Midsummer Is Almost Here: 5 Traditional Ideas to Try

Traditional holidays from ages past that somehow still survived to the modern day have always been a fascinating topic for me. Especially if they’re less mainstream than the ones we’re used to – Christmas and Easter are a bit too well-known, for example, so they can’t really hold much surprise in regard with their traditions. Therefore, holidays like the Cinco de Mayo or, even less mainstream, Midsummer, are the perfect occasion to explore some unknown traditions of an almost forgotten holiday and maybe try them out. Heck – even if you don’t actually try them out – it’s still an interesting cultural trip worth taking. In the case of Midsummer at least, the pagan rites that were known as Midsummer are so intriguing they would make any modern day Wiccan green with envy.

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So, let’s try to tap a bit into this mysterious summer rite, present throughout Europe, but especially prominent today in its Scandinavian part.

1. Try baking a Swedish solstice bread

Yes, it’s a pretty ambitious task, but it’s an essential part of any Swedish Midsummer celebration. In Sweden and the neighboring Scandinavian and Baltic countries, the Midsummer solstice holiday was preserved so well that it’s still a major happening. You could try recreating the event at home: invite some of your friends and serve some smoked salmon snacks, on this very special and authentic bread meant precisely for that. Tell tales of Odin and the giants and drink the night away. You can find the recipe for the bread here.

2. Make a Midsummer bonfire

This should be easy enough. For extra safety, make it as a camping fire; just abstain from the marshmallows or the country songs and drink mead with your friends instead.

3. Make a hay roll with your friends and set it on fire on top of a hill (kids, don’t try this at home!)

To symbolize the setting sun (which from now on will be less potent then until now, since Midsummer means the sun is at its peak) and the shrinking day, European peoples would make a big hay roll for Midsummer, as tall as man, and put it at the top of a hill in the evening. As the people gathered for the celebration, someone was tasked with setting the hay roll on fire and giving it a push down the hill. What ensued was the image of a fire circle tumbling down in the dark, just like the setting sun. As a disclaimer, I should probably stress again that this kind of thing is totally not safe to try unless in a large group, unless it’s a safe environment without the risk of starting a fire around and so on.

4. Make a flower wreath and wear it all day

In Central and Eastern European countries (like Poland, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria), the folk customs from the olden days would separate the boys and the girls until the big celebration with the bonfire which reunited the two groups later on. During the day, both groups would be charged with special tasks, and the girls’ tasks would often include braiding a flower wreath which could be worn on one’s head. Girls would wear them all day, and pass them on to other members of the family the next day. It was believed that wearing such a wreath would bring good luck and health until the next year, and if a girl would sleep with her wreath beneath her pillow during Midsummer night, she would have a great chance to dream of her fated one. If you’re a guy, don’t feel excluded – just make one and gift it to a girl or woman in your life and say that it’s for Midsummer.

5. Make an Eastern European sweetbread with yeast

The good part is that it will be easier to pull off than the Swedish solstice bread, so you could start with this one if you’re feeling a bit oven-shy. Eastern Europe is specialized in sweet breads, based on an yeasted dough, which are consumed especially at holidays, but hold a ritual value in themselves. For example, a bread like this will be used both at a wedding – for being broken into four and then thrown in the direction of North, South, East and West by the bride – and at a funeral, for being given away and sometimes even buried with the dead so they have something to eat on their journey to the other side. To cut a long story short, Midsummer is another great occasion for Eastern Europeans to bake their sweetbreads and you could try making one yourself. An example of an English recipe can be found here (and it’s tested and fail-proof). In Eastern European countries like Romania and Bulgaria, the skies open up during Midsummer night and prayers can be heard all the way up to heaven more easily. Bake the breads and make a wish!

Beautiful Floor Lamp Ideas to Make You Rethink Your Home Decorations

Whether you’re just moving into a new home, giving your home a complete makeover or simply choosing some key elements to give your home a new feel, lighting should always be something to focus on. The truth is that no space is truly complete until lighting has been taken care of, no matter how stylish that particular space is. You need to set the mood and provide adequate illumination, and decorators recommend a combination of task, accent and general lighting in order to properly accent a room. So we decided to show you some of the most beautiful floor lamps since they fulfill two roles: they are both functional and decorative. So relax and take a look at our collection of beautiful lamps.

Lights and Shadows- The Romantic Floor Lamp

If you’re already set with general lighting and all you need is a tasteful element to bring the room together (and maybe add a delicate accent or a note of your personality into the mix), such a lamp is the perfect solution.

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Whether short or tall, hidden behind a reading chair or put in the middle of the room where your friends can notice the accents, placement is all up to you. Just make sure you search for such an item as it can totally change the aspect of a room. 4 5

Unique Accents

There are other possibilities when choosing a lamp- you can always search for those designs that incorporate other elements, such as this beautiful lamp with the attached branches that would be perfect for your winter cottage or vacation house.

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Three’s a Charm

Although less is more in certain cases, you can opt to combine several lamps so that you get the desired effect and if you can find lamps that belong together (of different heights maybe or different widths) you can perfectly highlight your reading corner or tea spot. The key is to make everything fit in together so you do need a bit of space when fitting in three large floor lamps such as these in a room.

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A Bit of Orient

If you’re a fan of orient-inspired elements you can always opt for such a floor lamp that makes your mind drift to Chinese decoration styles. Pair your lamp with an elegant room divider that shares the colors of your lamp and you’re all set.

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Quirky and Out of the Box

There are other types of lamps that look completely different than what you’ve been used to seeing and if your personality is fond of completely original and crazy things, make sure that your decoration endeavors reflect this (at least in part). This geometric lamp that looks like it was pulled out of a Star Wars movie is the perfect example of weird yet tasteful lamp. The dim lighting, the asymmetric light origin and the perfect placement will surely impress your guests.

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Do it Yourself Floor Lamp

Why not consider a do it yourself floor lamp that could perfectly reflect how you see your ideal space? If you need a bit of help ask an electrician for some advice, but building such a lamp isn’t really that complicated and you’ll surely enjoy the quality time spent with yourself.

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Futuristic Lover

If your home is decorated in a minimalist style with lots of grey accents or if you want to distinguish a special space such as an office or reading corner, you could also go for some futuristic looking lighting elements such as this oversized floor lamp that looks absolutely stunning. Put it next to a simple reading chair or an all-white armchair and you’re all set to read the best book of your life in the company of a delicious glass of wine.

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The Tiniest Houses You Ever Saw

Have you ever looked round your house and worried that it is just a bit too cramped? Maybe the ceiling is a bit low or perhaps there isn’t a lot of elbow room in the kitchen. Well, it will soon look like a cavernous mansion to you once you see some of the tiniest houses in the world.

The One Room Wonder

Tiniest Houses

This photo shows just about the entire house in this case. It is in London in the UK and the big benefit is that you can do just about anything you want to do without even getting out of bed. Probably not ideal for big families or pet-lovers. Or anyone who likes to walk in their house. Or anyone with claustrophobia. Or anyone really.

The Cute House

Tiniest Houses

After the last house this one looks positively giant, doesn’t it? The woman who just happens to be walking past it lets us see the scale of this house. This is a really cute building and I think that it would be quite thrilling to come back here every day after a hard slog working in the mines with Bashful, Grumpy, Sleepy and the rest.

The House for One

Tiniest Houses

You wouldn’t really invite friends round for a few drinks if you lived here, would you? For start, most of them would need to sit outside and wait for you to pass the drinks out through the window. I guess that cosy is the best word to use here, although bloomingsmallhouse also springs to mind as well. Still, the guy standing outside it looks happy with life.

The Modern Miniature House

Tiniest Houses

What a truly bizarre house this one is. It’s almost as though they took a real house and chopped a bit off it. This modern tiny house is in Tokyo and I know nothing else about it except…actually did I mention that it’s in Tokyo?

The 1 Metre House

Tiniest Houses

This is a real house which German architect Van Bo Le-Mentzel created to try and solve the world’s housing crisis. Hmm, I’m not entirely sure the project will be a success. It takes him only a day to build one and it can be converted from a sitting space to a lying down kind of a joint at night. I guess that if you were really lazy you could lie down in it during the day as well. The idea is that you carry it about with you wherever you go, which is a pretty strange concept when you think about it. It weighs 40 kilos and uses just 20 metres of wood and 200 screws.

The UK’s Smallest House

Tiniest Houses

This tiny house is famous among, well, people who like to visit tiny houses in the UK. I guess that’s probably not that many people when you think about it. Actually, I was surprised to discover that thousands of tourists apparently visit it every year, although presumably not all at the same time. It is in Wales and apparently a fisherman who measured 6 foot 3 inches once lived in it.

The Mobile Home

Smallest Houses

The great thing about this tiny home is that it has little wheels on it. If you’ve ever tried to budge a house with no wheels then you will already know that this is a good thing.

5 Extreme Body Modification Examples

There are many ways to stand out from the crowd, ranging from being mildly extravagant to actually breaking the norm to such a degree that social reintegration can be problematic. The people who want to take a break from being a part of the regular and boring part of society usually see subcultures as a way out of the mass. But even this solution can take numerous forms, since there are plenty of different subcultures out there. The nonconformist individual can join a hippy commune to live in harmony with nature and craft things, for example, or can choose something a bit more… extreme.

Extreme body modifications don’t require their fans to go away from within the large part of society and lead a secluded life like hippie commune inhabitants do, quite on the contrary. What would be the point of going away in a place inhabited by like-minded individuals if there’s no one there to shock, right? We’re not talking here about a few tattoos or piercings (which have become adorably accepted and quite mainstream in recent years), but we’re talking about truly extreme body modifications. And here’s exactly why they’re called extreme.

1. Forked tongue

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This type of body modification has begun to show up at the end of the 90s and nowadays it’s considered among the most common (of the extreme ones, mind you) by enthusiasts. It involves a procedure to surgically cut the tongue from its tip and on, as far back as the tongue’s base, creating a double end or the fork effect. Only oral and plastic surgeons are licensed to do it, but it can also be done in various shady establishments for body modifications by unlicensed individuals as well. This procedure is reversible, but the procedure required for that may be even more painful than the first one.

2. The Lizardman

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Eric Sprague, nicknamed the Lizardman for obvious reasons, is a 38 year-old performance artist living in Austin, Texas. Over the years, he underwent many body modification procedures (including the tongue forking presented above) in order to resemble a lizard as much as possible. These included piercings, all over body tattoos, as well as 5 ridges implanted over each eye (noticeable in the photo). The earrings he is displaying are inspired by a native African custom performed by quite a few tribes, which insert such plate-like earrings in the ear-lobes and/or bottom lips of young females in order to create a larger and larger gap over time.

3. Corset piercing

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Returning to extreme body modifications, this one is real pretty. It’s usually popular among women and it consists of two rows of evenly distributed surface piercings, usually done in symmetrical rows, meant to emulate the rings sustaining the back lacing of a corset. After getting the piercings done, the wearer can insert a lace string through them to create the corset effect (pictured here).

4. Stalking Cat

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Another fan of extreme body modifications that made everything possible to look more and more like the animal of his choosing, Daniel Avner usually goes by the nickname of “Stalking Cat”. Just like his fellow artist Lizardman, his public appearances to tattoo and piercing conventions are received with much enthusiasm by his fans and body modification enthusiasts in general. Beside extensive tattooing, he made a cleft into his upper lip, got his nasal septum surgically altered and replaced his teeth with fang insertions. His ears have also been modified into feline-like tips and he has been given eyebrow implants as well.

5. Horn implants

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These implants go under the skin on one’s forehead in order to create the impression of horns and to give the wearer a devil-like appearance. They usually go hand in hand with at least a couple of other body modifications, as pictured above. The photograph depicts a member of the extreme body modification community known as “Vampire woman” and, as you can notice, horns are far from being the only thing she’s altered about herself. As a funny and unexpected background detail, she is trained lawyer, hailing from a deeply religious family, and she was married at the age of 17. She became a tattoo artist after years of suffering domestic abuse and she says that the horns are meant to be a symbol of her strength, being implanted without any anesthesia. Pretty impressive turn-around, right?

4 Children Who Changed the World

Today is Children’s Day, so Happy Children’s Day, children all over the world! This day is also a reminder that children are our future. We must educate them and offer them the best start in life we can. There are so many schools for children all over the world that have awful conditions, but education must be available to all. Today, we pay tribute to all the children who helped change the world. We’re going to present you four children who changed the world we live in and made it better.

Louis Braille (1809-1852)louis braille children who changed the world

Louis Braille was born in Coupvray, a little village in France. His father had a crafts shop. When Louis was three, he tried to cut a piece of leather with a sharp tool and injured himself. He lost his right eye and soon after, his left eye became inflamed. At the age of 5, Louis Braille was blind. Back then, blindness meant total social exclusion, but his father taught him how to read by guiding his fingers on wood with nails. He became the best child in his class and, in 1821, he learned the night writing system which was used by the French Army. The system was made up of raised points and dots, but it was a complicated system which Braille simplified. Louis Braille presented his brand new code at the ripe age of 15 and published the first version of the Braille system in 1829.

Nkosi Johnson (1989-2001)Nkosi Johnson children who changed the world

Nkosi was a South-African child who changed the world through his HIV/AIDS campaigning. He was born seropositive in a village close to DAnnhauser. He never met his father and his mother died the year he started going to school. The boy was adopted by Gail Johnson, a PR specialist, after his mother could no longer care for him. After he was refused by a primary school in a suburb of Johannesburg because of his illness, his voice was heard throughout the country and the constitution of South Africa banned medical discrimination. At the time of his death, Nkosi was the oldest living child born with the disease.

Malala Yousafzai (1997-present) Malala Yousafzai children who changed the world

Malala was born in Mingora, Pakistan. When she was 11, she wrote to the BBC about her life under the Taliban regime and how the girls in her community are denied an education. In 2011, she was awarded a Peace Prize for her courage to speak up about her problems. This drew the Taliban’s attention who shot her in the head in October 2012. Surprisingly, Malala survived and is now living in the UK. She held a speech for the UN and said that she wouldn’t let the terrorists intimidate her.

Iqbal Masih (1983-1995)Iqbal Masih children who changed the world

Iqbal was born in 1983 in a little village outside Lahore, Pakistan. When he was four, his family forced him to start working in the rug industry, so that the family could pay back a debt of 16 dollars. He was working in chains, with other children, for 14 hours a day, six days a week. He only had a 30 minute break each day and weighed 27 kilograms and measured 1,2 meters. When Iqbal was 10, his slavery ended after forced child labor was declared illegal by Pakistan’s Supreme Court. He joined a front of forber forced labor victims and helped over 3,000 children regain their freedom. He started giving speeches thrgouhout the world about forced labor, but after he returned from a trip to the US, he was mistakenly shot by a farmer. He was 12 and many believe he was assassinated.