Monday, December 24, 2012

On the eleventh day of Christmas,

The house is ready for guests!  It has been a delightful couple of weeks, with Christmas traditions reaching full force.  Last week the boys had two friends over to make our traditional candy house.  This is a tradition that I adopted from Emily, our neighbor, who figured out that making gingerbread houses is just too much work.  Baking gingerbread and trying to assemble it into a house is difficult enough.  After a couple of weeks no one wants to eat it anyway.  Her mom started making structures out of cardboard and then frosting them.  When the boys were little I started making a cute little house out of cardboard to decorate.  Now that they’re full-fledged creative young installation artists they design and build their own elaborate structures.  I made a quintuple batch of frosting just to cover this one, then turned it back over to them and their friends.  We had a bunch of leftover candy from Halloween that ended up back in the mix, plus a few goodies I picked up for color or textural contrast.  I guess I never take off my artist hat!  

Along about mid December comes Jim’s birthday, which is always the marker that we’re allowed to get a Christmas tree.  We feasted on the shoebox of brownies that Grandma always sends Jim for his birthday (three kinds—black forest, caramel, and seven layer brownies!).  Then we popped out to Bloomingfoods and picked out the biggest tree that would fit in the living room and keep the star under the roof.  We got a delightful, full tree that accommodated every single ornament we had.  The boys also took it on themselves to put up some outside lights this year, so we have a really festive house to great our holiday guests.  Jim’s brother Tim and his wife Bobi will be here, as will Jim’s Mom and Aunt Lois.  Will there be pies?  You bet!  I’m in.  And Stollen, of course!!

My artwork generally takes a back seat at Christmas while I feverishly clean the house for guests and make all the holiday magic happen behind the scenes.  I’ve still been making peppers, though.  Now I’m up to forty-five.  I laid them out on the piece and calculated that I’ll need seventy, so I’ll be on the pepper project for a while. 

The house waits in excited expectation for the guests that will arrive in a few hours.  The presents are wrapped, the beds are made, the wine is in the cellar and nice dishes are washed.  
  We have snow on the ground and more on the way.  We’re still hoping for uneventful travels and a full house tonight!  And did I say there’ll be fresh bread this morning and a peach pie tomorrow?

Until next week,

Martina Celerin

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holiday season in full gear!

It’s been a full couple of weeks at the Celerin/Drummond household!  Holiday season is now officially in full gear.  My last art fair of the season is now behind us—the Unitarian Universalist Holiday Art Fair.  It was a wonderful show for me.  As usual, I had walls displaying my weavings, but my sales were overwhelmingly my Re-Shirts and Sweater Petals.  I showed my new Re-Shirt design, which includes a flap that delicately covers one’s bottom.  It reminds me of a conductor’s tuxedo in that respect.  Basically they’re artsy tank shirts that I create out of fabric that has had a previous life.  I’ve pirated everything from my husband’s old dress shirts to tablecloths to gently, and not-so-gently used clothing I pick up at Opportunity House and the Recycle Center. 
 I designed the pattern myself and I use a block stamp that I created last year for a focal point on the front.  I like the design from the front because it lacks a horizontal line where the shirt ends.  From the rear, the upside down ‘U’ over the back is more flattering.  I made a dozen of these shirts for the ‘UU’ show and they all sold!  With an eye to the next show, which is the Bloom magazine’s Local Artists Showcase in February at the Convention Center, I set out to cut some more materials for the next round of shirts.  I had to turn the dining room into a design studio to cut all the pieces, but now it’s back to being a dining room.
  That came just in time for this year’s cookie baking party.  This was an annual event at our house until the boys came along.  Not that they wouldn’t like the cookies, but it was just too much to manage.  This year we brought the tradition back.  That translated into 18 kids running around in the yard when they weren’t swiping cookies from the table.  The 12 or so adults sat around in the kitchen, drinking wine, talking and laying out the next round of cookies onto sheets covered with parchment paper.   For the kids, the rule was that they had to stay in the yard and they couldn’t use electronic devices.  Everyone seemed to have a good time; just what a cool, grey December day needed!

In between all the rest of my activities, I’ve been making more peppers for my pepper commission.  I’m up to 29 and I still have a ways to go, but I feel good about the piece at this stage.  I’m still selling a lot of Sweater Petals at Bloomingfoods, so I end up visiting there each week to re-stock.  We all went out to see Tommie’s holiday choir performance at Jackson Creek, which turned out beautifully.  Mr. Upchurch is a great teacher and really does a lot for the kids.  Speaking of Tommie, he has to do a monthly science project.  This time around he took one of his passions, fishing at Lake Monroe, and designed a science experiment around it.   
He and his dad compared live bait to artificial worms.  I don’t know exactly how it turned out, except that we had a fine fish fry at the end!  I also managed to snag another apple pie after Thanksgiving
 (and before the Christmas peach pie!), so life is pretty good for me right now.  The very best part, though was hearing the news that I got into the DesMoines art fair this year!  It’s a prestigious show and it’s my first time applying, so I’m excited to go in June 2013.  Look out Iowa, here we come! 

Until next week,

Martina Celerin