Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Seriously Martha Stewart

Seriously, Martha Stewart? 

It's the day before Thanksgiving, and I just got the 1995 Martha Stewart Christmas book at the library.  The Dot and I love to look at Christmas Craft books at Christmas.  That might seem obvious, but one of us (I'm not saying which) would look at Christmas Craft books on Veterans Day.  Alright, both of us would.  But since Christmas is almost here, the time seemed right.

I'm sure there are plenty of great ideas in this book.  There are lots of festive pictures and illustrated instructions.  And I do my fair share of baking, sewing, knitting and general crafting, so I'm not easily put off.  But, come on.

On page 15 she shows a very nice swag made of green, red and orange leaves.  Perfect.  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I'm decorating Wellington, so maybe I'll give this one a shot.  In the first sentence, you're told that this is a "more temporary decoration".  You simply use very fresh leaves (because they soon start wilting and you have to throw it away), take some green cotton thread and sew the leaves together.  One by one.  Then throw it away.  Because it will look like lawn-rakings.

I love the succulent wreath.  But you have to buy a wire frame and a huge bunch of "sphagnum moss", which you then have to soak overnight (I'm already lost because I don't have the attention span.)  The next day if you didn't already lose interest (I did), you put some soil on top of the moss and frame, then wrap the moss around it, tie it with wire, then poke holes all around the moss.  It isn't until this point that she mentions that your "cuttings" (where do you get these "cuttings"?) should be "callused."  So I should have stolen them from my neighbors last week and I didn't.

There's one page that shows a lovely fruit-themed tree.  She has actually tied real grapes onto this tree with ribbon.  My grapes are already moldy and I just bought them yesterday.  There's no way I'm going to have a moldy-fruit-themed tree in my house and it isn't just on account of the ants.  What's Christmassy about that?

The cookie recipes are doable.  I'll probably give them a try.

On page 76, Martha explains how to make a "Keepsake Box".  It's a lovely gold pyramid with a bead and ribbon coming out the top.  I think you put stuff inside.  I could put one of my truffles inside and give it to the neighbor whose cuttings I stole for the sphagum-moss wreath.  Step 1:  using a compass (??), draw a circle with a 2" radius on cardboard.  From the center, mark five 72° segments on the perimeter with a protractor.  (More gibberish here.)  "Open compass the length of one side, place its point at b and draw an arc.  From c draw an arc intersecting the first . . . extend a straight line from center a through d to point e 9 inches from a . . . "  I'm not kidding.  There's more, and it includes an X-Acto knife.  And this is all just step one.  I'm not that desperate for a truffle box.

But, the best bit in the book, better than making your own candles, using potatoes for rubber stamps or sewing your gift bags closed with a needle and thread, is the Acorn Box.  First of all, you have to decide what you can give someone that would fit inside an acorn.  Then:  "Gently remove the cap from a newly fallen acorn.  Carve out the white circle underneath and remove the soft meat . . wrap fine-grade sandpaper around a pencil eraser and smooth the inside . . STAIN THE OUTSIDE WITH WOOD STAIN . . . select a cork that snugly fits . . . "  Seriously?

Here's a link to Martha's Thanksgiving site.  In her defense, this book is from 1995.   Her publications seem to have become more practical lately for some reason.

Gobble gobble.


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