Category Archives: Book of Days Calendar

A Hatful of Apples, or Your September Book of Days

Short and sweet: Here is your printable Convivio Book of Days calendar for September. Autumn is coming, and so is, hopefully, an abundant apple crop. This is what we dream of here in Florida, where apples will not grow. Oranges, mangoes, carambola and papaya…. all grow readily here, but it is the humble apple I wish for most.

Cover star this month: a painting, most likely from the late 1890s, called “Harvest.” It’s by American artist Levi Wells Prentice, who was self-taught and associated with the Hudson River School––and there you have another thing I tend to look longingly toward as autumn color sweeps across the land: the Hudson River Valley and the legends and lore of writers like Washington Irving. Each autumn, I find myself pulling down one of his books from the bookcase. I find myself a cozy chair and read a tale or two about the Hudson Valley he loved so much. Washington Irving: he’s like Father Christmas to those of us who love autumn.

I already know I’ve got busy days ahead so I cannot guarantee you’ll hear from me before a couple of red letter days pass this month. Both come on Monday, when it will be Labor Day once again. We think of it as our unofficial close to summer in these United States of America, but more than this, it is the day we set aside to honor the workers upon whose labor this nation was built. Later that evening, with the setting sun, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year celebration, will begin. It is a time for sweet things, as simple as a slice of apple, dipped in honey.

And there, short and sweet as promised, is your invitation to this month’s calendar. I think you’ll like it. It’s a PDF that you can print and pin to your wall, and it is a fine accompaniment to this blog. Over at the website, our Summer High Five Sale continues for just a few days more, but I’ll be writing again soon with news about our upcoming autumn sale, which features a bigger discount but also a higher minimum… so if you’re planning a purchase, well, plan accordingly. Currently, and for the next few days, take $5 off your order of $35 or more with discount code HIGH5.

Summer here persists a while longer, but knowing autumn is coming to the Hudson River Valley and other points north is all I need to know. I’m with you in spirit.


Image: “Harvest” by Levi Wells Prentice. Oil on canvas, circa 1890s [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons.


Chosen Land, or Your Convivio Book of Days for August

A few days late letting you know about your Convivio Book of Days calendar for August, but, nonetheless, here it is, a printable PDF as usual, and a fine companion to this blog. Our cover star for the month is an 1867 painting by Winslow Homer, called Haymakers. As I mentioned in a Convivio Dispatch from Lake Worth just the other night, Homer’s painting reminds me of being a printing intern at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Community in Maine back in the late 90s, for there were many days when I was not in the Dairy Cellar printing but rather in the garden weeding, or out in the fields, helping to bring in the hay. We’d load the bales onto the hay wagon, ride the wagon to the big red barn, and there, I would get to do my favorite thing: look up at the ceiling and at all those beautiful wooden boards, nailed in place in 1830, nearly half a century before Winslow Homer painted his haymaking scene. Looking up from inside, that barn looked to me for all the world like a vast cathedral, one filled with the sacred smell of animals and newly cured hay, sunlight streaming in on slanted rays through small clear windows.

I’d go home later each haymaking day with a stuffy nose and the worst sinus headache. A little too much hay. But I’d do it again if I could.

And here we are, at the Sixth of August: one of the most important days of the year in the Shaker calendar. I’ve heard it called Landing Day, but Brother Arnold and Sister June and Brother Andrew there at the Community, they always call it the Glorious Sixth, this annual summer occasion that marks the day in 1774 when the founder of the Shaker movement, Mother Ann Lee, arrived in New York Harbor after setting sail from England. Mother Ann was following a vision from on high that told her to bring her small band of followers from Manchester to the New World, and so she took that leap of faith. The passage was not smooth, and there is a tale of a great storm that roared up and caused a plank to tear loose from the ship, and the ship began taking on water, but Mother Ann had another vision that night, one of an angel telling her to be not afraid, all would be well, and then another great wave crashed upon the ship and forced the loosened plank back into place. The ship stopped taking on water, the storm quelled, what water was taken on was pumped out, and Mother Ann and her followers arrived in safety and began their quiet work. Work that continues to this day at Sabbathday Lake in Maine, the place they call Chosen Land.

My friends there will be first and foremost in my mind today, and especially at sunset, when they will celebrate with song and prayer this special day. Blessings on them, and on us all.

Here in our neck of the woods, my mom, Millie, has been embroidering each and every day and is anxious to get back to it when she’s not. She’s having a ball making Millie’s Tea Towels, and they’ve turned out to be a big hit! Each one is embroidered by hand by my Mom, and since we introduced them last month, she’s made a few new collections that you’ll find now at our website: in addition to the original Baking Day, Kitchen Wisdom, and Java Jive collections, there are new collections of flour sack tea towels for beachgoers, for campers, for wine lovers, and a new seven towel set––one for each day of the week––all about PIE (one of our favorite things).

All summer long, use discount code HIGH5 at checkout for $5 off your purchase of $35 on everything in the shop. Take it to $50 and earn free domestic shipping, too. Click here to shop! You’ll find Millie’s Tea Towels under our new Linens & Textiles category.

Mom gets the full amount of each sale of her embroidered tea towels; it makes me very happy to see her happy in this new venture and that’s what matters to me (plus it pretty much takes her a whole day to embroider each towel!). That’s my mom in the photo you’ll see when you start shopping, in a fishing boat, circa 1950. Seeing that picture is reason enough to click.


Image: “Haymakers” by Winslow Homer, which also happens to be the cover star for this month’s Convivio Book of Days calendar. Oil on canvas, 1867 [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons.


To the Sea, or Your Convivio Book of Days for July

It’s certainly been a hot summer for folks across North America. Here in Lake Worth, this is something to which we are accustomed, and it’s rare we have extremes… it’s just always a high in the low 90s this time of year, unless it’s been raining a lot, which it has. It’s constant and steady all summer long, and even well into fall. What does us in is the humidity. I remember a story that Bailey White wrote in which she and her mother decided to try their hands at making sun-dried tomatoes from some of their South Georgia garden bounty. South Georgia is not all that different from South Florida this time of year: hot, humid, languid. The recipe for drying the tomatoes ended with these words: Store in a cool, dry place. Bailey and Mama looked at each other. “What do they mean?” they wondered aloud.

Anyway, here it is now, July, and here is your Convivio Book of Days calendar for the month. The Dog Days of Summer, ruled by Sirius, the Dog Star, officially begin on the 3rd, as Sirius begins its annual period of rising and setting with the sun. The Ancient Greeks, watchers of the sky, observed this and deduced that Sirius, shining as brightly as it does, was amplifying and contributing to the heat of the sun, making these days the hottest of the year. In reality, it is our planet’s thermal lag; it’s a massive place, the Earth, and the Northern Hemisphere has been gradually storing heat all through the year as the days have increased in length, and though we’ve passed the solstice of Midsummer nearly two weeks ago now and days already are shorter, it takes a longer time for the planet’s temperature to balance out. And so our hottest days go on for many more weeks, despite diminishing sunlight, while in Antartica, days are growing longer, but the penguins are still huddled together, trying their best to keep warm.

What with all this heat, it seems to me a perfect time to escape to the sea. If I get up on my roof and look east, I can see the Lake Worth Lagoon, and beyond that, the Atlantic Ocean, and yet I still can’t seem to manage to get to the sea. But I’d like to, perhaps today, or tomorrow. Hence this month’s Convivio Book of Days calendar… it’s a printable PDF document, and our cover star for July is a 1932 painting by Clarice Beckett called Beach Scene. My hope is it will cool you off some just to look at it.

My mom, Millie, was keeping it cool when she was captured in a photograph fishing off a rowboat, circa 1950 or so. She’s another cover star of ours this summer, in this case for our Summer High Five Sale, in which you can use the discount code HIGH5 at checkout for $5 off your order of $35 or more. Take it to $50 and you’ll earn free domestic shipping, too. (Click on the photo to make it larger; I love her smart sunglasses and the fact that she brought her pocketbook with her.)

Mom, God bless her, has begun a new cottage industry at home this past spring. Each day she hand embroiders a flour sack towel. Now, you can call this towel what you wish: dish towel, tea towel… but Grandma, she would have called it a mappina… and not pronounced that ending A. And still to this day, in the English we speak, peppered as it is with Italian dialect words, we speak of the “mop-peen”: an essential element of any good cook’s kitchen. I tend to go through two or three mappini (the plural of mappina) each night as I cook supper: a mappina hanging on the oven door handle to handle hot pots, a mappina on the counter to wipe up spills, a mappina slung over my shoulder to dry my hands.

And so today I’m writing to let you know about our Convivio Book of Days calendar for July, but also to let you know that these mappini that my mom Millie has been embroidering by hand, stitch by stitch, since Easter: they are now on our website, available for purchase. They’re adorable. I’m so proud of her efforts. They are part of a brand new part of our online catalog we’re calling “Linens & Textiles.” Millie’s hand embroidered tea towels focus on three different themes: there are a whole bunch that deal with coffee (“Java Jive”) and more that deal with baked goods (“Baking Day”), and then another whole bunch that offer bits of wisdom of a culinary nature (“Kitchen Wisdom”).

I think you’ll be as impressed as I am with Mom’s handiwork. Her tea towels make wonderful gifts for yourself or someone else and Millie’s getting every penny we sell them for. I figure I owe her at least that for all the effort she put into raising me. You’ll find other lovely hand embroidered textiles there, too, from the extended family in Chiapas who make the protective face masks we’ve been selling since last summer. Prices on those masks, by the way, are reduced to $10. We got our last shipment of masks from them a few weeks ago, and now, I’m happy to report, they are focusing again on their traditional wares. (Hurrah for science and vaccinations!)

Everything in the catalog is part of the Summer Sale, so go, have some fun there: Click here to shop. If you can shop while you’re drifting on a pool float, I’d recommend that.

Calendar image: “Beach Scene” by Clarice Beckett. Oil on canvas, 1932 [Public domainvia Wikimedia Commons. It’s my birthday today. Here’s a memory I have in my store of such things: My guess is it’s 1970. It is the night of the 30th of June, and it is approaching midnight, and Mom & Dad have let me stay up to bring in my birthday. The Twilight Zone is playing on the TV, black & white. I’m sitting on the couch, on top of the back cushion, where clearly I should not be sitting, but they let me anyway. I’m incredibly excited that my birthday is arriving. That’s it, that’s the memory. I don’t get that excited about birthdays anymore, but maybe I should. Perhaps we all should. It might do us good.