Monday, December 26, 2011

Handmade Christmas

Here's a review of some of the handmade items I crafted as Christmas gifts. I went a little more homemade than usual this year, and considering I didn't get started on any of them until December was well underway, I'm pleased that I managed anything at all!

Here we have a counted cross-stitch ornament given to my friend, Susan. I lifted the design from a early 1990s library book. Most of the designs looked fairly out of date, but this classic folk pattern caught my eye. All materials came from my stash.

The recipient of this crayon roll was my little one-year-old niece. I used this excellent tutorial from The Pleated Poppy, adjusting the size to fit jumbo crayons. (If you want to do something similar, my fabric pieces were 5-3/4" x 24-1/2" for the outside and inside, and 6-1/2" x 24-1/2" for the pocket. The crayon pockets end up being 1-1/2" wide.)

Finally, this toile makeup bag went to my Mom. She had requested a smaller-sized makeup bag so this one ended up about 6" x 7." I used a tutorial from Flossie Teacakes, adjusting the sizing slightly and adding box corners. I am not totally happy with the way it turned out because the zipper corners look a little wonky (see photo). Perhaps my upholstery-weight cotton was simply too thick. For the lining, I used polyester lining and lightweight fusible interfacing. Other than the shape, I'm very happy with the neat finishing touches and the pretty fabrics.

I'm a little late, but I'll wish you all a happy (second day of) Christmas! :-)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Poor man's holiday room fragrance

Now that citrus fruits are in season, we've been going through boxes of clementines like there's no tomorrow. Here's a little room freshener idea that makes good use of all those peels sitting around.
  • orange peels from 2-3 clementines
  • cinnamon stick
  • whole cloves (maybe a teaspoonful?)
  • a sprinkling of grated nutmeg
  • (optional) a few drops of sweet orange essential oil (I have it on hand, so I add it)
Place everything in a small saucepan and add some water (not necessarily to cover, but enough that it won't boil down right away). Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Your kitchen will begin to smell wonderfully fragrant. Top off the water as needed. You can reuse the same mixture for several days -- just toss it when it starts to look like a nauseous mess. ;-)