Here is a picture of my-favorite-little-boy-in-the-world. He is desperate to escape from the clutches of this weird looking stranger. "Please, oh please come get me, Mommy" is a caption that would fit:
But wait... Let's travel back in time 25 years. This is a picture of my-favorite-little-girl-in-the world (baby boy's mommy) as an infant. Maybe santaphobia is genetic...
Wikipedia tells me that the days of Christmas start on the 25th. And so I'm already a day behind. My first craft was made with my-favorite-little-boy-in-the-world who is 16 months old. We started with a Christmas tree cut-out glued onto a sheet of construction paper. Himself did the job of placing the star and dot stickers on the tree. We used the office supply dots used to color-code files. It took about five minutes.
I have a lovely boss who had her children's Christmas art matted and framed and puts it out every December. It's really sweet, and I think I'll follow her lead. Right now it's gracing our refrigerator.
I did a tiny bit of shopping today. I treated myself to two luxuries:
The first item was an MP3 player. I had one before which was liberated by my son. This one can do about six different cool things. I spent a full three hours tonight trying with a lot of concentration to figure out how to download stuff onto it. No luck at all. I tried every tutorial I could find. No luck. I am pathetic.
My big splurge was a Friendly Village tea set. I've wanted a set of these dishes for ages. I was under the impression that it was a really old pattern, but a little research revealed that it was introduced in 1952. China is my weakness. Now I need t throw a tea party!
My Christmas was wonderful, as I hope everyone's was. I really enjoyed singing in the choir for midnight mass last night. It's something I've done for the past three years, and each year it becomes more meaningful.
Today was spent with family from out of town. My-favorite-little-boy-in-the-world spent a couple of hours here. He's 16 months old, so he enjoyed Christmas in that happy toddler way.
I plan to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas with a lot of craftiness. Stay tuned.
Today is winter solstice. It snowed all day here and it's expected to continue for the rest of the night. I'm really happy about the days starting to get longer, even if it's only a minute or two a day.
No one needs to explain the irony of leaving a squalorous house on a Saturday morning to go make a broom. What can I say? I am a complicated person. Anyhoo... I participated in a wonderful broom making class at Raveloe Fibers this morning. The instructor was Karen Koch. She's been making brooms for a number of years and she's extremely good at instructing a group of broom-making neophytes.
The first thing one needs is broom corn. This was grown in Mexico. Karen mentioed that broom corn can be grown here in Western New York, but a 90-day growing period is better achieved south of the border. The plant does not, in actuality yield ears of corn, but the tassel-ly top is the part which is harvested for this purpose.
Each member of the class chose sprigs of the broom corn from the box. It has a pleasant scent which reminded me of sweet grass.
Using a knife, the stem of each piece is trimmed in half. The stalks are then soaked in water. While they soak, we chose handles made of alder wood. Karen had pre-drilled holes through which we threaded a bucksking thong that would be the hanger for the finished broom. We also pounded a tack on the opposite end of the handle. Then we wound a braided nylon string on a foot-long dowel to use for the actual binding.
Tie the twine onto the aforementioned tack. Place an odd number of the trimmed stalks of corn around the handle. The nylon string which was placed on the dowel is tensioned by placing it on the floor and stepping on each end, which is a pretty neat trick. The nylon string is wrapped around the corn very tightly. Then you can begin to plait, that is, go under and over the stalks of corn until you get tho the spot where you want to wrap again and cut the thread. Doing this and maintaining the proper tension is a little tricky.
About eight inches down, the broom is bound by wrapping and then sewing. We then used our new brooms (actually billed as "cobweb catchers") to clean up the floor of the shop. There is a class being offered on whisk broom making in mid-January that I plan to take.
The weatherman had it 100% right. The storm hit at 8:00 am. Our new-ish superintendant called off school. The cancellation was a tiny bit sad because this would have been the day most classrooms planned to have parties.
So... today is the first day of a long vacation for me. It was actually an excellent call to cancel school. As I write this the snow is really coming down. Along with quickly accumulating snow, there are strong winds and limited visibility. The roads were starting to get treacherous when I made a run for the store very early this morning for the typical things one needs to ride out a blizzard; bread, milk, eggs and the January issue of Martha Stewart Living. Stay cozy!
I, along with everyone I know, have about 100 things on my to-do list. I had a blast this evening at Wednesday night knitting. We had a potluck and lots of pleasant chatter.
I put a face on my doll - I love it even more. It's on its way to a little girl in Syracuse. The red shoes were a nod to my beloved Joli dolls .
I made a batch of granola and packed it up. A remark my mother made really made me think. "I'm at the point in my life", she once said, "That if I cant's eat it, read it or spend it, I probably can do without it." Inspired by this thought, a number of people on my list are getting edibles this year.
Not-too-sweet, not-too-fussy granola recipe:
8 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups sweetened coconut
1 2/3 cups sliced almonds
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
Whisk honey and oil together, stir into the oats, cocnut and almonds which have been mixed together in a large bowl. Pour this mixture onto two cookie sheets and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes. In the course of this time, you will have to remove the granola from the oven a couple times and give it a stir so it browns evenly. If you don't do this, the granola on the egdes will burn and the stuff in the middle will not brown at all. After everything is a pretty golden color, remove from oven and allow it to cool. You can use your time wisely by preparing the dried fruit:
1 1/2 cup dried cherries
1 cup dark raisins
1 cup dried apricots diced up
Give the fruit a stir and then combine with the oat mixture. I packaged it in the cellophane bags sold in th homemade candy section of the grocery store. This recipe yields about 16 cups which filled five gift bags.