Friday, 16 October 2009

Christmas Plans

So I need to get all my ducks in a row - if I don't want my Xmas gifts to look like something from Blue Peter, I need to plan now, and get making right after that. For the last few years, we have given largely crafted presents, owing to poverty. So far, we have done jams, chutneys, a selection of fudge, soaps, a selection of Czech biscuits from my Babicka's recipes (sorry, have no idea how to do the thingy above the 'c'). All seemed to have been received with enthusiasm.

First on my list is my soaps. I asked for suggestions of Xmassy fragrances from my friends, and have pretty much decided on frankincense & myrrh (professional soapers get really bored with this one, but it's new to me), evergreen/pine, orange & cinnamon, and either mint or maybe a mulled wine fragrance, which I shall get from Jo at Sensory Perfection. The F&M and orange & cinnamon will be orangey colored - I'll use non-refined palm oil for them; evergreen I shall color with French Argiletz clay, and the mint one I shall experiment with titanium dioxide. I may repeat the layered Turkish Delight soap I made last year - colored with pink clay and French Argiletz clay.

If I'd known chemistry could be this exciting and interesting, I might have stuck with it at school ....'you mean you add these crystals and it then heats up on its own ??'.....'and it can do this to you if you get it on your skin ??' (I can't bring myself to post pics, just Google 'caustic soda burns')

And while I'm in soapmaking mode, I shall probably sneak in a batch of lavender (the alkanet root to color it is steeping as we speak), as I've been requested for some, and a batch of my personal favorite, Vanilla & Chocolate (which contains plenty of decadent cocoa butter, and real cocoa). I'm not usually a vanilla fan, but there's something about this I really like. I wish I had more molds - Somebody said he'd make me a couple more, but he ran out of time (you know who you are, Dad).

One of my SILs is expecting in February; I have
completed one baby cardi in Sirdar 3 ply gifted from my Shetland SIL; on the needles I have a 4 ply hoodie, and on yet another set of needles, a feather and fan baby blanket in a great marble yarn from JC Brett (scroll down). Everything is neutral colors as they don't know the sex of the baby.

In addition, on a recent visit to Taverham in Norfolk with my father and sister, I bought some fabrics to make a baby cot quilt. I made one for my eldest niece (now 18!), my daughter, my son, and my DH's friend Samantha's DS Benjamin when they were born (pics below). This time, I have somewhat departed from my color comfort zone, picking brights rather than pastels; I feel they're a modern, trendy couple that would prefer these colors more - I hope I'm right !

DD's cot quilt

DS' cot quilt

Ben's cot quilt (reversible)

bright colors for the new cot quilt

None of my extended family seem hugely into the internet, so I feel I'm fairly safe in this continuing to be a surprise.

On top of that, I need to knit DD and DS something for Xmas; I already have the pattern for both of them, and the yarn - for some reason I've forgotten, I seem to have shedloads of bright red yarn. Lucky for me DS' nursery color is red, and the dress I'm planning for DD (see earlier post) is red polka dots. The Universe works in wondrous ways.

So .....guess I better quit gabbing and get on with doing !

(apologies for the not-great photos & the formatting seems to have gone odd today)


  1. What absolutely LOVELY projects! You are quite talented. And what a combination quilting and Tarot. I'll get a few pics of the dog up (she's a doll), just been super busy this month. Slowing down as of today!!

  2. Thank you, Debbie :-) I'd do more crafty stuff, but everyday life keeps insisting on intruding - dang those kids wanting to be fed LOL


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