Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mmmmmm, Gingerbread!

I love gingerbread.
That smell of it baking is just so homely and cosy. And what could be more Christmas ?! It also brings me memories of decorating gingerbread cookies at Christmas with the small Finnish children whose family I stayed with as an exchange student in Jyväskylä. That was a very special Christmas to me. Having come from Australia with our scorching summer Christmases, that wintery scandinavian Christmas with it's darkness lit by candles and Christmas lights was pure magic.

Whenever I bake gingerbread I find the voice of Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins sneaking into my head to say "mmmmm, gingerbread"! Do you know that part? When Mary Poppins is reading a her shopping list and finds gingerbread on it? Mary Poppins is a beloved movie at my house that has been watched countless times by all family members. The script is clearly etched into my brain forever!!

Until recently, I was quite exclusively a cookie baker and decorator. Last Christmas I was a whirlwind of flour and sugar making loads of cookies for other people. It was lovely and rewarding but quite exhausting, and I was left feeling like I'd neglected my own family Christmas a bit in the process. So! This year I'm trying a bit more balance. Making time for some other crafty things, enjoying the end of year fun stuff with my kids and keeping my cookies simple.

This week I've made my first Christmas gingerbread for the year. To be given as gifts (with my felt cookie ornaments) to teachers and friends.

I love the simple white icing with the gingerbread. They are inspired (very loosely) by the gorgeous designs of my talented cookie friend Haniela.

A woodland-ish mix of minis destined for pretty little gift bags.

And a special request from Honeybee #1 (my eldest daughter) - a gingerbread chef for her food technology teacher :) If you're wondering why this chef is wearing a beanie, it's meant to be one of the funny little caps the kids wear in class. Not sure I pulled that one off so well, but my Honeybee is happy, so that's my job done :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

One to eat, one to keep

I usually decorate cookies to give as little Christmas gifts for the many people who have been involved in my children's lives through the year. You know the ones, preschool and childcare teachers, music teachers, sport coaches.......
This year I decided that as well as cookies to eat, a cookie to keep would be nice. So here's what I've been stitching lately...

I had a lot of fun making these. Especially because I have a bit of thing for felt play food :)
In fact, I'm going to have a hard time parting with them. I've been having visions of them as a garland hanging in my kitchen.....

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What Better Way To Start?

I've thought about starting a blog for a while now, but it's a funny thing to start.

How do you launch into it? I've never been sure how to start off. But today I'm feeling a bit just-jump-in so that's what I'm doing. There are a couple of things I've realised make me feel good. Making things, and giving. So what better way to start than by posting about the wonderful Softies For Mirabel drive run by the completely fab Pip Lincolne of Meet Me At Mikes. This is the 3rd year I've stitched up a soft toy (or 2) and sent them off to Pip in Melbourne. I like to hope my creations bring a little happy to someone but they bring a lot of happy to me too. To make something myself with love brings me joy. To see the flurry of creativity that gets sent to Softies For Mirabel each year gives me faith that people are good and they care and there is generosity in the world.

This little elephant is my contribution this year. So fun to make. I loved watching his funny, round shape emerge as I sewed him together. I used this fab pattern by Retro Mama.

So if you're feeling crafty and in a giving mood maybe you'll make something cuddly for this great cause too. How about it?