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Wedding Rushnyk Journey

Since the last post that I did on stitching the Ukrainian Wedding Rushnyk, I have made a lot of progress.  Well, to be honest…….I am now totally finished the stitching!  And, I must say, “what a project”.  I do not think I could ever do this again!

Here it is….the last stitch!

Just a bit of a recap here.  On November 6th., 2016, I started cross-stitching a Wedding Rushnyk. Ukrainian Wedding Rushnyk

I kept at it and kept you informed.  Still Stitching !

Take a good look however and see the change I made on the top and lower border.  I decided in the last month to not stitch the roses on the border but chose a less complicated and fewer stitches band design.  It’s not as busy looking but most importantly, I have not been blinded by this project.

 

Seriously.  I found that my eyesight was rapidly deteriorating and I just couldn’t do any more.

My Man helped me out by setting up the brightest lights for me.  I went to see my optometrist and had prescription eyeglasses made.  But I knew that if I didn’t change-up the pattern, I would not be able to complete it.

I chatted with my friends and even my neighbour came over to see what my dilemma was.  She totally agreed with me and helped me choose a complimentary design.  I’m so grateful for her because I was feeling very overwhelmed and had the feeling that I was “chickening” out of my project. Rushnyk update #3

Want to hear what I find really strange?  I completed the very last stitch on My Man and my wedding anniversary.  To my way of thinking, it was meant to be because I sure didn’t plan it this way.  But wait, I was not quite finished yet.

Next thing that I had to do was to wash the entire cloth.  Even though I had washed my hands and kept my work space clean, oil from my hands did get on the cloth.  I had read somewhere that one had to be very careful about washing a project.  Sometimes the colours of the thread bled.  Great, I thought.  The last thing I needed now was to have the red and black colours run into each other.

Once again I asked around to seek advice from anyone who looked or sounded knowledgeable about cross-stitch.  So much information on the internet and some I knew I shouldn’t believe.

It was at my church where I found the best advice.  I knew I could trust these Ukrainian women because they had recently stitched dance outfits for their grandchildren.  Their advice?  Ice cold water for the first wash; ice-cold water for a second wash but add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to the water; do not rub stitches or wring out; lay flat on fluffy white towel to dry.  It worked!

This Rushnyk has been stitched with love for my niece.  Even when I felt like quitting, I thought of her and her future husband.  This stitching was very hard at times.

As I stitched, I thought about how hard a marriage can be as well.

Every little step of married life is a journey.  Each day needs to be worked on with great care and kindness to each other.  Just like the stitching of this Wedding Rushnyk, there needs to be a plan and an exciting  pattern to follow.  Of course, just like stitching, there will be knots to untie, threads to untangle and even tears to shed from time to time.  But eventually, a life-long design will emerge.

So here it is!  Once again I thank all of you who followed along with me and encouraged me to keep going, one stitch at a time.  

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A Mother Needs a Day to Rest!

As I was driving to attend the Mother’s Day mass at my Ukrainian church this morning, I listened to a talk show about how Mother’s Day originated.

Anna Jarvis, an American, had wanted to honour her own mother and has been credited as its founder.  At her mother’s graveside in 1905, Anna was overheard saying that “all mothers need a day of rest”.  She believed that mothers were “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world”. (Engaging Families 2015 Special Editions-Mother’s Day)

The first official Mother’s Day was celebrated in 1908.

As I drove along I continued to listen…

Over the years, Anna Jarvis had become resentful that the holiday had become commercialized.  She believed that many companies had started exploiting the idea of Mother’s Day.   She had intended the holiday to be a sentimental time to express love and gratitude, not a for-profit day.

During the mass this morning, I found my mind wandering a bit (sorry, Father) and thought more about what I had heard on the car radio.  It really was so; Mother’s Day has become very commercialized.   There are massive sales of greeting cards and there are all sorts of advertisements about where to buy the best flowers, boxes of delicious chocolates or even diamonds and other jewellery for mom.  Not what Anna Jarvis intended I’m sure.

As the choir today sang Ava Maria, I got all choked up and my memories flooded back to 1963.   It is a memory of a special time I spent with my mom on that particular Mother’s Day.

We were in our village church.  It was hot and stuffy inside, but cold and windy outside of the church.  The smoke from the censer was making my eyes burn and the priest’s words droned on, and were almost putting me to sleep.

“When is it over, mom?” I asked anxiously

“Sh, soon. Here. “,  she said.

Mom handed me a soda cracker.  I happily accepted it because it was perfect for me to break into smaller pieces and eat slowly.  It wasn’t noisy to munch on and somehow, the time just seemed to pass so much more quickly.  I recall looking up at my mom and she looked back down at me and gave me her knowing smile.  I smiled back.

My mom was so wonderful, so kind and as I beamed back at her, some of the cracker crumbs fell out of my mouth onto the floor.  Oh, no! I looked around hoping that no one saw.  I was horrified that Father was going to find out that it was me who had dirtied the church floor.  Tears stung my eyes.  My mom calmly took out a kleenex and wiped my eyes.

At the end of mass, Father blessed and handed out carnations to all of the mothers.  My mom winked at me and gave me the carnation to carry home.  No one ever said anything about the crumbs.

 

Did you know that a carnation is very much like a mother’s love?

 A carnation does not drop its petals, but hugs them to its heart as it dies.  So, too, mothers hug their children to their hearts, their mother love never-dying. — Anna Jarvis

 

 

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Celebrating Each and Every Day

Easter, “Velikdenn” – “The Great Day” is here this weekend and like many of you, I am busy preparing our Easter basket and other foods to share with our family and friends.

When I woke up this morning, I had decided to make a butter lamb for the Easter basket that I would be bringing to church to be blessed.  As I mentioned in an earlier post on Ukrainian Easter, we take a basket of special traditional foods to be blessed and then shared with our family on Easter morning.

As I prepared the ingredients and started shaping the butter into a lamb’s body shape, I thought about the time that my sister-in-law made a lamb for us.

SIL is a very special person in our family and in many ways sometimes seems more Ukrainian than I am.

 

SIL is English-speaking  and did not grow up Catholic.  Now over the years that she has been married to my brother, she has learned some of the Ukrainian language as well as many of the customs and traditions.  She is an amazing cook and I have borrowed many of her recipes over the years.  Her holubsti are so much tastier than mine will ever be !

But I digress.  I started thinking about her and this lamb because a few years back, SIL offered to make My Man and I a butter lamb for an anniversary dinner.  At first, I thought great…it’ll be so yummy.  I love eating lamb but had never seen it prepared like butter chicken (so I assumed).  Little did I know.  SIL laughed and said “No, no.  I’ll make you a butter lamb for your dinner table.  It’s butter and we’ll spread it on our bread and buns.”

She then proceeded to cut into a pound of butter and shape a small animal into it. The animal was a lamb.

Maybe I’m just being nostalgic this weekend but I am very thankful for my sister-in-law and I want her to know it.  I now know how to make my own butter lamb. Thank You SIL!

I don’t think we say we are grateful to our family or friends enough.

As we celebrate this Easter weekend, let’s not just think about the food however.  Let’s think about the wonderful people who share our daily lives.  Let’s celebrate these busy yet fun family and friend times now, each and every day.

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”

Happy Easter.  Khrystos Voskres.

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Rushnyk update #3

imageJust a quick little post regarding my stitching progress of the Ukrainian Wedding Rushnyk.  As you may recall, I began sewing this ritual cloth in November of 2016 for an upcoming wedding of my niece and her fiancé.

This Rushnyk has several birds, roses and a vase on it.  This particular design is derived from an original Rushnyk from the central region of Ukraine.  It is embroidered in cross stitch using only red and black thread.  If I’ve calculated this correctly, there will be over 68,400 stitches in total.

Yikes!  I only just finished stitching the fourth flower.  I still have a long way to go! Wish me luck.

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Happy New Year 2017!

As we prepare to welcome in the New Year, I want to share something special with all of you.

A couple of years ago, my sister-in-law told me of a special moment in her life.  It was the day of her dad’s funeral.

My sister-in-law and her sister had walked outside first thing in the early morning to spend a few minutes to themselves.  As they walked they recalled how their dad had always loved the early morning.  At that moment, they looked up and saw the sunshine streaming through the branches of a tree.  It was a heart shape.   The sister snapped this photo.  They both believe that it was a sign from their dad telling them not to be sad and that all would be well.

image

As we prepare to welcome in the New Year 2017, we ponder all that has been happening in the world this past year.  While there have been happy moments, there have also been sad, tragic times.  You just have to listen to and watch any news and you know what I am talking about.

But tonight, there was a sign left outside our home that gave me a moment to pause, and do a double take.

A small truck came into our cul-de-sac tonight and ploughed some of the freshly fallen snow.  He turned his truck around and look what the tire tracks left behind …..

image   Happy New Year everyone!

 

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Still Stitching !

Since some of you have been wondering how the Wedding Rushnyk embroidery is coming along, I decided to do just a quick little post.

As you are aware, I am learning along the way.  It’s been a long time since I learned how to embroider and cross stitch is even harder for me.  But here it is so far.  I have completed the centre vase area, one bird and one rose.
unnamed-2I stopped stitching about two weeks ago to prepare for Christmas.  I have done a lot of baking and of course a lot of eating.  I guess it’s all a part of the season.  The Christmas dinners and get-togethers have been wonderful, but it’s time for me to get back to the cross-stitch.  I will keep you posted.

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“Manitoba at Christmas”

Greetings to all this Christmas!

I would like to share some exciting news with all of you.

Recently I was contacted by email by Wayne Chan.  This “unknown to me” person asked if I would be interested in contributing a recipe of mine to an anthology that he was putting together.  At first, I was thrilled and thought “Wow, that’s nice.  Someone had checked out my blog and was interested in adding it to his own book?”   I was feeling quite honoured.

Then I became leery.  Who was this person? Was he a legitimate writer?  Was I going to have to send him money and then get scammed?  Ha, I know…sounds silly doesn’t it?  Maybe it’s a generational thing!

Anyway, after finding out that Wayne Chan really was a writer residing in Winnipeg (my apologies to you, Wayne), I decided to trust him and gave him permission to not only reprint my Ukrainian Christmas Eve Holubtsi recipe but also to include one of my earlier Christmas posts “Oh Christmas Tree“.  Check out pages 141 and 179.

In case you are wondering, I preferred to stay fairly anonymous for this anthology and on this blog.  I use a pen name and only my family and close friends know the “real” me.  I am probably way too paranoid, but that’s just me.

I now have no doubts that this request was legitimate because I received my printed copy of “Manitoba at Christmas – Holiday Memories in the Keystone Province”  edited by Wayne Chan,  in the mail.  I am truly honoured.

As I peruse the book I see that he has gathered nearly 400 years of holiday stories and memories of how Christmas was celebrated by Manitobans, past and present.  The book is presently for sale and is available from Wayne Chan and is also being sold at McNally Robinson Booksellers (1120 Grant Avenue, Winnipeg, MB Canada R3M 2A6;   Toll Free 1-800-561-1833).

So, if you are still looking for a unique gift….please consider Manitoba At Christmas!

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