Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year, New Traditions

Happy New Year.

I'm just now sitting down to address a few post-Christmas New Year cards. I've recently been inspired by a magazine called ReadyMade, so in lieu of store bought gifts I dared to make a few homemade things, namely a scarf (not yet delivered), pints of preserved lemons, and holiday cards. The knitting is not new, but something I used to do years ago in Oxford. Carlyle Wolfe, a local artist there would come into the bookstore with her yarn and needles and I was curious. One day, she showed me how to do it and I spent the weekend holed up listening to books on tapes until my friend Lauren came over and I taught her how to do it. She excelled, far more than I did, and tore through several skeins to my one. Then something else interested me and I moved on, forgetting how to cast on and the simple knit stitch until Chris' mom showed me on Christmas.

The cards were an entirely different matter. I've long made handmade cards, never being able to find designs or sentiments that resonate with me. After seeing an interesting collection of rubber stamps in the above mentioned magazine, I embarked on making my own stamp, in this case a bird. Simple and a nod to peace. I stamped out a handful before the holiday, adding some bits of paper for flair, and then Christmas hit, followed by snow and the arrival of my family, and the cards sat on my desk forgotten. Until today...

The preserved lemons are old news and constant pastime, only unusually engaged in during the first few weeks of spring. But after seeing some lemons in the grocery store and thinking how cheery they would be in the coming gray months of winter, I thought I'd make a few pints of lemons to give away. My own stash is down to a quarter piece, but I like knowing other people will have a chance to be creative with this surprisingly bright condiment. And I feel good knowing I'm continuing a tradition of preserving fruit, even if it isn't the same way (or even the same type of fruit) my grandma did.

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