Saturday, December 20, 2008

What's in your hand: Extreme Edition

"What's in your hand" is a favourite phrase of the Deputy Headmistress. Just to give proper credit.

Do you remember that Little House Christmas chapter where things are in a bad state, gift-wise and otherwise? As Laura falls asleep that Christmas Eve, she hears Ma saying something like "there's still the white sugar." The bag of white sugar is a huge treat, usually hoarded and saved for company. But the next morning, in their stockings they each find a sugar-topped cookie. (Apologies to Birdie.)

I get a similar impulse around this time of year, usually in the last week or so before Christmas when the present list seems a little thin (and it's almost too late to start making things). Use it up! Pour it out! What good is it doing just sitting around if we could use it for something? And I don't mean just the butter and sugar...although I did finish off the part-bag of brown sugar and the whole box of raw sugar, two pounds of butter, and all the eggs. (Groceries today.)

Without trying to give away too many secrets, we used up the last of the tacky craft glue, a package of black pompoms (bought several years ago) plus a few leftover coloured ones, most of the cotton yarn, some dollar-store scrapbooking paper bought last February, several vintage hankies, the last of several spools of thread, and a couple of large pieces of fabric that were sitting...just sitting, not pulling their weight. Not to mention that green cord and the glitzy napkins. And some other things I'm not allowed to name.

We bought a roll of white paper at the toy store in the summer (to make a Pilgrim's Progress scroll and also a life-size paper girl; last week Crayons noticed the Snowman Factory idea (think giant paper dolls) on the Canadian Living website. Perfect!--four large snowmen now in progress. (That's where the pompoms and scrapbooking paper are going.) She also wants to make some smaller paper-chain snowmen like the ones she saw on the wall at Ponytails' school.

Last year's last-minute making was much the same: I used up all the craft stuffing we had plus a big piece of quilt batting and most of our yard-saled bulky yarn to make The Apprentice a sausage-shaped pillow. That doesn't mean I went right out and bought more stuffing, either; actually we didn't buy any until last week.

At certain times in your life you might go through a "nesting" phase--a time to gather it all up, acquire, stock the shelves. At Christmas my instinct is to do the opposite: not with a feeling of using up unwanted rags, not scrounging, but rather using the best that we have, and all of it if necessary. Enjoying it, sharing it, --the most beautiful treasures and the favourite ingredients, used and given freely. Some of it, we'll replace quickly: eggs and brown sugar are easy to come by, and we can get more glue. Other things we may do without for awhile...I don't know if or when I'll ever have a whole package of black pompoms around again.

But next year we'll make something else.

1 comment:

Birdie said...

"But the next morning, in their stockings they each find a sugar-topped cookie. (Apologies to Birdie.) "

You can have my share. I'll even throw in some sugar-free muffins! ;)