The Traditions of Cultivation of Flax and Linen Weaving in Lithuania

Linen is a fabric used for all kinds of purposes, mostly clothing and decoration, that is appreciated for its durability, naturalness and freshness. Linen is manufactured from the fibres of the flax plant which is grown throughout the whole world - from Canada to Ethiopia. Flax has been cultivated since the times of ancient Egypt and ancient Ethiopia, while the latest findings of dyed flax fibres date to 30000 BC.
In Lithuania, a small country in Northern Europe with a very rich history, linen has a special place in the nation's traditions, arts and crafts. Flax has been grown here since the times of the Baltic tribes that were living in the modern country's territory from around 2000 BC. In the Medieval times, when the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was one of the largest countries in Europe, linen was probably the only fabric used for clothing by the peasants and the warriors (except for the armour, of course). Even in the early 20th century, when the availability of other fabrics was much greater, flax and linen had a major part in Lithuania's exports. The significance of linen in Lithuania has diminished ever since, yet there are still some folk artists in the country who weave linen and keep the traditions alive.

The importance of linen to a Lithuanian can be clearly seen in the folk songs - one of the greatest and most significant parts of the Lithuanian heritage. Up to the mid-20th century, people had sung songs on every occasion, including the seeding and cutting of flax and weaving of linen. Linen also appears in other folk songs, such as the ones about war or marriage, and is used as a symbol of prosperity and well-being.
Apart from the folk songs, Lithuanians even have an annual celebration, commemorating the importance of flax and linen. "Flax is one of the oldest cultures cultivated in Lithuania, and it is unjustly forgotten. Even our ancestors knew about the miraculous healing qualities of linen. Linen had a very important part in the formation of the Lithuanian attitude of mind." - says Zenonas Macernis, one of the organisers of the Festival of Flax, celebrated every year in the village of Budraiciai. In this festival, artisans and craftsmen who work with linen come from all parts of Lithuania to share their experience and sell their hand-made clothes, toys, tablecloths, towels and other kinds of items. No traditional festival in Lithuania is celebrated without songs and dances, so a lot of folk ensembles come here as well.
In every part of Lithuania, the traditions of seeding and cutting the linen were different. The greatest similarity of traditions from different regions is that the cutting of flax was usually a work done by women. Unsurprisingly, a lot of songs were sung during the process, and some of these songs even survived until our days. Some of the more interesting traditions come from Zemaitija, the North-Western region of Lithuania. For example, when the cutting of flax was over, the cutters always waited for a rabbit to come out of the field. Sometimes, the more shifty cutters managed to catch the rabbit, thus earning the family a delicious dinner. There have been a lot of beliefs of how and when to seed the flax to get the best results. For example, in the village of Dadotkai, flax was seeded in the end of May, but only when the junipers are dusty, when the Moon is in its gibbous shape and when the wind blows from the South. Quite a lot of conditions, isn't it?
When the flax is prepared to be made into linen, once again it's up to the Lithuanian women to do all the work. From the ancient times, the man of the house had to be able to tend to the horses and other animals and supervise the cultivation of crops, while the woman had to have cooking, weaving and spinning skills. There was a spinning wheel in every house, and in the evenings the linen was made into clothes, towels and other everyday items. At that time, linen was the most prominent fabric used for clothes by everyone living in the countryside. It was completely natural and made locally - people wore clothes made from linen grown in their own fields.
Nowadays, linen clothes associate with people having holidays in the French Riviera and not with a simple farmer living in the countryside. This transition happened some time in the 20th century, when the supply of other cheaper fabrics increased significantly and the cultivation of flax became much less profitable than before. Fortunately, there are still some people who cultivate flax and produce hand-made linen items, but their number has decreased dramatically over the years.
"We are very lucky that the traditions of making completely natural, hand-made linen clothes and other items are still alive. There are a lot of factories that manufacture linen clothes, but the main thing that they are lacking is quality. If an artisan knows his job well and if the traditions are passed from one generation to the other, no mass-produced linen clothes have the same quality, freshness and feeling of naturality as when the items are hand-made." - says Jurate Stanisauskiene, owner of the only children-oriented Lithuanian linen webshop
In general, the traditions of cultivating flax and making linen clothes were close to extinction in Lithuania, but nowadays there are more and more people who remember their heritage and decide to keep the traditions alive. The demand of natural hand-made linen clothes is growing, so fortunately this trade still has a future. Saving this craft is very important to Lithuanian heritage, as together with the linen making itself, it also carries a lot of other traditions, such as songs, dances, festivals and the Lithuanian attitude of mind.

The 5 Biggest Mistakes Made by First Time Filmmakers

Is putting the audience to sleep a mistake...or a blessing? Filmmaker Sondra Lowell sets new screenwriters and directors straight.
1. Contrary to current belief, keeping the audience awake is the biggest mistake a first time filmmaker can make. If viewers are asleep, they will never notice your other mistakes.
2. Waiting to get famous till after your movie is made is another error common among those new to the medium. Why do people pay to see and hear Jessica Simpson--this goes double for Ashlee? Because they're already famous. While having people actually see your work is not advisable, you still want them to buy tickets or DVDs, and they are more likely to do that if they feel they already know you. Consider inviting hundreds to your wedding, then escape just before The Big Day and make up a story about being kidnapped.

3. Almost as devastating to your new career as the first two mistakes is not knowing when you're done putting your film together. While having a feature to your credit can be a career maker, don't spend the rest of your life perfecting it. Remember, the audience will not be awake and so will not be as critical as you are.
4. Most new filmmakers try to get their movie seen. Big mistake. Smart new filmmakers try to get their movie heard of. Hollywood big shots who hear of your movie may well sign you to a three picture deal. Hollywood big shots who actually see your movie are more likely pass in favor of an American Idol loser with proof that he had sex with Paula Abdul.
5. Expecting to make your money back on your first film is the least of the five biggest mistakes new filmmakers make because you're not going to max out ten credit cards just because you read that Robert Townsend did it and his movie made millions...are you? I mean...are you?
Unlike advice by filmmaking gurus, which has to be padded to fill 200 pages and make claims that help sell books, this no-nonsense list by award-winning filmmaker and 1,052,569th top contributor Sondra Lowell can be trusted. Sondra's first film,, is the first officially sanctioned digital feature in the Film Sleepy genre, the category that puts the audience to sleep.

The Crisis of Human Survival

Environmental Pollution
1. Damage to The Ozone Layer Causes Radiation Pollution
The hole in the ozone layer above the North Pole is becoming larger, allowing large volumes of ultraviolet radiation to fall directly on the Earth's surface, causing destruction and harm to humanity, and resulting in skin cancer and other bodily ailments. At the same time, it reduces the rate at which green plants photosynthesise, thereby reducing oxygen content in the atmosphere.
This has extreme negative effects on the Earth. Health organisations all over the world are continuously researching on ways of reducing such harmful effects on humanity. In a direct attempt to address the issue, many are actively looking into the effects of radiation, and taking measures to rectify the situation, such as through modifying the coolant compartments in automobiles and refrigerators, and setting up new guidelines for certain products.

2.Acid Rain
The emission of pollutants and toxic gases into the atmosphere has resulted in chemical reactions, which cause acid rain. Acid rain damages the environment by, for example, corroding the metals we use in car doors and buildings. It also harms human health; the first sign of prolonged exposure to acid rain is the onset of skin ailments.
Many of the agricultural products, which we consume regularly, are sprayed with chemical pesticides that are harmful to humans. Some of these products may reach the consumer before an interval of time that is necessary for them to be safe and fit for human consumption. Consumers may unwittingly purchase these quick-to-the-market agricultural products, still tainted with chemicals, and expose their family to the harmful effects of these pesticides. Prolonged accumulation of these chemicals can cause irreversible damage to our health.
4. The Contamination of Western Medicine
Frequently, we see a new phenomenon. Whether is it among a family member or in the office, as soon as someone catches a cold or cough, it will inevitably spread quickly to someone else. Besides the highly contagious nature of the virus, the body's low resistance to viruses also plays a part. The abusive use of antibiotics has resulted in viruses' resistance to medicines as well as deterioration of the human body's immunity system. The rates of contagious diseases are thus on the rise.
Air Pollution
Rapid worldwide industrialisation has increased the daily emission of toxic waste and gases. Vehicle exhaust fumes and dust are increasingly trapped in our environment and this is exacerbated in densely populated cities where smog blankets and traps polluted air.
Tobacoo Smoke(Public Places)
The harmful effects of nicotine found in tobacco smoke are well documented. Passive smokers who are exposed to tobacco smoke in public places can also suffer from the same ill effects as smokers themselves - lung diseases, damages to our brain cells, heart problems, strokes, poor blood circulation and high blood pressure are some of the more well known illnesses associated with tobacco smoke.
Indoor Air Pollution
On average, we spend 80% of our time indoors. The high cost of living and pressure for space have resulted in smaller living areas, with a higher tendency of congestion and poorer ventilation. Coupled with an enclosed indoor environment, these living conditions often come with pollutants such as cigarette smoke, dust, fungi and spores, droppings from dust mites, chemicals from photocopying machines and construction materials (glue, paint) and smoke from cooking. Sustained exposure to these elements can cause cancer, respiratory ailments such as asthma, hypersensitive rhinitis, hypersensitive dermatitis, and deterioration of the immune system.
1. Cooking Smoke (Kitchen and Restaurant)
Research reveals that cooking a meal is equivalent to smoking six cigarettes. Although the proportion of women in China who smoke is small, the mortality rate of these women who suffer from pulmonary diseases is high. Epidemiologists suggest that there is a strong correlationship between this and the inhalation of smoke and oily fumes while cooking.
2. Recycling of Accumulated Carbon Dioxide (Office and Bedroom)
Prolonged inhalation of carbon dioxide in an enclosed or badly ventilated office can result in fatigue and lack of concentration among office workers. Fatigue felt after a long journey in the car is also similarly caused by poor circulation of air where there is insufficient oxygen to replace the carbon dioxide.
3. Bacteria and Fungus Found Living In Air Conditioners (Office Buildings, Hospitals, Homes, etc)
It is essential to clean the filters of all air-conditioning systems regularly, be it centralised or single units. Filth in the units will lead to the growth of micro-organisms which will flow into the room through the inlet duct when the air-conditioner is switched on. Many cases of asthma today is closely related to allergy to these micro-organisms.
4. Air Pollution by Chenical Substances (Home, Office)
The scents and odours of household products like insecticides, detergents, deodorisers, mosquito coils, hair gels, hair sprays, glue, correction fluid, calcium carbonate, etc, are sometimes unhealthy. They may even be cancer-causing.
The Change in Lifestyle
1. Changes In Diet
In the modern diet, chemical additives occupy nearly 65% of all daily food content. In addition, fashionable trends in fast food resulted in people taking in excessive animal fats and food with high cholesterol contents. Such changes in eating habits resulted in people consuming too much unhealthy products and thus health is affected.
2. Lack of Exercise
Oxygen is important to the body. With exercise, oxygen will help to strengthen cardiac and lung functions. Exercise will also help to burn excess fats and reduces intravascular LDL ( low density lipoprotein cholesterol) to prevent arteriosclerosis. Exercising will benefit the health but when done excessively, it will result in hypoxia and overproduction of free radicals causing physiological imbalance.
3. Mental Stress
Changes in the present living environment: reductions in natural greens making way for the metropolis jungle, inter-personal relationships becoming increasingly superficial. As life's pressures build up, so does stress in the workplace. The world of feelings and EQ succumb to imbalance. Many modern people suffer from the sickness of melancholy and this constitutes another concern of living in the modern society.
The Origin of Virus and Allergy
Man's endless devastation to Mother Nature has resulted in severe environmental pollutions, and nature is reacting. The constant mutation of bacteria and virus variations, coupled with the bustle of world trade, has lent favor to virus broadcast. With developments in aviation and frequent travel, viruses are being disseminated at lightning speed across the globe. Strange illness abound, the pace of medical research cannot keep up with the unexpected speed of viral mutation. Plagues continue to endanger lives of humans and livestock. Life on earth is seriously threatened.
In addition, while most allergies do not endanger life, they can cause a person to live unhealthily or become unhappy. An example is dust allergy. Asia has the world's highest incidences of asthma, 90% of such cases arises due to dust allergy. The common symptoms of dust allergy include: habitual early morning sneezes, running nose, blocked nose, cough, rhinitis, asthma, allergic conjunctivitis and uncommon dermatitis.
The above-mentioned issues constitute factors that threaten the survival of humanity, cause deterioration of health and increase mental stress, leading to unhealthy and unhappy lives.

How To Make A Home Movie

In this article I will be going over simple steps to creating your own home made movie. First you will need a device you can record with, this can be anything from your webcam on your computer to your families old camcorder basically anything that can record. Now you will want to get familiar with your camera, start out by just playing with the buttons learning each function you have available. There will be a couple tools you may want to invest in, a tripod is a great tool this will make a huge factor in the quality of your film. Also you will need to use video editing software, most computers now come equipped with editing software Macs have iMovie and PCs come with Windows Movie Maker.
There will be three basic shots when filming, close ups are used to show specific things happening. Wide shots will establish your location and your medium shots are typically used to follow action in the scene. Now if you are not using a tripod you will want to avoid zooming in all the way this will cause a lot of accidental shaking and you will want to refrain from little camera movement. You will need to establish where you want to film your movie, whether it is in your house, backyard, front yard, or even your basement. Also get your friends and family involved as you will need parts to fill. Discuss how you want them to play there roles and who will be doing behind the scenes work, keep in mind there are many jobs in making a film. You will need actors, director, editor, and you may need someone to do the make-up for your actors.

While you are filming you will want to have 2-3 takes for each scene, keep in mind you will face all kinds of problems there's no escaping it. Just bear in mind small problems are ok it is the big problems that can ruin your movie. So take the extra time to rehearse and remember it's not hard to go back and change a few words. During your action scenes you will be tempted to zoom in and out but remember you want to avoid the least amount of camera movement. While filming you will want to keep your actors eyes in the top of the screen, leave about an inch or two of space above there heads. Don't make it confusing for your watchers to know what is going on keep in mind your main audience will be your friends and family.
The main rule is to have fun and be creative. Keep your outtakes if there funny it makes for good bloopers, and add some background music to some of your scenes. Try to add some special effects if you can get a fog machine or make someone fly whatever you can do to add extra excitement is always good. Once your movie is complete show it off, publish it on You Tube or put it on a DVD, and if you want to get fancy add some opening and ending credits. Don't get stressed out with this remember it is suppose to be fun!