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Triskele Knot Wood Trivet

Celtic Symbols

Triskele Knot Wood Trivet
Triskele Knot Wood Trivet

What are Celtic symbols and where do they come from?  The Celts are a diverse group of peoples united by a common language and related cultures.

The Celts originated in central Europe, spreading out to France, the British Isles, and parts of Spain.  From what historians and archeologists can tell, the Celts arrived in Great Britain and Ireland during the Iron Age.  There is quite a lot of disagreement and uncertainty about the early history and geographic spread of the Celts.  By the time the Roman Empire was expanding into Western Europe, the Celtic languages were mostly confined to Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Cornwall, Ilse of Man and Brittany.    Today, the term Celtic generally refers to the languages and cultures of those areas.  Current theories suggest that Celtic people may not be genetically or even culturally related so much as related by language.

Triskele Wood Trivet
Triskele Wood Trivet

However opaque the origins, Celtic languages, music, art, dance and festivals have been enjoying a revival.  Many of the designs found in Celtic art are derived from the Celtic symbols seen in museum artifacts.

The Newgrange Triple Spiral (or triskelle) is an ancient design carved into the stones at Newgrange, a burial mound dating back to 3200 B. C., older than the pyramids at Giza.  Its true meaning is unknown, but many scholars believe that the three spirals represent birth, life and afterlife.

Trinity Knot Wood Trivet
Trinity Knot Wood Trivet

The Trinity Knot has pre-Christian and Christian meanings.  The druids believed that this traditional triquetra represented three separate entities that are interconnected like earth, air and water.  The Christians believe that the knot represents the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

St. Brigid was a contemporary of St. Patrick and is said to have

Brigid's Cross Wood Trivet
Brigid’s Cross Wood Trivet

converted her father to Christianity while making a cross from rushes. Farmers adopted the custom of making these same crosses at the beginning of spring, placing the St. Brigids Crosses in prominent positions in their houses. The tradition of making St. Brigid’s Crosses on the 1st of February, St. Brigid’s Feast Day, continues to today.  Charlie’s beautiful depiction of St. Brigid’s

Celtic Eternity Knot wood trivet
Celtic Eternity Knot wood trivet

cross is made of wood, and is suitable for hanging or as a hot

plate.

The Eternity Knot, with no beginning and no end, symbolizes eternity reinforcing the endurance of love, tradition and heritage. And the Infinity Knot, also with no beginning and no end, symbolizes continuity into eternity and beyond.

In addition to the general Celtic symbols, there are also country-specific symbols.  For example, the clover, claddagh and the harp are symbols of Ireland, the thistle, the lion and the crown are symbols of Scotland and the dragon, harp and daffodil are symbols of Wales.

 

Happy Chinese New Year (of the Red Rooster)!

20170109_144207 20170109_144441Celebrating Chinese New Year is a great excuse to throw a make-your-own wonton party! It’s also a fun time to wear our new rooster earrings. This year, the Chinese New Year starts on January 28th. Chinese New Year is 16 days of festivities. There are seven lucky foods which include fish, dumplings, spring rolls, rice balls, fruit, rice cakes, and long noodles.  It is also good luck to clean your house, pay off debts and not loan money right before the New Year.  During the celebration, people give even amounts of money in red envelopes to children and the elderly.

This year is the year of the Red Rooster.  If you were born in the year of the Rooster, you are social and like to be the center of attention, and you tend to be hardworking, honest and forthright.  For more information about the Chinese Zodiac, see our blog on How the Buddha Named the Years.

 

Irish Cultural Community Day

MAR
19
SAT
Irish Cultural Community Day
12:00 PM – 4:30 PM
FREE Open to the public. This event is presented by the Allentown St. Patrick’s Parade Committee, Inc. and sponsored by the West End Alliance of Businesses as a contribution to the community to highlight the Irish culture in dance, song, art, music, sport and theater. It is a totally free event, child and family friendly with audience and child participation in all activities. A passport will guide children to learn about Irish culture, and there is a drawing for prizes for those completing the passport journey.

For More Information

Stop by to see our pottery wheel demonstration and taste some delicious Party-In-A-Bowl dips.

Irish Community Day Artists At Heart Booth

Happy Year of the Fire Monkey

In case you missed it…  here is a post about the Chinese Zodiac from 2014…

How the Buddha Named the Years

As you are no doubt aware, Chinese years are associated with animals, but you may not know how this tradition started.  Many, many years ago on New Year’s Eve, the Buddha called together the animals and twelve of them attended. To reward them, the Buddha named a year after each one.  The Buddha decided to give human beings born in those years some of the attributes of the animals associated with the year. For example, people  born in horse years like 2014 are said to be cheerful, skillful with money, perceptive, witty, talented and dextrous.

The Chinese calendar is quite different from the Western calendar we use.  The Chinese is based on two cycles—the zodiac with its twelve parts  (the animals) and the five elements—metal, wood, water, fire, and  earth.  The combination of these two cycles means a particular year such as this one, the year of wood and the horse, comes around every 60 years.

The animals who showed up on that New Year’s Eve so long ago represent the different years in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese horoscope was developed around these animals and elements to describe humans’ personalities.   Here is what the year you were born in the Chinese calendar says about you:

The rat is said to be quick-witted, smart, charming and persuasive.  The ox is described as patient, kind, stubborn and conservative. The tiger is authoritative emotional, courageous and intense, while the rabbit is popular, compassionate, and sincere.  The dragon is said to be energetic, fearless, warm and charismatic, the snake, charming, both outgoing and introverted, generous and smart. Then there is  the sheep, mild-mannered, shy, kind and peace-loving, and the monkey, fun, energetic and active. The rooster is independent, practical, hard-working and alert.  The dog is patient, diligent, generous, faithful and kind, and, finally, the pig is said to be loving, tolerant, honest and self-indulgent.

Yin and yang also affect the astrology of China by assigning these opposing forces—the yin to odd years and the yang to even ones.  Yin is said to be symbolize the earth, female, dark, and passive, and yang the heaven, light, active and male.

Venus Jasper Gemstone Necklace and Earrings

Venus Jasper

Venus Jasper Gemstone Necklace and EarringsJust in time for Valentine’s Day, our feature gemstone is Venus Jasper.

Venus Jasper necklace square beads and hexagon pendantMined in Mexico, Venus Jasper gets its name from the Roman goddess of love and beauty. Metaphysically, Jasper is known as the “Supreme Nurturer,” as it is a stone of grounding and stability, providing comfort and security, strength and healing.

 

Oval Pendant Venus Jasper Necklace

 

Family Fun at the Philly Art Museum

A Fun thing to do—with kids (or without).

As the summer winds down, you may be finding it a challenge to find different activities for your children. Have you thought of taking them to the Philadelphia Museum of Art?  Just visiting the place is an awe inspiring (in the true meaning of the word) experience. Right now, there is a quite wonderful collection of paintings of the Impressionists on display.  The focus of the exhibit is a French art dealer who quite literally cornered the market on Impressionist paintings at a time when no one particularly wanted them, and held on at great personal sacrifice until they came into favor. When we visited last week, I was impressed with how many young children were there (many with grandparents), and how engaged they were with the paintings.  Asking the children questions about the paintings seemed to be especially successful in directing and holding their attention.  Since there are many children in the paintings, the children could relate to several of the canvasses.  The exhibit takes about an hour to see. Everyone gets a walkman with descriptions of many of the works.  You can choose which ones you want to listen to.  Of course there’s the obligatory gift shop, but the museum also has a nice cafeteria which serves all kinds of good food and desserts. If you have more time to explore, there is a wonderful collection of armor, as well as miniatures and many other galleries with specific interests in mind.  If you know what your child will be studying in school this year, you could focus on that time period or genre. Having taught mythology for several years, that’s always a favorite of mine. Parking is easy in a subterranean parking lot, a very short walk from the door.  The staff is friendly and helpful.  Enjoy an afternoon of family fun and education at the Philadelphia Art Museum.

Grasshopper Pie

Another great way to celebrate St Patrick’s Day…  I have to admit – this is one of my favorites!  Grasshopper Pie

  • 1 1/2 cup chocolate cookie crumbs
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 3 cups miniature marshmallows or 32 large
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons white creme de cacao
  • 1/4 cup green creme de menthe
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • Few drops green food coloring, if wanted Semi-sweet chocolate or extra cookie crumbs for garnish

 

Preheat oven to 350.

Crush cookies and mix with butter.  Press crumbs into artists at Heart pie plate.

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Cool.  Combine marshmallows and milk in saucepan over low heat. Cook and stir until melted.  Cool.  Add liqueurs, and gently fold marshmallow mixture into whipped cream. Add food coloring, if wanted . Pour filling into prepared shell, and top with shaved chocolate or cookie crumbs, if desired. Freeze until 15 minutes before serving.

Makes 1-9 inch pie.

Irish Soda Bread Recipe

20140812_125507_Android
Stoneware Baking Dish

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup raisins, if desired
3/4 cup buttermilk

Celtic Knot Wood Trivet
Celtic Knot Wood Trivet

Directions
1 Heat oven to 375ºF. Spray Artists At Heart stoneware baker.
2 Cut butter into flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl, using pastry blender until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in raisins and just enough buttermilk so dough leaves side of bowl.
3 Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead 2 minutes or until smooth. Shape into round loaf, about 6 1/2 inches in diameter. Place in baking dish. Cut an X shape about 1/2 inch deep through loaf with floured knife. Bake 35-45 minutes until golden brown. Brush with butter or margarine, softened, if desired. You can serve your fresh hot bread on a handmade wooden Celtic trivet.

Velveteen Chicken Soup

You know all about the velveteen rabbit, but this is a velvetty chicken—soup that is.  Perfect for a cold winter day, but also suited for a spring luncheon.  It’s easy and so delicious!

Velveteen Chicken Soup in Handmade Soup Crock

Serves 4 as an appetizer

  •  6 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup light cream or half and half
  • 3 cups lower sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup shredded chicken
  • freshly ground pepper and Sabrosa Guerande Grey salt to taste
  • fresh herb garnish

Melt butter in saucepan and blend in flour until smooth.  Stir in milk, cream and broth. Cook, stirring until mixture thickens and comes to a boil; reduce heat and add chicken and Sabrosa Guerande Grey salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately in a beautiful hand made soup crock from Artists At Heart.

Thanksgiving Pie Recipes

These recipes are from noted sources. Hope you like them.

Apple Pie

8 ServingsPrep: 20 min. Bake: 50 min.             apple pie 2

Ingredients

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

6 to 7 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Pastry for double-crust pie (9 inches)

1 tablespoon butter

1 egg white

Additional sugar

Directions

In a small bowl, combine the sugars, flour and spices; set aside. In

a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice. Add sugar mixture; toss

to coat.

 

Line a 9-in. pie plate with bottom crust; trim pastry even with edge.

Fill with apple mixture; dot with butter. Roll out remaining pastry

to fit top of pie. Place over filling. Trim, seal and flute edges.

Cut slits in pastry.

Beat egg white until foamy; brush over pastry. Sprinkle with sugar.

Cover edges loosely with foil.

Bake at 375° for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake 20-25 minutes

© Taste of Home 2014

Mom’s Pumpkin Piemom's pumpkin pie

1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch single crust pie

3 eggs

1 egg yolk

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 1/2 cups milk

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

2 cups pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C.)
In a large bowl, combine eggs, egg yolk, white sugar and brown sugar. Add salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. Gradually stir in milk and cream. Stir in pumpkin. Pour filling into pie shell.
Bake for ten minutes in preheated oven. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and bake for an additional 40 to 45 minutes, or until filling is set.

© 2014 Allrecipes.com

Utterly Deadly Southern Pecan Pie
Yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings        pecan pie

Hands-on: 10 Minutes

Total: 4 Hours, 10 Minutes

Ingredients

1/2 (14.1-oz.) package refrigerated piecrusts

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

4 large eggs

1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar

Utterly

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup chopped pecans

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons milk

1 1/2 teaspoons bourbon*

1 1/2 cups pecan halves

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Fit piecrust into a 10-inch cast-iron skillet; sprinkle piecrust with powdered sugar.
  2. Whisk eggs in a large bowl until foamy; whisk in brown sugar and next 6 ingredients. Pour mixture into piecrust, and top with pecan halves.
  3. Bake at 325° for 30 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 300°, and bake 30 more minutes. Turn oven off, and let pie stand in oven, with door closed, 3 hours.

*Vanilla extract may be substituted.

Southern Living Oct 2011