22 December 2010
By Rebecca MacLary
The history of the Christmas tree as we know it today is said to have started in Germany. There is conflicting information about its origins but most agree that the first decorated Christmas tree was erected some time in the 15th or 16th century century. Traditions have evolved since then and many different cultures have their own customs. One fascinating Christmas tree tradition is the German tradition of the spider ornament.
Many years ago, on Christmas Eve, the woman of the house tidied her home in preparation of the upcoming festivities. She swept the house spotless, and all of the spiders ran and hid in the attic. The family erected their Christmas tree and spent the evening decorating it. When the adornment was complete, the family went to bed while the woman stayed up to do more cleaning. She was the last to go to bed.
In the middle of the night, the spiders crept out from the attic and went back to the living room. Behold, there was a beautiful Christmas tree! The spiders leaped from branch to branch in joy, inspecting the tree and all its ornaments. The spiders´ activity covered the tree in a thick gray web, hiding all the ornaments.
Weihnachtsmann, or Father Christmas, arrived soon after, and saw what the spiders had done. He was pleased that the spiders had so enjoyed themselves, but knew the family would be heartbroken to come down to a tree covered in thick spider webs. Father Christmas touched the webs, and they magically turned into strands of silver and gold.
When the family came downstairs in the morning, they gasped with surprise. The woman of the house knew that the new decorations were a Christmas miracle. They so enjoyed the look of the tree, they adopted the tradition of adorning Christmas trees with tinsel. Some families even began the custom of placing a small spider ornament hidden somewhere among the branches.
Many cultures follow the custom of decorating a Christmas tree for the Yuletide season. Many households, in Germany and elsewhere, also hang a spider ornament from the branches to represent that Christmas miracle from long ago. Decorate your tree with tinsel, and remember the story of its origin.
13 December 2010
Right now Rosetta Stone is having a special Holiday promotion on our Homeschool Edition program and we’d like you to help spread the word! Everyone can save up to $150 on Rosetta Stone Homeschool by visiting our website at http://www.RosettaStone.com/hsw1110.
By helping us spread the word you can win a Rosetta Stone Homeschool Edition Level 1 program, language of your choice, valued at $249.
This is a computer based curriculum and Rosetta Stone will also include a headset with microphone, and a supplementary “Audio Companion” CD so you can practice lessons in the car, on the go, or where-ever!
To win this program, copy these paragraphs and post them in (or as) your next blog post, and/OR post about this contest on your facebook page. Then go to the original page at
***Open to U.S. Residents ONLY.
06 September 2010
Labour Day has been celebrated on the first Monday in September in Canada since the 1880s. The origins of Labour Day in Canada can be traced back to April 14, 1872 when a parade was staged in support of the Toronto Typographical Union's strike for a 58-hour work-week. The Toronto Trades Assembly (TTA) called its 27 unions to demonstrate in support of the Typographical Union who had been on strike since March 25. George Brown, Canadian politician and editor of the Toronto Globe hit back at his striking employees, pressing police to charge the Typographical Union with "conspiracy." Although the laws criminalising union activity were outdated and had already been abolished in Great Britain, they were still on books in Canada and police arrested 24 leaders of the Typographical Union. Labour leaders decided to call another similar demonstration on September 3 to protest the arrests. Seven unions marched in Ottawa, prompting a promise by Canadian Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald to repeal the "barbarous" anti-union laws. Parliament passed the Trade Union Act on June 14 the following year, and soon all unions were demanding a 54-hour work-week.
The Toronto Trades and Labour Council (successor to the TTA) held similar celebrations every spring. American Peter J. McGuire, co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, was asked to speak at a labour festival in Toronto, Canada on July 22, 1882. Returning to the United States, McGuire and the Knights of Labor organised a similar parade based on the Canadian event on September 5, 1882 in New York City, USA. On July 23, 1894, Canadian Prime Minister John Thompson and his government made Labour Day, to be held in September, an official holiday. In the United States, the New York parade became an annual event that year, and in 1894 was adopted by American president Grover Cleveland to compete with International Workers' Day (May Day).
While Labour Day parades and picnics are organised by unions, many Canadians regard Labour Day as the Monday of the last long weekend of summer. Non-union celebrations include picnics, fireworks displays, water activities, and public art events. Since the new school year generally starts right after Labour Day, families with school-age children take it as the last chance to travel before the end of summer.
An old custom prohibits the wearing of white after Labour Day. The explanations for this tradition range from the fact that white clothes are worse protection against cold weather in the winter to the fact that the rule was intended as a status symbol for new members of the middle class in the late 19th century and early 20th century.
A Labour Day tradition in Atlantic Canada would be the Wharf Rat Rally, while the rest of Canada is watching Labour Day Classic, Canadian Football League event where rivals like Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argonauts, and Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers play on Labour Day weekend. Before the demise of the Ottawa Renegades after the 2005 season, that team played the nearby Montreal Alouettes on Labour Day weekend. Since then, the Alouettes have played the remaining team in the league, the BC Lions.
Labour Day parade in Grand Falls-Windsor Newfoundland started in 1910 and still continues today, over 100 years later. The celebrations go on for three days with the parade on Labour Day Monday.
27 August 2010
I've spoken with several people who said that another dog or cat would make a big difference in Harley's separation anxiety. One guy I met at the dog park said his german shepherd would chew through doors when she was left alone! After they got her a cat, she calmed right down and now can be left alone without incident. Amazing.
So since we have a solid move-in date, we decided to get a kitten for Harley. Ok, for me too. I really miss Birdie, and I know she's in a great home... but now that we have a dog who won't EAT a cat, I really wanted another one. So I started searching Kijiji for a free kitten. A few days later, I found a listing for a litter that was born June 10. There were 5 kittens, and two of them were white with a grey mohawk and black noses. I emailed the lady and asked if the female white one was still available, and told her a bit about myself and my family. She responded and said she would love to give me the last girl kitty.
Yesterday I made arrangements to borrow a cat carrier. The same friend who lent me that also gave me a small litter box! Thanks Stephie! That cut down on a lot of cost, and let me spend a little more on quality kitten food (Blue Buffalo brand: no by-products, no wheat/soy/corn, no artificial flavours). I also got some Swheat Scoop litter.
Swheat Scoop is made from wheat and other grains. It is completely renewable, biodegradeable, flushable (supposedly), clumping, and chemical-free. I love the fact that it has no clay or other mined products. I've read a lot about clay litter, and how it can cause illness and death in cats and kittens. I got the small bag to try it out.
I met the lady and her daughter in the pet store parking lot. The lady was carrying the kitten in her arms. My first thought was, "man, she's fuzzy!" She has longer wispy hairs all over her body. She's not a long-haired cat, but she'd definitely not a short hair! Her eyes are a weird yellow-brown colour and the black mark on her nose is so cute...she is pure white, except for the streak of grey on her forehead.
She's still very small, being only 10 weeks. I haven't weighed her yet but she's definitely under three pounds. She's got a lot of attitude in that little body! She has already told Harley to back off a few times. He needs to learn to respect her space. She's not afraid to spit and use her claws!
In any case, I'll post back in a while with a review on the litter. Hopefully it works well for her, because I really don't want to use clay litter. I'm actually toying with the idea of training her to use the toilet...
14 August 2010
A person who is interested in making money online has thousands of options. From completing paid surveys to reading articles, to writing e-books, there is a job for someone. You just have to be willing to work cheap and fast, in some cases, to establish some credibility in your area or niche.
For those people with administrative skills, there are a lot of transcription jobs available. For coders, the opportunities are endless. The same goes for many different skill sets. You just need to know where to look for work.
I have found that the best place to find work is on job bidding sites. There are a few that offer a certain number of bids per month for users with a free account. They take a certain percentage of your profits. Other job bidding sites require you pay a base fee each month for membership, but they take less of your earnings. Lastly, there are a couple bidding sites that are completely free to bid an unlimited amount of jobs each month, but they take up to 15% of your profits. It's up to you to decide which bidding site(s) you'd rather deal with.
Some common sites are Elance, vWorker, Guru, and PeoplePerHour.
Elance - has a basic (free) membership that gives you 10 bids a month. Elance takes up to 8.75% of each job pay. Also has 2 additional member levels that you must pay for but those allow you more bids each month and Elance takes a smaller percentage of your profits.
vWorker - free, with unlimited bids per month. vWorker takes 15% of your profits, with a minimum $3 charge on each job you win.
Guru - has a free membership level, but the jobs offered to people with free membership, I have found, are few and far between. So not really worth your time, in my opinion.
PeoplePerHour - based in the UK but people from all over the world post looking for workers (and jobs). Free membership, and PPH takes a cut. (unsure how much, 10% maybe?)
25 June 2010
You won't likely see any more general health and fitness postings here. What I plan on doing is making this my personal blog (as it was intended all along), and branching off with other blogs, each focusing on a different topic. Eventually I will have one for Real Food and assorted recipes, and maybe one for crafts. Or maybe this will become the craft blog and I'll start a new personal one that isn't linked to all over the place. Who knows.
In any case, changes are underway. Please don't let that bother you! Stick around, and see what happens!
24 June 2010
Anyhoo, onto the contest. Creative writing isn't my strong suit, except for the occasional haiku when inspiration strikes. I'm having a hard time coming up with a suitable name for the health and fitness blog. It needs to be fairly short (3 words or less), catchy, and relevant. Here's where you come in.
Submit your suggestions in the comments section (or email me privately if you'd prefer) and, should I choose your name suggestion, you win a prize! I haven't decided upon what the prize will be. But it will be good.
Contest is open to residents of the world. So have at it - contest closes Friday night at 11:59 PM, Eastern Standard Time. Good luck.
***Edited to add: Since I've had several people asking me to clarify what specifically will be discussed on the new blog, here's a list of things that will be included (and no longer discussed on THIS blog):
~fitness, fitness challenges, workouts, etc
~any alternative health issues
~discussions about chiropractic, massage, etc
~posts concerning Real Food, recipes, and how foods affect your health
~any reviews relating to any of the above topics (books, magazines, workout videos, reviews of specific practitioners, etc)
~I will be taking applications from advertisers within those fields, so if you or anyone one you know is a practitioner (registered massage therapist, aromatherapist, chiropractor, reiki, etc), talk to me.
In any case, I have compiled and expanded upon all my weight loss and fitness knowledge. I don't go into a lot of detail regarding Real Foods, but that will come and get attached to this hub.
Here's the link, read it, enjoy it, use it. And if you like it, click the buttons at the bottom that are most applicable, like "useful" or whatever. And leave a comment - I love comments!
22 June 2010
The second one I created is called "How to Make a Composter" and you can see it HERE.
I really enjoy creating hub pages. I'm working on one now - it will be titled, "Ten Halloween Costume Ideas for Kids." I'll come back and add the link as an edit when I'm done.
Edited to add: HERE is the Hub page for the Halloween costume ideas.
Enjoy your reading! If you like what you read, please consider leaving a comment or question, and click the button if you found my articles "useful."
You have the option to insert different "capsules" into your hub. From easy-create polls, to quizzes, there are tons of fun add-ins you can choose. Once you have people interested in your article, they can rate it up or down, or describe it as "useful," "funny," "awesome," or "beautiful." Depending on the ratings your hub receives, and how much traffic it pulls in, your hub is rated on a score of 1-100, with 100 being the top rating.
I've made 2 hubs so far, and honestly, it's kind of fun. It's a nice change from writing for Constant-Content. I've made it my goal to make at least one hub a day. Let's see if I can keep up with that goal.
Here's a link to one of the hubs I made, so you can see what it looks like. Keep in mind that the hubs are totally customizable according to the "hubber's" preferences.
~submitted 18 articles to Constant-Content;
~had 4 articles published on Triond;
~had 8 haikus published on Triond;
~submitted 4 haikus to Helium ( a mistake, I think);
~submitted 7 articles to a private client thru Elance;
~submitted 1 blog post and 1 article to a private client thru Elance, and
~created 2 hubpages.
Keep in mind that, except for the four articles for Triond, all of the articles and poems were written in the last 9 days. Although I'd love some day to work part-time hours for full-time pay, I think that the more work I put into this endeavor now, the more I'll get out of it (and sooner). I'm not one for lollygagging around once I put my mind to it-I jump in with both feet.
I am grateful that I have my laptop. With the arrival of warm, sunny weather, D and I have been going outside into the backyard more often than not. I take my work along with me. The only downside to my laptop is that the battery is really crappy and only lasts about an hour. I aim to improve that with a new battery purchased off ebay with my FIRST ELANCE EARNINGS!!!! I've ordered the 9-cell battery, now I just have to wait for it to get here.
I've been staying up late (usually until 2 am) writing and researching. These last few days, I've been reading about how to make passive income online. Interesting stuff, but it takes a lot of work and can be confusing. I'm still trying to wade my way through it all.
Needless to say, I won't be posting quite as often as I'd like, but I'll try to check in regularly so you all know what's going on.
Edited to add: In case you'd like to read/buy any of my work, here are some links to my profiles for each of the sites (click the names of the sites):
Constant-Content where high-quality articles are purchased
HubPages where I create mini-webpages (hubs) on different topics centred around articles, recipes, and more
Elance where I bid on freelance writing jobs
Triond is a site where I submit articles and haikus for ad revenue, not sale.
I won't mention Helium, because I don't plan on submitting any more work to them.
20 June 2010
19 June 2010
I wrestled with the idea of getting a new set of business cards printed. I mean, my biggest issue was, "Why do I need biz cards? Aren't they pretty irrelevant for a freelance writer? To whom would I give business cards?"
Well. Self-promotion is a freelance writer's number one responsibility. So business cards ARE useful. I plan on writing a post on the usefulness of business cards and where you can post/hand out/leave them in order to grow your business.
Rules for a Lifestyle of Healthy Eating
Why Disposable Cleaning Products are Bad
Just Say No to Commercialism This Holiday Season
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot!
I'm trying to increase the number of visitors to my blog, too-so if you would, please pass on my blog addy to all of your friends-facebook or otherwise. Obviously, if they're into crafts this would be a great blog for them. But any aspiring writers could learn something here, too. I plan on reviewing all the freelance sites I've been using, in a couple weeks. Stay tuned.
18 June 2010
13 June 2010
06 June 2010
Remember WAAAY back, in June last year? I and 2 friends entered into a fitness challenge. Each participant was to contribute a $10 gift card to the winner. Well, I won. And today I got my gift card from one of the participants!!! haha better late than never!
05 June 2010
02 June 2010
16 May 2010
14 May 2010
I'm posting this on my Facebook, and other blog as well-as well as emailing everyone on my contact list. It is THAT important.
13 May 2010
Edited AGAIN to add: go check out my HubPage that I wrote on making ice cream and frozen yogurt.
If you think HubPages look fun to make, go HERE and sign up as a writer. It's FREE.
05 May 2010
03 May 2010
Just a quick post to show progress, with the best of a bunch of horrible photos. The lighting was terrible, and I was standing crooked-the shirt isn't crooked!
02 May 2010
I'm making View B, the sleeveless top with no gather, and draped neck. This shirt can be casual or dressy, depending on the fabric you use. I found a fun stretch jersey in the remnant bin: .8 metres for under $2. I wanted to make View D-the wrap-style with gathered side, but that requires more fabric. This was a case of finding the fabric and THEN the pattern, which is usually not how I operate. But when you find awesome fabric in the remnant bin, you can't let it go to waste! And I figured, if I bomb this shirt, I won't be out much money, and it will be good practice!
01 May 2010
30 April 2010
24 April 2010
Delilah at 1 year and 6 days
Delilah this morning, 1 day shy of 2 years.
One year ago, my daughter was just walking. She started at 11 months, but really got her confidence about a month later. She used sign language to tell us what she wanted. She used the potty. She had just gotten her dog Harley (and lost Tyler).
23 April 2010
22 April 2010
14 April 2010
After a few days of on and off again sewing, I finally finished the Molly Monkey I was sewing for D's upcoming 2nd birthday. She was really easy and fun to make. The hardest part was choosing the fabrics! I'm not in love with the beret; I might replace it with a bow.
07 April 2010
Yet another dress finished for the commission. This is New Look #6954, View A, Size Small. The dress is made from a cotton/poly broadcloth in a rusty orange colour. The original pattern didn't have the flower embellishment, but there was a View B overdress that had 2 flowers on the skirt. I took one of those flowers and placed in on the bodice of my dress, and added an adorable orange button with vintage-y flowers stamped on it. The cream fabric is a cream-on-cream dahlia print. I like it.
06 April 2010
04 April 2010
02 April 2010
01 April 2010
Bow ties are classic and contemporary, all at the same time. Dress them up or dress them down-the possibilities are endless.
|To its devotees the bow tie suggests iconoclasm of an Old World sort, a fusty adherence to a contrarian point of view. The bow tie hints at intellectualism, real or feigned, and sometimes suggests technical acumen, perhaps because it is so hard to tie. Bow ties are worn by magicians, country doctors, lawyers and professors and by people hoping to look like the above. But perhaps most of all, wearing a bow tie is a way of broadcasting an aggressive lack of concern for what other people think."|
—Warren St John, The New York Times
I've recently gotten several bow tie orders. The first was for a child size, for use in the photo shoot that my friend is holding. I also have 3 adult orders in different colours. I am hoping to get some more orders, as they are fun to make, and not as involved as clothing. I might have to spread more into accessories for a change of pace.
I use silk-it's available in a wonderful array of shimmery, beautiful colours. From black to red, purple, green...the solid colours are amazing. I'm still searching for a source of patterned/polka dot silk. I might also check out the taffeta selection at Len's Mill.
The best part of a bow tie is that it's unexpected. Obviously, a bow tie is the norm with tuxedos, but with a regular sports coat or even just a button up shirt and jeans? It's a great way to show a bit of personality.
I decided to put the bow ties on sale at my Etsy shop. Here's a link:
30 March 2010
So as I mentioned, I am currently working on a large commission which involves (at least) 4 dresses and a boy's bow tie. I've finished one dress and am almost done the 2nd. Here are some in-progress photos.