Category Archives: Spring

Springtime, or Your April Book of Days

And now it is April and here is your Convivio Book of Days Calendar for the new month. By the almanac it is the first full month of spring, and our cover star for April is a 1927 painting by Elliott Daingerfield called, appropriately, “Springtime” and it is one that reminds me of the blossoming trees in Alabama when I lived there. Spring was by far my favorite time of year those years as I learnt to make books at the University, and next Friday, I get to revisit, virtually, for a program there in which I’ll be participating. I doubt they’ll show the blossoms on the trees on the Zoom call, and all the petals drifting down from the sky like snow, but if they did, gosh, it would make me beam to see them again.

Thanks to a chewing squirrel in the alleyway behind the house, we and two neighbors had no Internet service for a long few days last week, so I never got to warn you about All Fools’ Day last Friday and also the rising of the new moon that same night, which began the celebration of Ramadan. The celebration continues for a month, followed with the next new moon by Eid al Fitr, and we have cards for both at our online shop, cards made by our friend Manal Aman of Hello Holy Days! in Canada (click here to shop). Manal also loves our Shaker Rose Water, as it is made without alcohol, and you’ll find that on the same page. (It is a beautifully mysterious and ancient flavor for cakes, cookies, French toast, and more.)

And now, nothing much happens this month ceremony-wise until we enter into the mysteries of Holy Week and Passover. But on this month’s calendar, we also tell you about a springtime excuse to enjoy egg nog, a mysterious night for divination, and the welcome of traditional summer at the month’s close. Intrigued? Print the calendar. It’s our monthly gift to you; a fine companion to this blog.

To help you prepare for Easter and Springtime, we’re running a sale, and, for the locals, we’ll have a pop-up shop at Lake Worth’s inaugural Taco Fiesta next Saturday, April 9, at Bryant Park on the Lake Worth Lagoon. I think it’s going to be amazing… and our friend Jose Mendez, who organizes this and our Dia de Los Muertos celebration each year, tells me there will be a marimba band. This excites me. I love marimba. So first, here’s the deal on the fiesta:

We’ll be there in our pop-up market tent with as much of our collection of Artesanías Mexicanas that we can bring –– handcrafted goods from artisans in Mexico: textiles, Day of the Dead figures for your ofrenda, papel picado (cut paper banners), painted punched tin, and more. We’ll also bring as many of our traditional Easter goods as we can from Germany, Sweden, and Ukraine, and my mom and sister plan to be there with us, so we’ll bring Millie’s Tea Towels and you can meet Millie, too. Lake Worth’s Taco Fiesta is Saturday April 9 from 3 to 10 PM at Bryant Park at Lake Avenue on the west side of the lagoon (100 South Golfview Road is the proper address). For the rest of you who are not nearby or for those of you who can’t make it to the fiesta, we have a sale:

It’s our Springtime Stock-Up Sale on everything in the online shop: Use discount code BUNNY to save $10 when you spend $75, and get free domestic shipping, too. Click here to shop! This year we have our largest selection ever of traditional springtime handicrafts from Germany, Sweden, Poland, and, most especially from Ukraine. From Germany, we have more handmade wooden bunnies than ever, plus a beautiful natural Easter grass for your basket, and none of this plastic stuff, ours is made from dyed wood wool, which in this country is better known as excelsior, and it’s just gorgeous in a basket. We even have some handmade splint wood baskets from Germany, and lots of new paper egg containers that you can fill with Easter candy. From Sweden, the most adorable handmade egg candles in traditional and dyed egg colors; we sell them in cute half dozen egg cartons.

And from our friend Kyrylo in Lviv, Ukraine, we have traditional crafts that he purchases from the women who make them in remote villages of the Carpathian Mountains. Our hope is that their remoteness keeps them somewhat safe from the war there. As for Kyrylo, he lives in Lviv, which is in the western part of the country, and it was relatively safe there until just two weeks ago. But Kyrylo continues to send us the things we buy, and he sends us updates on how he’s doing. He deals in Ukrainian crafts but he also owns a pizzeria and he’s been donating pizza every day to the refugee camps in Lviv, doing his part to feed his fellow citizens that have fled the north, east, and south of Ukraine. We are sending Kyrylo all the profits from the handpainted wooden pysanky eggs we sell this Easter, to help him in his mission. We’ve been selling these pysanky for years, but suddenly this year, these eggs are charged with meaning: renewal, yes, but also support.

Just a couple of days ago we received one more package from Kyrylo containing more items we bought from him: 150 more wooden pysanky eggs, but also two beautiful hand carved wooden crucifixes, and 40 pysanky made from real eggs, made in the traditional way: no paint, just beeswax and a stylus and dye. They are exquisite. You’ll find them at our website… please click here to shop, or just to take a look at how beautiful these pysanky are. Even in the midst of so much suffering and destruction, beauty. This is almost incomprehensible to me, but I guess this is the human spirit in the face of adversity. We just keep putting one foot in front of the other. What other choice do we have?

Top Image: “Springtime” by Elliott Daingerfield. Oil on canvas, 1927 [Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons].


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Spring Reset

This old earth has reached its moment of balance, of equinox, less than a day ago. Day and night pretty much of equal length now, no matter where on the globe you stand: North Pole, South Pole, Equator, all points between. So much balance.

I have felt not at all balanced, for several weeks now, over situations near and far. Perhaps you are feeling this way, too, what with all that is happening in the world. If you have 30 minutes to spare to maybe fix this imbalance, I have something to share: it’s my friend Jane Siberry, with a guided Spring Reset:

I think you’ll find her voice calming, balancing; her wisdom and approach balancing, too. For me, it was just what I needed to return to the world again and feel less discord, more accord. It’s a good investment of 30 minutes.



We’ll be popping up at a couple of local markets and celebrations in the coming weeks:

VINTAGE ROOTS MARKET is the first one, and it’s happening Friday and Saturday, March 25 and 26, at Yesteryear Village at the South Florida Fairgrounds. 9 to 4 on Friday, 10 to 4 on Saturday. We’ll be there in an outdoor tent with our spring collections of artisan goods for Easter from Germany, Sweden, Poland, and Ukraine, and our Shaker herbal teas and culinary herbs, hand embroidered tea towels from my mom Millie and hand printed towels and other textiles from Kei & Molly Designs, and lots more. It’s our first time out in the world again since last Christmas, and we’re excited to see you again!

And then on Saturday, April 9, it’s Lake Worth’s inaugural TACO FIESTA at Bryant Park on the Lake Worth Lagoon from 3 to 10 PM. We’ll be there in an outdoor tent with lots of our traditional artesanías mexicanas: artisan goods from Mexico for Dia de Los Muertos and all the year through, hand embroidered Otomi textiles… and we’ll bring our spring collections of artisan goods for Easter, too, from Germany, Sweden, Poland, and Ukraine.

SHOP ONLINE at take $10 off your order of $75 on Easter goods and everything else in the shop with discount code BUNNY. You’ll get free domestic shipping, too, for a total savings of nearly 20 bucks. I will write more soon about the things we’re offering, and especially about the hand painted pysanky eggs from Ukraine, and our friend Kyrylo, who sends those eggs to us. Kyrylo lives there in Lviv, and he sends us news when he can. I want to share his stories with you. We’re trying our best to help him out by buying the traditional artisan goods from Ukraine that he sells, and we’re going to send him the profits from the sale of those Ukrainian pysanky eggs, too. And you can help, too, by just buying some.

Like I said, I’ll write more about that soon. For now, I’m focused on balance and reset, and offer you the same.


Spring Excursion, or Your March Book of Days

The First of March brings St. David’s Day, sacred to Wales, and this year it also brings the moveable Shrove Tuesday, which goes by many names: Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Pancake Tuesday. It is the final day of Carnival, the day that ushers in the solemn forty days of Lent that begin with Ash Wednesday. It is the night we traditionally eat pancakes or crepes for supper –– this, to use up the last of the eggs and the last of the milk and sugar before the restrictions of Lent kicked in.

This First of March also brings you the latest Convivio Book of Days Calendar. It’s a printable PDF, and a fine companion to this blog. This month’s cover star: a 1903 oil painting by Hungarian painter Béla Iványi-Grünwald called “Spring Excursion.” This is the month, after all, of the vernal equinox. We began our anticipation of spring at the start of February with St. Brigid’s Day, but in March, the season is made manifest. Days and nights will be of equal length for a spell, all across the globe, while here in the Northern Hemisphere light will continue to increase until the Midsummer solstice of June. Ever changing, ever the same.

The name Shrove Tuesday comes from Shrovetide, which is the time we’ve been in in recent weeks: this time after Christmas ends and before Lent begins. Ash Wednesday will bring its time of fasting and penance and reflection. Which is perhaps something we need every now and then. Well certainly once a year, it was thought, and why not now, when the larders were getting empty. Back in the days when food was not as plentiful and easily procured as it is now, Lent was crucial to help get everyone through to spring and renewal.

There are many traditions in foodways for Shrove Tuesday. The Polish bakeries will have pączki today, a rich filled doughnut, and the Swedish bakeries will have cream filled buns called semla. If they’re doing things right they’ll be selling them today but definitely not tomorrow and not again until next Shrovetide. In Germany, it is Fasnacht, and folks will be making doughnuts for the occasion this night (nacht) before the fast.

Seth and I, we will eat our pancakes tonight with festivity and in good spirit, and in the morning, if we have it in us, we will approach that altar to have ashes smeared on our foreheads with the spoken reminder: Remember man that thou are dust and to dust you shall return. We are made of the stuff of this earth and we shall return to it. But the stuff of this earth is made of the stuff of the stars, too, and that is something to ponder. If nothing else, these forty days that follow tonight’s pancake supper will hopefully remind us that life is short, and we would do well to live the time we have with compassion and kindness for our fellow human beings, and to love each day, and, as we like to say here, to live the ceremony of each day, too.

Image: “Spring Excursion” by Béla Iványi-Grünwald. Oil on canvas, 1903 [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons.