Friday, 3 January 2020

It's Better To Give...

The saying goes that you're more blessed by giving than receiving, so I was left feeling very content this festive season.  It's really rewarding to be able to make gifts for those you care about and witness their reaction when the wrapping is removed.

Here's a round-up of the presents I made in 2019 and gifted around Christmas time.

There's two lovely Carol's in my life who are both knit-worthy (meaning I know they appreciate the time it takes to knit stuff) and both have birthdays just before Christmas.  December birthdays are frequently overlooked so I decided earlier in the year to make them both a shawl.  I knitted Carol F's shawl from a great pattern called Therapy by designer Laura Aylor in three different merino yarns.  'Summer Skies' is the light blue from Ripples Crafts, the salmon pink was dyed by The Border Tart and the variegated colourway which ties these two together is the minty/blue/pink/dark-speckled combo 'Curiouser' by Twisted Fintch.
I already blogged about Carol B's hand knit shawl here and was pleased when she sent me a photo of herself swathed cosily in it.
When Mum broke a wee bone china mug she was fond of, I collected the bits and determined to make something else with it for her.  Over the summer, Ann at Blue Sky Mosaics ran regular Tuesday sessions which I dipped into.  Ann's partner, Will, has DIY super-powers and was able to cut the mug cleanly in half so I could mount it onto slate and use the forget-me-not design pieces for decoration.  To be honest, it looked a bit plain on its own so I delved into Ann's trove of broken china and availed myself of lots of pretty floral treasure.  I love the way the china fragments are exploding out of the mug!
Grouted to be suitable for outdoor use, the broken mug is now a planter which can be wall mounted so Mum can enjoy it hanging in her tiny garden in sheltered housing.

Edible presents also featured heavily in my gift repertoire this season.

I've been making a Christmas cake for my Father-in-law for many years.  The one pictured with him in 2016 is Katy Stewart's recipe for Golden Christmas Cake from the battered copy of The Times Cookery Book I've owned since the 1980's but we now all favour Delia Smith's Creole Christmas Cake which is this year's holly sprigged offering.
Our garden produced a bumper crop of blackcurrants this summer and, after making the berries into all our favourites - jam, puree for fool and Fantasy Cake - I made cassis, a liqueur that tastes rather like an alcoholic Ribena!  I gave a bottle to my neighbour, Donna, who sent me this picture of the Kir Royale she and her husband were enjoying at their child-free hotel getaway on Hogmanay.
I included a needle felted robin brooch I'd made in the package I sent to Susan in Oregon as part of a Christmas decoration swap organised by Louise of the Caithness Craft Collective Podcast.  I love putting together a parcel for someone I've been matched with, hoping they'll enjoy opening it as much as I've enjoyed assembling the contents.  I chose to send a small wooden tree hanging made locally by Gabrielle Reith of Small Stories Scotland - it looks like the boy is wearing woolly mittens!  There's also a selection of Scottish sweeties as well as a lip balm produced here in Aberdeenshire.
Each year I take a tin of home baked shortbread to the aforementioned Carol F's Christmas Eve party - and each year she gives me back last year's empty tin to refill!  My contribution is a very small part of the delicious spread Carol herself produces and the occasion has come to mark a happy start to our family's festive celebrations.

Finally, for gifts I made this year, I crocheted something for my Mum's Boxing Day birthday... 

...but that requires a blog post all of its own so keep a look out!

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