Christmas is a wonderful and yet maddening time for those of us who like to handmake gifts. It’s wonderful because it’s satisfying to make things and give them, but maddening because invariably you end up in a rush. I think my New Year’s Resolution this year needs to be to start crafting and sewing the minute Christmas is over in preparation for the next Christmas. Here’s what I’ve been up to this week:
A few nights ago we had one of our favorite Christmas traditions-a visit from our friends Liz and Eleanor. They are super needlewomen and we all love talking about fabrics, and we all love giving handmade things to appreciative people, so there was a little bit of anticipation about some gifts. Look what Liz got up to–a felt and sequin Cornish Hen! She is wearing an apron! Isn’t it wonderful?
And the whole gang worked on this adorable snowman mug rug (or candle mat, which doesn’t have a cute name). It’s made of the most wonderful wool felt. This is the sort of charming, simple design that you see and think “Why didn’t I think of that?”
I somehow neglected to take a picture of what I made for them, but you see the lovely pictures they took over at at their post about it. I did a potholder and wrist pincushions. I’m loving making these potholders and just stitching things together as I go along.
Tonight I finished up the second to last handmade gift–a Kindle cover. (Last gift still to make is a set of fabric luggage tags.) I’ve seen a few tutorials for different styles of Kindle covers, and I thought this one-which basically is a book cover–would best suit the recipient. I made a few changes to the instructions (adding padding) and if I make it again I would make even more changes (sew elastic on before assembling.)
on the left side you’ll see I did an initial applique. I had a piece of fabric that I tried to do a bookplate on (“This Kindle Belongs To”), but in doing the iron on I held it on too long and made the fabric weird and crappy. I was using photo transfer paper for the first time. I printed that, as well as labels for the luggage tags, and also a logo for an apron. Speaking of which….Here is the latest apron. Same style as the Christmas one-adjustable, full length, easy to cinch up or down, wrap the ties around or tie in back. My friend ordered this as a gift for her mother-in-law who owns and works at the Bagel Garden.
The braided ribbon I had been wanting to do ever since I saw the tutorial here. It was intended for a headband, I wanted to do it on a barrette, it was too big for the barrette so I tried it on an elastic hairband. I am pleased with the braiding, though:
Of course I love making food gifts, too. I’ll be making candy or nuts for the teachers/bus drivers, but I am most excited about this new recipe: BACON JAM. That’s right, bacon jam. The recipe is in the December issue of Everyday Food. It’s kind of weird to think about-especially food processing the bacon, but I assure you it does not look weird and it tastes fantastic. Basically you cook up a pound and a half of bacon, set it aside, cook in the same pan onions and garlic, add maple syrup, cider vinegar, brown sugar, coffee, and boil briefly. Then put it in a crock pot (uncovered!) for a few hours, then food process. I jarred some for gifts, but we sampled some. We had little spoonfuls on top of crostini. I think it would also be fantastic in an omelet, with scrambled eggs, on crackers, tossed with pasta, and my aunt suggested a little spread on Eggs Benedict. This may be my favorite new fancy condiment.
And yes, it makes me laugh every time Clark tells someone to “be the Ho”
He’s been having such fun with these that he even made a Thomas the Tank Engine for a friend’s 4th birthday party-it wasn’t for pictures, but was a beanbag toss game. I don’t have a picture, but perhaps one will come along.
And that’s the Christmas update!