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Let’s Celebrate May!

Let’s all celebrate the gorgeous month of May! The Sun is warming, the birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, and the garden is growing.

May’s birthstone is the emerald.

A few fun facts about emeralds:

  • The emerald is a green type of beryl. Its color ranges from light to rich green; the more saturated hues are more valuable, especially if pure- or blue-green. 
  • Natural emeralds are flawed, with fractures or other materials mixed in, called inclusions, which may appear as needles, columns, or cubes of minerals or bubbles of gas or liquid. Sometimes oil or resin is added to fill fractures and improve appearance.
  • Some of the best emeralds come from South American mines, although perhaps the oldest known came from Egypt. The emerald was a favorite gem of Cleopatra.
  • The emerald symbolizes rebirth and fertility and was thought to grant foresight, cure various diseases, soothe nerves, improve memory, and ensure loyalty.

One superstition that surrounds May is that it was considered an incredibly ill -omened time to get married. There’s an adage for it actually, which goes: “Marry in May and you’ll rue the day.” It’s not clear where exactly the saying comes from, but there must have been a pretty good reason not to get married in one of the most beautiful months of the year! May isn’t just a bad time to get married, though. There’s the Cornish superstition that buying a new broom in May is unlucky. Oh, and apparently, you shouldn’t wash any blankets either!

Today many people have chosen to use their quilting talents to create lovely quilts for people getting married in May. The May Day Baskets Quilt designed by Jenny of Missouri Quilt Co, The Tutorial is available for free. Jenny Doan demonstrates how to make a quick and easy flower basket quilt block using 2.5 inch strips of precut fabric (jelly rolls) and coordinating yardage. For this project she chose Burgundy & Blush 2.5″ Strips by Maywood Studio. She also used Clearly Perfect Slotted Trimmers A and B by Kari Carr for New Leaf Stitches.

“May” is likely named for the Roman goddess Maia, who oversaw the growth of plants. Alternatively, the name might have come from the Latin maiores, “elders,” who were celebrated now. May used to have a very different name in Old English. Back then, the month was referred to as the “month of three milkings.” Unsurprisingly, this meant that during this month, you could milk your cows up to three times per day! For many centuries, the 1st of May—May Day—has been a day of festive celebration for people everywhere. Two traditions long associated with May are Maypole dancing and May-baskets.

The Merry, Merry Month of May

I was strolling through the park one day, in the merry, merry month of May. This is a line from a very old Irish folk song, called “The Fountain in the Park.” I remember my grandmother singing this little ditty to me when I was younger.

Her songs still bring a smile to my face. There was “How Much is That Doggie in the Window?” “Does your bubblegum lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight?” “I’ve got a hot-rod Ford and a two-dollar bill…” and “In your Easter Bonnet”

My grandmother did not have the easiest life, by any stretch. But, what a beautiful thing that amid the pain and difficulties – she took the time to sing and sew.

It wasn’t until I got older that I realized just how strong and amazing she was. And not because she persevered through battles. There must have been times she became exhausted under the strain…questioned her resolve. But, because- through it all…she sang. What a beautiful example.

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