Tag Archives: Canadian traditions

Maple Leaf quilt block flag

Maple Leaf quilt block flag

In honour of our National Flag Day here in Canada, and especially this year, which is the 50th anniversary of the flag, I made my own little quilty version.  And yes, I’m posting it a few days late!  It’s the thought that counts.  Besides, if you decide to make one, it will be great for Canada Day this summer.  Here are some stats that I found on the government website about our Canadian Heritage.  A brief history lesson (it’s good for me since I didn’t grow up in Canada):

According to many historians, the maple leaf began to serve as a Canadian symbol as early as 1700 when, before the coming of the first European settlers, Canada’s aboriginal peoples had discovered the food properties of maple sap, which they gathered every spring.   In August 1860, at a public meeting held in Toronto, the maple leaf was adopted as the national emblem of Canada for use in the decorations for the Prince of Wales’ visit.   In 1914, many Canadian soldiers wore the maple leaf on their military badges, and it was the dominant symbol used by many Canadian regiments serving in the Great World War I.  Red and white were approved as Canada’s official colours in the proclamation of the royal arms of Canada in 1921 by King George V.  In 1964, the Government made the creation of a distinctive Canadian flag a priority.  When Parliament could not reach agreement on the design, the task of finding a national flag was given to an all-party Parliamentary committee.  After considering thousands of proposals for flags submitted by Canadians, the committee chose three final designs.  It was the single leaf, red and white design that the Committee recommended to Parliament. The motion was passed to adopt this design as the National Flag of Canada with a vote of 163 to 78 on December 15, 1964.

On February 15, 1965 our national flag was raised for the first time on Parliament Hill. Canada was just two years away from centennial celebrations when the maple leaf flag was made official by Royal Proclamation. In 1996, February 15 was declared National Flag of Canada Day and has been observed every year since.  February 15, 2015, will mark the 50th anniversary of the National Flag of Canada.

We are a young country, but it still surprised me that our flag is so very young!  I’ll have to ask my Dad if he remembers when the flag was adopted! 😉

In order to celebrate, I searched around online to find a maple leaf quilt block that I could sew up with some cute red fabric my sister gave me.  I found that Anjeanette Klinder had posted a tutorial for a very lovely maple leaf block table runner.  Another cool thing was that her maple leaves were made from charm packs, love that idea, but I as yet have no charm packs!  Anyways, the all-red leaf was what I was going for, you know, for flag day.  So I followed her instructions…mostly.  I’m not so good at quilty math and stuff like that, so the middle point on my leaf didn’t turn out like hers, I kind of just eyeballed it instead of following her geometrical directions! 🙂  I have really been having fun piecing together quilt block designs.  Love the way squares sewn together become fairly easy points and triangles!  Here is a quick step-by-step of how the sewing up of the maple leaf happened (sew and flip):maple leaf quilt block flag by dennasideas.com - Page 001

Then after playing around with the outer edges of the block (should I keep it square?), my daughter liked the more traditional flag-shaped rectangle, so I went for this idea, appliqued a stem, and added jumbo rickrack to the sides (because jumbo rick rack is just so jumbo and awesome!):maple leaf quilt block flag by dennasideas.com - Page 004Quilting powers activate!!!  I’ve been practicing, and this was a great project to practice quilting on.  I don’t have a walking foot or darning foot, so no free-handed stuff!  It’s all start and stop and turn and start, so the straight sides of the leaf were good to practice echo quilting on.maple leaf quilt block flag by dennasideas.com - Page 005I did what Anjeanette suggested and added extra batting under the leaf.  Another close-up.  Hey, not perfect, but great practice, and I just LOVE THE RED AND WHITE!!!maple leaf quilt block flag by dennasideas.com - Page 006maple leaf quilt block flag by dennasideas.com - Page 002I added tabs so we could hang this little flag up on the wall, and there it hangs!  O Canada!  Happy Flag Day!

P.S.  I even used Canadian spelling for this patriotic post!  Did you notice?  (I usually spell American style)

Remembrance Day in Canada


Remembrance Day in Canada marks the anniversary of the official end of the World War I hostilities on November 11, 1918.  Here in Canada, November 11 is officially called Remembrance Day, but it is also known as Armistice Day and Poppy Day. Remembrance Day is observed in many countries, particularly members of the Commonwealth, including Australia and New Zealand (where it is also referred to as Armistice Day). In the United States, Veterans Day falls on the same date. In the United Kingdom, the Sunday closest to November 11 is known as Remembrance Sunday.Remembrance Day poppy, Canadian Nov.11, dennasideas.com

Remembrance Day is symbolized by the red poppy flower.  Artificial poppies are worn in the weeks preceding Remembrance Day and are later placed at war memorials.  Red poppies symbolize the memory of those who died in service to our country and as our symbol, comes from a poem written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, a Canadian doctor. The poem is called In Flanders Fields, written on on May 3, 1915 and describes the poppies growing in the Flemish graveyards where soldiers were buried.In Flanders Fields poem, posted by dennasideas.com

The official Canadian national ceremonies are held at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, Ontario, according to a strict protocol.  A service is held and wreaths are laid by armed services representatives.  In May 2000 the remains of a Canadian soldier who died in France in World War I, but was never  identified, were laid in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the National War Memorial.  Nationally, 2 minutes of silence are observed at 11:00 am.

This year we spent a snowy day at home with the kids, and watched part of the ceremonies on TV, observing the 2 minutes of silence, and then listened to the prayers that were offered while cannons were fired.  It was very moving for me.  I remembered what my grandfathers had done during the war, and we also remembered the military service that Henry’s side of the family has seen.

I had wanted us to watch some old “war movies” and had picked out a couple of classics.  My kids are a little wary of war movies, but they picked the classic movie The Great Escape to watch together since they had seen some of it before, and knew that they would like this one.  I was fine with that, as it has always been a favorite of mine, and I used to really enjoy watching it with my family when I was a kid (gotta love those escape movies!).  Before the movie, we watched some videos about the Canadian military and a vintage U.S. video about the Canadian military (by The Big Picture).  If you are interested, you can find some of the videos we watched on my Canada pinboard here.  (Here’s a photo of my son in some of his Dad’s military gear….not wanting his photo taken)denna's ideas: Remembrance Day

I don’t know why I haven’t thought of this before, but I just decided that in November we will celebrate with poppy seed foods!  Quite fitting, as everyone is wearing their red poppies on their coats and the symbol is displayed everywhere.  I love poppy seed cake!  So we watched our “war”movie while we ate poppy seed cake from my Grandma’s recipe.  I’ve tried a few other recipes since, too.  (Hmm, maybe should add those to the Canada pinboard…)denna's ideas: Remembrance Day poppy seed bundt cakeHere is the recipe for Lemon Poppy Seed Cake that my Grandma used to make.  Nowadays I usually do a made-from-scratch version, as I’m not into cake mixes.  But it tastes yummy either way!  If you want a darker crust on the cake, dust the bundt pan with cocoa instead of flour….  I sprinkled the bundt cake above with poppy seeds after drizzling on the icing (cream cheese icing this time).recipe - Page 007denna's ideas: Remembrance Day poppy seed bundt cakedenna's ideas: Remembrance Day poppy seed bundt cake recipeI know this post is a few weeks late, but better late than never, and as it is still November, there’s still time to watch old war movies and eat poppy seed cake, and remember all the friends and relatives and brave souls who have served in our military, keeping peace across the world.Remembrance Day poppy, Canadian Nov.11, dennasideas.com

A Canadian Thanksgiving…

A Canadian Thanksgiving…

Like I mentioned before, I didn’t grow up celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving…at least not very often.  I grew up in Guatemala, in a mainly American and Guatemalan community, so we weren’t exposed to many Canadian traditions back then.  Now that I live in Canada and have my own little family, I’ve tried to start a few of our own “Canadian” traditions for our October Thanksgiving celebrations.  The other day I saw a quote that said “My favorite color is October!” and I totally agree!  I just love everything about fall in Western Canada!  Our biggest tradition so far is having my siblings come to our house for Thanksgiving weekend, and I try and put together a Thanksgiving meal.  Here are a few photos from our Thanksgiving this year…
A Canadian Thanksgiving by dennasideas.comA Canadian Thanksgiving by dennasideas.comWe made cookie place cards and chocolate acorns for the table-settings.  And yes, we actually ate at the dining room table….I finally got my stuff cleared off it.  It happens about once a year, for Thanksgiving (maybe possibly for Christmas).  Now that it is cleared off, every time we’ve eaten there recently I feel like we need to have a really delicious dessert after every meal….
A Canadian Thanksgiving by dennasideas.comThe moose is to represent our relatives who live in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and just Canada in general.  The tablecloth and place-mats are from Guatemala, to remember our family in Guatemala.
A Canadian Thanksgiving by dennasideas.comThe cornucopia celebrates a good harvest and being thankful for abundance, good food and fall!A Canadian Thanksgiving by dennasideas.comI am so not an expert cooking meat or poultry….and have only cooked about 3 turkeys in my life….so our turkey was fairly amateurish (and would you believe, last minute?).  No time for a fancy bed of yumminess for this birdie…  I’m finding it really hard work to get a fancy meal cooked, put together and on the table….(really hard, that’s why I have to take a lot of photos of when it actually happens!)
A Canadian Thanksgiving by dennasideas.comThis is the part where I feel a little lot more comfortable….the desserts.   Though I kind of lost my Mom’s pie crust recipe this year, so had to go on a big search….I think I found one close enough that it tasted the same (we use the old-fashioned version that uses an egg and vinegar).  Yummy pumpkin pie!!  Though we grew up eating a different kind–carrots disguised as pumpkin, since pumpkins were scarce in Guatemala for some reason…
A Canadian Thanksgiving by dennasideas.com, pumpkin pie with chocolate acornsA tradition that I’ve started in the last few years is making Linzer cookies for Thanksgiving.  This year I cut out moons, and decided they looked like mouths, so added some eyes for some cute little critter cookies.  I used a new Linzer cookie recipe with ground up pecans this year, but wasn’t sure if I liked the pecans in the dough.  I’ll try and find another recipe next year.  Do you have a recipe for Linzer cookies that you’d like to share?
A Canadian Thanksgiving by dennasideas.com, linzer cookies with raspberry jam and pecansWe watched the cartoon A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and I just happened to have Charlie Brown’s ingredients on hand, so made up a plate for the kids….pretzel sticks, popcorn, jellybeans, and buttered toast!!  🙂
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving meal by dennasideas.comI like to have visual textual reminders of the season…..like a framed Thanksgiving printable
Thanksgiving printable by dennasideas.com, easy Fall Decor ideas from denna's ideas! The best part is sharing a delicious meal with family and remembering to live in an attitude of gratitude to God, for Him and all His blessings.A Canadian Thanksgiving by dennasideas.com