Decorated Wreath with Angelic Octopus

How fast do you put away the Holidays? Which parts do you keep around, finding reasons to delay their storage for one more day? Loose tinsel hiding with renegade pine needles, snug together in creases and folds of the sofa. Leftovers never left over for very long. Turkey dressed up ten thousand ways. Or do you celebrate one of the other festivities and traditions of the Season? Which includes celebrating nothing at all. Oh yes it does! It may not feel like it, what with all the advertisements pushing perfume and mince pies, but this time of year offers one very big option: to choose how we spend it & how much we spend on it.

Candied Ginger

We chose to expand our tradition of a Zen Christmas by doing away with commercialism by decorating with and giving (mostly) handmade goodies. Ornaments from my craftmas experiment, handmade cards, a decorated wreath of reclaimed cuttings from a local park instead of a tree, and oodles of homemade food. Mostly food! I’m not sure I’ve mentioned before how very much we like cooking, baking and eating. Our food frenzy included slow ferment sour dough bread, cranberry orange courgette bread, candied ginger, candied grapefruit, cranberry ginger sauce, my grandmother Yana’s Christmas pudding, orange chili truffles, butternut squash and sweet potato pie (we couldn’t find any pumpkin, fresh or canned), garlic chili olive oil and a Holiday feast (or two) with all the trimmings. Most of it was supposed to be shared with family on Boxing Day, a feast of a gift, but illness kept us away. Resulting in seven days of glorious leftovers to sustain us while I recovered from one whopper of a nasty winter cold.

Sugared Orange Chili Truffles

Staying homemade for the Holidays was heaven on our budget, low on the stress-o-meter and generated a frenzied cornucopia of creative creations (that may be down to my cold medication come to think of it).

Under The Crocheted Sea

I made my husband a small white jelly fish to go with the octopus I crocheted him for his fortieth Birthday. Ben made me a beautiful book with a hidden compartment for storing the sweet silver and peridot ring he bought me at the German Market in Birmingham. My intrepid mother thoughtfully sent me a print by Reuben Rude who is not only an amazing artist but a childhood friend. Glory in the highest! Another beauty to add to our burgeoning art gallery which conveniently doubles as our living room.

Book Your Secrets

I think the best part of enjoying handmade goodies is that you don’t necessarily have to know how to make everything yourself. When lacking the time and budget to bulk up your craft arsenal one can indulge in sumptuous handmade goodness made by local craftsmen and women. One woman who has made recent strides in championing the importance of supporting local artists is my all time favorite British television heroine, Kirstie Allsopp. Or, as she’s known in our house, my girlfriend. ‘Honey, your girlfriend is on!’ is commonly followed by me rushing into the living room cum art gallery to moon over my most recent girl-crush. Oh yes, she’s that fabulous. Even Ben has a girl-crush on Kirstie, and I can safely report that he’s not even a girl. You see, I am a firm believer in muses and admirers. Every woman is allowed at least one girl-crush and Kristie is mine. Well okay, one of mine. There is an abundance of amazing women out there to emulate and admire, why stop at just one?

Girl-Crush Exibit A: Kirstie Allsopp

For those not in the know, over the last ten years Kirstie has made an impressive name for herself as a property search goddess, along side her equally impressive co-host Phil Spencer. Together they have been teaching Britain how to locate and then negotiate the purchase of our Dream Home. As well as making smart investments when climbing the property ladder. If you don’t live on this side of the pond you will sadly have missed out on Phil and Kirstie’s infectious enthusiasm and determination giving no nonsense advice to hopeful buyers in a surging and then deflated housing market. They are a delight to watch. Their endearing, playful chemistry sucks you in as they caution, warn, educate and reiterate what is actually realistic when buying that perfect house in the perfect location.

Following on, or perhaps leading from, the success of Location, Location, Location Kirstie turned her sights to showing people what to do after they’ve bought their dream home. Make it perfectly suited for you and make lots of lovely things to go in it. Aptly named Homemade Home the show stared her newly purchased Devon beach house, Meadow Gate. Over six episodes Kirstie walked viewers through full on renovation and interior design inspirations with a focus on creative handmade and upcycled ideas. She gathered handmade goods and knowhow from local artists to fill her home with things that were personal and handmade by either herself or the artists she showcased. In each episode viewers were encouraged to try something new, be creative, thrifty, crafty and to put their money and support into the rich community of craftspeople at our doorstep. I couldn’t agree more.

Dynamic Duo - Doubly Crush Worthy

From success to success, Kirstie has since aired series two of Homemade Home as well as a glitter filled over the top crafty homemade Christmas extravaganza. Phil was there to help with charm and gadgets and that ever present chemistry. More crafty tips and delicious goodies were offered up for viewers to try out for themselves. And while it was a bit more expensive of an endeavor than Kirstie touted the show to be, it was less about saving money and more about putting your money into things that come from your heart and your own two hands. And that, I’m sure you’d agree, is priceless.

Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Pie

I fully intend to make our Holidays more about handmade and reinvented goodies in the future. It feels right to me. But then UnRuley Articles started because of our mutual love of creating things with our hands. So it’s only right that this years trend should stay with us for a very long time to come. That includes continuing to do what Kirstie did so well on her television shows, showcasing all the brilliant creators out there who inspire us and make things we simply can’t live without. Let’s make it homemade for every season.

Happy New Year, dear reader, friend, fellow craft appreciator. I wish you much handmade goodness in 2011. May you never run out of creative adventures.

<3 Misha

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One Response to Homemade for the Holidays

  1. ceri says:

    Happy new year! Love your crafty enthusiasm and I too am miffed that Kirstie is living my handmade life – I should have that wealth to enable me to have a lovely artisan-crafted home!!!!

    See you at the Tapestry on the 20th if you can make it!

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