Christmas in July: Cookie One, Tipsy Date Squares

Christmas 2020 was weird and horrible, let’s get that out of the way. We all have our own reasons, it was the same for everyone, but also different for everyone, ugh, let’s never do that again, etc.

Moving right along.

I made these to take to a sad little handoff to family which occurred late on a gloomy afternoon in the parking lot of an Applebee’s, an entire sentence I want to throw in the trash.

There’s even more to hate, but I’m leaving it out because [string of profanity ending in “hospital”]. Things weren’t going super well just then, you see, but thankfully, they got better*.

My cookies were amazing at all times, however, and had no need for a hospital or for improvement. Well, they’re Martha’s cookies, and that’s why they’re amazing. I couldn’t have come up with this recipe. Thanks, Martha! I will always love you.

This is an accurate representation of the cookies’ appearance.
Recipe.
Ancient Martha holiday issue from 2010. If you have this, you have the recipe in your house.

The cookies are: heavy, boozy, a meal in themselves, and exactly great to have around at holiday time. I highly recommend them, and the recipients enjoyed them very much.

I am not a cookie person. I don’t like making cookies, and I don’t like eating them outside of a very specific set of circumstances. A cookie must be different in a good way to make a blip on my radar, and this qualifies. Basically it’s a hefty, chunked-up fruitcake, which means it’s not really a cookie, and it is really cake, which I like, and fruitcake has a very special place in my heart. I love it so. Oh my.

PAUSE FOR BREATH. In conclusion, if you don’t like fruitcake, you probably won’t like this, but if you do? Make it. It’s very nice.

*only kidding, they didn’t, but we won’t dwell.

Ishbel shawl

Ishbel, pattern by Ysolda Teague.

My version, knitted in Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light. The shade is Tart. I don’t have the skill to photograph the color accurately. It is dark and luminous and rich, the most beautiful red.

I use this at Christmas. I tried once for Reformation Day, but it’s still too warm and humid here for wool shawls.

Little lights

Continuing with older projects…

The year we got our cats, our first pets (!), I realized our previous Christmas decorating plan wasn’t going to work at all. I think this kind of realization happens or doesn’t happen depending on what sort of cat you get. We got this kind:

This is her, in the garbage, proving a point.
Vibrating. Somehow.

The other two cats are mellow, but she has a lot of points to prove, and I felt sure at least one would be about the Christmas tree. It was.

Even though I have a take it or leave it (mostly leave it) attitude toward Christmas trees as a concept, if I have the opportunity to cover something in delicate glass objects and the odd inappropriately placed, worrying, actual candle (because worryingly-placed candles make me laugh) I will rethink my position. So, I had a tree covered in glass: birds, pine cones, icicles, that kind of thing. Plus the odd candle.

Very chewable, very breakable.

Guess who has a tree covered in paper ornaments now?

I did some paper cranes, some small puffy origami stars, and these:

Based on others’ reactions to my tiny lanterns, you love them or hate them. I love them.

They’re great if you have a cat hell bent on eating only what will kill her, if you have a small child who behaves similarly, if you have an adult who clumsily knocks the tree over periodically, or if you just like them.

I made them by folding origami water bombs from plain, off-white paper. After they were folded, I drew pictures on them with a black pen. So simple.

Black with off-white/ecru/similar shades is my favorite color combination. I find it quiet and peaceful. I use it a lot, alone or with another color or two thrown in. For Christmas, I add dark green and brown, mostly from evergreens, and maybe a little gold leaf here and there. I like it to look natural.

Okay, here’s how to fold the water bombs:

The little hole at the top of the folded water bomb is where you stick it on the Christmas light, just poke the light right in there, and you’re done.

There’s so much potential here, and I know I saw a kit for sale with patterned paper to use for the water bombs. Alternatively, you could do silhouettes, either drawn with pen, or punched out of dark paper with one of those paper punches that does fancy shapes. You could use a pin to poke constellations into the paper, or maybe glitter the inside of the water bomb and punch tiny holes so the light would be extra bright and shiny. You could do letters to spell out names or words. I meant to try some of these ideas last Christmas, but I found myself not quite in the mood for a bunch of extra work. Some years are like that, what can you do? I think we all had enough going on; I know crafts were at the bottom of my list. Spring and summer are sometimes a better time to get stuff ready for the holidays, anyway.

So! That’s my tree now. It’s relaxing to look at, and I like it. I don’t even miss my old ornaments. Well, except for my collection of slightly off-putting ones, but that’s something for a different day.