Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Gifts of Christmas Past

Hello friends, and happy 2015! I hope the photos above help excuse my absence from this space these past two months. I wanted very much to make this my most handmade holiday season yet, and began working toward that end back in September. I didn't want to rush, or feel stressed about making gifts this year-I really wanted to enjoy the process and be mindful of the people I was making things for. Rarely a day went by between September and Christmas when I wasn't making something to give away, and by the time Christmas came, I had finished almost everything I set out to do.

I started out making jam from the bumper crop of wild blackberries we saw last season, and added some sage from the garden per the recipe in Alana Chernila's  book "Homemade Pantry". I also started in on my soap making then, as it needed several weeks to cure before giving away. The third photo above is soap from a batch of lavender and lemon zest coconut butter bars; the photo below that shows them beautifully wrapped by my five year old. Henry's honey was in good supply this year, too, and the kids' teachers each got a jar, along with a jar each of bath bombs (also of the lavender and lemon variety-one of my favorite scent combinations). I first learned how to make bath bombs from the Teach Soap website, but have since gained the confidence to make my own variations on those basic recipes.

The pink and blue bunting were gifts for my nieces, whom we spent Christmas with in America this year. I'd been saving a stash of Liberty fat quarters for a while now, and thought it was finally time to use them. The brown and cream scarf below that was a woven creation from my loom. It was intended for my sister til I remembered she has a thing about wool touching wool-and doesn't wear wool scarves or gloves, so that one is an unintended Christmas present to myself. I made my boys matching pajama bottoms, and printed "small" "medium" and "large" (using freezer paper stencils) onto plain white t-shirts. My large son didn't want to be photographed wearing his, but small and medium were okay with it. To make the bottoms, I used a free pattern from Oliver and S for boys' shorts, and just added the appropriate length to make them pj's. It worked like a dream.

Lastly, I ordered some magnets from Sticky 9, which prints your Instagram photos onto little magnetic squares. You can make a version of these yourself using printable magnetic sheets from an office supply store, but they're not all that cheap and I was happy with what I got from Sticky 9. I printed photos I had taken all around the farm throughout the seasons, and of my boys, to give to my family back in the States. I hope they think of us every time they open their refrigerators.

I made a few other items not pictured, including a canvas and denim log carrier for my husband, who is forever hauling in stacks of wood for the stove, and tweed zipper bags for him and all my boys, so they could carry their toiletries on the plane in something other than ziploc bags. I made similar silk zip bags for girlfriends, and for all of those I used different size variations of this tutorial from the Say Yes blog.

Hope you all had a relaxing and peaceful holiday season, and are ready to embrace this New Year, whatever it brings. I'm off to my studio now, to get back to work on a birthday present for my sister. It's long overdue!


  1. Beautiful! I love the idea of the past few months having been so full of creativity and love for you! Happy new year to all!

    1. Charlotte! Thinking of you and hoping you're all well. We snuck into the States for Xmas but didn't tell friends we were coming as there was so much family visiting to do. When are you coming to England? xx