We have had a couple in our garden this year and I try to encourage them to visit with bird feeders crammed full of peanuts and sunflower seeds. However, the local squirrels seem to have other ideas at the moment and I have to say the squirrels are winning.. The squirrels are growing rather large on their peanut and sunflower diet, as is the amount of money I am spending on bird food!
We are making felt robin tree decorations in our sewing clubs in preparation for Christmas and I was asked by one girl why we associate robins with Christmas. To be honest I wasn't enirely sure so I decided to do some research. It seems that the jolly looking robin is steeped in folklore and here are some of the facts I have discovered:
- In Norse mythology the Robin is associated with Thor the god of thunder and if you spotted one a thunderstorm was supposed to be on the way.
- An old British folktale tells of how the robin used to be fully brown until it flew too close to Jesus on the cross and was stained with his blood and since that point it had it's distinguishing feature - the red breast.
- The more probable reason that we have for associating robins with Christmas time comes from the Victorian era as do most of our Christmas traditions in the UK. In Victorian times British postmen wore red uniforms and their nickname was "Robins". The robins that began to be shown on Christmas cards were an emblem of the people delivering them.
My felt robin is round, fat, jolly and ready to bring a smile at Christmas. It is made from two simple brown felt "robin" shapes with a bright red breast sewn on to the front using white thread and blanket stitch to give the effect of the white edge that you will see around a robin's red breast. A small black button for the eye and a wing is added with blanket stitch. The edges can be sewn using running, over or blanket stitch. It contains a small amount of toy stuffing to add some depth. Looking forward to hanging him on the tree in a few weeks time.