Here are a few last-minute gifts I've finished off this week, and now they're all wrapped and nestled under the Christmas tree. Phew. But just in case you're still looking for ideas for things to make for little ones, I thought I'd share these.
I have a tiny and sweet baby newphew named Leo, and I knitted him this rabbit. I first saw these rabbits on Hanna's blog, and I found a similar version of her pattern online, here. The entire rabbit (minus pom-pom tail and ears) is made from a simple knitted square. Which is a good thing, because I'm not such a quick knitter.
The dark brown hat was a gift for our friend Alex, who is currently living in Belgium. And it's really cold there right now, I hear. I used the simple pattern from this book, I think it's called 'Hot Head'.
I'm lucky enough to have quite a few nieces. This year I decided to make them something quite simple- so I sewed up some 'project bags' from colourful fabric and filled them with coloured pencils and chocolate ladybugs. I hope they like them. And Arlo wanted something similar for his best-friend-next-door to keep his marbles in.
Now, I think it might be time for a glass of red wine.
We're getting all Christmassy around here with baking and wrapping gifts and friends visiting. I made a couple of Christmas cakes- using the recipe I seem to mix up every year- it's a variation on this one. I always think I should try something adventurous, but we all love eating this one so it's no big problem. It's the kind of cake that sits in a big tin and accompanies us on all our summer picnics, getting bits chipped off as we go.
I used the cross-stitch embroideries I made whilst away on holiday to make some tree ornaments. I cut around the linen and backed each piece with a bit of Liberty lawn, and put a bit of stuffing inside and a loop for hanging. The red poppy ornament was made from a few circles of wool felt, cut with pinking shears and stitched with raw edges. All three of the cross-stitch designs came from this Dutch book I wrote about a while ago. It's a good one.
Wishing you a happy time, making and baking, if that's what you're up to.
We had a quiet kind of adventure, staying with friends in an old and rustic bach a few hours' away. It was so nice to escape town just before Christmas. There was a storm and it rained almost the entire time we were there. So that was a shame but it didn't really matter, because the children played in their raincoats anyway, digging holes and making dams and driftwood huts. And Jenny and I had the perfect excuse to do a bit of cross-stitch and look out of the window at the sea. That's a pretty good holiday in my book.
It rains, then it rains some more. Actually, it's very welcome, because we were all beginning to worry about drought. And it means that we can spend a cosy day inside with the radio playing and steam on the windows.
I wanted the children to help me with some holiday baking. They were enthusiastic at the start, but then disappeared until the cake and biscuits were finished. Ah well, that's fair enough. I made some small packages of sweet things to give to their swimming teacher, and assorted aunts and uncles.
The apricot balls are a bit of a favourite and they are gluten and dairy free, too. I used this recipe (from years ago on the blog! What a handy catalogue it is.) And the cookies are these ones which are also favourites. I've discovered that if you beat the egg-mixture part of the recipe with an electric beater, the cookies get that shiny crackled texture on the outside. I chopped up a block of extra-dark chocolate to put inside them. I last blogged about them back here in March.
I hope that you have a lovely weekend ahead. We're heading out of town for a few days to stay with friends by a beach. See you next week!
I've been thinking about small gifts this week- things to make for the neighbours and teachers and others we know for Christmas. I'm thinking about making chocolatey things like fudge and truffles because, well, I don't think you can ever have enough chocolate.
The children have had such great teachers at school this year. They seem to be truly sad to have their last day of term today. I'm especially grateful to Keira's teacher who has made her first year at school so easy and happy. These are some small gifts I made for the teachers: zip-cases from fabrics the kids chose for them, which I've filled up with soaps from this local shop. Easy.
My project this week was to make some clothes for Arlo to wear this summer. So far I've made a few pairs of these long shorts/short longs (which are they?) which he seems to like wearing. To sew these, I used my own simple pattern that I've been adapting a little every year since he was a baby. It's a pretty simple one, with lined patch pockets on the front, with lots of room for bits of lego and stones, etc.
His favourite pair are the ones with robot-pockets, of course. It's Japanese linen I found on etsy. Where would we be without those great Japanese prints? Next up, a shirt. I'm a little nervous about that.
Thank you for your kind support over the weekend with regards to my table at the Auckland Art and Craft Fair. It was an amazing event, and I loved getting to meet blog readers and fellow crafters in person. So, thank you for coming and visiting me, if you did. It was very nice to make your acquaintance.
One of the highlights for me was getting to see my fellow NZ craft-blogger friends, including Heleen, Ellie, Jenny and Louana . And, shopping of course. I bought some Christmas presents, as well as some decorations for our tree this year (they are pictured above, made by the sweet Flossy's Fancy.) And I was able to meet Barb and Isaac of Spirocreations, after admiring their handmade shoes for a while on etsy. So that was pretty great. They have recently arrived in NZ from Winnipeg, Canada, and make beautiful leather goods. We did a trade, and I scored three little keepsake bags. I had a feeling that my kids would be into them and I was right about that. They are heavily obsessed with rocks and stones and have been buying crystals, etc from markets for a couple of years now. They also have an extensive collection of other natural artifacts, such as shark's teeth and sea urchins and shells. So these pouches are perfect for carrying such things around every day. (And I think my pouch makes a cool grown-up necklace.)
I hope you had a good weekend. See you again tomorrow.
Did you know that the collective noun for jackrabbits is 'husk'? A husk of jackrabbits. You could also say a wrack of rabbits (I'm sure some farmers would agree) or a down of rabbits or a trace. They all sound quite fitting to me.
Here are some long-eared rabbits that I have made for my stall at the Auckland Fair tomorrow. They are both machine and hand-sewn, and made from thick, vintage, cotton velveteen and other old fabrics. I think there's something old-fashioned and slightly gothic about them, but I'm okay with that.
If you're going to be in Auckland-town tomorrow, I'd love to meet you so please come and say hi. It looks like there will be lots of lovely stuff on display and for sale at the fair- with free gift wrapping too. Should be a good adventure.
I hope you have a lovely weekend, wherever you are.
We have a climbing rose bush in our back garden, I think it's a Cecile Brunner. It's growing quickly and had completely covered the garden shed, so I cut it back this morning, and now there's a jug filled with roses on my desk. Very nice.
I've made these little pins as a last-minute project for my stall at the Auckland Art and Craft Fair this Saturday. I had some clay to use up, and wanted something small for my table. I made them from oven-bake clay and decorative paper, and coated the finished pins with several layers of mod-podge varnish. Some of the papers were from old magazines. The folksy illustrations came from a second-hand that book the children loved to death when they were babies, and I saved a few of the pages because they were just so beautiful. I think the name of the book is 'The Little Wooden Farmer' by Alice Dagliesh and the illustrations are by Anita Lobel. Actually, I think the book would make a good Christmas gift for my little neices, so I will try and track it down again.
In other news, I went to see Rhys Darby live the other night, and he was amazingly funny and clever. If he comes to your town, you must go along. You won't regret it.