It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Ahh Christmas, we have a bit of a love/ hate thing, don’t we? While I love the aspects of celebration inspired by the Winter Solstice, I love being with friends and family and I love creativity, I don’t like the commercialism and the huge amount of waste… But, for now, let us focus on the good stuff. Here are some of the recent creations from our house:

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/06e/41074496/files/2014/12/img_3396.jpg

Our turquoise front door has got in the seasonal spirit. The wreath is made from willow, holly and a bit of spruce, all cut (with permission!) and made with my own fair hands. The result is something very ‘rustic’, but I’m down with all that this year.

 

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/06e/41074496/files/2014/12/img_3397.jpg

Talking of greenery, to celebrate the Solstice, the Tiny Overlord and I gathered some evergreens from the garden and proud displayed them in the front room.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/06e/41074496/files/2014/12/img_3399.jpg

And we have received some really beautiful gifts, the centre three decorations all came from the Tiny Overlord’s playgroups. We’re really touched by how much love and care have gone in to them.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/06e/41074496/files/2014/12/img_3398.jpg

Rather belatedly (or cleverly in advance of next year!) I’ve made some advent bags from simple small muslin bags (available in most cookware shops) and some iron-on appliques (ours are from here). Hopefully they’ll last us for many many Decembers to come.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/06e/41074496/files/2014/12/img_3400.jpg

And even the Tiny Overlord has got in on the crafting action – His very first decoration, made from Salt Dough and painted all by himself, after he’d tested the paint by eating it, of course.

Obviously I can’t yet share what we have made for presents for people yet. But if you need anymore festive makery, here are the posts from Christmas 2013 and Christmas 2012. And, of course, you can also keep up to date with our general makings on Instagram.

Seasons greetings everyone X

Advertisements

The Veggie Patch Diaries: June & July

Strawberries from the Veggie PatchOur last installment left the veggie patch in the midst of a mollusc-related crisis. I’m going to be honest with you from the outset, we haven’t really recovered. Despite really helpful advice from readers (thank you so much!) something about all the plants being eaten seriously dented my grow-your-own mojo. I want to grow these veggies with love and care for my family to eat, not for the benefit of the chunky slugs and snails of the Thames Valley…

Armed with this feature from Gardener’s World (Hello there middle age!) and really rather inspired by Artemis from Junkaholique’s gardening endeavours, I’ve been putting a lot of work in to bolstering our flower bed with mollusc-proof hard perennials. In the hope that, 1, they will be pretty, 2, they will not get eaten, and 3, that they will pretty much look after themselves, so I can get on with the serious business of the veggie patch.

Which is really the point, that I do so so want to make the veggie patch succeed. It is so important to me. I love the idea of the Tiny Overlord being able to eat food fresh from the ground, packed with vitamins and antioxidants, with, literally, metres between patch and plate. I really want him to understand where food comes from – that his food doesn’t come from the supermarket, it comes from the soil. And I know gardening is good for me, and far more interesting and rewarding than going to the gym. I just need to re-find my spark, to overcome my slithery shelled oppressors and get stuck back in to the earth.

In the Ground:
Beetroot
Courgettes
Plums
Rhubarb
Salsify
Sweetcorn

In The Growhouse:
Nothing…

 

Belatedly Christmas

The peculiar thing about keep a crafty blog is the difficultly sharing many of your crafty endeavours, with the risk that people will see what you are making for their present. So here, in late January, I am proud to present a Christmas post. Via some instagram photos, here’s what I was making in December…

IMG_0114

Stacks of christmas loot: Jams, chutneys, felt decorations and rosemary bags. The rosemary was harvested (with permission) from a nature reserve where I often run a project for work but I’m kicking myself for not also foraging some lavender. Next year, next year… The rather appropriate fabric is by Alexander Henry

IMG_0115

Everyone got their Christmas loot in these hand embroidered gift bags. The small hessian bags came from eBay and the crossstitch font and the idea for the bags came from Perri Lewis’s Material World book. I was also inspired by the famous Bloomingdales ‘Little Brown Bags’. Hessian is brilliant for cross stitch, I’ll definitely be using it again. The balsa wood decorations, which finished off the bags, were from Tescos.

IMG_0113

In the jars are Squash Chutney, made from homegrown squash (I swear by this chutney recipe from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall). The beetroots were local and pickled at home and I also made delicious (trust me!) Tomato Jam, using this recipe from the Craftivist Collective.

And what did I learn about ‘making christmas’? Firstly, that next year I will start earlier. A lot earlier. I completely underestimated how long it would take me to embroider 9 bags and I was pulling late nights right up to Christmas eve. Secondly, that I will (if I can hide them from the Aussie) start putting jams and chutneys aside from summer onwards. As this will give me more variety to fill up people’s little gift bags with.

So over to you – What did you make at Christmas? Got any ideas I can steal for this year? I will start early, I will…