I love the creative vitality that jumps starts around Halloween and only amps up as we approach the new year. Some mornings in a dreamy state, I find my mind’s eye already in making mode. Slowly realizing I’m awake, I get excited about lattes, and happily head out to the studio with one in hand to putter about before I walk Boss and welcome students.
It’s specific gifts circling in my head that define Christmas making to me and trigger my frontal lobe into planning mode.
Pairing my fabrics to the people on my gift list is a favorite past time, as is buying Christmas fabric, so I’ve got a lot of Santa’s Workshop vibe going on around here to use some up.
I love taking napkins to any soirees as gifts. It’s a fun way to cull fabrics that have been in my stash for a bit.
Same goes for pillows, and I’ve made piles of pillows this season, literally.
It’s good to treat yourself, and since I have a serious crush on this fabric line I’m constantly dreaming up new ways to see it in use, which is really an excuse to buy it. But it all turns itself eventually into something beautiful like these pillows that are now on my couch.
As soon as I put them on the couch Boss put his paw mark on one, which is why I line them in muslin and serge the interior edges so they can be easily thrown in the wash.
I love how professionally made they look, even my beginner sewists make them perfect. Make your own here.
The others I’ve gifted. A student fell for this Alexander Henry fabric in my stash and though I bought it for myself I thought it needed her.
I had a bunch of pillow forms to give to a friend, and got to thinking they’d be more fun to deliver if they had covers. I picked some older Alexander Henry fabrics I knew she’d like for those too.
I figured while I had the serger out it was time to mass produce.
My MIL is big on the FaLaLa, so when I saw this fabric I’d found my excuse to purchase some. The colors are so saturated that I had to stop myself from piling fabric from my stash that matched the color way for some non-existent projects.
I have a little left over for pillow case trim, stars, napkins or something else that hasn’t been dreamt up yet.
I’m always brainstorming new projects to create with the kids during after school open studios and I’ve been wanting to try this no sew Scandinavian Star myself so we finally got down to it.
There were some bumps along the way, but project based learning certainly helped us discover a bit more about geometry and perseverance.
The Christmas quilts came out. I don’t think I’ve ever shown this quilt in its entirety, but it made me so happy (and cozy) to put it on our bed.
I warned you I love this fabric line, so I made pillowcases with a fold over contrasting flap to dream under along side the quilt.
And I made a couple for some friends burrito style.
Of course I needed to buy the flannel to match my MIL’s pillows. It had been so long since I’d done a French seam that I had to look it up.
It all kind of matches my kitchen, which reveled yet another layer from wallpaper past.
We’ve been waiting on lights for months, which means we still have no insulation. As we are fully aware from the world stage, things could be worse.
It’s cold in there, but nothing a quilt and a Pendleton can’t take care of.
Even under a dusting of snow we’ve stayed pretty warm next to the fire or with a large lap dog keeping us company.
It hasn’t held me back from cooking and baking. Just like the projects I granite towards as gifts, there are recipes that stand the test of time.
I love things that are sweet and sour, like margaritas, but also cranberry apple nut bread.
My recipe is from an older version of the original Moosewood cookbook that I also get my onion soup recipe from. I’m sure you can find a similar recipe online. I make it and my mom’s cranberry sauce every season and generally pack the freezer with some extra while the berries are in season.
Martha Stewart’s waffles recipe has been in our rotation for years. Whipping the egg whites is key. Like napkin production we mass produce these using several waffle makers. They don’t generally last long enough to make it to the freezer, but they’re a perfect treat to pop into the toaster.
Besides the waffles, I’m pretty certain I can guess what foods I make that Roan will remember from growing up. He shared the other day that the eggnog snickerdoodles from Half Baked Harvest are the best cookie I’ve ever made.
The other contenders would be online recipes. At noon/midnight above is Cookie and Kate’s Monster cookie which can be made gluten and dairy free besides the eggs. So that it can be wound into any holiday you’ve got seasonal colored M&Ms.
At three o’clock are Almond Butter Blossoms, a recipe I’m pretty sure I secretly tore out of a magazine in a doctor’s office before cell phones existed. They also have whole wheat flour in them, so they’re good for you;)
The kitchen’s a perfect temperature for making biscuits/scones with those frozen cranberries (I also added some rhubarb), buttermilk or cream that’s leftover in the fridge. This round I followed a recipe for scones from a book new to me called Huckleberry. I was a little concerned about them coming together, but they were layer flakey good. There’s a bunch of savory breakfast recipes in this book I’m gonna try out.
I’ve been pretty successful in my cold kitchen with shortbread as well and needed an excuse to put my snowflake pan to use. I go pistachio-cardamom from Modern Potluck this time of year though Martha Stewart’s recipe is my standard. I’ll try to get to some other recipes from this eye candy cookbook as we make it to some holiday parties.
I have two recipes in my seasonal dessert rotation that I would consider cupboard digging recipes with the exception of the eggnog.
Because I love her cheeky writing and her eggnog cake in the book Kiss My Bundt I had to read up a little on the author, Chrysta Wilson. Apparently her recipe for red velvet cake (featured in the cookbook) has been dubbed the Best in LA by the Los Angeles Times. The word “bundt” also loosely translates in German as “gathering.” I have some other bundt cake books, and I certainly pour other poundcake type batters into my bundt pans, but her recipes always turn out moist and tasty, especially when all prettied up as a snowflake.
Tjs seasonally has wild rice at a reasonable price, so I stock up. If you aren’t familiar with Gimme Some Oven then that’s a shame and you should go make yourself any version of her creamy chicken and wild rice soup. I generally just go with a mix of what I’ve got around or the food allergy considerations of who I’m serving it to, but she also has a coconut curry and Thai version.
Thomas Keller’s Roasted Butternut Squash Soup always makes it to the winter soup round up. Don’t bother with the browned butter, it doesn’t need it, but for sure top it with the creme fraiche.
Ground chicken and turkey have slowly replaced beef for the most part in our house. Grocery day means I treat myself to a cup of PCC’s Tiger Mountain chili, but I often made a batch at home from their cookbook Cooking From Scratch replacing the red peppers with green.
Left over from making sausage sweet potato hand pies from Cheryl Day’s Back in the Day Bakery book were some rolled discs of dough that needed a home besides the back of the freezer. While I didn’t have the items to make those, I did have everything for chicken pot pie from Dinner Pies.
My family could eat pie for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but a whole book specifically for savory pies is a beautiful thing, plus they fit my ramekins perfectly.
Since I’m the cat lady of plants we don’t have room for a tree, but we’ve got flowers.
Boss. I’m actually sitting by the fire as I write this and he’s giving me this same look from across the ottoman.
Boss does what Boss wants lately, but he’s still a really good boy.
We saw the Puggers at a very early morning family brunch in celebration of World Cup.
I thought that I needed to add bow ties for their Xmas photos to the gift list. Franco needed red for sure, Fiona gets hot pink and Boss is Santa.
I was just informed that the biggest sporting event on the planet is starting so I’m hitting publish at half time. We’re going to lay low this holiday at home. I hope you all get a chance to spend some time with those you love and fit in some sewing time to yourselves.
Cheers xoxo, Katie
Mary Forseth says
Wonderful newsletter. Thank you for all the inspiration and recipes. Merry Christmas
pam odell says