My Soul is fed with needle and thread
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January 2013
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To finish those stockings

January 19, 2013   

which fabric?

I wanted to make a swing tag for each stocking. A gold initial on a swing tag to hang from each one. I’d originally planned to put the initial on the red material of the stocking but realised it would not work visually; the material is too busy and the initial would not be well defined, so I chose the green fabric.

Font: Hobo

I chose a simple font, this is Hobo, which is chunky and nicely shaped without any difficult to cut out narrow bits which would have made appliqué complicated. I enlarged the font in bold, and traced the initials onto bondaweb (if you are going to do this do it rough side up or print off a reversed initial, or your finished initial will be the wrong way round).

bondaweb on gold tissue

I ironed the bondaweb onto some gold tissue fabric, cut out, peeled off and ironed into the green fabric. If this swing tag was likely to be washed I’d consider some stitching round the edge to keep it in place but I don’t think it will be necessary.

quilting design

To quilt my stockings I was struggling to find a suitable quilting pattern, I’d initially thought of using a holly and berry pattern I already had but it wasn’t right, then looking at the green fabric I realised throughout all the co-ordinating fabrics there were 5 pointed stars. Coincidentally I’d just bought a set of star cookie cutters. I drew round the 5 star cutters onto cardboard, the points were a little rounded which I didn’t want, so I cut them out sharper. I used the smallest star along the top edge of the stocking, the middle size down the sides of the panels, and all 5 size stars on the foot of the stocking.
Next problem! I planned to use an air erasable pen to mark the shapes onto the stocking, but in the bright sunshine streaming into the room, the mark was disappearing before I could stitch the stars. I gave up, and found something else to do till it went dark.
Then moving on to the foot of the stocking, I hit another snag, the mark didn’t show at all on the green fabric. Work came to a full stop again. Till I worked out that if I put the gold thread on the bottom bobbin and marked the quilting out on the lining, I could achieve the result I wanted, problem solved.

Christmas cards

January 5, 2013   

Sometimes I receive a Christmas card which I like too much to throw away on 12th night.
I tend to keep some maybe just in case no-one sends me a card next year! Perhaps when I’m old and friendless I’ll be able to put up cards that I have kept and still feel surrounded by the love of old friends, who are no longer around to send cards.
framed Christmas card

This card I loved so much I wanted to make something with it, so I decided to frame it, it will still get packed away with the Christmas decorations and come out every year but it will not get tatty or bent out of shape.

charity shop frames

I took charity shop frames,

sand your frame

sanded and spray painted them,

spray painted frame

used red wrapping paper to mount the card on.

framed card and decoration

Wanting to have something to hang alongside it and not being able to find another card of a similar type I bought a little felt tree decoration, from a budget store, it doesn’t entirely work , I’ll keep looking out for another paper cut card.

Cinnamon stars

January 5, 2013   

A few years ago I was intrigued by something I saw in a magazine, cinnamon stars which look like gingerbread but are made of apple sauce and ground cinnamon, and were said to smell wonderfully and last for years.(NB, These are decorative only, not for eating) What an excellent idea I thought, but no recipe. Recently on Pinterest I found a number of pins which gave instructions so I decided to have go.

.all you need to make cinnamon stars
A cup of apple sauce liquidised to make sure there were no lumps in it.
A cup and a half of ground cinnamon and extra to use for rolling out
Mix together to form a dough, roll out to a quarter inch thick
Cut with shaped cutters of your choice, I bought some star cutters specially.
(and then found the ones I had worked better)I think the mixture I had wasn’t dry enough, and so the shapes were a little ragged round the edges, a drier mixture might have produced a crisper edge.
Use a skewer to make a hanging hole in each one, or two if you want to string them on a ribbon like a garland.
Bake for an hour at 180c or the lowest gas setting.

cinnamon stars
Now comes the disappointing bit, there was supposed to be a delightful smell of cinnamon floating through the house as they cooked, well I had the most gruesome of colds and couldn’t smell a thing, but then neither could anyone else. When they were cooked they looked rather mottled and cracked, not like gingerbread at all, and they don’t smell of much either. I will take a nail file to the edges in the hope of improving the finish, and if I think it’s worth it I’ll string them on ribbon for a garland to go on the tree, next year.
If you fancy having a go yourself, have plenty of cinnamon to hand to make sure you achieve the right consistency, and to make sure the edges are crisp. If you don’t have star cutters, hearts or any Christmas shape would work , or gingerbread man perhaps.

Craft for Christmas

January 5, 2013   

In the run up to Christmas, I always think I will have time to be creative and make gifts rather than buying them, Pinterest has a lot to answer for!
I also thought that I would have time to blog what I have made, then Christmas arrived, work went viral, home life was hectic and the cold virus crept up to bite me too. I didn’t finish the present wrapping till 22.20 on Christmas Eve, and the cards got posted on the last posting day. So let me tell you what I did manage to achieve.

Limoncello ready to be bottled and given

nearly ready

The Limoncello (see a still life with lemons) was filtered and bottled, I tried the coffee filters but it didn’t work very well, so I used a double layer of muslin in a sieve over a funnel, which worked much better. It made a litre and a half of Limoncello. The 500ml bottles were cordial bottles that I have put aside once empty specifically for the purpose. I kept one bottle for myself, gave one to my sister, and put the rest in a beautiful Victorian cut glass decanter I found at an antiques fair in the summer and gave it to my Mum.

There’s something very evocative of Christmas in the smell of spices, I love the smell of clove oranges and always make some for Christmas, and put them by my chair so that I can enjoy the fragrance, heaven! If you want them to last you should wrap them in paper and put them in a warm dry place till they have dried, and then they won’t go mouldy, but if you do they look desiccated and not nearly so pretty. I prefer my clove oranges to have a short but pretty lifespan.
all you need to make a clove orange
They are so easy to make, just take an orange, a cocktail stick, some ribbon and some cloves. I tie the ribbon on first giving me four quarters to fill, and allowing the cloves to be placed to keep the ribbon in place. Use a cocktail stick to make a hole to push the clove into, if you try to use the clove to make the hole you will find the bud of the clove will be crushed by your finger as you push it in, and it will fall off leaving just the stem behind.

making clove oranges for Christmas

They make nice little stocking gifts wrapped in cellophane, but you’d need to make them the night before they are given to be sure they are given in perfect condition.

a little bit of Christmas

smells wonderful, tastes better.

And so happy Christmas Mum.