Category Archives: Book of Days Calendar

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.



Midsummer, or Your June Book of Days

June begins quietly each year. My theory about this? Well, historically speaking, June is the height of planting season in most parts of the Northern Hemisphere, and so there just never was much time for celebrating. The first somewhat major thing to come up on the calendar each June is the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua toward the middle of the month. I always figure, then, there is no rush to load the month’s calendar, and but here it comes now, a few days late… but that is by design. And so, here you go: your Convivio Book of Days calendar for June. It is, as usual, a PDF document, ready to print on standard letter size paper, and a fine companion to this blog.

Our cover star this month is a painting from 1900 called “Midsommar.” Eva Bonnier (1857–1909) is the artist, depicting a scene perhaps common to June in Sweden a century ago, and, I’d like to think, still today. The old midsummer celebrations that come around the summer solstice and St. John’s Eve are important to a land of midnight suns. And why wouldn’t they be? Come solstice time the sun will rise over Stockholm at about 3:40 AM and not set again until two hours before midnight. That’s a good 19 hours of daylight. Of course, at midwinter the opposite is true. Stockholm and Oslo and Helsinki and Lapland and all the areas around the Arctic Circle are places of extreme when it comes to darkness and light. It’s only natural that these auspicious solar demarkations are met with celebration. It is something that has always fascinated me, here at the 25th parallel, where things are on a much more even keel throughout the year.

It is the month of Bloomsday and of midsummer night’s dreams, and the month we honor our fathers here in the States. It is when the first mown hay is brought in, and when the water is finally warm enough for swimming. June is our welcome to the gentle time of year.

At the catalog, all summer long, we’ll take $5 off your purchase of $35 when you enter discount code HIGH5 at checkout: it’s our Summer High Five Sale. Get your total to $50 and you’ll earn free domestic shipping, too, for a total savings of $13.50. We’ve also received our last shipment of protective face masks from Chiapas and reduced the price, too: Originally $16.50, now $10. Three cheers for science! Hurrah for vaccinations! Vaccinated though we are, we are still wearing our masks in public settings. It’s been awfully nice not catching even a simple head cold this past year. We’ve been adding other new things, too, mostly new embroidered textiles from that same family in Chiapas, as they transition from mask-making to their more traditional woven and embroidered wares. There are new loom-woven market bags with their signature Otomi hand embroidery, and embroidered table runners, and a delightful new pom pom garland that makes us so happy to behold. Everything they make is really beautiful. Click here to shop!

Convivio Book of Days cover star image: “Midsommar” by Eva Bonnier. Oil on canvas, 1900 [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons. Summer High Five Sale image: my mom, Millie, fishing on a lake.


May Day, and Your May Book of Days

I like to picture the elliptical orbit of our planet around the sun as the very wheel of the year I so often talk about, and maybe that’s not so far-fetched: perhaps that is the very idea from which the the wheel originates. In this circle around the sun, we find ourselves today at the spoke of the wheel opposite where we were at Hallowe’en: there, we were halfway between autumnal equinox and midwinter solstice, and now here we are, halfway between the vernal equinox and the midsummer solstice. It is the cross quarter day known as Beltane, or, more popularly, May Day. It is a time we mostly ignore here in the States, and we are pretty good at that: ignoring sacred days. I am pretty certain it’s yet another loss we can pin on our country’s Puritan roots, for guess what? The Puritans hated May Day as much as they hated Christmas. May poles and floral nosegays, along with Christmas revelry and days of rest: all of these things were not for them. To make matters even worse, May Day in the past century became associated with labor and workers and (gasp) Communism!… so it became even further removed from the American vernacular.

As usual, I feel we are the poorer for this disconnect. May Day celebrates the height of spring, or even (by traditional reckoning of time) the start of summer. It is a time to be outdoors night and day, a time to bring wild blooms indoors (bringing in the May), a time to revel in an awakening earth. Where our thoughts and outlook at the opposite cross quarter day turned downward, beneath the earth, with May Day we emerge and focus our energies on things above the earth: we revel in greenery and flowers and we spend more time outdoors. We enter the gentle time of year, a time of brightness and light and long days in the Northern Hemisphere.

Your Convivio Book of Days calendar for May celebrates this, too. Cover star: a book illustration for May Day by Kate Greenaway, late 19th century. The calendar is a fine companion to this blog; it’s a printable PDF so you can print it and pin it to your bulletin board or stick it on the refrigerator, if you wish. Happy May!