Sunday, December 23, 2012

Downton Abbey in Gingerbread

A new friend from my book club introduced me to Downton Abbey last year and I only had to watch the very first episode to be hooked. Today I saw that Dooce, otherwise known as Heather Armstrong of blogging fame had recommended this video in her Friday feature, "Stuff I Found While Looking Around". I love it!

The house was crafted by Curtis Jensen, who says it took him nearly 2 weeks of evenings and weekends to complete. The window 'glass' is crushed butterscotch candies.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Grinch Tree


Actually, I made this Grinch Tree last year, but when Don came home from a lunch down on the Danforth today he had taken pictures of Grinch trees down there, one a huge one in a sidewalk planter

and the others in a store window where they were for sale. $25!!

After Christmas last year I dismantled our little Grinch tree. It was fun while it lasted.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter Solstice in Ireland

If you are ever lucky enough to travel to Ireland, make sure you visit Newgrange in County Meath in the Boyne River Valley on the east side of the Republic of Ireland.

Newgrange in the Summer

Sunrise at Newgrange

Facing east: the Winter Solstice sunrise shining through the roof box down the passage

Sunlight in the passage at Newgrange
Facing west: with the entrance behind the camera.
The stones lining the chamber are called orthostats.

This amazing prehistoric monument predates the Pyramids in Egypt and Stonehenge in Britain. The early (primitive??) people who built this structure had knowledge of the skies and built the monument in such a way that on Dec. 21, the Winter Solstice, and for a few days before and after, the rising sun shines downward through a roof-box located just above the entryway into a 19-metre long passage, eventually reaching all the way to the back and lighting up the chamber there.

During most of the year, this illumination is simulated using electric lights. But from approximately Dec. 18 to Dec. 23, people are permitted to witness the event in real time. The sun rises at this time of year just before 9:00 a.m. The lucky ones who see this for themselves are chosen by lottery.
Of course being able to see the sunrise is weather-dependent.
Newgrange Sostice

This is the east-facing entryway with the roof-box above. You can also see the incredible carvings in the stone which sits in front.

Here are some pictures from last year's Winter Solstice.

Similar but smaller mounds, Knowth and Dowth are located nearby and together with Newgrange are designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO .

Monday, December 10, 2012

This Turkey Won't Be On Your Christmas Dinner Plate

This video shows Plucky playing soccer. He's a bit older now and his breast, genetically engineered to be big, is starting to upset his balance on those spindly legs and his neck now twists to one side.

Plucky shares his life with another rescued turkey, Dark Wing, a month younger, who was rejected by the other poults when he was hatched because of his unusual colouring.

Both turkeys live at Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary near Stratford with other rescued farm animals. There's an interesting story by Niamh Scallan at The Toronto Star and that is where the still photos came from.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Il Volo

These three teenagers from Italy are poised to become famous.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

How Did He Do That?!!

A Place in the Choir

From Ireland: Damian McGinty and Celtic Thunder. Damian is the young guy with the amazing baritone voice. He performed with Celtic Thunder for four years, starting when he was 14. In 2011 he won The Glee Project, winning a guest role on Glee and left Celtic Thunder to pursue other opportunities

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Getting Ready for Christmas

The idea for this front door mega-wreath came from Pinterest. It was easy to do and then there was a bit of fine-tuning. Since our front door is inset on the porch and is a bit dark, it was hard to see Mr. Snowman's hat, so a bit of trimming was necessary. I love the result. Maybe over the next year I will knit our snowman a special Christmas scarf.