Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Batfit 2014 - Goals

I'm very excited that our Curious Professor Z is starting of her Batfit campaign again for 2014. With the new year upon us, she's asked participants to set some goals for the coming year. She also set a theme of detoxifying, which I think is a pretty good one. It can apply to lots of things. Everything from getting rid of junk food, to unhealthy thoughts and habits. I can't wait to see what ideas she has in store for us!


My Goals



The picture above was taken 2 weeks ago, just before I got sick with a wicked cold that lasted through the Christmas week and I'm only just now recovering from. I have been far to susceptible to colds and flu this year as well as anxiety, so I think some extreme self care is in order this year. That said, I still like to keep my goals simple.

1. Get more sleep - 8 hours preferably. And I will not be afraid to take naps if needed!

2. Drink at least 6 glasses of water a day. I was better at this, but have fallen off the bandwagon, and am easily lured by the siren song of bubbly pop.

3. Daily exercise - more treadmill time is needed. Especially when it's been -40 C out. It makes it hard to get adequate walking time outside, so the treadmill is a good substitute.

4. More fruit and vegetables. I'm not even going to pretend I'm going to give up sweets, it's not in my nature. I do think that adding more healthy food and eating less cake, pop etc. is a more realistic balance.

5. Enjoy myself! I'll be turning 40 this year and I think it's something to celebrate. I have had others tell me they dread turning the big 4-0, but I say it sure beats the alternative. I'm young and healthy (minus the odd cold/flu etc) so I should enjoy myself by doing things I love and trying new things!

That's it. My five simple goals. I can't wait to read everyone else's posts. I wish you all a wonderful 2014!



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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Just a quick post to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season! Whether it's Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, Kwanza, Festivus or anything else you celebrate this time of year, I hope this year has been kind to you and that you are having a wonderful holiday season. I'd like to thank everyone for reading and following my little blog. When I started I had no idea if anyone would be interested at all, so I'm gobsmacked that just over 180 of you have decided to follow me. I appreciate all your comments and feedback, and would like to know what you would like to see more of for the coming year. Would you like more fashion? More weird Victorian history? Some steange Medieval history perhaps? More personal updates? Please let me know dear readers.
I will be participating in The Curious Professor Z's batfit 2014 challenges, and look forward to any other blogging challenges that may be upcoming.
I'd also like to thank those of you that have joined me over at my YouTube channel NeoVictorian Parlour. I appreciate your comments and feedback here too.
Finally someone asked on my last post if there was a lot of snow where I am. The answer is "yes" see below.



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Saturday, December 14, 2013

How I Celebrate the Season

I came across some of the other bloggers taking up the challenge made by Ms. Misantropia asking how we each celebrate the season. I decided to take up the challenge as well!



My perpetration starts in November with baking the fruit cake. You have to bake it early as it needs to age a bit and every week I pour more cherry brandy over it so it soaks up the booze for flavour and moisture. This is how they started out.



Yesterday, after having absorbed their prescribed amount of liquor I iced them with royal icing.



I also bake gingerbread cookies, mince pies, and shortbread. Me and some friends then usually exchange tins of baking at our Yule party. It's a nice way to get a good variety of holiday baking for everyone.
Besides baking there's also the decorating which I did on November 30. I usually like to do it the first weekend of December, as I like a full month of holiday cheer. I posted a picture of my tree last week, so I won't bother with that. But I will show you my nativity scene. While I'm not Christian, my step kids are, and I thought this one was pretty cute. Plus it is another version of the mother goddess and divine son story so it doesn't bother me.



We also do "Elf on the Shelf" with the kids. It's pretty popular, so you've probably heard of it. The elf watches to see how good you are behaving, then flies back to Santa's at night to give his report. In the morning he appears in a new spot in the house and the kids have to find him. Today he was seated on the pig shaped pepper shaker.



Of course there's the Christmas shopping, which I try to mostly get done early. Like anywhere else it gets busier as we get closer to Christmas. It's also challenging as it has been so cold the last few weeks, down into the -30 C range. We Winnipegers are pretty hardy though. And the city does a pretty good job of putting up lots of festive lights to cheer us in the cold.






At work we are getting into the holiday spirit with decorating and this past week we had a luncheon for the employees. Me and a co worker decorated the office and kitchen. Observe our excellent decorating skills!



And the tower of sandwiches!



This coming week I am off work to rest and enjoy myself. I'm going tonight to a Yule party with some other pagan friends. We usually celebrate on Yule itself, but this year it didn't work out with everything else going on. So we are just doing it early this year. I will be doing my religious celebrations on the 21st and I'll be of course celebrating with my family on Christmas and with my partner's family as well. I hope to get together with other friends too on the next couple of weeks.

Hope you all have an excellent holiday season whatever you celebrate!


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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Victorian Christmas Tree

This past week I really started to get into the holiday swing of things. Last Saturday I decorated the tree and at work we decorated the office. We also had the staff Christmas party, and my step kids had their school holiday concert. It really feels like the holidays are here. Also the 15cm of snow and -30 temps mean we are full in the season now. :)
When I was decorating the tree I was thinking about Christmas trees in Victorian times and how different they are then today.



The tradition of the Christmas tree is German, and did not become popular in Britain or North America until the 1840s, when Queen Victoria started doing it (her husband Prince Albert was German). Since then though it has become a Christmas staple in most parts of the world where this holiday is celebrated.
So how do you go about giving your own tree a Victorian flair?



The Tree

While these days we tend to opt for big full and bushy, the Victorians liked their trees slender and with branches spaced apart for easy hanging of ornaments and garland. Also it was probably a little safer with candles to have the branches further apart. They also at times went for a smaller tree that could be placed on a table. Real tress are an obvious choice, but there were fake ones made in Germany from feathers. The feathers were painted then secured to wire branches to give the illusion of a real tree.




Tree Skirts

A skirt of fabric would be placed around the tree to hide the stand and also to catch any falling needles. You can purchase tree skirts in stores or online, or save yourself the expense and use a large peice of fabric you might like.




Lights
Traditionally Christmas lights were candles. Obviously this is a fire hazard, so going for either fake candles or fake tea lights can add a similar look without the safety hazard. Even a warm white set of lights can still have a nice effect.




Garland
Tinsel garland came later. Most Victorians made their own garlands, out of either paper chains, stringing popcorn or cranberries, or paper dolls like the ones above. You can purchase replicas, or make authentic ones yourself.




Ornaments

Most ornaments were hand made. They would cut pictures out and glue ribbon and lace to them, or paint nuts and pine cones gold and tie them with ribbon. Small toys could be used as ornaments too. The colour scheme used was light pinks, white, burgundy and silver and gold. Red and green did not come along until later. Glass ornaments were very expensive and usually it was just the wealthy that had them. People would spend time before Christmas making the ornaments as the tree was not actually put up until Christmas Eve, and would be left up until February 01.



Tree Toppers and Other Odd Ornaments

These were usually an angel or a fairy made from a doll. They would make a dress for them and angel or fairy wings. You can make your own or purchase one of the many varieties of Victorian replica angels on the market.



Another traditional Victorian ornament is the peppermint pig. Pigs were seen as a symbol of good luck, and the peppermint pig would be taken down and smashed at Christmas dinner and everyone would get a peice for good luck for the coming year.



The pickle ornament is one that seems to be a German custom. The pickle is placed on the tee Christmas Eve night, and the first to find it on Christmas morning gets a special gift! You can purchase these online or in specialty stores, or just put a pickle on the tree. :)



Gifts

Of course no tree would be complete without the presents. Small presents were put into boxes and tied with ribbons to the tree. For larger gifts, they would tie a different coloured ribbon to the tree for each child. One end was tied to the tree and the other to the presents hidden in another part of the house. The child would have to follow the ribbon to find their gifts!
This could be a fun element to add to Christmas morning.



Above is a picture of my tree which is not very Victorian. It's plastic, most of the ornaments are bought, and the tree topper is Rudolph. But I do love the idea of a Victorian tree.
Does your tree have any Victorian elements?
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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Antlers everywhere!

This past year I've been noticing the increasing popularity of antler headbands. I started seeing few here and there but now it seems to be everywhere. From high fashion, to the popularity of the "faun" look for Halloween, everyone seems to want to look like they just stepped out of the forest.



I'm not sure where this exactly started, but I personally noticed it first on lolita sites. Bringing in elements of natural kei and mori, the antlers were another way to add these elements to an outfit. With the addition of flowers and bright colours, it made the antlers cute and feminine.





Then I started noticing it on the hipster scene. It seemed to go along with the craze for feathers that started a few years ago. It's so popular I even found a pic of Mary Kate/Ashley (I'm not sure which) sporting an antlered headband.



There's also been a fair amount in high fashion as well. Just check out these outfits.






Finally I've seen it incorporated into bridal outfits. You know it's mainstream when it becomes a bridal accessory.



Personally I like the style, but am partial to smaller ones for regular wear. What are your thoughts? Is it over played? Or do you like it?

What are your thoughts on the antler trend. Overplayed? Or cute?

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