Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Behold, I am the handmade of the Lord

As one meanders around the Internet (now available on computers) and especially the blogosphere, one sees people vowing to only do the handmade thing this year for Christmas* gifts.

This is fraught with peril, as not everyone is as skilled at making things by hand as they believe they are, hence the phrase "Ugly as homemade sin." Which, I admit, not "Ugly as handmade sin" but there an implicit thing going on there. At any rate, the point remains the number of people who can actually take raw materials (presumably all natural as well) and apply their loving labor thereto and arrive at an item with which the recipient thereof will be pleased to receive is, er, exceedingly finite.

I can't be bothered to look up the rules of this pledge (or was it a vow? a compact?) but I would think it against the spirit, if not the actual writ, to purchase handmade things. In which case it's shame because most of the things I particularly covet are, in fact, handmade.

(On the matter of handmade luggage, it bears noting I never check in luggage when flying. Ever. Ideally, the handmade luggage will be the custom-fit Schedoni pieces which were an option with my car back in 1985 but which the previous owner never troubled himself to purchase.)

Early on in my married life, when the number of people on my Christmas gift list quadrupled from the previous year, TFBIM and I decided to go all handmade. She can't knit or sew or quilt (or churn butter, so you male Amish readers may exhale in relief at the bullet you dodged) but she quite likes warpping things up in cellophane and tying it up in raffia and making gift baskets and things and I liked cooking stuff so off we went.

Here is the basic list of stuff we made and stuffed into baskets:

Some kind of infused vodka (lemon, cranberry or chile pepper)
Cheese straws
Sun-dried tomato pesto
Marinated olives
Lime marmalade
Sun (well, actually oven) dried mango strips
Chocolate truffles

I'll spare you the suspense and let you know it all went over exceedingly well. So that was nice.

But, dear Internet, it was Hellish work. TFBIM and I had been married a whopping seven months when we leapt into this volcano. The cheese straw episode had us thinking quite seriously about annulment, and the truffles? That episode had us thinking about homicide.

Then there was the evening (Dec. 23rd) we were assembling the baskets (I shudder at the actual number of baskets) which completely overran our tiny starter-home kitchen and spilled out into the family room. All this as we tried to decipher who was allergic to what and who was a vegan and would I please, for the love of all that's holy stop rolling my eyes at the mention of the word "vegan" and who was watching the cholesterol...all while each of us thought darkly about whether or not we had made a catastrophic nuptial error.

We somehow managed to get through it, and here we are.

-J.

* Presumably this applies to Chanukah as well.

Posted by Joke at 7:22 AM

10 Comments

  • Blogger HEATHER posted at 12:35 PM, December 12, 2007  
    So let me guess, you have never made Cheese straws or truffles again. Am I right?
  • Blogger Joke posted at 12:58 PM, December 12, 2007  
    You are half-right. I have made truffles VERY sporadically in the intervening 14 years.

    -J.
  • Blogger Maddy posted at 3:47 PM, December 12, 2007  
    I used to make the homemade truffles until we moved out here. 70 degree heat and chocolate are not a good combination.
    Cheers
    This is my calling card or link"Whittereronautism"until blogger comments get themselves sorted out.
  • Blogger Badger posted at 7:09 PM, December 12, 2007  
    My mom and I tried to make rum truffles once when I was in high school. She, not being a drinker (me being one but not able to tell her so for fear of getting busted, given I was all of 16 or 17 at the time), bought and made them with Bacardi 151. Yeah. Those were some DAMN GOOD truffles. Of course, Mom ate two of them and pretty much passed out cold. Good times.
  • Blogger Joke posted at 7:21 PM, December 12, 2007  
    You are the badass of Christmas Past.

    -J.
  • Blogger shula posted at 9:56 PM, December 12, 2007  
    I hereby grant you Official Exemption from hand made christmas, on account of the fact that I just laughed so hard.

    The real question is, how many of these people will be doing the handmade thing NEXT christmas. I'll be interested to see.
  • Blogger Poppy Buxom posted at 12:17 AM, December 13, 2007  
    Ick. I would totally hate some hand-made gift. Unless it was food. Truffles, maybe. Cheese straws not so much. Brownies with crushed peppermint sticks? Now you're talking.
  • Blogger h&b posted at 8:36 PM, December 13, 2007  
    I would like a handmade Kelly bag. It's in baby pink and a picture of it hangs right next to the mirror in which I apply my lipstick.

    So I may admire it.

    I don't think Husb is going to fork out the $20k for one though...
  • Blogger Lazy cow posted at 4:51 AM, December 18, 2007  
    My husband and I made a hamper once. When I say MADE, I mean purchased the goods and wrapped them in a basket. That was exhausting enough.
    I'm sure all those handmade pledgers have their children all working their production lines for them. How else do they churn out so much unbelievably gorgeous stuff in such a short space of time?
  • Blogger Joke posted at 4:36 PM, December 18, 2007  
    I'm deeply jealous of the ability to turn out gorgeous looking stuff.

    -J.
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