I set aside some time this year to make a few Christmas gifts for family and friends. Here are some of the things I've made for people who (I'm pretty sure) don't read my blog.
Both Tom and I come from quite large families and both sets do a kind of 'secret santa' present arrangement where everyone draws one name and buys a gift for that person at Christmas. But I like to give small handmade things to other family members if I can because it's fun and I love present making and wrapping. Though of course I completely understand that many of us would rather not be hanging around the sewing machine and ironing board right now!
Anyway, this year I made quite a few 'project bags' for the crafty people in my life, but also for the kids' school and music teachers. The one in the first photo above was made with beautiful sturdy linen with a painterly print designed by the Rifle Paper Company. You can see more of their fabrics here. I saved a bit of the 'birch floral' to make a knitting case for myself in the new year. :)
The little booties were knit up in green alpaca yarn, along with a few other things, for a friend having a baby soon. The pattern is called 'Hodge' and is a free one on Ravelry - I was really impressed with the clever design. The cuff of each slipper folds over and underneath is a tighter ribbed section to help keep them snug around a baby's ankle.
I had quite a bit of dried lavender from Marlborough and used it to make some sets of lavender sachets. In the photo above you can see some made from vintage linen with finely-worked cross-stitch - for an aunt who loves daffodils.
And I had some beautiful Liberty Tana lawn that I felt must become pillowcases - I made them from this pattern. The Liberty design is called 'Daniel DJ' which is a bit of a strange name but it features suns and clouds in grey and pale red and has an old-fashioned illustration feel I think.
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And while I've been working away, I've been listening to this album which I think is my making-music of the moment: Malibuby Anderson Paak.
Hope you are enjoying this time of year too! What are you working on?
Here are a few snaps from the last few days. I finally finished work for the year and we've had a few end-of-year gatherings and friend meet-ups which is always good for the heart.
I made a new top for summer, using this pattern (the simplest version of it - with a straight hem and no pockets or anything) and some vintage fabric I found last year at Fabricabrac. It's a drapey sort of cotton with a dusky-pink floral print that reminds me of my grandmother. I don't usually wear pink, but I can make an exception for this print I think.
Due to the amount of fabric I had, the top is quite short in length but I think it will be good to wear over summer dresses as a loose, drapey layer.
I also used up some scraps of cotton in green and pink to make the garland you can see in the second photo above. It's a little present for my niece's bedroom, but I had to test it out in our courtyard first.
Also needing testing: Keira's batch of dark-chocolate-dipped strawberries made for a party. Is there anything nicer to eat at this time of year? She ran out of strawberries so also dipped the segments from five mandarins.
I haven't got much to show in the way of finished projects this week - I have been working away on things but most of them are intended as Christmas gifts.
I did however find this glorious old cake platter in the op-shop next door to my workplace, and had to make a chocolate cake to place on it when I got home.
The cake is just a plain recipe but two-layers sandwiched together with berries and cream in the middle, and the plate is marked 'Lord Nelson Pottery' on the back and has gold leaves printed around the edge.
Another very good thing is that there is a tangle of sweet peas in the garden at the moment - self seeded from last year, so effort-free as well.
I drew a winner for the Extra Curriculargiveaway - and that person was Cécile - hooray! I'll be in touch with you soon, C. Thanks everyone for entering.
We have some brand new poppies in our garden. They've been trying to open for weeks, and then this week they suddenly came out - looking very beautiful like Spanish dancing dresses with lots of ruffles.
These poppies are extra special because they grew from a handful of seeds a friend gave me at the end of last summer. After I planted the seeds, nothing at all happened until a few months ago when these glorious poppies started gaining in strength.
I did some more miniature embroidery work to celebrate.
The lovely little magazine Extra Curricular is coming to an end after 20 issues.
My friend Ellie has been making Extra Curricular since the beginning, and every beautifully-designed issue has featured Antipodean artists and their work, as well as recipes, tutorials and interesting thoughts.
I was thrilled to contribute several times over the years - including a tutorial for a Christmas wreath and a sleeping mask, and a few other things.
For this issue, I designed and made a 'campsite flag' and you can read more about this in the magazine. Hand-embroidered and appliqued onto linen, the idea is that the flags can be customised to different families and places, and used as an indoor wall-hanging or outside to mark a spot.