Tag Archives: crafts

Snowmen and Jello – Christmas

Two Glad Grandboys

While we are waiting for Christmas and preparing our gifts, and thinking about what Santa and our parents are preparing for us, children are lucky if we have some snow around with which to build a snowman or snowlady.

My own grandchildren sometimes have that. But when I was a child, I only had the beloved “Frosty the Snowman” 45 to play on my little record player.

It’s the only record I remember from my youth until I bought such ones as “Like a Rolling Stone,” and I listened to the Frosty tale over and over so that I can still hear the voice — maybe it was Red Foley — in my head. On the other side he sang “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” The image below is not quite like what I owned, but it evokes the memory well enough.

I remain snowless, and don’t mind a bit. Besides, I can watch “The Snowman” on video. Those who lack the technology for watching movies (and I know there must be some of those people still, though they are probably not the ones reading this) could read the wordless book The Snowman.

But the video is so enchanting, with its haunting tune. The first time I borrowed the movie from the library, it was a version with the song, but since then I have only found it with a purely instrumental score. We are all fortunate now, and I am more than pleased to tell you that YouTube has a clip that includes sung lyrics of “Walking in the Air.”

When I turned fifty a friend took me browsing in a quilt shop to pick out a few pieces of fabric as a birthday present from her. Several prints called to mind images from the adventures of the snowman and his little boy, and I took rectangles of them home with a theme brewing.

I sewed by hand several potholders that I call my Snowman Potholders. Of course, they have nothing to do with Christmas, except for their frequent role in pulling pies out of the oven for Christmas dinner.

Waiting….We Orthodox are still waiting until December 25 (or January 7) for the feast and waiting to feast, because we are preparing our hearts, which are tightly bound to our bodies. But participation in the Advent fast needn’t mean that children of any age must forgo all goodies. I made this festive rainbow jello for one Christmas Day, but while we are still fasting it seems to me it could easily be made with some soy or coconut milk replacing the small dairy part of the recipe.

RAINBOW RIBBON DESSERT


1 (3 oz.) package (each flavor) raspberry, lime, orange, lemon, and strawberry Jell-O

6-1/4 cups water
1-1/4 cups evaporated milk

Dissolve raspberry Jell-O in 1 cup boiling water. Remove 1/2 of Jell-O to a bowl and add 1/4 cup cold water. Place into a 9-inch square pan. Place in refrigerator until slightly firm. To the remaining half of Jell-O, add 1/4 cup evaporated milk. Cool and place over slightly firm layer in pan. Continue procedure with remaining flavors of Jell-O in this order: lime, orange, lemon, and strawberry. Cool each mixture before layering. Chill completely. Cut into squares to serve. Yield: serves 8 to 12. 

Now I’m trying to figure out how to tweak this colorful recipe into a frozen dessert. It already has the brightness of Tolkien’s wintery image, and I think I might attract my snowmen friends to my holiday table if I just advertise that for dessert we are serving a treat called “Northern Lights.”

(This is the third in my contributions to Pom Pom‘s Childlike Christmas Party.)

Like tidied toy shelves.

When Pearl was a toddler, all her toys fit on two shelves held up by cinder blocks. Most every day, with sun streaming in through big windows of the old Victorian where we lived at the time, she would absorb herself in exploring all her belongings and scatter them around in the process.

Later in the day, or the next morning, she’d show no interest in the toys that had been removed from the organized rows. She would wander aimlessly, unhappy and bored. But as soon as I tidied up the collection of blocks and dolls and plastic pull-toys, they were fascinating again and good for another long spell of play.

My own toy shelves hadn’t been tidied in at least 20 years until last summer when I tackled the chaos. I’m speaking of the boxes and baskets that held bolts and scraps of fabric, scissors and embroidery thread and patterns. Binder paper on which I’d written the body measurements of my granddaughters’ dolls, and the design for a copy of Bird’s tattered apron. Inherited notions, thimbles & thimble keeper.

Because I was known to like to sew, people thought of me when a grandmother or aunt died and left a button box or collections of needles and zippers, and I welcomed the gifts with open arms. You would think it was I and not my parents who grew up in The Depression; I even followed the example of my foremothers and snipped the buttons off before tossing out any raggedy shirt.

My grandmother Grace’s button box at least did keep all the buttons in one place. I still can’t bring myself to throw out the cards of odd old buttons in the bottom of it, and every year or two I pore over the loose ones in the top tray and imagine what I could stitch them on to.

You can see the closed button box on the floor.

All my wealth of possibilities grew without much notice because for a long time I couldn’t decide which spot or room would be my sewing area, and sometimes I’d let a year or more go by without even opening my sewing machine. But once everything had been deposited in one room, I saw that it was a burdensome barnful.

The chosen spot is a bedroom where I can have my sewing machine near the door and while I sit at it I can face outward toward the rest of the house; I didn’t want to lose touch with what might be going on downstairs. I had tried out the great room that is far removed from everything and often too cold, and I had also tried another bedroom that was too cramped, even though it was prettier.

Once I had invested in some storage racks and containers, and put things into their places, I could jump at the chance to sew doll clothes last year, knowing that my tools and materials were where I could find them. In the process of organizing, I found some interesting antique notions. And one of the doll clothes hangers that I had made and completely forgotten about.

Now that all my pins are in one box, all the spare buttons from purchased garments are in another, and there are no boxes of Hodgepodge anymore, my needlecrafting spirits have been lifted and I feel like playing again.