Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How Yule got it's name!

A tale of how Yule got its name
© 1994, Andras Corban Arthen

This is the story of the very first song; it is a true story, as all stories are, if you believe in them. This story begins a long, long time ago, when the Earth and Sun gave birth to the first beings-the very first plants, and animals, and people. It was springtime, and the Sun shone warm and bright from his high perch above, and Earth, proud mother that she was, held and fed her newborns and relished them with tenderness and love. It was a time of joy, it was a time of great delight.

The Moon waxed and waned time and again in the night sky, and the children of the Earth grew well and strong through summertime. They played and danced, and Earth and Sun watched over them.

Then autumn came, and the Earth began to sleep much longer every day. She grew tired and pale, she could no longer feed her children, and had no strength to grow new life. High above, the Sun grew distant, and took longer to return each morn. The nights grew longer, and cold winds blew where none had blown before.

And then, one day, Earth went to sleep and never did wake up. She wrapped herself in a blanket of snow, and rested her tired head on pillows of dried leaves, and she did not wake up, Her children could do nothing to rouse her from her slumber. They prodded her, they called to her, but she would not awaken. In the sky, the Sun was nowhere to be seen, and the children of the Earth felt fear, and also felt despair. This was the longest night that they had ever known.

“What shall become of us?”, they pondered. “Earth Mother sleeps, and Father Sun is oh so far away that we can barely see him in the sky. He is much too far to hear our call. What shall we do?”

So they brought their questions and their fears to the Moon, the sister of the Sun, for they knew not where else to turn. She closed her eyes, and took a slow, deep breath, and looked within herself, and awoke thoughts that had never been awakened until then.

She opened her soft eyes, then said, “When hope is lost, the best way to get it back is with a song. Climb you the tallest trees, the biggest hills, the highest mountains, and yule a song to reach the Sun”. (Now, yule is a word from one of the most ancient tongues. It is related to words like yell or yodel, and it means to call out in a song).

But the first beings had never heard a song, so once again they sought the Moon’s advice. “How shall we yule?”, they asked. “How shall we sing a song?”

“Take the best of what you have”, she said, “the best of what you are. Take what you love, take what you cherish most. Take your joys, your dreams, your fondest hopes, and weave them all together in a sound.”

And so they did. The climbed atop the tallest trees, the mountains and the hills. They stood on all the places that would bring them closest to the Sun. They shut their eyes, and thought and felt the best of thoughts and feelings, and dreamt the finest dreams. And, as they did, their voices rang and made a bridge of song across the sky, to reach the distant Sun.

He heard, and turned, and smiled, and wrapped himself in all his light and warmth, and sped to where the yuling voices called. As he drew near, the sleeping Earth did stir, and dreamed a dream of spring. The wheel of life made its first round, and hope and joy prevailed. And ever since, that time of year has been called Yule, in honor of the song.

But the first song did not end. It had such power, such eldritch allure, that the first beings kept singing it throughout. And then the second beings bom of the Earth took up the song, as did the third. And so it ever since has gone, through seasons and through years, until this very day.

At times the song is very soft, and scarcely can be heard above the din and clatter of our lives. But when Yule comes, it rises and it swells in memory of that night when the Sun heard, and light and life were spared.

And so do we, upon this longest night, gather with those we love and who love us, and stand upon the body of slumbering Earth, and light the log with last year’s coal, and lift our voices soaring to the Sun, and join the song that first was sung so very long ago.

We sing our thanks to those who went before, and sing our fondest wish to those who come behind. We bask in the returning light of reawakened hope, and welcome Yule.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Crafting books

Today I received 3 craft books in the mail! I am so excited by all three of them!
The first is CraftHope, this is inspiring book! Here is a blurb from their website: "Craft Hope is a love inspired project designed to share handmade crafts with those who need them. It is our hope to combine our love for crafting and desire to help others into a project to make a difference around the world."

I highly recommend that you buy this book! Great projects, but also great causes!

Next two books go together: Doodle-Stitching and Doodle-Stitching the Motif collection, both by Aimee Ray I will be doing this with the girls, I am so excited by these books they are truly lovely, and Ray is an amazing artist! She is very natured inspired. I just adore these books!

For me these books represent what I am hoping to do more of in my life, to simplify, and to create, also to share my love for hand embrodery with my girls. I am hoping this will help create memories that they will cherish for a very long time.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Vegan Apple Cider Cupcakes!

We had these today at the christmas party...OMG! They are amazing!
Apple Cider Cupcakes with "Buttercream" Frosting
From Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

Makes 12 cupcakes

2 c apple cider
1 T agar flakes or agar powder
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 t whole cloves
1/2 t allspice
1/2 c apple butter
1/4 c maple syrup
3/4 c granulated sugar
1/3 c vegetable oil
2 t apple cider vinegar
1 t vanilla extract
1 1/3 c all-purpose flour
1/2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
Cinnamon sugar or ground cinnamon for sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffing tray with cupcake liners. Place apple cider, agar, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and allspice in a small saucepan. If using agar flakes, let soak for 10 minutes. If using powder, proceed.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix together the apple butter, maple syrup, sugar, vegetable oil, apple cider vinegar and vanilla.

Bring the apple cider mixture to a boil, then lower heat to bring it to a low rolling boil, careful not to boil over. Boil for about 15 minutes until the cider is reduced to 1 1/4 cups and the agar is dissolved. (If the cider hasn't reduced enough, boil longer. If reduced too much, add more cider to make up difference.) Stir frequently because the agar tends to stick to the side of the pan.

Strain the apple cider and discard spices. Let cool and add to apple butter mixture and mix well. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in small batches. Mix well after each addition.

Spray the cupcake liners with non-stick cooking spray. Fill each liner 3/4 full with batter.

Bake for 22-25 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Transfer to cooling rack and let cool completely before frosting.


1/2 non-hydrogenated shortening
1/2 non-hydrogenated margarine (Earth Balance)
3 1/2 c confectioner's / powdered sugar, sifted
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
1/4 c plain soy milk or soy creamer

Beat the shortening and margarine together until combined and fluffy. Add sugar and beat for 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and soy milk and beat for 5-7 more minutes.

Makes about 4 cups of frosting

Friday, December 3, 2010


I have many projects to work on...many I must complete in a manner of weeks. I have things to make for the kids for christmas:
The girls both want an apron, so I making them each on based on a 1930's style. I am also making them waldorf dolls, and clothes to go with them.
Evan is getting a book, made by me. Then after that I just have many general projects to complete, and well I am running short on time!
I also need to get my arts and craft room sorted and ready for the move to Tacoma.
Tacoma...that is a whole other project that I must get ready for, since in three month time, we shall be leaving.
Tomorrow is just a busy day...
First we have the Latter Branch Libary bookfest, then after that the girls have a christmas party at Cafe Du Monde, and the in the evening Aidan and I have to attend his company christmas party at the Hilton. A busy day indeed!