We’ve been living in Houston for the past year and a half. The decade prior, we'd been in Seattle. And while Mr. New Media and I aren't native to the Northwest, it is Home to us. Texas feels just about like the polar opposite. People drive differently, talk differently, consume differently, carry themselves differently. Summer is a miserable, sweaty mess, and I have to live by the A/C, which I hate. And winter -- well, there just isn't enough of it. But today, for once, Houston is crisp and wet, smelling of trees and dirt instead of whatever it is that I normally smell here. It reminds me of Home.
And it’s put me in a mood. A good one. A creative one. Sure, sunlight may be great for taking photos without flash and seeing things without squinting. And overhead lighting sure is efficient. But I prefer my workspace to be lit by lamp. Makes it feel illuminated, in all the great senses of that word. Maybe it’s also that this weather hearkens to the holidays. And what better time for making than the holidays.
Sometime after The Boy's birth, I decided that most, if not all of our our gifts would be handmade. Edibles and potables, mostly, but also fun knick-knackery tossed in for good measure. Something about breeding stirred in me a real desire to make something tangible for my family. I brought no heirlooms from my own childhood. My mom's single parentage left no time or money for the luxury of arts and crafts, not to mention there was absolutely no attic space or otherwise to store such things, so there was nothing TO bring from my childhood. And, yeah, it's not the stuff that matters, it's the memories, it's the traditions, blah, blah, BLAH. But that image of musty old blankets and toys and stick figure paintings brought down from attics to evoke time-sweetened sentiments of childhood… I really wanted it for my family. And, OK, maybe food and drink wasn't what you'd want pulled down from the attic 30 years later. But it seemed to me that it was a good place to start. This, I'm thinking, was the genesis of Lovelihood.
So maybe it wasn't entirely appropriate that alcohol played so prominently in that first Christmas' makings. But it was a fun, simple gift to give, and the tradition has stuck. And grown. This year's hootch: a double batch of cranberry liqueur, a double batch of coffee, single batches each of apricot and mint. The recipes are all from here, although I think in past years I pulled some recipes from a Ready-Made Christmas issue.
That cranberry one is a crowd pleaser, totally candy-like. I've made that one every year. The coffee was my favorite from last year. It's got a touch of chocolate, and how can you go wrong with chocolate? I'm particularly excited about the apricot, or rather, those macerated dried apricot bits which will be drained out of the final product. The mint, I'm a little unsure about. The color's a bit… unpleasant. Could food coloring rescue it? Or would that just make it grosser? Or do I just package in darker bottles and hope my besotted friends don't bother pouring it out into nice little glasses before drinking? Yeah, I think that's the winner.
Anyway, yes. It's only October. I realize this. But the damn things take up to a couple months to settle in. And it's a good feeling getting these things going. Gets me in the mood for more making.