The Crafting Fates

on 29 November 2012

Last time on Burnstopia, M was celebrating like a Loon because she acquired (through questionable means) a truly excellent recipe.

This week on Burnstopia, M eats Humble Pie dished out heavily by the Crafting Fates.

So this year for Chris' Christmas socks, I picked out two different color work patterns.  The first was a really cool nautical theme, and I messed that up real good, so I moved on to another geometric pattern, and I messed that up real good, so I just decided that perhaps color work was just not meant to be this year.  So I started searching for cable patterns and I found one that I really liked and cast on.

By October I had finished the first sock and I thought, "Excellent!  I'm going to get these done by December 1st and have loads of time to do other things!"  So I cast on the second and while Chris was gone to Savannah I worked diligently on the second sock.

(His only request was that they be a SURPRISE so I have to work on them when he's not around.)

So I finished the gusset decreases on the second sock on Tuesday night and I pulled out the first (and FINISHED) sock to measure against it and count the cable twist so I knew how many rounds I needed to knit before starting the toe decreases.

And I found a HOLE.  Not a little hole.  And not a dropped-stitch hole, a gaping hole with FRAYED ends around it.  A hole that looked like a BROKEN piece of yarn. I felt totally deflated.  So I went to all my knitting books searching for how to correct a broken strand of yarn in an otherwise perfect body of knitting, and lo, there was NOTHING.

So I thought and I thought and I thought about it and I figured I had two solutions:   I could darn the hole closed as neatly as possible, or I could CUT the foot off, unravel back to the start of the hole and REKNIT the entire foot.

Last night at my sister's I darned it shut.  And it looked awful.  And as I thought about it, I thought "What is the point of the gift?  Is it the sock, or is it more than that?"  And I realized, it's so much more than that.  The gift really isn't the socks, the gift is a tangible manifestation of the love that I have for him.  There is very little in our life that is perfect, but this pair of socks that I make for him once a year, THAT can be perfect.

So last night I cut and unraveled and picked up the stitches to reknit the foot.  As I was painfully picking up those stitches I thought about the women who run the bakery in Savannah, and maybe this Hole business was just, I'm reducing their profits by making my own, I suppose it's only fair that the Crafting Fates exact some form of vengeance on their behalf.

If you'll excuse me, I have TWO socks now to finish before Christmas.

Maniacal LAUGH

on 28 November 2012

For the past 3 years I have been experimenting with sugar cookie doughs.  More specifically I have been trying to replicate a sugar cookie that I can only get in Savannah, GA.  They come from a local bakery down there and every time we go down we stop in and buy a few (insanely priced for COOKIES) so that I can bite and think and savor and then try again.

I am not exaggerating when I say I have been going slowly insane trying to replicate these cookies!  I have tried no fewer than 5, 829 versions of sugar cookies.  I have googled and searched and searched and googled, I have experimented and come close and tweaked and tweaked and tweaked some MORE.  I have given up about 38 times, and then, like the crazy fool that I am, I keep TRYING again!

Chris went down to Savannah for a suicide trip to see his Dad and his family for a couple of days after Thanksgiving, and while he was down there (the babies and I stayed here) he was under orders to bring me more sugar cookies, for we are entering the High Baking Season around here.

In the meantime, I tried the 5, 830th version of sugar cookies and was SADLY disappointed.  So I sat down at my computer to write an email to Christopher and quit for the 39th time.  And there, in my humble in box was an email from Chris' best friend.  A best friend that I love but seldom hear from as he's...Chris' best friend.  So I open it and what to my wondering eye should appear?


I called Chris immediately and said, "Oh my HECK!"  And he laughed at me and told me a classic story of It's Not What You Know, It's Who You Know Southerness, and I printed it and thanked his best friend PROFUSELY and then stood up in my bedroom and laughed meniacally! 

Because I WIN.

(And in my own defense, can I just say?  This is the STRANGEST cookie recipe I have EVER seen.  There's NO leavening of any kind!  You knead them at the end almost like bread dough.  No WONDER I couldn't figure it out!  T'ain't nat'ral.)

But now I get the cake-iest most delicious buttery sugar cookies whenever I want and I don't have to pay exorbitant prices for them.  I am as giddy as a school girl.

I win I win I win I win I win I win I win I win I win I win I win I win I win I win I win!

An assortment of unsettledness...

on 16 November 2012

I've been feeling restless and unsettled lately, which is probably why I haven't been here much.

When it happens, I spend an inordinate amount of time makin' stuff.  So here's the rundown:

  • I made 103 mini pumpkin cupcakes for my awesome sister and her welcome home party for my also awesome nephew.  It was A LOT.  In fact, I'm pretty sure they're still eating them.
  • I finished 1 of Chris' Christmas socks and am about 3" into the mate.  
  • I'm nearly done with the first of a pair of mittens for m'self.
  • I made a darling little bonnet for my Girl aaaaaaand it's too small.  Not by much, but enough to look funky on her.
  • I made a cute little pink and white cardigan for my Girl aaaaaaand it's too small.  This one really stung.  And so I have dubbed it the Sweater than Shall Not be Named.
  • I made another cute little pilot cap for my Girl aaaaaaaaaand it just barely fits her.  So if her head grows at all this winter she's just going to be COLD.
  • I made 6 loaves of my soft and delicious wheat bread and we're halfway through them.  In a week.  ONE week.  I'm going to need more bread flour.
  • I made another batch of pumpkin cupcakes for Chris to take in to work today.
  • I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies for Chris to take in to work last week.
  • I made a cranberry-orange buttermilk bundt cake for Chris to take in to work the week before that.  I'm going to need more all purpose flour, sugar and baking powder.
  • I planted a bunch of herbs in pots on my windowsill.  Chris asked me why I picked the herbs I picked and I said, "They do well in dry, rocky soil and with no care whatsoever."  He laughed.  I was serious.  If anyone needs, we have a lot of rosemary.

The Boy and I just finished reading the Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis.  We finished it last night, actually, and I totally cried as I was reading the ending.  The Boy cuddled up close to me and laid his face on my face (which makes it difficult to read, but is so sweet you almost don't care) and sighed and said, "I love you, Mama."  And that's when I realized that everyone in the world should be loved the way that this kid loves his parents.  He's so forgiving and tolerant of us, even when we're trolls.  He is very like how I was with him when he was small;  he loves us so much he wants to swallow us whole.  And since I'm very familiar with that desire, I find it utterly charming in him.

He climbed into bed with me this morning and cuddled up to me, all warm and soft and sleepy.  And I thought, "it's ok.  The world is totally going to pot, but this kid is living in it, so it's ok."

And with that, I'm going to go cast on a pair of mittens for him.  And a hat.  And another hat for my Girl.  And maybe one for me.  Also that second mitten.  And a pair of socks for my sister, she lives in the ARCTIC tundra that is the mountain West.  And maybe, just maybe another sweater for the Girl...but this one is going to be several sizes TOO BIG.

Burnstopia VOTES

on 06 November 2012

I voted!

So did Chris!

And...the Boy?

We went and voted as a family this morning, and there were some school kids running a little voting booth for children, so the Boy picked up his ballot and I explained to him the candidates and who Mama and Daddy favored and why and he voted.  It was every bit as adorable as it sounds.

(It got me thinking about 4 years ago.)

Look at how small and squishy he used to be!  And yeah, now that I look at it, I'm reminded of another very squishy person in our lives...

(She wanted to vote too, but instead of casting her ballot, she wanted to EAT her ballot.  And your vote doesn't count if you eat it!)

Telling the Truth

on 05 November 2012

Chris' Grandma died last Wednesday. 

We spent the weekend down in Savannah for her funeral and burial services.  It was a long, exhausting and sad weekend.  This was the first trip in 10 years that we didn't go and have a chat with Grandmama.  She was just an integral part of our time in Savannah and I found myself feeling quite melancholic and silent about the change.

I also discovered a new challenge to motherhood.  As if there weren't enough already.  The Boy was full of questions during the funerary services and I found myself struggling to tell him the truth.  I have a strict policy of truth with my babies, I want them to feel confident in telling me the truth, so I try to do the same with them.  But I found it hard, this time around, not to dress this sad ritual up in fanciful clothes.

If only he weren't so perceptive.  He kept asking me why Grandmama was in the box.  And why are we burying her in the ground?  And why isn't she here if we're talking about her?  And where did she go? 

I would have loved to tell him that she went to live up in the stars and that she would shine out every night as he was sleeping.  I would have loved to tell him that we put her in the ground so that she could grow up into a beautiful tree in the Wood between Worlds.  I would have loved to tell him that she couldn't be at the funeral because she was off doing something amazing and adventurous.

But the truth is harder.  And harder still to explain to someone with a relatively rudimentary vocabulary and a pliable relationship with Time.  But I tried.  I explained to him the same things my parents explained to me when I was 5 years old and my Grandmama died.  I tried to explain the things we Believe and why we Believe them.

And as we made the long drive from the middle of Georgia back to Savannah, Chris and I talked.  We talked about the memories that we'll put into our pockets and carry with us.  The stories that we'll tell the Boy and the Girl and any babies we're lucky enough to have later on.  We'll tell them about Grandma's obsession with socks, and how we went to breakfast every time we visited.  How she would buy KFC to take to her family reunion and put it into her own serving dish so no one would know she didn't make it herself (everyone knew, of course, just no one said anything).  We'll tell them how she praised Dad to the skies and how much she loved her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  We'll tell them how hard she worked, and how when girls on college campuses were shouting obscenities and burning their bras, she and her sister (in Savannah, GA) went out and opened up their own Sporting Goods store.  Not two ex-football players, but two Southern Ladies!  How she worked until she was 90+ and would have worked to the day she died, if she could have.  Because those things are the Truth too.