Category Archives: Book of Days Calendar

Candles in Bregenz, or Your April Book of Days

Now it is April, and here is your Convivio Book of Days calendar for the month. I light a candle in every church I go to, if I can. It’s a habit I picked up from my grandmother, who has been on my mind a lot lately, as she always is this time of year, for it was on the 30th of March that she left this world, many years ago. And last night, while I was searching through my photographs for one of chickens or eggs––a suitable springtime image––for what would be the cover star of this month’s calendar, I came across this one. A simple tray of candles, each representing someone’s prayer, someone’s wish. It was at a small old church in Bregenz, Austria. I lit the candle at the bottom left, for Grandma and for anyone who needed that light. Nowadays it’s apparent we all need it. Chickens, eggs: I’m sorry. Candles feel more appropriate this April. The calendar is a printable PDF, a fine companion to this blog. Use it in good health.

If you’re free this afternoon, Wednesday April 1st, I’ll be broadcasting on Facebook Live at the Facebook page of the Jaffe Center for Book Arts at 3:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time. It’s called Book Arts 101: Home Edition and we’ll be talking books and craft and who knows what else. Expect a bit of a ramble and expect it to be a short one, no more than 15 or 20 minutes. It may be something I do on a weekly basis, if it feels right. It’s a new world of working at home, and connecting with all of you seems important… so join me if you can. It will be available for viewing at the Jaffe Center’s Facebook page even after the event, so don’t fret if you can’t tune in while it’s live. Perhaps I’ll see you there.

SAVE 15% at our Convivio Book of Days Catalog
Use code SPRING15 to save 15% off all of our items in three categories, through the 30th of April:
• Spring and Summer, which includes all of our traditional handmade artisan goods for Easter (pysanky from Ukraine and Poland, sturdy paper egg containers and fluffy chenille chicks and wooden bunnies from Germany, and a new Midsummer maypole from Sweden).
• Ramadan and Eid, which includes our full line of greeting cards for the holidays from Manal Aman of Hello Holy Days! fame.
• All handmade soaps by local soap maker Kelly Sullivan and by Brother Andrew at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Community in Maine (because we all need to be washing our hands more often now).
• Plus free domestic shipping when you spend $50 across our catalog.

If you have an income to spend, this is a good time to support local companies, small businesses, restaurants and their staff. By purchasing from Convivio Bookworks, know that you are supporting an extremely small company that supports artisans by buying their goods to bring to you, so your purchase here goes a long way toward supporting real people we know by name.


La Quaresima, or Your March Book of Days

And now it is March, and here is your printable Convivio Book of Day calendar for the month. It is the month of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and the month of lent. Forty days, not including Sundays, and they cover March from start to finish. It is the month of many famous saints’ days: St. Patrick’s Day, and St. Joseph’s Day, and St. Urho’s Day, and at the start on this First of March, St. David’s Day, sacred to Wales. The first few days of March that follow St. David’s Day are given to saints who are ancient and largely forgotten here on Earth: St. Chad on the Second of March and St. Winnal on the Third. The three days taken together play a part in old weather lore. St. Winnal’s Day especially is generally expected to be particularly stormy:

First comes David,
Next comes Chad,
Then comes Winnal,
Roaring mad.

But since it is St. David’s Day today, and since it is a Sunday, it’s a good day, I feel, to make Welsh Cakes, which is what I’m planning to do. Here is our recipe:


It’s not uncommon to find recipes for Welsh Cakes that call for regular granulated sugar, butter, and nutmeg, but the traditional recipe will add lard to the mix, use caster sugar in place of the regular sugar, and will be flavored with the more mysterious flavor of mace. If you want the best Welsh Cakes, stick to the traditional version. If you can’t find caster sugar, make your own: pulse regular granulated sugar in a blender until very fine. Do not use powdered confectioners’ sugar, which has added corn starch.

3 cups all purpose flour
½ cup caster sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground mace
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons lard
6 tablespoons butter
¾ cup dried currants
2 eggs, beaten lightly
3 to 4 tablespoons milk
granulated sugar

Whisk together the flour, caster sugar, baking powder, mace, cinnamon, and salt in a mixing bowl, then work in the butter and lard with your fingers until the mixture has the texture of course crumbs. It’s ok if some larger chunks of butter remain. Mix in the currants. Add the beaten egg, working it into the mixture, adding just enough milk to form a soft dough that is not too sticky. Wrap; chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until you are ready to make the cakes.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board and roll to a thickness of about ¼”. Using a biscuit cutter (scalloped, if you have one), cut into rounds. Gather up any remnants to roll out again and cut more cakes.

Heat a lightly buttered skillet (cast iron works great) over low to medium heat, cooking the cakes until each side is lightly browned (about 3 to 4 minutes… if they’re cooking quicker than that, lower the heat). Let the cakes cool for a minute or two, then set each in a bowl of granulated sugar, allowing sugar to coat both sides and the edges. Best served warm, split, with butter and jam, or, for a more savory treat, with cheese and leeks––leeks being one of the traditional Welsh symbols of this day, along with daffodils.

As for la Quaresima, that is the Italian for lent, and it is such a beautiful word, especially placed against our stark and spare word of only four letters. It rolls off the tongue like a flower: Quaresima. Her symbol in Italy is an old, thin woman, the opposite of the rotund man with a necklace of sausages around his neck, who is the symbol for Carnevale, the time we have just left behind last week with the start of Quaresima. She is known as La Vecchia, and we have made her this month’s cover star. She is here to remind us, like lent does, that our time on Earth is short. So make the most of it. Love each day.

Image: La Vecchia is also known as La Quaresima Saggia, the old sage of lent. Engraving by Guiseppe Maria Mitelli, late 17th century.


Winter White, or Your February Book of Days

This is what winter white looks like here in Lake Worth. Fitting, too, for with February we reach the bridge that begins our journey from winter to spring, and so the blooms emphasize that. The month began with St. Brigid’s Day. The very name calls to mind a bridge, doesn’t it? That same night, we shifted to Candlemas Eve, with Candlemas the next day: forty days past Christmas and just about halfway between winter solstice and spring equinox here in the Northern Hemisphere. The wheel of the year continues its turning, and though winter’s grip may be tight for a while to come, still, blooms like these Amazon Lilies that have exploded through our yard this month won’t be far off from anywhere now. This is the promise of spring.

And so here is your Convivio Book of Days calendar for February. There must be scores of Amazon Lilies blooming in our yard now, so it’s only natural that they are this month’s cover stars. They pop up above the leaves but dangle their heads down, so that in order to see the blooms, you have to get down on your knees, dip your head down, and look up. When you do, you get the dancing stamens and a green trumpet surrounded by petals of white. Beyond the blooms, the green of the larger canopy, and blue sky. The condensed beauty of early spring: It’s as simple as that.

Our next pop-up shop is this Sunday, February 9!

Sweetheart Makers Marketplace
Sunday February 9 from 10 AM to 4 PM
at Florida Atlantic University
777 Glades Road in Boca Raton
Valentine artisan shopping is the theme this month at one of our favorite markets, with 18 local vendors! Our one-day pop-up boutique will feature traditional and contemporary handmade artisan goods, including tin milagro hearts from Mexico, plus soaps, culinary herbs, and herbal teas from the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Community in Maine, our own letterpress work, and lots more! Plus there’s live music all day: Humble Waters from 10 to 1 and Rio Peterson from 1 to 4. Look for the blue & white MAKERS MARKETPLACE signs on FAU campus roads.