Tag Archives: Words

A Ditty?

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A ditty is a short rhyming song. For example:

A Ditty box was issued to sailors to store their personal belongings or tools

Ordinary Seaman Peter S. Kennedy was my grandfather. He survived WW1 and went on to drive ambulances during WW2. He later became a fireman and was awarded a medal for bravery.

This Ditty box now contains some of my treasures and memories.

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Antiquarian

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  • This is a poem that I wrote some time ago after I’d been to ( yet another) Vintage Fair.

    Antiquarian
    Oh no! I’ve spotted a bygone!
    It came from a life long gone.
    How did it happen? Time goes so fast.
    All those antiques that were made to last.
    My toys long forgotten, up in the loft.
    My Teddy, my dolly all cuddly and soft.
    The boxes of toys for sale at the fair,
    I played with those and Truth and Dare.
    Kick can Lurky was a cheeky game,
    Jacks and Hop Scotch just the same.
    Skipping and tossing against a wall
    Required no effort – not at all.
    Two Balls I played and a hoola hoop.
    Is this why my back has such a stoop?
    Blind Man’s Bluff and Post Man’s Knock
    And I learn the time on a new Tick Tock.
    A monkey money box ate my pennies,
    Golly Wogs and a boy called Dennis.
    Annuals, cigarette cards and penny sweets.
    My life has been full of many treats.
    Oh No! I’ve seen another Antique.
    It was in a mirror! I had only a peek!

    Barbara Taylor (A Vintage Girl from a Vintage World)

Wordsmith Wednesday – Notions

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This is just one definition of the word “notions” as described by Wikipedia. Don’t you just love this word? I think that the joy of certain words comes from a personal association with the meaning. When I hear Notions in this context I imagine all those cotton reels, scissors, quick unpicks, tape measures and so (sew?!) on.

Notions (sewing)
In sewing and haberdashery, notions is an umbrella term for a variety of small objects or accessories. Notions can include items that are sewn or otherwise attached to a finished article, such as buttons, snaps, and collar stays, but the term also includes small tools used in sewing, such as thread, pins, marking pens, and seam rippers. The noun is almost always used in the plural. The term is chiefly found in the United States, and was formerly used in the construction Yankee notions.

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Wordsmith Wednesday – Blackberry vs Bramble

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imageThe blackberry is a bramble

In British English, a “bramble” is any rough (usually wild) tangled prickly shrub—specifically the blackberry bush (Rubus fruticosus)—or any hybrid of similar appearance, with thorny stems. Bramble or brambleberry may also refer to the blackberry fruit or products of its fruit (e.g., bramble jelly). The shrub grows abundantly in all parts of the British Isles and harvesting the fruits in late summer and autumn is often considered a favourite pastime. It can also become a nuisance in gardens, sending down its strong suckering roots amongst hedges and shrubs.

Elsewhere, such as in the United States, the term “bramble” also refers to other members of the Rubus genus, which may or may not have prickly stems—notably the raspberry (Rubus idaeus) or its hybrids. The word comes from Germanic bram-bezi.

Bramble bushes have a distinctive growth form. They send up long, arching canes that do not flower or set fruit until the second year of growth. Brambles usually have trifoliate or palmately-compound leaves.

Bramble fruits are aggregate fruits. Each small unit is called a drupelet. In some, such as the blackberry, the flower receptacle is elongated and part of the ripe fruit, making the blackberry an aggregate-accessory fruit.

Many species are grown and bred for their fruit. Ornamental species can be grown for flowers (e.g. Rubus trilobus), for their ornamental stems (e.g. Rubus cockburnianus) and some as ground cover (e.g. Rubus tricolor). Members of the Rubus genus tend to have a brittle, porous core and an oily residue along the stalk which makes them ideal to burn, even in damp climates. The thorny varieties are sometimes grown for game cover and occasionally for protection.

Most species are important for their conservation and wildlife value in their native range. The flowers attract nectar-feeding butterflies and hoverflies, and are a particular favourite of Volucella pellucens.

Brambles are important food plants for the larvae of several species of Lepidoptera—see list of Lepidoptera that feed on Rubus. The leaves of brambles are often used as a main food source for captive stick insects. Many birds, such as the common blackbird, and some mammals will feed on the nutritious fruits in autumn.

Wordsmith Wednesday -Alpaca Yarn

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Alpaca Yarn

Yarn spun from alpaca wool

Alpaca fleece is the natural fiber harvested from an alpaca. It is light or heavy in weight, depending on how it is spun. It is a soft, durable, luxurious and silky natural fiber. While similar to sheep’s wool, it is warmer, not prickly, and has no lanolin, which makes it hypoallergenic. Alpaca is naturally water-repellent and difficult to ignite. Huacaya, an alpaca that grows soft spongy fiber, has natural crimp, thus making a naturally elastic yarn well-suited for knitting. Suri has no crimp and thus is a better fit for woven goods. The designer Armani has used Suri alpaca to fashion men’s and women’s suits. Alpaca fleece is made into various products, from very simple and inexpensive garments made by the aboriginal communities to sophisticated, industrially made and expensive products such as suits. In the United States, groups of smaller alpaca breeders have banded together to create “fiber co-ops,” to make the manufacture of alpaca fiber products less expensive.

image Alpaca Farm. Cute aren’t they?

Thanks to Wilipedia for the above although I prefer to spell FIBRE the English way!

Wordsmith Wednesday- Art and Craft

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Art

Art is a diverse range of human activities and the products of those activities, usually involving imaginative or technical skill. In their most general form these activities include the production of works of art, the criticism of art, the study of the history of art, and the aesthetic dissemination of art.

Craft

A craft is a pastime or a profession that requires particular knowledge of skilled work. In a historical sense, particularly as pertinent to the Middle Ages and earlier, the term is usually applied to people occupied in small-scale production of goods, or their maintenance, for example by tinkers. The traditional terms craftsman and craftswoman are nowadays often replaced by artisan and rarely by craftsperson (craftspeople).

Arts and Crafts

The Arts and Crafts movement was an international movement in the decorative and fine arts that flourished in Europe and North America between 1880 and 1910, emerging later in Japan in the 1920s. It stood for traditional craftsmanship using simple forms and it often used medieval, romantic or folk styles of decoration. It advocated economic and social reform and has been said to be essentially anti-industrial.Its influence was felt in Europe until it was displaced by Modernism in the 1930s and continued among craft makers, designers and town planners long afterwards.

I am aware that I have defined the word “craft” on this blog before. This is an attempt to differentiate “art” from “craft”. These definitions describe the Arts and Crafts movement or style, as fine art created by crafts persons eg William Morris

imageExamples of William Morris wall paper. Thanks to Wikipedia.

Wordsmith Wednesday – Pointelle

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Pointelle

A friend gave me a knitting pattern of a jumper labelled “Pointelle”. Neither of us knew what this meant so I turned to “Mr Google” for help!

Pointelle is a delicate-looking fabric that is woolen or knitted and has little eyelet holes to create the appearance of lace. The fabric used for a feminine, delicate-looking knitted shirt with little eyelet holes that make the shirt look lacy is an example of pointelle.

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Wordsmith Wednesday- Vertiginous

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vertiginous

adjective
extremely high or steep.
“vertiginous drops to the valleys below”
relating to or affected by vertigo.

I first came across the word “vertiginous” when walking the Levadas of Madeira

Madeira Levada Walks are trails along the paths beside the Levadas (mini-canals).  The Levadas are situated on the steep sided slopes of the mountains and certainly induce vertigo when your eyes are drawn down into the valleys

Wordsmith Wednesday – Paraprosdokians

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Paraprosdokians (Winston Churchill loved them) are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; frequently humorous.

1. Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.

2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on my list.

3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

4. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.

5. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

6. War does not determine who is right – only who is left.

7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

8. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

9. I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

10. In filling out an application, where it says, ‘In case of emergency, Notify’, I put ‘DOCTOR’.

11. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut and still think they are sexy.
(Ever been to WAL MART?)

12. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

13. I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.

14. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

15. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

16. You’re never too old to learn something stupid.

17. I’m supposed to respect my elders, but its getting harder and harder for me to find one now.

Well on that note…….
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Wordsmith Wednesday- Fair Isle Knitting

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As I am having something of a knitting frenzy at the moment I was thinking where Fair Isle Knitting originated from. So here goes……

Fair Isle Knitting

Fair Isle (technique) Fair Isle jumper done in the traditional style, from Fair Isle. Fair Isle is a traditional knitting technique used to create patterns with multiple colours. It is named after Fair Isle, a tiny island in the north of Scotland, that forms part of the Shetland islands.

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