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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