Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Fire

Cracker_3

Christmas tree with fire-crackers 2012

Fire is the fourth element for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge. I really needed some time to think about what I want to show you for this element. But again, finally it came to me. I know Christmas season is already gone, but I will write a bit about it. For my husband one of the main characteristics of Christmas is the smell of fire-crackers. I was always afraid of them but he tought me to love them. Therefore, it is also my tradition to light fire-crackers and enjoy them.
Big fire-cracker burned at Christmas at our garden at the movie.

Cracker_1

My “not yet” husband lightning the tree through the years

Cracker_2

Our first and second Christmas

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Christmas 2012

My Posts about Christmas:
PragueChristmasSKOI

Betlémy – nativity scenes
Christmas Market in Prague Old Town
Christmas Crafts Markets in Prague
Czech Christmas Ornaments (Rautis)
Traditional Gingerbreads
Christmas Wish 2012
Family Tradition – Fire-crackers

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

At this very special day I would love to wish you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I would love to thank you all for stopping by at my blog, for your likes and comments. My special thanks belong to subscribers who pushed the Follow button. I hope we will spent another beautiful year with our posts and photos.

Thanks, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2013 to you all

Katy

Big thanks and the best wishes for the coming year

Big thanks and the best wishes for the coming year

My Post about Christmas:
PragueChristmasSKOI

Betlémy – nativity scenes
Christmas Market in Prague Old Town
Christmas Crafts Markets in Prague
Czech Christmas Ornaments (Rautis)
Traditional Gingerbreads
Christmas Wish 2012
Family Tradition – Fire-crackers

Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate

For this week challenge I was considering the meaning of the word “delicate” a lot. First, it meant to me something fragile, elegant, soft, and then sweet, tasty. And finally I found out what I would write about: about our gingerbreads because they are delicate in all meanings of this word and we make them during Christmas Season, so it is the best topic for now :-).

It is very traditional to make small gingerbread cookies in all possible shapes and they are decorated with sugar icing. Families share the recipes and decoration styles, ladies are competing whose gingerbread would be nicer. One of the recipes can be found here.

However, as I bake neither gingerbreads nor even other traditional Czech Cookies (when you havebigger family who does 50 different kinds, you don’t have to participate, you just have to eat it :-)), I can’t put here any pictures from the preparation of the gingerbreads.  I wrote a post about Betlem Exhibition in Prague few days ago and now I will use some shots of gingerbreads from this exhibition as well.

Advent Wreath with 4 candles, waiting for Christmas in Advent time

Advent Wreath with 4 candles, waiting for Christmas in Advent time

Nativity scenes, but also St. Nicolas with Angel and Devils, another Advent tradition

Nativity scenes, but also St. Nicolas with Angel and Devils, another Advent tradition

GIngerbreads for your table and taste

Gingerbreads for your table and taste

Gingerbread Village

Gingerbread Village

Christmas Tree decorations

Christmas Tree decorations

Really piece of art

Real piece of art

GIngerbread forms . different shapes

Gingerbread forms – different shapes

How sold at Christmas Markets

How sold at Christmas Markets

Gingerbread motif used for Bank commercial :-)

Gingerbread motif used for Bank commercial, displey and envelope

My Post about Christmas:
PragueChristmasSKOI

Betlémy – nativity scenes
Christmas Market in Prague Old Town
Christmas Crafts Markets in Prague
Czech Christmas Ornaments (Rautis)
Traditional Gingerbreads
Christmas Wish 2012
Family Tradition – Fire-crackers

Czech Christmas Ornaments

Take a look at our brilliant Christmas tree from 2006 year. It is decorated with traditional Czech ornaments, made from anther of blown glass.

Our Christmas tree, decorated with Rautis decorations

This type of ornaments comes from north Bohemia and was famous during the first half of the 20th century. Still you can find beautiful pieces in anthiques, but they are expensive indeed. I am really sorry that my grandparents throw out a box full of these ornaments sometime in late fifties, you know, the ornaments were not modern at all.

I bought this pot in antique

The decorations are done in all shapes you can think of and even in shapes that you would’t think it is possible at all.

These scales are from antique too

One summer day I decided that we should visit the small Rautis factory, where these beautiful jewels are produced, so we went to Krkonoše, mountains in North Bohemia, the heart of our glass tradition.

The entrance door to the factory shop by the factory in Poniklá

Bigger pieces – tower, carriage, old car, wheel

The process of ornament making constis of few steps. Blowing, silvering, coloring, painting, cutting, assembly. We tried only the first step, which is blowing, it looked quite easy, but our final result didn’t look as we would like to. Then we found out that the blower needs to train for at least 6 months to be able to blow glass beads which do not pop during further processing. And we didn’t have that much time …

My father blowing his first glass anther.

In fact most of the steps can be done at home, so workers often have the own workshops at their buildings. Only silvering and coloring process must be done at fatory, because they are chemical production steps and have to comply with all safety and environmental standards.

Glass anthers (“klaučata”) after silverization

And now colored in blue, but in fact the silver ornaments are my most favorite

The last steps of the process – cutting and assembling can be both done at home. So to support your creativity, you can buy a set to make your own decoration. On the next picture you can enjoy the Christmas decorations, not only the beads one, but also colorful blown decorations done at Rautis factory as well.

Old bicycle, Nativity scene, boat, star and drum, baby-coach and cabin, whole train

All the colors

And finally look at part of my excellent collection.

Stars and flowers and snowflakes – jewels for my Christmas tree

My Post about Christmas:
PragueChristmasSKOI

Betlémy – nativity scenes
Christmas Market in Prague Old Town
Christmas Crafts Markets in Prague
Czech Christmas Ornaments (Rautis)
Traditional Gingerbreads
Christmas Wish 2012
Family Tradition – Fire-crackers

Christmas Crafts Markets in Prague

Every year in the beginning of Advent we are looking forward to Crafts and Pottery Markets at Prague’s Industrial Palace. It is a perfect way to buy gifts for Christmas and to enjoy hundreds and hundreds works of craftsmen from Bohemia, but also from Hungary and Slovakia. The venue of these markets is beautiful itself, as it comes from 1891 year.

Sjezdový palác (Congress Palace),craft markets traditional venue

Průmyslový palác (Industrial Palace), craft markets traditional venue

One hall of the Industrial Palace is full of stalls offering pottery, from object for everyday use as cups and plates and baking forms, to master art pieces.

Baking forms (I like the "four-in-one") and pottery apples

Baking forms (I like the “four-in-one”) and pottery apples

Art pieces and figures

Colorful buffoons, Devil's nativity scene (all the figures are small bells!), angels light holders

Colorful buffoons, Devil’s nativity scene (all the figures are small bells!), angels light holders

Animals

Seal heads for your garden, peacock plates, meerkats/suricates family

Seal heads (life size) for your garden, peacock plates, meerkats/suricates family

So now you saw lot of pottery, but we also have crafts and craftsmen working at the market. For example wood carver

Wood-carvers tools and final product - Nativity scene

Wood-carvers tools and final product – Nativity scene

Or weaver

Weavers works

Weavers works

You can also get your shoes done, by shoemaker.

Leather hand-made shoes, fits perfectly!

Leather hand-made shoes, fits perfectly!

… and even more and more – wool, tide-dyed clothes, wooden toys, farmer’s chees, wines, gingerbreads, decorations, candles and candlesticks … the post will never end if I would like to show you everything. Therefore you have to come and see on your own eyes next year. And maybe your fireplace will look as our one does – after Craft Market’s visit our small “village” displayed at fireplace was extended this year again.

Pottery village with candles in our fireplace at home

Pottery village with candles in our fireplace at home

My Post about Christmas:
PragueChristmasSKOI

Betlémy – nativity scenes
Christmas Market in Prague Old Town
Christmas Crafts Markets in Prague
Czech Christmas Ornaments (Rautis)
Traditional Gingerbreads
Christmas Wish 2012
Family Tradition – Fire-crackers

Christmas Market in Prague Old Town

It’s December and we have entered the time of Advent, waiting period for Christmas. Streets and shops are decorated nicely, a lot of small lights all around. I love Christmas and the shortest days in a year are full of light and color. In Prague we have Christmas markets at most of the squares, small ones or big ones, the atmosphere is quite beautiful. This year the main Christmas Market at Old Town Square started with lightning up the Christmas Tree on Saturday Dec 1st.

Christmas Tree 2012

Christmas Tree 2012

The tree has 22 metres, botanically it is Spruce Fir Graceful and Prague people got it as a gift from a noble family of Colloredo-Mansfeld. It grew up at Western Bohemia close to the village Holoubkov. And now we have it in Prague, nicely decorated with Czech traditional Gingerbreads, a bit oversized, and not for eating, but still very traditional.

Decorations

Decorations

This morning I took a walk to see how the Markets are waking up for new day and I want to share some shots with you.

Morning in Prague Markets

Morning in Prague Markets (click for better view)

At the markets you can buy a lot of stuff connected with Christmas or winter, like tree decorations, caps, scarfs, but also Czech glass, table clothes, wooden toys, sweets and many more. People love to come to have some food, like traditional pig, sausages, chestnuts, trdelník.

Tasty pigglet

Tasty pigglet

You can meet a bellman, who anounces the time for us.

Typical Czech Bellman

Typical Czech Bellman

Finally it started to snow just a little today, look how it looks when there is more snow in Old Town Markets.

White Christmas

White Christmas

You can see how the Markets look like at the evening  at the other set of pictures.

Christmas Lights

Christmas Lights

And the top of Markets is Dec 23, with bell concert, see on vimeo page:

Evening at Christmas Markets

Evening at Christmas Markets

My Post about Christmas:
PragueChristmasSKOI

Betlémy – nativity scenes
Christmas Market in Prague Old Town
Christmas Crafts Markets in Prague
Czech Christmas Ornaments (Rautis)
Traditional Gingerbreads
Christmas Wish 2012
Family Tradition – Fire-crackers

Betlem – Christmas Tradition in Prague

“Human size” nativity scene at Prague Castle bellow the Tower of St. Vitus Cathedral (entrance to the tower at the background)

As Christmas are getting closer, I want to write about one  beautiful tradition in Bohemia, connected to them. It’s called Creches or Betlehem or Crib, in Czech it is Betlem. During Advent time we display nativity scenes in our homes, shops, but also on the streets. They can be made from any possible material and most of them are really beautiful. At some places you can also find living nativity scene with real people and real animals.

Corn leave Creche

Extended corn scene

Standard composition of Creches consists of: new born baby Jesus at the creche with cow and donkey, Joseph and Mary standing by, Angel above with the sign: Gloria in excelsis Deo.

Exhibition in the crypt

Origami on patchwork

We can’t forget about shepherds and sheeps welcoming our Saviour and as the Christmas are getting closer and the holiday of Three Kings is behind the door, three kings are put closer and closer to the creche. During the time we add more and more figures with gifts, children playing in the snow, small animals around.

Poppy heads and lace

In the crypt of Betlehem chappel in Prague there is always an exhibition of creches during Advent time, which worth visiting. For us it is already a part of our family tradition, to visit exhibition, take a short walk through the Old Town and then stop by for drink at Choco Cafe or Tearoom by the Golden Cock.

Scenes from creches exhibition

Pottery version

The tradition of Betlem displaying was founded in 1223 at the court of Italian noble Giovanni di Velita, when he invited Francisco of Assisi to spend Christmas with his family. Francisco wanted to visualise new born baby Jesus in his creches and therefore he prepared the installation for others.

Betlehem Clocks

He changed the cave on the rocky hill to small chappel with nativity scene and invited people from neigborhoud villages for visit it at Christmas Eve. At the midnight the bells rang and the hill glittered with lights how coming people brought their torches for the Christmas Mass.

Wooden Holy family

At the end of the 18th century during the rule of Joseph II a lot of monasteries and churches were closed. Therefore,  craftsmen as painters, woodcarvers snd goldplaters lost their work connected with church decoration.

Wire Betlehem

On the other hand, the nativity scenes displayed in the churches had to go out.
Craftsmen started to make family creches for people and that´s how the creches spread around. Don’t you have one Betlem at home yet? Come to Prague and choose one, you can get one or get the inspiration for a home made one.

Beads

String can be also used

Glass nativity scene

Crochetted one

Glass beads

Colored stone or stove lenghts

Wooden carved case for sale at Christmas Market in Prague

Blueprint, another Czech tradition of fabric coloring

Gingerbread Scene

We have this one at home, I cut it from the paper and then arranged the scene bellow our TV

My Post about Christmas:
PragueChristmasSKOI

Betlémy – nativity scenes
Christmas Market in Prague Old Town
Christmas Crafts Markets in Prague
Czech Christmas Ornaments (Rautis)
Traditional Gingerbreads
Christmas Wish 2012
Family Tradition – Fire-crackers

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