Reader Bob Sindelar of Sindelar & O'Brien Antique and Design imagines the following bit of holiday humor: Martha Stewart's planner for a very special Arts & Crafts Christmas dinner...
DAY I: Build pavilion for the dinner -- something in a bungalow motif. Use native woods. Strive for a Greene & Greene look. (Use original hardware from the collection if time gets too short to hammer my own.)
Quarter-saw white oak from the stand I felled last year. Build manger. Use through-tenons and pegged construction, adding corbels to the underside (Joseph may have been a carpenter, but he was no Gustave Stickley!).
Fume and set aside.
DAY 2: Shear sheep. Card and spin wool. Weave. Fashion into swaddling clothes.
Phone Dale at the Boathouse. Book time at furnace. Pick up Lino at airport. Blow life-size glass putti. (Use gold foil inclusions; the silver looked tacky in that eight-foot, sand-cast sleigh Bertil and I did last year!)
Swaddle. Place in manger.
DAY 3: Pluck goose. Fashion quill pen. Make red ink from the crushed skin of holly berries. Address 250 dinner invitations in a calligraphic hand.
Design award-winning new typeface. Carve from heart pine. Set type for dinner menus. Pull 250 prints, hors commerce, and pencil sign. Illume in six colors, plus gold. Bind in limp covers. Set aside.
DAY 4: Run off individual linen place mats and napkins on loom. Embroider with guests' initials in original Arts & Crafts design based on the Dard Hunter sketch book I found at that wonderful yard sale last week for 25¢.
Design and cast bronze mounts for those terribly plain, Tiffany salts.
DAY 5: Fuel the Aerocoupe. Fly to Colorado. Select and fell Blue Spruce for the Great Room. Fashion sled from trimmed branches. Recruit dog team. Mush tree to front yard, waving gaily to ordinary folk along the way. (They will remember this for years!)
DAY 6: Soak frostbitten toes in Weller jardiniere filled with fresh mountain spring water, to which has been added 8 oz. arctic ice. Reserve water for the ice sculpture. (Remember to wash jardiniere before serving the mulled wine!)
Clean funky old sideboard I found on the trash pile yesterday. Paint in colorful Peter Hunt design. (I'll need a place to put those three-color Grueby bowls for the soup.) Be sure to cover up that "R"-inside-a-sawmark carved on the back, probably by some bygone child.
DAY 7: Melt down old copper tubing removed from Victorian house I restored last week. Pour and let cool. Roll into sheets. Radially hammer individual place card holders. Patinate and set aside.
Hit local flea markets and garage sales. Gather enough "Ruba Rombic" in seasonal colors of Jungle Green and Ruby Red to use as party favors. (Don't tell dealers their Consolidated "Ruba Rombic" is really Kopp "Modernistic." They don't want to hear it. Particularly not from Martha Stewart!)
DAY 8: Strip Thanksgiving turkey carcass; dry. Paint red. Distress. Apply gold leaf to highlight. Invert and hang on front door. Fill with freshly cut pine boughs and cones. Add left-over mashed potatoes to pine cone tips to simulate snow. Top with jellied cranberries for that festive note.
For dinner music, record traditional Christmas melodies on period instruments, playing each myself and mixing in my studio later. Laser CDs, enough for each guest.
DAY 9: Harvest bee hives. Make wax; color with crushed and pureed fresh cranberries for that just-right Christmas-red. Line 120 toilet paper rolls saved over past year (waste not; want not!) with wax paper. Using as molds, cast bee's-wax candles. Remove and discard TP rolls.
Line drive and walk with Loetz oil-spot vases. To each, add 1-1/2 cups Gulf Coast, summer sand, to weight. Insert red candles (wick up). They will look lovely, glowing warmly, against the snow! (If summer sand is unavailable, substitute winter sand, but increase to 1-2/3 cups.)
DAY 10: The Day of the Dinner - E-mail holiday greetings to the 37 on-line discussion groups I moderate. Be sure to preface with "Off Topic." Remember to ask them to respond by PRIVATE e-mail!
Greet guests, asking after each of their children or grandchildren byname. So as to reduce guests' well-deserved feelings of inadequacy,carefully add a light splash of Beaujolais Nouveau to the skirt of the country suit I whipped up this morning.
Smile modestly. Try (sincerely, this year!) to appear slightly flustered.
Sign and dedicate 250 copies of "Martha Stewart Collects."