January 31, 2010

Elizabeth's Language Lesson!

At The Corgyncombe School Chalkboard
Elizabeth pauses from photographing of the 4th Annual "The Days of Valentines: Amelia's Favorite Things" Valentine Calendar for a little language lesson at Corgyncombe School.

It has come to The Corgyncombe Courant's attention that another blogger is claiming that a certain part of "The Magic Flute" is sung in French. The music was composed by Mozart. Here is a link to: Papagena ~ Papageno from YouTube.
The video has French subtitles. The other blogger claimed that there were not only French subtitles but that it was sung in French as well!

Elizabeth says "Sung in French? Not so!"

This is clearly sung in German. If one were learning by hearing one would be learning it in German not French!

A little Math lesson.
A few days ago, January 27th, was the 254th birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In December 2010 it will be 219 years since his death in 1791.


It would appear that Elizabeth's Language Lesson made a difference!

The words have been changed in the other bloggers post.

And all this whilst she is trying to sell a book!


January 27, 2010

Frizzy's Got New Boots!!!

Inspired by Tasha Tudor
On Her Journey to The Lake...
Frizzy's Boots "Are Made for Walkin'"!

Her new boots are curled toe Laplander boots made by Corgyncombe's Tillie Tinkham the mouse.

Our adventurer Frizzy has seen to it that Ethlyn Corgi sports a proper bushy tail like the Reindeer herding dogs from Lapland.

There will be more to come of Frizzy's Journey to Find The Lake, as she braves the Corgyncombe Arctic Winter!

Corgyncombe Arctic Waxing Gibbous Moon.


Old Fashioned Painting on Tin

Making the Home More Cheerful!
Diane has always loved old fashioned painting on tin. During her lunch hours whilst working at the museum Diane would spend her time sketching patterns from the old pieces of tin that the museum had on display behind glass. The painting on tin made everyday items used around the home more cheerful in the days of old.

In the photographs above and below, old fashioned painting on tin done by Diane, mostly using the one stroke method.
The painting is not stenciled.

A tea canister painted by Diane, a little dented in after falling off the mantel.

Trimming the ends off of hand dipped beeswax candles.


January 21, 2010

Corgyncombe Candlelight at Wintertide

Inspired by Tasha Tudor
Refilling the copper candle box with hand dipped beeswax candles.

Candlelight is intensified as a mirrored wall sconce reflects even more light.

Icicles dripping in streams in warming winter weather.

The candle in the window glowing against the winter's chill.

An close up view of the dripping icicles.

Candlelight in Diane's old kitchen at tea time with Welsh Tea Cakes.

Though she had electric, Tasha Tudor loved candlelight, especially at tea. In "Corgiville Christmas", written and illustrated by Tasha Tudor, the Corgyn can be seen having teas and parties with a festive candlelight glow.

Diane first dipped candles in grade school. 'Twas a year of most marvelous learning of the old ways from a teacher who, like her young student Diane, also descended from early kindred New England ancestors.

is a link to an earlier post of The Corgyncombe Courant: Welsh Tea Cakes for Tea


January 7, 2010

Winter Splendor and St. Distaff's Day!

Snowflakes, Birds, and A Return to the Spinning Wheel!

Afternoon tea with Chirpy Cheerful.
The book of Emily Dickinson poetry, "A Brighter Garden" illustrated by Tasha Tudor, is open to an illustration of a farm with a horse and sleigh approaching in the snow. It reminds Diane of Corgyncombe Cottage and barn in the snow. It is one of Diane's favorite illustrations, but all of the illustrations in this book are just lovely! We named our Corgi Emily after Diane's great great grandmother Emily Jane (Jones) Shepard and Emily (Jones) Shepard's cousin Emily Elizabeth Dickinson, as well as Emily Dickinson's mother Emily (Norcross) Dickinson.

Two dear little birds, relatives of Chirpy Cheerful, find shelter in the snow under an umbrella.

A beautiful Corgyncombe Snowflake!
There are zillions of these beauteous snowflakes at Corgyncombe!

Like my shiny new Tasha Tudor reproduction tin kitchen, I love, love, love the sparkly shining snow!


Fall all the night-time,
Falling all the day,
Crystal-winged and voiceless,
On their downward way;
Falling through the darkness,
Falling through the light,
Covering with beauty
Vale and mountain height, -

Never summer blossoms
Dwelt so fair as these;
Never lay like glory
On the fields and trees.

Rare the airy wreathing,
Deftly turned the scroll,
Hung in woodland arches,
Crowning meadow knoll.

- J. V. Cheney

It has been snowing and blowing at Corgyncombe as of late. Chirpy Cheerful looks with sympathetic interest at the two trudging through the blowing snow. Whilst going to and from the barn at Corgyncombe it has seemed like the Tasha Tudor illustration in "A Brighter Garden". There are times when you can hardly see anything. In Laura Ingalls Wilder's books she speaks of blizzards and how they would have a line from the house to the barn to have something to guide them to keep them from getting lost and to find their way in the blinding snow. Chirpy Cheerful is not a Blue Jay, but is a Blue Tit that can frequently be found in England.

Song of the Snowflakes

Round and round
With never a sound,
Hill to hollow
Fall and follow;

Thicker, faster, merry flakes!
Over the land and over the lakes,
Here and there, everywhere,
On the wings of air.

Oh, it's hither and thither,
Blithe to hurry and flurry and shine;
You take the spruce; and you, the pine; 
While the tips of the hemlock I'll make mine.

White, all white,
Come, spirits of light,
Hill to hollow
Flock and follow!

Thicker, and faster, flake to flake -
First to the forest across the lake!
Softly, softly, drop we now,
Into the warm, dark bough.

- John Vance Cheney

The Blue Jay flew over the Corgyncombe Corg'ery where the Corgyn Eliakim and Lydia played in the snow, and then landed in the old apple tree. After some loud squawks, the Blue Jay caused a kerfuffle at the bird feeder and pushed it's way in.
The Blue Jay puts on a good show but, as "A Year with the Birds" by Wilson Flagg says: "He is a thief and a disturber of the peace." Wilson Flagg continues on: "While searching for food in the field or in the open plain, he is extremely noisy; but when he ventures into a barn to take what does not belong to him, he is silent and stealthy and exhibits all the peculiar manners of a thief. It would be no mean task to enumerate all the acts of mischief perpetrated by this bird, and I cannot but look upon him as one of the most guilty of the winged inhabitants of the wood." Wilson Flagg also wrote: "Like the Magpie, the Jay has considerable talent for mimicry, and when tamed has been taught to articulate words like a parrot."

Corgyncombe Kaleidoscope "Blue Jay Blue"

A Blue Jay that visited Corgyncombe a previous year.

Snowshoes, all the white that can be seen is snow.

The Snowstorm
Winds from the north do blow;

See whirl and dance of snow;
Now driving, leaping down,
And whitening farm and town,
And, from the leaden clouds which crowd the sky,
Hiding familiar things from foot and eye.
The paths are lost and gone;
The streets have no one on
Their hidden, soundless stone,
Where piles of flakes are blown
From fields of gray, where move the viewless stars,
And smokeless battle leaves no telling scars.

Still come the flakes of white,
Like blossoms pure and light,
From heaven's great orchard trees,
Which feed no humming bees,
Borne by the wind which shook them from their hold
Down on the hills, where flocks all seek their fold.

- J. Hazard Hartzell

A Corgyncombe January morning moon.

Today, January 7th is St. Distaff's Day!

For St. Distaff's Day I posted back in 2005 on an online group the following post:

January 2005
Subject: St. Distaff's Day
Greetings All,
Yesterday was St. Distaff's Day. I spun into the late hours. Traditionally St. Distaff's Day was the day when spinners returned to their work at the wheel after the Christmas festivities. I just love to spin, knit, and weave. I spin wool, flax, angora rabbit, mohair, llama, alpaca, silk, cat, corgi, and anything else I can get my hands on. I'm learning to spin a very fine thread of cotton. It's so different from spinning the rest of the fibers.

We hope all the spinners on the list have also returned to their wheels. We strongly encourage those who have not learned to spin to give it a try as it is one of the most pleasurable and satisfying of activities!
Take care,
Diane and daughter Sarah

I was dismayed and disgusted to find that last year the leader of an online group had taken my post almost word for word, put it on her blog, and claimed it as her own. It was like she was making believe she was me, in a strange and creepy way.
Before she finally removed it from her blog, she had altered my post a bit more to try to make it less obvious that she copied me, but alas, the altered post that she copied is still on her feed in "Google Reader".

Update: She has recently changed her feed in "Google Reader" to a short feed showing only the first few sentences of her new posts. Sigh and alas, the altered St. Distaff's Day post that she copied from me and claimed as her own, is still on her long feed in "Google Reader", further down past her short feed posts, well into her long feed, in her "Google Reader" feed.

Cotton to be spun on Diane's Charkha.
Below is one of Diane's Charkhas. Diane also has a Journey Wheel.
What a joy they are to spin on!

Natural coloured fleeces to be processed and spun here at Corgyncombe Cottage. I truly like the smell of the unwashed fleece. Spinning in the grease is not for everyone but I do not mind the smell of the fleece, in fact I find the smell comforting as it reminds me of when I was a little girl going into the old barn with the beautiful stone foundation and seeing all the lambs with their mamas.

"Tasha Tudor's Old-Fashioned Gifts" by Tasha Tudor and Linda Allen, has many things to make by hand including patterns for knit slipper socks, mittens, and a tutorial to make a wool rabbit! Things look marvelous made with handspun yarn!
Beatrix Potter illustrated "Three Little Mice" as they "sat down to spin" with distaffs and spinning wheels.

In "Mother Goose" Tasha Tudor illustrated "Cross Patch" with a girl spinning flax.

Tasha Tudor spinning on my wheel.

After seeing my yarn, Tasha Tudor declared me "The Queen of Spinners". She always loved my spinning and evenness of spin and ply and frequently said to me that she was "shockingly envious" of my "spinning skill". Tasha Tudor was inspired by my spinning to again take out her spinning wheel after several years of not using it.

Diane and Sarah descend from generations of spinners and shepherds. Diane's 5th great grandmother was Martha Lyon May, wife of Eliakim May. Diane and Sarah have inherited a natural ability for turning fiber into thread. We think that Martha Lyon May was "The Queen of Spinners"! "The Lyon Memorial, Massachusetts Families" says: "The Hartford Courant, Jan. 6, 1766, had this item: Miss Levina Lyon, daughter of Capt. Nehemiah Lyon of Woodstock, and Miss Molly Ledoit carded and spun in one day 22 skeins of good tow yarn and a few days after, Martha Lyon, sister of Levina, spun 194 knots of good linen yarn in one day."

An old linen label with a pretty picture of a lady spinning.

I spin flax and I just love it. I made a distaff out of a branch of a tree. To dress the distaff I wet the distaff a little. I hold the distaff over the flax that I have layed out on a table and as I turn the distaff the flax fibers start to cling to it and I just keep winding it on until it is full. I hang a little cup of water on the spinning wheel and I keep moistening my fingers as I draw the fibers down. To me it seems so graceful to spin flax.

St. Distaff's Day, a day for returning to the pleasurable and satisfying task of spinning!


January 1, 2010

The New Year's Midnight Hour!

Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick...
There is nothing like the quiet, steady tick tock of an old fashioned clock as it counts the hours.
Happy New Year, Julie! We love the clock!

New-Year Chimes

Clash! Clash! peal the bells;
New-Year life their welcome tells,

Wealth of sunny days to be.

Sing the joy-bells gleefully:
"Golden hours and days we give,
Hours and days in which to live

In the ways of truth and right."
So the bells ring forth with might,
Heralding a future bright:

Clash! Clash! peal the bells.

- G. Weatherly

One of Tasha Tudor's favorite quotes, by Henry David Thoreau: "If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."

In "Mother Goose", Tasha Tudor illustrated "Hickory, dickery, dock" with a fine old clock striking one with a cat looking expectantly on.

Tea in the parlour with roses.

"The New Year's Carol" by Johanna Spyri and a cozy, warm log cabin quilt of flannel and wool. The tin chamberstick was a gift to Sarah from a tinsmith who admired her old fashioned tin lunch pail, and when she gave him a homemade cookie out of her lunch pail he gave her the tin chamberstick.

An Autograph book from 1885, the first entry inscribed with the date Jan. 1st 1885. A stork carrying Baby New Year is surrounded with roses.

The cover of the 1885 Autograph book and the back of the log cabin quilt.

A delightful find last summer was this fillable hot water tank with knitted cozy. When your feet are cold nothing warms them quicker than this wonderful foot warmer. A great way to have heat without having electric!

The hot water tank without its cozy. It almost looks like marble but 'tis oh so warm!