"We are what we believe we are."
C.S. Lewis

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mop Philosophy Monday

 As you know I am not on friendly terms with a needle but nevermind, I've decided I must work on this homekeeping craft.  Being able to sew even simple things can be so rewarding (once one gets past the frustrating parts!)
I am determined to make many of my Christmas gifts by hand this year, and this will be quite a challenge for someone without talents.
Strawberry pincushion.
I bought it in Nova Scotia many moons ago.
I love it, it smells like strawberries.
I thought I'd begin with some simple linen tea towels, they only requite a hem at either end, how hard can it be?
 You can buy this tea towel yardage at most fabric stores.  It is real linen which makes the search for it worthwhile: there is nothing better for polishing up the glassware on your bar!
Thinking of the bar kept me going...
I managed to sew up a few of these towels and they didn't turn out too badly.  One benefit of sewing them myself is that I was able to choose the size, I made two of them a sort of half-size for tucking inside of the bar cupboard.  When friends pop by I'll have some linen right next to the wineglasses to give them a little dusting.
The best ones I've set aside to give as hostess gifts: roll one up and tie with a bit of ribbon and you've got the perfect holiday hostess gift.

I spent Sunday afternoon making scotch marmalade, another gift idea for the holidays, more on that coming this week!

How about you?  Is there anything you make yourself to give as gifts during the holidays?  Please share, I need more ideas!
I hope your week begins with good cheer and industry,
xoDani

41 comments:

  1. Good for you , Dani; sewing is a lot of fun. I used to make clothes long ago, but it's hard to find great fabric. The towels will be a welcome gift. If you give up, a lovely couple from way down east makes organic linen simple graphic printed towels at www.madderroot.etsy.com. Love the orange poppy seedheads! I wrap presents in them,too. We give loads of our honey, jam I make; fingerless gloves I knitted in baby grey alpaca. Now we must get you knitting.

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    1. Hi LAne, I'll have a look at that etsy site! How cool to be able to give your own honey. I don't know about knitting, I am fumbly fingers!

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  2. You have plenty of talents, Dani! I bet your tea towels are perfect.Although I make some of my own tree decorations, I would rather roast in Hell than offer up any of my efforts to unprepared friends or family. I am definitely not gifted in the Gift-making department! I fantasise that I am living on Walton's Mountain everyone would be thrilled with a hand-knitted something from yours truly, but then I wake up.

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    1. Sulky, laughing at idea of Ma, Pa and Mary Ellen exclaiming over your fluffy creations!

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    2. Sulky you always cheer me up.

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  3. Your tea towels look lovely!
    I can't sew, at all. I can replace buttons and that's about it.
    My <4-year-old daughter and I are making waterless Mason jar snow globes (ala Anthropologie)for everyone on our list.
    Last year we made treat baskets with a variety of homemade cookies and crackers, jam from strawberries we had picked over the summer, local farmer's cheese and wine made by my FIL. They were very nice, but I'm not even going to tempt myself this year by making baked goods. I always seem to taste too many!

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    1. jlc119, This is the danger of making delicious treats. I'll be eating scotch marmalade on toast for breakfast from here on in. Not breakfast of champions but so delicious.

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  4. Hi Dani, What a great idea,love homemade items !Perhaps you could wrap the marmalade in a tea towel,tie with a bow and tuck a little piece of holly or evergreen to make it festive .Cant wait for the holidays!!Im gonna try to change things up this season and also going to start picking greens before it gets too cold ,there is so much available in nature that makes wonderful fillers for urns and vases, Once again Dani you have gotten me motivated.Thanks and enjoy your Monday!!!

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    1. Hi Anon, happy we're both in the spirit!

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  5. Such a great idea those towels! I've been by that table at the fabric store and have thought--if I had a moment at the sewing machine...

    Looking forward to trying some of your scotch marmalade! Homemade gifts, consumable gifts and donations-in-lieu are the best presents at this time of year I think. We all have so much these days it is nice to keep things simple and think and pray for those who have so much less.

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    1. Dannie you said it, charitable givings are going up around our house too.

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  6. I used to knit beanies and fingerless gloves for family and friends, but I just don't have the time or inclination anymore. I admire your interest and determination to do it though.

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    1. Hi Kathy, well I'm determined to do what is easy and won't drive me crazy! You are an artist and a very talented one too, I bet your gifts were gorgeous.

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  7. BAR STAR So true what dannie said! Past years I have made crochet dish cloths (only have the patience/ ability for a very simple square) and sachets. This year, I think I will stick to edibles - jar pies (tarts baked in a small mason jar so you can seal, then add ice cream or cream when serving) and red peppper jelly (looks like a festive jewel). My other idea for a raft of December gal pal birthdays, shoe bags. But have yet to trek to fabric store...

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    1. Your pincushion reminded me of this, which I ran across while searching for a strawberry dessert this summer:
      http://www.marthastewart.com/273284/strawberry-pincushions

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    2. Oh, and another variation on the shoe sacks, pajama bags (envelope or drawstring style) for kids - and some adults - to keep on their beds.

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    3. GF as always you have great ideas! I wish you were Martha instead of Martha. You are much nicer.

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  8. Well, in addition to the make-believe "Crewfts," in real life I've made bibs from cute terry washcloths - cut a neck space in the middle of one side & cover raw edges with binding tape which also serves as ties, and crafts aprons.

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    1. wff, bibs! I could tear up! I love babies, that's a great gift idea for young parents.

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  9. This is such a great idea, Dani. Those tea towels will be very welcome gifts. I sew. Or perhaps I should insert the past tense here. I sewed, back when I had time. I would love to get back to it. I think it's easier if you have a designated space and don't have to haul the machine out to the dining room table, like I do.

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    1. Hi DesertFlower, My basement room is full of reno stuff just now, otherwise it makes for a brilliant sewing room. I'll be in my dining room sewing the next few weeks, it is messy having all the sewing stuff around!

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  10. Great idea - I haven't sewn since 6th grade but I would like to learn how to do it again.

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    1. LR, it's not hard if I can do it truly anyone can! I have a "student" Janome machine, very easy.

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  11. Hi Dani, I'm not much of a sewer myself, but those tea towels look pretty easy - great idea for a hostess gift. I'm not that confident in my baking (school bake sales were always agony for me, I hate to be the one who offers burnt cookies!), but I do make a nice lemon curd and have been thinking that would make a good gift in a jar. Last Christmas when we visited friends I took along some sweet yeast loaves with a cream cheese filling, they went down well. I used to also make cute little reindeer out of candy canes - you glue on googly eyes, a tiny red pom pom nose and twist on green pipe cleaners as antlers. They look nice stuck or tied on to a gift box.

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    1. Patricia I also DREAD the bake sale. Too much pressure! Lemon curd is a brilliant gift, I don't know anyone who can make that. Pavolva anyone? So yummy.

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    2. Pavlova, yes! I made that for Christmas dessert one year. Messy and devoured by all.

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  12. I've sewn linen tea towels before but it's been years!
    I'd love to be on the receiving end though as a hostess I love home made gifts.
    Your gifts will be most appreciated!

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    1. Hi Hostess, thanks and I too love home made gifts. Isn't it fun too to go and buy up some linen yardage? Very oldey-time in a good way.

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  13. Gorgeous towels! I put up summer fruit in liquor (vodka, rum, whiskey, depending on the fruit) with sugar during the summer. By December it's delicious liqueur, when strained. I put it in small bottles for my friends for a taste of summer peaches, cherries, berries, in winter. (If I don't drink all of it first)

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    1. This sounds absolutely delightful!

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    2. LTee what a wonderful "preserve"! On my list for next summer; already imagining the cocktails and infused cakes you could also make with it.

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    3. No special canning needed with high proof alcohol to preserve fruit! For a taste of winter in summer, you can make 'cellos with citrus in the winter with lemons, oranges, grapefruit. Basically the same process only using the zest, not the whole fruit, plus sugar and vodka, and let it sit in a basement or cellar or back of a dark unheated closet all winter.

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    4. LTee that sounds delicious and so easy!

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    5. LTee, googling, but if you see this, any particular guideline proportions of alcohol to sugar fruit? Suppose it depends on fruit? Just plain white table sugar?

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    6. I use superfine or castor sugar. If the fruit is more sour than sweet, then: 1 1/2 qts fruit, 1 qt liquor, 2 cups sugar. If the fruit is more sweet, then 1 cup sugar instead of 2. After the 2-4months of waiting, you can taste and then sweeten or sour the final concoction by adding sugar syrup or adding citrus juice. For 'cellos -- I've used this recipe (and often used other citrus zest, not just lemon) http://www.eatboutique.com/2009/05/24/organic-limoncello/

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  14. Great idea Dani.I exchange tea towels with my sisters and never thought to make them. I hit Homesense but it would be great to make them. I use to sew and quilt. I still whip up napkins and place mats.
    I love to make white chocolate peppermint bark for gifts and it looks pretty with cello bags and ribbons.Thanks for the ideas.

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  15. I have no creative talents, but I always mean to perfect making just one thing that I could always give as a gift, but what? Your towels look nice! I couldn't even do that without throwing my sewing machine across the room.

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  16. I love a handmade gift. It is so thoughtful of you to take the extra effort for your family and friends, linen tea towels are always handy too. My mother made us all take sewing lessons to learn how things are made but I didn't have the patience for it and now take everything except the most basic repairs to a tailor.

    I like to bake and cook so gifts from the kitchen are always fun.

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  17. Oh how lovely Dani! I think homemade gifts are such a wonderful and thoughtful way to go. My DH brews his own beer (with a kit, nothing fancy), so he'll be making some beer for his brother-in-laws (I'll be making the labels). Otherwise, the only handmade things in the hopper are little crafts for the munchkin to make to give. Thank goodness for Pinterest inspiration!

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  18. Hi Dani, you are inspiring me to do the same this year. Those tea towels look lovely. We will probably be baking lots of cakes and cookies to give away as gifts this year.

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  19. Scotch marmalade sounds yummy. I used to make homemade coffee liqueur for gifts. Homemade gifts are so special but just don't go down the path of my friend who has made ornaments through quilting techniques for years. One year, she got ambitious and decided on the little drummer boy as a theme. I'll skip most of the details but let's just say the ornaments involved toothpicks as drumsticks, gluing little beads at the ends of them, drilling (yes drilling) the toothpicks, cutting off the pointy ends, polishing and painting them ..... They were incredible but I still say she was crazy.

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