December 30, 2008

Post-Christmas Hush

Listen. Can you hear it? The sound of silence--the post-Christmas hush that's descended on one and all. It's the absence of advertising. The opposite of Jingle Bells, We Wish You A Merry Christmas, and Silver Bells 24/7. The fudge is gone, the sugar cookies too. The wrapping paper has been recycled, stored, or thrown away. Beloved guests and family members have returned to their homes. Neighbors are back to doing whatever they do. The dogs have lowered the alert level to blue, realizing there are no more huge rawhide bones stuffed with fake bacon wrapped and resting under the tree.

This Christmas brought a bevy of handmade son, Jesse, gave me two cool paintings. One very light, pink, Oriental looking with flowers and bird-like shapes--lots of layering and careful thought. And, another smaller painting with blues, pinks, greys, and kitchen objects. I will treasure these forever!

My son, Bryce, made a paper nativity set which miraculously made its way through the mail without a fold or dent. I never tire of the outsider-type art he sends to me, and the decorations and writing along the outside of his boxes always grab the positive attention of the postal staff. Bryce made me a bracelet as well--the plastic laces, woven kind, that takes oodles of patience to create; by a guy who's learned patience the hard way.

My sister, Joan, gave me a wonderful bag to hold yarn projects: it's called a "Knit Knack Sack"! And it came with a holder for needles.

Just before Christmas I visited my mother in Florida and returned with the knitting needles (and one large crochet hook) that belonged to my grandmother. These were used from 1920 to 1970, approximately, and are in a variety of colors and sizes arranged in a handmade corduroy holder. I left some duplicates with my sister, Joyce, and gave thanks that TSA now allows knitting needles in carry-ons.

How great it is to have these needles that were used to create so many treasured things? Unfortunately, the only needlework of Grandma's I still have is a slightly shrunken Granny Square afghan, which is now more like a well-worn lap blanket.

I do have knitted lace made by my great-grandmother and table-cloth and runner made by her as well. Along with a very old quilt. But that's another blog article...

What I learned this Christmas in the gifts I created for others (hats and scarves):
  • A different type of yarn, a different size of needle--can make a huge difference in the way a project turns out.
  • I've can add ear flaps, trim and all sorts of extras to personalize any hat pattern! That was fun!
  • It would be helpful if I measured the recipients' heads. I ended up doing a lot of adjustment or redoing...I never realized head sizes differ so much.
  • Handmade gifts, given and received, and gifts that support hobbies and do-it-yourselfedness are wonderful!

Now, it's the new year....Time for resolutions both fun and serious. I am busy making altered books as samples for the altered book workshop I'll be leading January 18th in Athens, Ohio. You can learn more at

Happy New Year!

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