Twig Trivet

Twig Trivet

What you need:
•Lots of Sticks
• Corrugated cardboard
• Natural jute, 4-ply, #72 (optional)
• Pruning shears or sharp craft knife
• Ruler
• Pencil
• Scissors
• Waxed paper
• Craft stick
• Tacky glue

What you do:
Step 1: Ask an adult to help you use pruning shears (or a sharp craft knife) to cut the sticks into three-inch lengths. Use sticks that are as straight as possible. You will need about 25 to 30 pieces.
Step 2: Measure and cut a piece of cardboard into a 6-inch square.
Step 3: Place the cardboard square onto waxed paper. Scoop glue from bottle with the craft stick and spread glue in a thick layer over entire cardboard surface.
Step 4: Lay the sticks in a parquet pattern (see photograph, below). Place the sticks as close to each other as possible. Let glue dry completely.
Step 5: Squeeze a thick line of glue around the outside edge of the trivet. Starting in the center of a side, place the jute in the glue and press firmly to the edge of the trivet.When you reach the beginning of the jute, overlap the ends slightly. Let the glue dry

Statue of Liberty

Statue of liberty

On July 4, 1884 France presented the United States with an incredible birthday gift: the Statue of Liberty! Without its pedestal it’s as tall as a 15-story building. She represents the United States. But the world-famous Statue of Liberty standing in New York Harbor was built in France. The statue was presented to the U.S., taken apart, shipped across the Atlantic Ocean in crates, and rebuilt in the U.S. It was France’s gift to the American people.
It all started at dinner one night near Paris in 1865. A group of Frenchmen were discussing their dictator-like emperor and the democratic government of the U.S. They decided to build a monument to American freedom—and perhaps even strengthen French demands for democracy in their own country. At that dinner was the sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi (bar-TOLE-dee). He imagined a statue of a woman holding a torch burning with the light of freedom.
The Statue of Liberty, known officially as “Liberty Enlightening the World,” was designed by French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and funded completely through donations from the French people.
After Bartholdi finalized the design in miniature, the statue itself was created using wooden molds, a copper shell, and an iron structure designed by Gustave Eiffel, who later built the Eiffel Tower.
On July 4, 1884, the 151-foot-tall, 225-ton Statue of Liberty was delivered to the American Ambassador in Paris. In order to transport Lady Liberty to New York, the statue was dismantled into 300 pieces and packed into 214 wooden crates.
Unfortunately, a lack of funds in the United States delayed the building of the pedestal. Fund-raising efforts stalled until Joseph Pulitzer, publisher of “The World” newspaper and noted for the Pulitzer Prize, decided to use his newspaper to push Americans to donate. The Statue was finally re-assembled on her new pedestal and dedicated on October 28, 1886.
The Statue of Liberty celebrates her birthday on October 28th in honor of the day she was officially accepted by the president of the United States in 1886.
Fast Facts
• Engineer Gustave Eiffel, who would later design the Eiffel Tower in Paris, designed Liberty’s “spine.” Inside the statue four huge iron columns support a metal framework that holds the thin copper skin.
• Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi knew he wanted to build a giant copper goddess; he used his mother as the model.
• The statue—151 feet, 1 inch (46 meters, 2.5 centimeters) tall—was the tallest structure in the U.S. at that time.
• The arm holding the torch measures 46 feet (14 meters); the index finger, 8 feet (2.4 meters); the nose, nearly 5 feet (1.5 meters).
• The statue is covered in 300 sheets of coin-thin copper. They were hammered into different shapes and riveted together.
•The statue sways 3 inches (7.62 centimeters) in the wind; the torch sways 5 inches (12.7 centimeters).
• Visitors climb 354 steps (22 stories) to look out from 25 windows in the crown.
• Seven rays in the crown represent the Earth’s seven seas and seven continents.

Columbus Day

Columbus day

Columbus Day, which is annually on the second Monday of October, remembers Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the Americas on October 12, 1492.
One of the first known celebrations marking the discovery of the “New World” by Christopher Columbus was in 1792, when a ceremony organized by the Colombian Order was held in New York City honoring Christopher Columbus and the 300th anniversary of his landing in the Bahamas. Then, on October 12, 1866 the Italian population of New York organized the first celebration of the discovery of America. Three years later, in 1869 Italians in San Francisco celebrated October 12 calling it C-Day.
To mark the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage, in 1892, President Benjamin Harrison made a commemorative proclamation. But it was Colorado, in 1905, that became the first state to observe a Columbus Day. Since 1920 the day has been celebrated annually, and in 1937 President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed every October 12 as Columbus Day. That’s where it remained until 1971 when Congress declared it a federal public holiday on the second Monday in October.
Christopher Columbus (1451 – 1505)
A child of poor wool tradesman from Genoa, Italy, Christopher’s childhood dream was to live on sea. When he was 23 he took part in a big sea voyage – in the Mediterranean; two years later he saw the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. He settled in Portugal and became a merchant sailor in the Portuguese fleet. His most significant voyage was to Iceland through Ireland.
Between 1477 and 1482 Columbus made merchant voyages as far away as Iceland and Guinea. But in 1484, his “Enterprise of the Indies” idea fell on deaf ears when he presented it to King John of Portugal. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Spain, where King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella became more interested in his adventuresome ideas.
To the New World
On August 2, 1492, Columbus set sail in search of the East Indies. The voyage was financed by Ferdinand and Isabella by making the city of Palos pay back a debt to the crown by providing two of the ships, and by getting Italian financial backing for part of the expenses. The crown had to put up very little money from the treasury.
Columbus and 90 crewmen boarded the three ships that were to make the first voyage to the New World, the Niña, Pinta, and the flagship, Santa Maria. On October 12, 1492, Columbus first saw the islands of the new world, landing in the Bahamas. Later in the month, he would sail to Cuba, and to Hispaniola (now Haiti). He thought he had reached the East Indies, the islands off Southeast Asia.
What was not realized by Columbus, was just how big a globe it was. Columbus seriously underestimated the size of the planet.
Seaworthy Cuisine
The menu for Spanish seamen consisted of water, vinegar, wine, olive oil, molasses, cheese, honey, raisins, rice, garlic, almonds, sea biscuits, dry legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, beans, salted and barreled sardines, anchovies, dry salt cod and pickled or salted meats (beef and pork), salted flour.
Food, mostly boiled, was served in a large communal wooden bowl. It consisted of poorly cooked meat with bones in it, the sailors attacking it with fervor, picking it with their fingers as they had no forks or spoons. The larger pieces of meat were cut with the knife each sailor carried. Fish was eaten most often. On calm days, the crew would fish and then cook their catch.
Return to Spain and Additional Voyages
On Christmas Day, 1492, the Santa Maria sank off Hispaniola. Columbus departed for Spain on January 16, 1493 on the Niña, arriving there on March 4.
Columbus made three additional voyages to the New World. The second voyage set sail in September, 1493, with 17 ships. During his expeditions, he helped to colonize Hispaniola, and discovered the South American mainland. He did not, however, see mainland North America during any of his voyages.
He returned to Spain for the last time on November 7, 1504. He died at Valladolid, Spain on May 20, 1506, at the age of 55.
Even though Columbus will always be “the Discoverer of America” to most people, nowadays more and more scientists support the thesis that the first European to reach the New World was in fact Leifur Eriksson who went from Iceland to North America in 11th century.

Labor Day History

Labor Day History

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
Founder of Labor Day
More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.
Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”
But Peter McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.
The First Labor Day
On September 5, 1882 the first Labor Day parade was held in New York City. Twenty thousand workers marched in a parade up Broadway. They carried banners that read “LABOR CREATES ALL WEALTH,” and “EIGHT HOURS FOR WORK, EIGHT HOURS FOR REST, EIGHT HOURS FOR RECREATION!” After the parade there were picnics all around the city. Workers and celebrants ate Irish stew, homemade bread and apple pie. At night, fireworks were set off. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

Victory Day

Vicoty Day

Victory Day, marking the defeat of Nazi Germany, is Russia’s most important secular holiday.On this day, TV networks broadcast World War II-inspired films, younger generations honor veterans, and the festivities culminate in a military parade at Moscow’s Red Square.
Victory Day or 9 May marks the capitulation of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union in the Second World War (also known as the Great Patriotic War in the Soviet Union and all post-Soviet states). It was first inaugurated in the fifteen republics of the Soviet Union, following the signing of the surrender document late in the evening on 8 May 1945 (after midnight, thus on 9 May, by Moscow Time). It happened after the original capitulation that Germany earlier agreed to the joint Allied forces of the Western Front. The Soviet government announced the victory early on 9 May after the signing ceremony in Berlin. Field-Marshal Wilhelm Keitel submitted the capitulation of the Wehrmacht to Marshal Georgy Zhukov in the Soviet Army headquarters in Berlin-Karlshorst. To commemorate the victory in the war, the ceremonial Moscow Victory Parade was held in the Soviet capital on 24 June 1945 (four years and two days after the beginning of Operation Barbarossa – the invasion of the Soviet Union).
The war in Russia was to change the course of World War Two in Europe. In June 1941, World War Two witnessed what was then the largest land attack in history  -’Operation Barbarossa’. A vast Nazi force used Blitzkrieg to devastating effect on the Russian Army. Hitler had long made it clear that he hated the Russians and that war between the two countries was inevitable. The Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939 had only delayed what Hitler was apparently planning even when the Battle of Britain was at its height. He believed that the Russians were sub-human (the ‘untermenschen’ ) and that they had no right to live where they did. That they were East European was compounded by the fact that Russia was communist and led by Joseph Stalin. Hitler hated communism and Stalin.
Hitler wanted all the land in Eastern Europe to be given to Germans as they, Hitler believed, could farm it properly while East Europeans could not. Also many Jews lived in Russia (also known as the USSR at this time) and Hitler wanted them exterminated.
In August 1939, Hitler and Russia had signed a treaty of non-aggression which was meant to last for 10 years. However, for both countries the treaty was merely to buy time to get their armies into shape before one attacked the other. Hitler wished to stabilise his western frontier before turning east. Stalin desperately needed to reform his army after the 1930′s putches when his senior officers had been effectively wiped out either by imprisonment or execution.
In June 1941 Operation Barbarossa took place – a massive attack by the Germans on Russia.  
Hitler’s senior commanders had advised that the bulk of the German attack should be concentrated on Moscow. Two smaller armies would target Leningrad and Stalingrad and engage the enemy. These two armies would then be helped by the troops in the main bulk once Moscow had surrendered. They felt that once the heart of the nation had been cut out, the rest of the country would fall. 
Hitler would not have this. He did not believe that the Russian army was a match for the Wehrmacht and decided on three equal forces attacking Moscow, Leningrad and Stalingrad. As always, he got his way. 
The German attack on Russia involved:
3 million soldiers,  
3580 tanks, 
7184 artillery guns, 
1830 planes  
750,000 horses 
The Russian army collapsed under this onslaught and the attack was initially incredibly successful. Moscow was nearly reached, Leningrad was surrounded and the oil fields in the south were swiftly approached. But it had one main failing and that was created by Hitler himself. 
As the Russians pulled back (retreated) they destroyed anything that might be of use to the German army as it advanced – bridges, railways, buildings etc. and poisoned water supplies. This policy was known as “scorched earth” and it was not expected by the Germans and severely hindered their armies. The supply lines of the German army stretched from Germany through Poland and into Russia itself – a huge distance to defend and control. These supply lines were attacked by guerrillas called partisans who did a considerable amount of damage to the German army and caused major shortages.
The winter of 1941-42 was one of the worst in recorded history. Daily temperatures fell to 40 degrees below zero. German soldiers had not been issued with warm winter clothing as Hitler believed that the invasion would be over by the winter. Soldiers froze to death in their sleep, diesel froze in fuel tanks and food was in very short supply. Russian soldiers had been issued with winter clothing and did not suffer as badly as their German enemies.
The defeat of an entire German army at Stalingrad was a disaster for the Germans and some historians consider this battle the turning point of World War Two because the German army could now only go in one direction and that was back to Germany.
However, while the army was fighting the Russian army, soldiers from the SS Einsatzgruppen murdered hundreds of thousands of civilians. This was all part of Hitler’s plan to get rid of ‘sub-humans’ from Europe. It is thought that as many as 26 million Russians died during the war. The slaughter was so great that Himmler believed that the policy of shooting civilians might disturbed those doing the killing. A direct result of this was the order to find a quicker way of murdering the people of Russia and the idea of death factories developed from this which lead to the Holocaust.
However, from a military point of view, the defeat of the Germans by the Russians was vital to the Allies overall victory in Europe. Over two-thirds of the German army was in the Russian war and its defeat meant that the Allies in the west (GB, France and USA) had more chance of success against a smaller force. Winston Churchill stated that it was the Russians who “tore the heart out of the German army.”
What was the war like for the people in Russia and for the German soldiers?
From a German soldier who fought in Russia : 
“Do you know how we behaved to the civilians? We behaved like devils out of Hell. We left those poor villagers to starve to death, thousands and thousands of them. How can you win a war in this way?
We shoot villagers on the slightest excuse. Just stick them up against a wall. We order the whole village out to watch. It’s a vicious circle. We hate them and they hate us, and on and on it goes, everyone getting more inhuman.
The civilians were all ready to look on us as saviors. They had had years of oppression from the communists. What did we do? Turn into slaves under Hitler.
If the Russians should ever pay back one half of what we have done, you won’t smile or sing again.
We were quartered (living) in a house outside the town. Our dwelling for the night was a wooden house occupied by a Russian family of five children and an old grandmother. We were bitten by fleas all night. We opened our tins and made coffee, sharing what we had with the children and the old woman.
The man of the house was a soldier and the mother had been taken away to dig trenches. The children all had protubing bellies of long-term malnutrition. The reality is that after 22 years of Communist rule, a salted fish is the height of luxury. How this country depresses me.”
From a soldier who fought in southern Russia :
“I watched my mother and father die. I knew perfectly well that they were starving. But I wanted their bread more than I wanted them to stay alive. And they knew that. That’s what I remember about the blockade (of Leningrad): that feeling that you wanted your parents to die because you wanted their bread.”
Daily rationing quotas for the people of Leningrad in November 1941:

  Labourer Child of Eight
Bread 252g 128g
Fat 19g 17g
Meat 49g 14g
Cereals 49g 39g
Sugar 49g 39g

Celebration of Victory Day:
Many people attend a local military parade and watch the fireworks at night on Victory Day. The biggest parade is in Moscow’s Red Square, showcasing Russia’s military forces. Most veterans wear their medals as they head to the parade or an event organized by a local veteran organization.
Another tradition is to give flowers, usually red carnations, to veterans in the street and to lay wreaths at the war memorial sites. Neighborhood schools may host a program prepared by the students, featuring wartime songs and poetry.
At home, families gather around a festive table to honor surviving witnesses of World War II and remember those who passed away. They may also watch a favorite Soviet film based on the events of World War II, which is also known as the Great Patriotic War. These films are repeated each year but the audience seems to never grow tired of them.
Public Life
Victory Day is a national holiday in Russia. Public offices, schools and most businesses are closed for the celebrations. There may be changes in public transport routes due to parades and street performances.
Symbols
Common symbols of Victory Day in Russia are:

  • St. George ribbon – people wear this black-and-yellow ribbon on their clothes or tie it to car antennas as a sign of respect and remembrance.
  • Red carnations – blood red is the color of the Soviet flag under which the veterans had fought. Laying an even number of red carnations at war memorial sites signifies mourning and remembrance.
  • Red Star medal – a military distinction for bravery.