Making a St.Brigid’s cross, is an ancient tradition in Ireland, people young and old make these crosses from rushes of which there are plenty growing around the country. Tradition has it that the cross will protect the house from fire, hunger and evil if hung above the door. You can often still see them hanging in halls of houses. St.Brigid or as she is known “Mary of the Gael” is the patroness of Ireland, she was born in 450 A.D.

It is also suggested that this cross has pre-Christian origins and is related to the sun cross. The first of February is when St.Brigid’s day is celebrated, this is also the ancient Irish celebration of ‘Imbolc’ which marks the beginning of spring, and indeed spring starts on the first of February in Ireland! (According to the behaviour of the birds this morning in our garden, this must be about right).
Actually Wikipedia gives a real good write up about St.Brigid cross and that is why I am adding a link to it, far more information than I could know or share here, so enjoy if you are interested.

I have added some photos to show how the cross is made on request of some of my nice friends that follow my blog.  I made some of these crosses tonight. Went to pick the rushes earlier and kept them from drying out, this is important to work with them easily if not using straight away.

So here goes, I will do my best to describe:
First you hold one rush vertical in your hand, and you add another rush with your other hand bending it in the middle and sliding it across the vertical rush as seen in pic 2.  you then turn the vertical rush either clock-wise or anti clock-wise depending on whether you are right or left handed.  You keep adding one rush at the time constantly turning the original rush, you keep a tight hold of them.  When you have added enough and it becomes like pic 6 then you have to cut the ends but be careful as the whole thing might jump loose, so hold tight, fix an elastic band around the end and repeat this with all four sides.  Your cross is now ready to hang up.

I hope the explanation will do, and if you try I hope you have much fun.

The rushes or reeds used to make these crosses are called;

Soft Rush or Juncus effuses.




Sunday is my day of rest, I indulge in all sort of frivolous pastimes. Of late I have taken an interest in recycling crockery, our town here has six charity shops and there is always something to find, some treasure. I like to buy cups and saucers with patterns in blue and white, they look clean and cool. So I snapped some photos of my acquisitions.

The fine blue flowers of this cup look delicate against the shiny white porcelain, I found the cup and saucer separate from the plate, this was lucky.  The porcelain was made in Bavaria, Germany.  It’s called Winterling Renaissance Pattern China.  I use it everyday as I do not believe in saving or storing things away.

Some of the other cups and saucers I obtained were made in England, in Staffordshire and they are Ironstone.  It is a type of vitreous pottery, it was  first made in the early 19th century.  You can plainly see that it is different from the Bavarian porcelain, more robust, but I like both.  They are called Ironstone because of their durability.



I particularly like this design, it’s also Ironstone, made in England.  For some reason my grandfather in Belgium had a tea set of this, the cups are larger than average and I remember the black coffee that was poured out of the everlasting ‘koffiepot’ which was constantly on the stove brewing, the coffee beans having been grinded in a ‘koffiemolen’, and put in a cotton bag that was hanging in the pot, a delicious aroma filling the room.  Good memories.


Here is another fine pure white cup and saucer, incredibly I found both cup and saucer separately again.  It is a rather small cup and it has no markings on it whatsoever.


More Ironstone ware, all found separately and paid less than €1 for the lot.  They get used everyday, and great pleasure is got from the colour combination and a cheerful table setting.


Here are a selection of plates and saucers.  The colourful porcelain plate has markings which places it in Bohemia.  The others are English Ironstone.

I particularly like the idea of recycling as much as we can, it’s fun looking for the stuff, and it really does save resources of the planet.  Seeing that a town of 2000 people can have six charity shops where people constantly get rid of their surplus ‘stuff’ it shows that there is an enormous amount of surplus around.  Re-using things is a good idea.

Apart from all that, I must say that I really enjoy hunting around in the charity shops, having decided that I need such and such items.  At this moment I am still on the look out for blue and white patterned crockery, it will give me innocent pleasure for a while yet.



Between, the baking, the decorating of the speculaas (a Flemish/Dutch Sint.Niklaas spicy biscuit), making the Christmas stars, the story reading, and watching a video about puppies, the girls had a great time, we also sang some songs together and before we knew it the day was over and it was time for the girls to go home.  I’m just sitting down after cleaning up the kitchen 🙂 and now for a relaxing evening.  The stars are still drying and were not ready for taking home.  I also managed in-between to make my wreath for the front door, something that I should have done days ago.  A happy day had by all.

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