never touched the ground. It was harvested with a golden sickle and the priests would give branches to the people to ward of evil. Another legend states that the English would place mistletoe over the doorways for good luck, believing that only good luck could pass under the mistletoe and therefore their enemies passing under the mistletoe would give a kiss of friendship and seal their peaceful intentions.

Christmas Carols: The earliest reference to pre-Christmas songs seem to appear in fourth century Rome. Then much later, rhymed stanzas appeared in North European Monasteries during the ninth and tenth centuries. In the thirteenth century, mainly due to the influence of Francis of Asissi, a strong tradition of popular Christmas carols developed in Italy, France and Germany. Christmas carols in English first appeared around 1426 through the work of John Awdlay, who penned/listed twenty five “caroles of Cristemas”, which most likely were sung by groups of ‘wassailers’, who went from house to house singing (wassailing), during celebrations like harvest tide and Christmas.

The Harvest Tide or The Gathering of the Harvest has been celebrated for centuries around the world in the form of harvest festivals or by giving thanks at Thanksgiving celebrations. The celebration of Thanksgiving, celebrated each year in the USA and Canada, is relatively ‘new’, in historic terms but harvest festivals, from Egyptians to Pagan practices in Europe, have been celebrated for centuries during the gathering of the harvest to give thanks to the Gods for the food which has been provided. The celebration dates are different, depending on the country, the season and timing of the gathering of the harvest varies but traditionally harvest festival is associated with the months of Fall and the harvest moon. Various calendars show that the United Kingdom celebrates its Harvest Festival in September, Canada in October and the United States in November, although it is disputed that the early USA celebration’s took place in September.
Therefore, Carols were shared with Harvest Tide and it was not until much later when carols were specifically associated with Christmas, sung in churches and were referred to as “Christmas Carols”.

In this Holiday season, from Thanksgiving, counting down to the advents of Christmas, let us be thankful for all that we have, thankful for our military members who provide us freedom, and thankful for each other and the diversity to which we are exposed due to different ideas and traditions.

Have a Happy Holiday and a Merry Christmas……






Fall is a time when Mother Nature changes the colors of the landscape to a myriad of beautiful yellows, golds, oranges and reds. Mother Nature knows exactly what to do and what color each species should be.

Conversely, when a design is digitized on certain software, the color palettes for various thread manufacturers can be chosen to use for the design. Regardless of the thread color pallet chosen by the digitizer, the colors will be controlled by your embroidery machine manufacturer’s format, since each manufacturer of embroidery machines has their own format –the format being the language your embroidery machine understands, i.e., JEF, PES, HUS, etc.–.

Unfortunately, they do NOT match the format for any other type of embroidery machine.


For example, Janome (JEF) has a very large palette, containing 100 plus colors. HUS has somewhere around 28 colors and PES formats appears to have under 60 colors. When a digitizer is using Janome Digitizing software, there are a large number of colors at their disposal. Then, when saving to the three major formats, JEF, PES, and HUS, if a Cardinal Red color is used and PES and HUS do not have that color, the computer will “guess” which color, in its own palette, is close. Sometimes the “guesses” are close. Most of the time, the “guesses” are off. For instance, Dark Brown in Janome will become Green when saved into a PES format.

If you download a DST design, be aware that the DST format holds no color information whatsoever…. so the computer will use a default palette, guessing at any color where there is a color stop. If you have ever downloaded a design only available in DST, you are well aware that it can be next to impossible to determine any color of the design without a thread chart/thread legend. Even then, my experience has been that the thread chart is missing several colors and customers usually end up deleting the design, having wasted their money since it is impossible to figure out the colors on complex heavy thread count designs.

Normally, digitizers will post or include a Thread Chart listing the color numbers and/or color chip of the various colors used in the design. It is important that you print off this thread chart so that you can closely match the colors used. If you don’t match the colors used by the digitizer, you are not going to get the same looking design, since using different colors will result in different blending and changed looks of the overall design.

Most digitizing programs ignore Coates and Clark embroidery thread so Embroidery Affairs has attempted to match the Coates and Clark thread palette to the Janome thread palette and the conversion chart is downloadable, in PDF format on this website, under Thread storage and Conversion Charts.

Coates and Clark is a good quality polyester embroidery thread and is readily available at most sewing stores.

And, as a final note, since the holidays are approaching, each of us should be mindful of our wonderful Military members who sacrifice so much for our freedom and who do not get to enjoy those wonderful Thanksgiving dinners with their families. Take a Moment and GIVE THANKS to them. After all, it is because of them that we have all the freedoms we enjoy!

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