Friday, 30 December 2011

Homemade Christmas Hamper: The Finishing Touches

Well now, what a wonderful Christmas! I don't know about you, but in our house we have been lauding this year's festivities as the best yet. It was all a bit of a rush before I left Sheffield and once I got home, I dropped everything for a few days, meaning that I didn't get round to finishing off my posts about the hampers. Well, I am back now with replenished energy and restored spirits and am feeling very pleased with how my gifts both turned out and were received. I had hoped to buy some vintage hampers from ebay, but failed to find any that I liked or could afford. Happily, we stumbled upon some lovely ones in Harrogate (good old Lakeland). I added some pretty ribbon to the hinges and made some more labels from old book illustrations. We filled the hampers with our chutneypickled red cabbagebiscotti and sloe gin as well as some local ales, tea and coffee from Pollard's of Sheffield and chocolates from Betty's of Harrogate. I thoroughly recommend making hampers for presents as they were a huge success with everybody. I can't wait to get them back in December so that I can fill them up again with next year's goodies. 

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas Wrapping

Ooh, we're nearly there and I am so excited! I finished wrapping the Ginge's presents yesterday and have left them under our tree for when we are next together for our own mini-Christmas. He is working on the big day, to which I personally say a massive bah-humbug, but I am sure that his patients will be cheered by his jolly little face on Christmas morning, which makes me very proud. Anyway, I am very pleased with my wrapping this year. A while ago, I bought an old book, which at the time of purchase looked like an innocent nature handbook, but after close reading turned out to contain some rather racist sentiments in the 'homo sapiens' section. Not wishing to have it on my shelf any longer, I decided to cut out some of the beautiful animal illustrations for my labels and used some text pages to make snowflakes. Giving presents is my favourite part of Christmas. I love searching for the perfect present and making things I know people will enjoy. I love making the wrapping look beautiful and most of all, I love watching peoples' faces when they open their gifts. Not long now...

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

He came from the glory!!!

I have just checked my emails to discover that my Mum has sent me this gem. Pure gold. 

Monday, 19 December 2011

Homemade Christmas Hamper: Pickled Red Cabbage

This year, the Ginge and I are giving our families hampers full of homemade treats and local produce. I thought that it might be nice if I posted my recipes for you to use for your own Christmas enjoyment. Look out for 'Homemade Christmas Hamper' posts over the next few days. I'd love to hear if any of you are doing something similar, or if you try any of the recipes yourself. 

Pickled Red Cabbage.
This recipe is so simple, but the result is a deliciously tangy and crunchy pickle with a stunning jewel-like colour. It would make a lovely present and would taste great with leftover turkey on Boxing Day. The pickle is ready in a week and best before 12 months, as it loses its crunch over time. 

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Deck the Halls

We have a little family tradition when it comes to Christmas decorations. Our family tree is decorated with a mismatch of items, collected over the years from places we have visited. It means that our whole tree is a map of memories, which we can revisit every time we unpack our decorations. I am determined to continue this tradition with my own little family one day and have already started collecting: papier-mache baubles haggled-for in Indian markets, a mexican painted heart bought on a lunch-break from a film-shoot in Whittier, Los Angeles, a porcelain stocking picked by the Ginge in Saltaire, a soldier in his Busbee from my childhood tree, a one-eyed robin called Nelson, whom I bought to cheer myself up after a dentist appointment last year. I also have my Nutcracker, bought for me when I was three years old, by my Grandmother on my first visit to  Liberty. Christmas for me is a time to take stock of what you have, particularly family and friends. This has officially started in our house and is making me so happy. Anyway, enough of the sentimental journey, it's time for a mid-morning snack; a satsuma, some German spiced biscuits and a cup of hot, mulled blackcurrant cordial. Do you have any traditions at Christmas? I'd love to hear about them! 

A Little Light

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat and everything just feels that little bit better. This week, I have been happy because: