marmalade

The completed marmalade, waiting to be labeled. #2 son helped with it, so he got to give the jars bunny ears in the photograph. I used Martha Stewart’s recipe, and it turned out to be delicious.

And here we have Christmas tree charms waiting to be soldered.

charms

And, since my scanner and computer are now playing nicely together, a somewhat clearer view of charms in various stages of completion:

soldered charms

If you do the HGP, then today is the last day to make gifts. You can help the kids with their holiday crafting, bake, and so forth, but it is the end of the great giftmaking. I used to rebel against this, on the grounds that I work on crafts all year long, so I could work on gifts till the last minute. However, I found that there was always something I was frantically trying to finish at the last minute, as my house descended further into chaos and my goodwill evaporated, so now I respect the deadline. Almost completely. I’ve been known to go over by a day. But I am going to do my best to complete everything today.

That is why I am up so early, wrestling with leather. #2 son expressed a desire for a pair of moccasins, and I picked up a Realeather Scout Moccasin Kit, which turns out to require more skill that I would have have thought. I figured it would be a lot like the Lauri Lace-a-Puppet kit, with which I have always been successful. If this were not the last day, I would use this pair for practice. As it is, I am just trying to concentrate hard. If you ever want to do these, I can only say that when they tell you to pull the lace tight to form a pucker, they are not fooling around.

I got the nicest email message:

“I have been reading your xanga site and it is like an advent calendar of wonderful mysterious activities. Instead of a piece of chocolate, each day you provide a song whichis  a lot more soul satisfying and healthier.”

I therefore offer today a song which I know the writer will like: “Past Three o’Clock.” This song was written in the 1920s by George Ratcliff Woodward, a guy who really admired early music. He is the fellow who gave us “Ding Dong, Merrily on High,” and other splendid songs which you probably think are really old.

“Past Three o’Clock” has been recorded by The Chieftains, Linda Ronstadt, and the Kings’ College Choir, and it does sound good with elaborate harmonies. However, it is also a good song for parties. The words are lovely but it can be hard to fit them all in, and the tune of the verse is highly ornamented. So let the singers in the group do the verses. Then everyone else can join in shouting out the chorus, which is from the authentically old tradition of the London Waits, who were apparently guys who went around at 3:00 a.m., lustily singing about the weather and waking everyone up. They were paid for this service, of course, but I wonder if there wasn’t just a little element of schadenfreude in it as well.

If you are not doing the HGP and do not consider today the gift-crafting deadline, then you might want to check out the new Knitty, which has lots of gifty stuff.

And if you are really stumped, perhaps you will enjoy the idea That Man passed on. His sister is postmistress in a small town, and one of her patrons was sending off videotapes of a funeral to all the people on her Christmas list.

As I passed the cemetery last night on my way home, it was lit up with luminarias along all the paths. I think they were having an Advent service of some kind, rather than a really stylish evening funeral, but I do hope the one that went out as a gift was equally snazzy.