Sunday, December 19, 2010

Santa makes her deliveries!

My art season ran long last week as I finished up all the scarf commissions I had accumulated from late season art shows. I made quite a few red and purple scarves with black ruffled edges, depleting the southern Indiana stocks of merino in those colors in the process. I felt like the UPS delivery person at Christmas, calling up patrons and arranging for drop-offs. This picture may look like me rollerskating with my family, but I’m sure I was just out on a scarf delivery mission. One person was so delighted when she saw the scarf that it ceased to be a Christmas present for her granddaughter. Another friend picked out a scarf and sent her husband to buy it for her as a Christmas present. He said he’d grown tired of getting a blank look when his wife opened his presents, and he knew this was going to be a success.

I made some giant strides forward on my huge commission piece. It’s a five by 2-and-a-half foot weaving, so this week I hand-made a five by three foot loom. I was just about to hammer in all the nails needed to warp the piece, but then I heard the voice of my sweet husband in my ear: “Drill pilot holes! You’ll be happier if you do!” So I did! All the nails went in nice and straight, just like a row of carrots coming up. With a nail every quarter of an inch, well, you do the math—that’s a lot of holes and nails. But I was glad I did it. And I’m not just saying that so he’ll make me coffee and pie! I then warped the loom and it’s ready to receive the weft. After a quick trip out to Sheep Street to pick up all the dirt brown yarns I could find I feel ready to launch on the weaving. I also picked up all the merino roving I could for scarves next year (be prepared, I say). Oh, and I found some really amazing spun silk, which is the waste from weaving Saris. I’ve seen various examples in different yarn shops, but this was so stunning I couldn’t possibly leave it. I ended up buying a couple of skeins. This too will go into scarves next season.

With the holiday season comes family, and that’s a good thing. The first visit started earlier than I would have chosen, when my thoughtful Czech cousin arranged for a 5 a.m. flight to bring her son into Indianapolis. He’s learning English in Los Angeles, and he’ll spend a couple of weeks with us. I consider this his ‘polishing’ phase, where he learns real Midwestern axioms and pronunciation. Actually, I was really delighted to pick up Vojta and bring him home, even if I had to get up at 3:30 a.m. On the bright side, when I got home there was warm blueberry pie and a batch of homemade Kluski ready for dinner that night. And an espresso! The boys were delighted to meet Vojta and show him around the house. The next day he pushed them around in the shopping cart at the grocery store. They had so much fun I couldn’t tell who was the bigger kid. And...if that wasn't enough, my rusty Czech is getting a welcome workout.

The rest of the news is all about getting ready for the holidays. I’m making marzipan for my holiday Stollen. I’m taking over a tradition from Jim’s grandmother, who bought Stollen from the local grocery store for Christmas morning breakfast. I thought that was just the place to buy into a family institution, but of course I had to make my own. Mine is full of dried currants, dried cherries, dried cranberries, slivered almonds, rum, butter, lots of sugar, and it’s all baked into a yeast-risen dough and covered with buttery icing. Yum! More preparations are underway to prepare the house for Grandma and Aunt Lois’ arrival on Wednesday. I’m converting the art studio into a bedroom for Lois, and I’ve got to turn the jungle room into an extra guest bedroom. A full house at the holidays is a very good thing, though. This is especially true if there are good things to eat and lots of laughter. I’ll do my part!

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

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