I don't like to be the one to raise the alarm, but many of you have been so caught up in the Valentines Day whirl that you probably have not planned adequately for the next big holiday: Yes, Presidents Day is Monday. Have you decorated? Shopped? Gotten your cards out in the mail?
Cherries are a traditional Presidents Day motif. When I was in elementary school, back when Lincoln's Birthday and Washington's Birthday were celebrated separately, but neither with an official holiday, we made construction-paper stovepipe hats in honor of Lincoln and something cherry-tree related in honor of Washington. I don't think kids learn about Washington confessing to chopping down a cherry tree any more, and it's sad to see that little bit of folklore slip away. On the other hand, my daughter got a really good grade on her living-history portrayal of Andrew Jackson in her AP US History class, so I probably shouldn't worry that she doesn't know a bit of historical trivia that's probably not even true.
Since cherries are one of my favorite motifs, though, I'll do my best to keep tradition alive. The towel on the left is vintage, and the towel on the right is one I made, adapting the cherry design. The little corner of patchwork on top is a little mat that was a gift from Amy, who ...
A few weeks ago, I foolishly promised to share some directions from this book for making decorative objects from gumdrops. As is the case in so many ventures in my life, this proved less interesting than I expected. While I had no intention of recreating The Father of Our Country in sugar-coated candies, I did think I could manage to make a gumdrop cherry tree like the one in the lower left corner.
And, in fact, I did. To do this, you need, obviously, gumdrops, as well as cinnamon candies, lollipop sticks, a sharp knife and a rolling pin. Flatten the green gumdrops with the rolling pin. Use the tip of the knife to make a little hollow for the cinnamon-candy cherries (they'll stick better that way), and press the cherries into place. Pop in the lollipop stick, and then pop it into the base.
I wish I could make it sound more complicated, but it's not. I recommend using the traditional sugary gumdrops and not the spice drops. The spice drops look the same, but they are delicious and might not last long enough to reach the craft stage.
While you've got the gumdrops and the rolling pin out, wondering how a life that began with so much promise ended up with making odd crafts out of candy, you might as well go whole-hog and make a gumdrop cherry decoration. Spearmint gumdrop leaves, flattened red gumdrops, a little piece of white gumdrop for highlight and some licorice Twizzlers. I bet you can figure it out from there.