I am finally feeling like life is settling down- our family is still facing a lot of challenges, but that has actually started to seem status quo… haha… and I am ready to delve back into a more spirited undertaking of the festivals. We need some celebration in our life at the end of a very long, cold winter!
St. Patrick was captured by raiders and enslaved for six years, and then he escaped. He then chose a life of service to the country where he had been enslaved. This reminds me of the Hebrew tradition, outlined in the Old Testament. Anyone taken up as a slave in a Hebrew household was required to be set free on the seventh year. Because slaves were often afforded protection and livelihood, and sometimes even felt as if they were to some extent a part of the family, they could choose to stay if they had a good master, and were then called “bondservants”. They “bound” themselves to their master and promised to serve him the rest of their lives. It became an act of service born of freedom. So during this week of St. Patrick’s Day I am considering the ideas of slavery and freedom.
Wonder with me, will you, what things in your life you have felt a slave to? I have been considering habits, thought patterns, and more which hold me down. I have also been considering those good things which, out of meniality, necessity, and daily-ness have come to feel like slavery- those things I must do to keep my home and family thriving, that I seem to be internally grumbling about. How can I make the switch from slavery to freedom? By affirming my own personal responsibility and dwelling on my capability to make my own choices. Indeed, we make the choices for everything in our lives. We are not trapped, obligated, forced, manipulated… unless we allow it- or choose- to be! This often does not “feel” true- but it is. We step into a brand new realm of freedom and possibility when we take responsibility for our choices and actions, and stop taking responsibility for the choices and actions of others. I am reading a wonderful book along those lines, called Boundaries in Marriage– highly recommend it!
St. Patrick’s Day is also a time to celebrate Ireland and all things Irish. We borrowed some beautiful picture books of Ireland from the library, a Riverdance DVD, an Irish cookbooks, and plenty of leprechaun tales. We are actively studying the little creatures. I’ve been painting up these wee pot o’ golds– wooden pots painted black to look like cast iron, and filled with small chunks of fool’s gold. They are so cute!
I plan to hide them around the house for each child to find, under rainbows (perhaps Grimm’s rainbow stackers, a needle felted wool fairy with rainbow skirt, or rainbows created by these prisms).
I am painting some wooden rounds with gold craft paint to drop gold coins along the treasure hunt path to lead the way as “hints” and keepsakes, and sewing up little shamrock-shaped felt pockets (two sheets of green wool felt cut out in shamrock shapes and sewn together with a slot at the top to insert coins), probably to be attached to a finger knit string and worn as necklaces. I am also painting 12 wooden shamrock shapes and designating a number on each little cloverlet- 1-48- to practice counting by fours. I am working on a needle-felted clover bunting, too! I’ll post again when it is finished.
I also bought a bunch of these “floating clover” candle molds. Ok, so I’ve never seen a five-leaved clover, and I am not sure why they are calling them that… but we’ll go with it. Great and easy way to use up leftover wax bits after making beeswax cookie cutter candles. Of course there is no need to have scraps laying around to make them… I had a couple sheets I just crumpled up and tossed in my double boiler because I was so happy with how they turned out. And when Mama Erin and I tested them out, they truly did float!
We will paint with green on Watercolor Day, make homemade green mint essential oil playdo for the littler ones and make beeswax modeling wax leprechauns with my older one on Modeling Day, make Irish soda bread on Baking Day, and work on painting our wood rounds and clovers for Craft Day. There will also be an attempt to catch a leprechaun, inspired by my friend Mari. She says in her house last year, they glued sequins to the walls of a cardboard box, filled it with treasures and made a little ladder leading to it in hopes the leprechauns would leap in and become trapped. They were smart little creatures tho- in the morning her children found the latter flipped to the inside of the box where the leprechauns could escape, after stealing sequins, leaving the box contents in disarray, and even overturning kitchen chairs and sprinkling flour about the kitchen!
If I have time, I’ll be needle-felting a leprechaun as well. I made one already, and learned a lot- but he did not pass my personal aesthetic standards, lol, so I am trying again to make him just as I envision him. I’ll admit it… it was his face. I tried giving him a face and his features sort of creeped me out. As in I could not be in the same room with him at night, lol! My boys, however, were thrilled I took up their suggestion to display his mischievous leprechaun ways by having him moon everyone.
If anyone has a good recipe for natural corned beef, please share. We are trying to avoid nitrates and also have a freezer full of our neighbor’s beef, so I don’t want to buy supermarket corned beef… but we will try colcannon for sure!
Visit my shop soon if you want to add a little Waldorf style Irish flavor to your home- orders that come in by tonight will ship priority mail tomorrow to arrive on St. Paddy’s Day or earlier. It tends to be a week long celebration for us, since one day is never enough to pack in all the fun!