Friday, 21 December 2012

Seven Days of Yule

 ~ by Kendal

Today is Yule – that is, it’s the Winter Solstice. Not being pagans, we’ve never celebrated Yule before last year, when we began to take more notice of the passing seasons and the varying ways we could celebrate their influences in our unschooling life.

Like many people, we found our own way to celebrate both Yule and Christmas – for us, the days around this time of year are about celebrating what has passed and what will come, and more than anything, it’s about giving thanks for as much as possible.

Yule is traditionally celebrated as a symbol of joy and hope amongst the darkest days of Winter, and it often signifies a passing over from one year to the next – when the days will get longer and more light will once again come into our life.

It appealed to us for many reasons. We too wanted to find a way to acknowledge the darkness and beauty of Winter, whilst looking forward to the light and possibility of a new year. The emphasis Yule has on simplicity and on handmade gifts, and on giving thanks for those around us, held a particular attraction

And so this year, since we wanted the whole of December to be as magical and festive as possible, I came up with the idea of Seven Days of Yule, where we would, as a family, spend the seven days leading up to the Solstice taking time to consider all the things we are grateful for – whether that be things in the past year, or things happening right now. Everyday we would try to make something – something simple or handmade, and every day we would take time to talk about what we are most excited about right now.

Today, I’d like to share our Seven Days of Yule with you, in both words and images.

Saturday 15th December

On the first of our seven days, I was grateful for the time to make for those I love. It was a busy, full day and I was so thankful for that – for the time spent listening to music and sewing. For my husband whose endless patience and generosity allows me to have as much time as I need, whenever I need it. To Sam, the other half of MamaMake, for guiding me through more knitting and for throwing around more exciting ideas about our new line.

Sunday 16th December

On the second of our seven days, Ava was rather unwell so we had to cancel the plans that we’d made. I was disappointed at first – the gifts I’d made were undelivered, the food I’d bought uncooked. But I spent a lot of the day snuggling my little one and getting some rest – not something I have been giving myself a lot these days – and I was grateful for that. Thankful for the quiet moments, which were unexpectedly needed today.

Monday 17th December

Today, the third day, was such a good day. Ava’s cold disappeared by lunch. I gave my house a good, deep clean (much needed after the making and lurgy of the weekend). In the evening, we saw good friends and exchanged some Yule gifts with them. We ate delicious food and talked about our babies and how ridiculously nuts we are about them. It felt perfect to be with such people in this kind of time, when the warmth and comfort of your home provides the perfect setting for laughter and the excited frothing of ideas. Ava got to play with Ivy, who she adores, and I got to snuggle with baby Billy. And my Yule gift from them was 43 vintage patterns from the 60’s and 70’s. It was a perfect night, all in all.

Tuesday 18th December

On this day, my quest to be mindful was a challenge, for sure. But I was thankful for the opportunity to be productive, for the three bubble dresses finished and handed over to customers. For the reversible trousers for a lovely little girl finally completed. For the cloak wrapped and crown made in the evening. And I was grateful for the in between moments with Ava, where we played and made. Yes, it was busy and oh so tiring, but nothing is as satisfying as the feeling of producing something you’re really proud of.

Wednesday 19th December

On our 5th day of Yule I was thankful for time spent with friends. We played and talked about our growing babies (the ones who are toddlers, and the ones in our tummies) and I discovered how hard it is to hug another pregnant lady. It was a much needed break from all the making that has been happening.  In the evening I did nothing but eat chocolate, talk to Howard, and write. My body needed to rest, and I needed to listen.

Thursday 20th December

Today we watched Mary Poppins and danced, ate butternut squash, chickpea and spinach dhal for dinner, then I made Ava’s Solstice jammies out of some warm fleecy cotton. I finished her apron to go with her Christmas gift – a wooden kitchen – and I made list upon list of all the things to get done before Howard’s two week holiday begins tomorrow.

Today we played a lot and painted and drew.

And I was thankful that, for the first time, Ava felt Ezra kick in my tummy. And thankful for the two weeks we will get to spend together, over this magical time, as a family.

Friday 21st December

Today we lounged in bed for a while and snuggled.

Then we came down, made tea and Ava said hello to the world.

Soon, we will be going for our Solstice walk, where we will gather twigs, berres, pine cones. We have plans to see friends in town and to collect some bits and bobs for our Yule feast tonight. We will bake this afternoon and I will do as much cleaning and sorting as possible. We will light a candle when Howard comes home from work that will burn through our Yule meal, which we will share with good friends. We will light this candle every day until Christmas.

After dinner we will give Ava her Solstice present – Mama made jammies, a new mug and special hot chocolate, and her Solstice book this year – ‘A First Book of Nature’

Today I am thankful for the past year, the first half of which was incredibly hard and challenging, and the second half of which has been exciting, lovely and full of hope.

Today I will think of those hard times and let them go. They belong to another time now. Today I will think of all the things we have to look forward to next year. The things I might write. The things I will make. The excitement of working with a talented friend to propel our business forward. I will think of what it will be like to be a bridesmaid heavily pregnant, and then to be a bridesmaid with a small baby, celebrating the weddings of both these dear friends.

More than anything else, I will think of the people I am thankful for, and the hope that I have more time to spend with them next year. I will think of who Ezra might be, and how incredible it will be to meet him and to watch him and Ava grow together. I will give thanks for the gift of family and friends and the people who are constant in my life, who remains close, no matter how far they may travel.


In winter
    all the singing is in
         the tops of the trees
              where the wind-bird

with its white eyes
    shoves and pushes
         among the branches.
              Like any of us

he wants to go to sleep,
but he's restless—
         he has an idea,
              and slowly it unfolds

from under his beating wings
as long as he stays awake
         But his big, round music, after all,
             is too breathy to last.

So, it's over.
In the pine-crown
         he makes his nest,
              he's done all he can.

I don't know the name of this bird,
I only imagine his glittering beak
         tucked in a white wing
              while the clouds—

which he has summoned
from the north—
         which he has taught
              to be mild, and silent—

thicken, and begin to fall
into the world below
         like stars, or the feathers
              of some unimaginable bird

that loves us,
    that is asleep now, and silent—
         that has turned itself
              into snow.

Mary Oliver


We’d like to wish you all a wonderful Yule and Christmas, and give our sincere thanks to you for reading these past few months. We will be taking a break in January to restock and regather ourselves. In the meantime, you can catch up with Kendal at her other blog, Ava and the Snowman or see some sneak peaks of MamaMake’s new line launching in January. You can catch up with Emi and see what she is working on at MamaPixie.


  1. Lovely post my darling, and great photos

  2. Yuletide blessings to both of you.

    Lovely post for Yule x

  3. What a sweet post, thank you for sharing your week! I can't wait to see your new Mama Make clothes.

    Where did you get that wooden puzzle from?

    1. It's a beautiful handmade gift from our friends - and Callum is doing an apprenticeship in woodwork so he can make all sorts of beautiful things!

      It's made from oak and is the loveliest shapes, I adore it! I think he will hopefully go into making such things (and maybe even wooden kitchens too, if we can persuade him!) once he is finished.


  4. What a busy week you've had! I do hope you're finding time to rest. I don't know how you fit it all in!

    Happy Yule to you too, and enjoy the break x

    1. Not very well, and I end up exhausting myself and getting in trouble! I'm not a good example of taking it easy - I'm just off to town to do and get lots! But after today...I can rest a little more :)


  5. Oh my I love those dresses and that tutu! Ava is a very lucky girl,

    Annie x

  6. Loved seeing your photos, thanks for sharing. And I love love love all the things you've been making! So talented. Handmade whimsy indeed! You're such a romantic :)

  7. You're taking a break? Interesting! Well I wish you both a Merry Christmas and I look forward to reading more 'Ava and the Snowman'

    1. Thank you, I will certainly be there a lot more from this point onwards.

      Also, I wanted to reassure you your comments are being seen and read, however it us up to each of us individually whether we publish comments, and if a comment seems too negative, we tend not to. Thank you for taking the time to comment.


    2. Thank you for letting me know, I assumed as much. I understand why comments deemed negative wouldn't be published, but to pretend that it hasn't been received in the first place is dishonest and childish. Again, not what I'd have expected from a site I presumed to be taking itself seriously.

      I wish you well with your other blog and I will happily keep reading it.

  8. I was going to ask where you got that puzzle but I see someone else already has! I would buy this, definitely.

    What about your dollshouse?

    And those dresses are to die for. I love the picture of Ava's friend doing up her dress.

    I can't wait to see more, but I wish you a restful January! And a very happy Yule x

    1. I think that it's originally from Early Learning Centre (surprisingly!) but we got our from Gumtree :) I've never seen them in ELC although I don't go in that often - your best bet is to check eBay and Gumtree as I've seen a few on there actually. I believe Emi just got the same one from another selling site on Facebook.

      And...thank you! I will let Callum know his puzzle is proving very attractive :)


  9. Beautiful making lady, and Solstice blessings to you and Emi xx

  10. I am totally in love with your children's clothes and will be ordering so much from you at the end of January once Greig gets paid. Fair warning! And Merry Christmas!

    1. :) I am excited to launch our new line...there's lots more coming soon! We have lots of orders for January already so end of January is perfect! I look forward to hearing from you :) Feel free to PM me on facebook or such and we can chat clothes and colours and yummy clothes!


  11. Oh I love your gorgeous clothing. Your new line is STUNNING. Love the new website and can't wait to see more. You are SO talented. Where do you find the time?!?


  12. Why have you two stopped writing your lovely blog? Was really enjoying it! Please come back!

    S xx