Newsletter, Walnuts

I’ve been wanting to publish a newsletter for some time. Printed magazines have always been dear to my heart, and I see an email newsletter as a cost-effective way of sharing my interest imperative of a daily creative practice — however it occurs to you — as essential human activity, without all the adverts. I’m using Constant Contact for delivery, in part because I’m familiar with it from my volunteer work with Pacifica Beach Coalition, and hey, start with what you know.

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Years ago I made an advent calendar for my daughter, when she first moved away for college. It was a garland of shelled walnuts containing tiny treasures glued over a length of ribbon, meant to be re-cracked as the days unfolded. This is a perfect project for miniaturists, for who among us does not have an overflowing stash of tiny treasures?

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Construction is easy enough. Get a pound or so of jumbo walnuts in the shell.

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Split them cleanly open, and remove the good bits. (It’s just weird to call nuts meat.) Share with your squirrels and birds or save for cooking/snacking. I found a shellfish fork to be the handiest tool for all tasks, but use what you have. Keep the shell pairs together.

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Ensure you have a dedicated helper.

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This is the really fun part. Depending on to whom you intend to give this, go through your stash and find small treasures that will fit in a walnut shell. This one is for my almost-four-year-old granddaughter.

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It’s helpful to test fit and line up your treasures so you can roll with assembly. Make sure you keep your walnut shells paired!

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A thinnish, flexible ribbon or raffia works best. (I’ve needlessly complicated the process here by using a sheer ribbon and a novelty yarn, but both have sentimental value :) Dot glue on both sides of the shell, sandwiching the ribbon, and realign the cracked shell edges.

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Hold until dry. Think about good things.

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Decide a pleasing interval between walnuts, and repeat the process for the number of days you wish to advent, depending on what you’re counting down (or up). The finished walnut garland can be hung in any number of ways. Of course you’ll want to give some consideration to the contents vs. the force necessary to re-break the shell, but it’s pretty easy.

If you’re fancy, the walnuts could be gilded or embellished with numerals. Or glitter… or rose thorns. You get the idea. Evoke.

For me, cracking and shelling walnuts returns me to my childhood, when every home had a nut bowl on a living room side table, always available for a snack. Holiday baking involved conscripted labor. Our job as kids was to crack a very large bag of walnuts, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, the odd Brazil nut — our mother would never indulge the cost of pre-shelled nuts! — and extract the usable parts. As I recall, whole walnut and pecan halves earned a dividend. These memories are imbued with a happiness of shared industry and rich nut tidbits.

Anyway. Projects, ideas, like this are what I have in mind for my newsletter content, as well as quick inspirations, fun facts, helpful hints, and links to relevant, deeper content around the subject of being a heartfelt creative person. Sound interesting? There’s a clunky link in the sidebar to subscribe, as well as a new “Newsletter” page with a contact form. Obviously I’m still working everything out. I’m thinking a once a month issue to begin with. Interested?

4 thoughts on “Newsletter, Walnuts

  1. Barbara W. says:

    I’m in!
    Love your idea of a newsletter. Love your idea for the advent calendar too. I wanted to make one this year, but wasn’t inspired by anything in the craft stores. Just think of the Waldorf salads one could make with the leftovers..

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Yay! The first issue has a bonus incentive project that can also be used for adventing :)
      I favor nut brittles and/or toasting them with savory/spicy rubs — also good for gifting.

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