Category Archives: Book of Days Calendar

St. Walpurga, or Your April Book of Days

Welcome to April and to your Convivio Book of Days Calendar for April! It is late, but hey, let’s embrace that belatedness that is part of what makes Convivio Bookworks, well… Convivio Bookworks. Perhaps someday, when I can devote all my time to this venture, things will be more timely… but I suspect you’d miss the old version of me who is constantly running late. Efficiency is very alluring but there is a certain charm to someone who is constantly running just a step or two ahead of (or behind, in my case) the clock. You’d miss that if I suddenly became efficient.

My only regret about this month’s belatedness is I missed reminding you (or warning you, as such the case may be) of All Fools’ Day on the First of the Month. If you were successful with a great trick, or if you fell victim to a trick that was particularly brilliant, I’d love to hear about it (comments below, please). Seth and I both got through the day un-tricked this year, but I do love a nice subtle trick (like gluing shut the cap on the toothpaste tube, or gluing the toilet paper to itself so Seth can’t find the end). But this year, what with Easter just the day before, All Fools’ Day was practically done before I even remembered what day it was.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this month’s calendar. Our focus this month is the day (or night, actually) that closes the month. It is a night not much celebrated here in the States, but me, ever the champion of the underdog, I will be celebrating (as will Seth, by default) and if you’d care to join us, well, it’s a wonderful night that is the opposite spoke in the Wheel of the Year from Hallowe’en: It is Walpurgis Night, or the Eve of May, or St. Walpurga’s Eve. May Day comes on the First of May, as does St. Walpurga’s Day, and it is the day, traditionally, when we shift toward welcoming summer. Not by the almanac, mind you… but by traditional reckoning of time, and I am a big fan of reckoning time in a traditional manner.

Our cover star this month is a 1918 oil painting by Louise Upton Brumback called “May Day, Boston” [Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons].

It’s still spring, of course, and at our online catalog right now, you may use discount code BLOSSOM to save $10 on your $85 purchase, plus get free domestic shipping, too. That’s a total savings of $19.50. Spend less than $85 and our flat rate shipping fee of $9.50 applies. CLICK HERE to shop; you know we appreciate your support immensely.

We make small improvements to our new shop every week. Currently, we’re looking at building a staircase to the loft, which would be so much more elegant than that extension ladder we’ve been using so far. Our Open House Weekend in mid-March was grand, and I was so happy to see so many old friends. We’ll plan a proper Grand Opening as soon as we feel the time is right. I’m thinking May, or perhaps it’ll be around Old Midsummer in late June. Rest assured, I’ll tell you about it here and on our Instagram and Facebook pages (@conviviobookworks). We don’t have regular hours currently, but until we do, if you’d like to come shop or just see the place (or us), we welcome you to come visit by appointment. Email us to schedule a time. The new shop is located at 1110 North G Street, Suite D, in Lake Worth Beach, Florida 33460.


Welsh Cakes, & Your March Book of Days

And now it is March, and nearly spring, and since it is very late at night, I will make this short and sweet: Here is your printable Convivio Book of Days Calendar for March. It’s an astonishingly busy month: the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, plus Ramadan and Holi and Easter and all the minor holidays that generally come with March. The first of them comes today: It is St. David’s Day, sacred to Wales. It’s a day for leeks and daffodils, but even better: Welsh Cakes:

W E L S H   C A K E S

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, at a table set with a small vase of daffodils.

Winter is quickly melting into spring and at our online catalog right now, you may use discount code BLOSSOM to save $10 on your $85 purchase, plus get free domestic shipping, too. That’s a total savings of $19.50. Spend less than $85 and our flat rate shipping fee of $9.50 applies. Traditional Easter goods from Germany have been arriving, and new fillable handmade paper eggs should be on our website by Monday.  CLICK HERE to shop; you know we appreciate your support immensely.

Before Winter completely melts away, here is a short bedtime story for a chilly night that I recently read for Stay Awake: Bedtime Stories for Kids & Sleepy Adults, from the Jaffe Center for Book Arts. It’s called “The Magic Porridge Pot,” and you’ll find this story (Episode No. 11) and nine others in the Stay Awake Library at the Jaffe Center’s Vimeo Channel. If you like what we do there at Stay Awake, please consider following the series on Instagram @stayawakebedtimestories … I do love this storytelling project, and it would be awfully nice to see the project get to a hundred followers, at least! Thank you!

Image: Our cover star for this month’s calendar is a painting called “Springtime, Harlem River” by Ernest Lawson. Oil on canvas, circa 1900 – 1910 [Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons].


Oranges, or Your February Book of Days

Welcome to February. Here is your printable Convivio Book of Days calendar for the month, and we begin straightaway this February First with the celebration of Imbolc and St. Brigid’s Day, both of them signs of spring, for even in the dead of winter, we find ourselves here in the Northern Hemisphere just about forty days past the Midwinter solstice. It is a cross quarter day: in the wheel of the year, the cross quarter days mark the midpoints between solstices and equinoxes, and so yes: not only are we about forty days past the Midwinter solstice, but we are also forty days, more or less, away from the vernal equinox. Slowly, light has been increasing, and it will continue to do so all the way to the Midsummer solstice in June. It is the constant rearrange of this old earth, and Brigid is our bridge from winter to spring. She bids us welcome, though the steps be tentative, for the bridge may yet be icy and treacherous. So be it. We take that step, for there is no other choice. Our planet, on its course around the sun, dictates our path.

And tonight, St. Brigid’s Day becomes Candlemas Eve, and this is an important night if you have been following along on our Slow Christmas journey. If you have, you’d have used the Advent season to prepare for Christmas, and you would have certainly celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and the Twelve Days of Christmas and Epiphany. And if you, like us, still have the Christmas tree and garland in your home, tonight is the night it should be removed. You may do what you wish, of course, but Robert Herrick, our old reliable 17th century Book of Days poet, reminds us of the consequences of not removing these last vestiges of Christmas greenery tonight in his poem “Ceremony Upon Candlemas Eve”:

Down with the rosemary, and so
Down with the bays and misletoe ;
Down with the holly, ivy, all,
Wherewith ye dress’d the Christmas Hall :
That so the superstitious find
No one least branch there left behind :
For look, how many leaves there be
Neglected, there (maids, trust to me)
So many goblins you shall see.

I, for one, need no goblins running amuck in my home, so here, we pay heed to Mr. Herrick’s advice. Aside from the goblins, though, leaving Christmas greenery up beyond this date comes with the risk of setting us out of step with the tides of the year. You might replace the garland and the tree with new greenery, for this is the day to fashion a St. Brigid’s cross, which looks a bit like a four-spoked wheel, of rushes or reeds. All signs now point toward spring, toward increasing light, toward rebirth.

Even the Church acknowledges this: Candlemas on the Second of February (tomorrow) is the day that candles are blessed in the church, but it is also known as Purification Day, which harkens back to an old Hebrew tradition: forty days after the birth of a son, women would go to the temple to be purified. And there it is again: renewal. And so Mary did this, for it was her tradition, and when she did, it was there at the temple that she and her infant child ran into the elders Simeon and Anna, who recognized the child as “the Light of the World.” This is the basis for the blessing of candles on this day, and the day’s lovely name, which is even more beautiful in other languages: la Candelaria in Spanish, la Chandeleur in French. In France, the traditional evening meal for la Chandeleur is crêpes. In Mexico, la Candelaria is a night for tamales and hot chocolate, while the procession and celebration in Puno, Peru, is typically so big, it rivals that of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. And while the First of February is the night that all remaining Yuletide greenery is removed from the home, tradition would have us keep nativity scenes up through Candlemas, the Second of February. And at sunset on Candlemas, we’ll go through the house, through every room, lighting every lamp, even for just a few minutes. My favorite song for the day is an old carol called “Jesus, the Light of the World.” Is it a carol for Candlemas? Who knows. Certainly the words echo those of Simeon and Anna, the elders in the temple, so as for me, I say it is.

And so tonight we will thank our Christmas tree and garland for their presence with us all through Christmas, and then quietly carry them out the back door and into a quiet corner of the backyard, returning to nature what is hers. We’ll store these things there, and they will become part of the habitat that is our yard, a bit of fir and cedar amongst the bamboo and the palms and grasses… and then when December comes around again, on the longest night, we will use what is left of the tree as fuel for our Midwinter solstice fire as we welcome down the stars and welcome back the light. I love this bit of ceremony. For us, it connects one Christmas to the next, as it sends Father Christmas off each year with respect and dignity.

At our online catalog right now use discount code LOVEHANDMADE to save $10 on your $85 purchase, plus get free domestic shipping, too. That’s a total savings of $19.50. Spend less than $85 and our flat rate shipping fee of $9.50 applies. Newest arrivals: Letterpress printed Valentine cards in the Valentine section, and check our Specialty Foods section for some incredibly delicious chocolate we found from Iceland, including a particularly Icelandic blend of milk chocolate and licorice. If you love both these things, well… Icelanders long ago discovered that covering black licorice in milk chocolate, then dusting the result in licorice powder, is just amazing. (Trust me: we’ve gone through two bags so far.)  CLICK HERE to shop; you know we appreciate your support immensely.


Our cover star for this month’s Convivio Book of Days calendar is an 1889 painting that is officially untitled, but known also as “Oranges in Tissue with Vase.” It’s orange harvest season here in Florida. The painting, which is oil on canvas, is by Alberta Binford McCloskey, and comes to us via Wikimedia Commons.