Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


See, you're already a step ahead of me in the craftiness -- I would have just glued all the beads onto the velvet -- I never even thought of sewing them on! Oh, and the notebook paper bookmarks? Not colorful at all. They were decorated with drawings in ballpoint ink. Yep, a real Claude Monet I am!

Congrats on the tree! I look forward to pictures!

By Blogger Mary, at 12:07 PM  

Oyster stew supper! That was my father's meal of choice - and my mother couldn't tolerate oysters so he just talked about it. That and the Boston he always wanted - by the time Dudley came to visit, he was too frail to take him for a walk.

I'm going to have to do black-eyed peas for New Year's. I normally don't, but it seems right this year. Maybe even collard greens. I had the BEST collard greens in my entire life in a barbeque place in Asheville when I visited Boy, they were beyond perfection, not soggy at all, buttery-tender and flavorful. They would make an addict out of the most resolute non-greens fan.

I was too self-conscious because of the Aunts to dare make a handmade gift after age 8 or so. I did make stuff and I still have some of it, and it's really not so bad at all. But I was too intimidated by the audience to make gifts. I think I still am, even though the current audience is entirely non-artsy.

By Blogger Catherine, at 8:28 PM  

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Sunday, December 24, 2006  

Oh Mary! How I laughed at the picture you inspired, of those notebook paper bookmarks. I am sure they were all the colors of a 7 year old imagination. I’m sure you were filled with such delight at the thought of the beauty you were creating. Beautiful, useful and cheap too, right? How we think at 7. Or 8 or 18 for that matter. My most hideous homemade gift was going to be a thing of such rich beauty. A bead embroidered velvet ribbon choker for my rather cool and impossible to impress, big sister. She, from the lofty position of eldest child, would not have had to be very good at anything, but instead, she was, sometimes solely by virtue of that pinnacle of sibling order, perfect at everything. Especially everything crafty. Not that she had any taste for handi-crafty cute. But she did do historic re-enactment stuff and hey - what could be more appropriate than a di Medici type piece of jewel encrusted velvet neckwear?

Who knew how hard it is to sew tiny round beads onto thin black velvet? Nor did I realize how badly the thread would show, how tawdry it would look, what a pathetic gift it would turn out to be. This was pre-librarian days and I didn’t think to check out craft books for better instructions. I don’t think I even used a ruler to mark off where those pearls were to be set! My sister, though she wasn’t cruel, wasn’t kind either, and managed to let me know just how she felt about such a rubbishy gift. I was so broke it wasn’t even funny. It never occurred to me to ask my parents for money for gifts. They’d said “No” so many times in my life that I’d learned very early on not to ask. And since I’d blown my entire semester’s spending money on a pair of utterly fabulous leather boots, way back in September, I would have felt too guilty to ask for $ in December anyway. Nobody ever sat me down and explained that it’s okay, if you haven’t any money, to just say so and say you prefer to not exchange gifts. Some of my family is intensely competitive and Christmas is a time to set gift traps for the unwary.

I am sure other members of my family got equally hideous gifts that year, but they were either parents, or younger sisters, so they were more accepting of them. It was a pretty crappy Christmas that year anyway. As I recall, I’d snuck home from college a stray kitten - smuggled in my luggage - that died of distemper the night I got home. On the other hand, those fabulous leather boots lasted me for another 6 or 7 years of fashion statement bliss. Some things do give value for money, hmmm?

Anyway, in half a century of gift giving, I’m finally learning to give my hand-crafted gifts to crafty people and give store-bought gifts to people who buy gifts from stores.

I am thrilled to share the news that Our Tree Is Up! and it’s the most perfect tree, the fullest, the prettiest we’ve ever had. I’d been scouting the roadside for weeks for just the right tree; a young spruce pine, not too tall, especially not too wide, to fill the corner of the living room with it’s spicy fragrance. I had 2 or 3 picked out, but the thing about a spruce pine is, you can never tell till you walk up to it and give it a close inspection. Sometimes it turns out to be too tall, though we have 10 foot ceilings. Sometimes it turns out to be two trees, grown close together, so that neither of them has enough branches to decorate. I’m prepared to accept a bare spot or two in my Christmas tree, and have a goodly number of ornaments with long ribbon loops on them, that dangle in the empty space of a bare spot. But there is a degree of fullness any tree must have and it is surprising how few wild grown spruce pines meet that standard.

Yesterday afternoon we went tree hunting for real, but first we took the trash up to the recycle center at the junction of our tar road and Highway 17. On the way back, we saw it. Atop a scrubby bank that borders an abandoned field, not 50 feet from the highway, was what looked like it might be - and turned out to be - The Perfect Tree. About 7 feet tall, full, wide, but not beyond the living room’s ability to accommodate it, and crowding out some future Christmas tree that could use the added sunshine to stimulate thicker growth. It was the work of a minute to slice through the trunk and we were on our way home.

Happily, this year there is a Camera and there will be Photos. Not till Wednesday, of course, since I have to use the public computers at the library to load them and I don’t intend to leave home before then. Tonight it is oyster stew supper - our traditional Christmas eve meal - and we’ve been gifted with a half gallon of them, to add to the 3 quarts I’d already bought. Tomorrow it is roast beef and Yorkshire pudding and this year I plan to try a new recipe - Floating Island. But today I will simply knit. Maybe on The KipFee, maybe on Mama’s birthday socks. But there isn’t anything else to do. All the dog hair has been vacuumed up.

Merry Christmas to you.

posted by Bess | 8:11 AM