Thursday, September 8, 2016

A Handmade Christmas.

Well hullo there September! 

For crafty folk like me, it's time to start planning ahead for a handmade Christmas.
Paperless Post has inspired me to share my traditions, tips and recipes that make our family Christmas special. (Note: This isn't a sponsored post, I'm just sharing the Christmas Spirit).
So...grab yourself a coffee or a glass of wine and settle yourself somewhere comfy,
this is going to be a long one!

Taking Note.

In words of the Domestic Goddess herself...
"There are two types of people in the world...there are list makers...and there are those who somehow stumble through their life without making lists.

I am definitely the former!

In early September I like to sit down with a cup of tea and a notebook for an hour. Frank Sinatra is usually crooning something christmasy in the background while I scribble out lists of things to make and bake as gifts for friends, family and teachers. I also do a looooong detailed list of things to source and create for Puddleducklane Again. It helps me to get my post chemo addled head in order and I feel more settled know that I can just refer to my list if I lose track.

A Tree With All The Trimmings.

December 1st is the official start to our Christmas and Decoration Day in our house.
We play christmas movies, pull out the decorations, put up the tree and adorn the house with wreaths, bunting and twinkle lights. You can never have enough twinkle lights! (Although there may have been comments from our neighbours about having to keep up with the Griswalds...I don't know WHAT they are talking about. Sheesh!)

Puddleducklane Again.

I start making my new Christmas stock for Puddleducklane Again at the beginning of September and most evenings over the following months I find myself curled up on the couch hand stitching ornaments. I love the creativity that flows during this time. Although, there never seem to be enough hours in the day to make all the things that I design in my head. Its so exciting sending parcels of christmas pretty to people all over the world. Its humbling to think that my ornaments, advent calendars and christmas stockings end up being part of someone else's christmas traditions. Spreading the joy of the season is such a privilege.

Pretty Preserves.

 Being Summer during December in our little neck of the woods...we always have a bumper crop of gorgeous fresh produce in our garden. Each year our little cherry tree produces lovely clusters of ruby red gems, the blackberry canes are bent double with plumptious fruit, the roses are in bloom, the rhubarb is rosy, the pears are tiny but perfectly formed and the alpine strawberries sweeten the air.
Its the perfect time to get stuck into preserving and jam making.

For those in the Northern Hemisphere...these recipes are fab for you too. The jams and jellies last at least 12 months so you can make them during the year and store them until Christmas.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Jam.


Baking plays a big part in our family Christmas. I have the fondest memories of helping my Nana make christmas puddings, cakes and sweets in her great big country kitchen. I've continued the tradition with my boys in the hope that I'm creating similar memories for them. Usually we invite friends over, crank the christmas music up, dance in the kitchen and make a morning of it.

We always make several batches of gingerbread in the weeks leading up to Christmas. I love how the Christmasy scent of cinnamon, clove and ginger fills the house on baking days. The kids love cutting the gingerbread men from the dough and etching little faces onto them. The recipe I use is one that my Mum passed onto me. The gingerbread is soft and chewy and totally yum! You can freeze batches and just reheat in the microwave whenever visitors pop over. Perfect!

Christmas Cake.

Our Christmas Cake is usually done at the end of November to allow time for the cake to mature.
All that glistening, luscious fruit in alcohol bubbling away on the stove...such a heady aroma!

I'm a bit spoilt when it comes to the traditional Christmas Pudding, my Mum still makes one for us each Christmas and it always plays a starring role at Christmas Dinner.


For me...handmade gifts are integral to Christmas. I put together a hamper of our preserves and include a hand sewn ornament or stocking and some gingerbread.
Simple, but heartfelt and made with the spirit of the season.

The Littles receive something personalised and handmade too.

Party, Party, Party with Paperless Post.

Our annual Christmas Party is held on the first weekend of December.
In November I send online invitations to our guests using Paperless Post. I fell in love with their incredible range of cards and invitations several years ago and have been using them not just for christmas, but birthday parties and Easter brunch too. I really like how you can tailor your invitations and manage the rsvps which include auto-reminders to guests. Being able to glance at the dashboard to get the final tally of who's coming and who's not really helps with arranging catering.
I like sending our christmas cards online these days. They're still just as personal and beautiful and I find its a more time efficient and environmentally friendly way to go. The most difficult thing about Paperless Post is narrowing it down to just one design!
Its a feast for the eyes!!!

Our christmas party is usually a fairly relaxed affair with a BBQ late in the afternoon when the summer heat isn't so fierce. I set up an outdoor bar in the shade with some cocktails for the adults. Summer Sangria, G&Ts & Filthy Fizz are our party tipples of choice.
A bit of sparkle for the season!

The Husband sets up the slip'n'slide in the backyard for all the kids and the adults sit back and relax with some christmas nibbles and a cocktail.

Its such a lovely time of year and a great opportunity to catch up with friends before the pace of December becomes too frenetic.

Twas the Night Before...

On Christmas Eve the boys read a new christmas story. Its usually something classically beautiful like the Velveteen Rabbit, Paddington, The Christmas Tale of Peter Rabbit or the Night Before Christmas. I love watching the Husband read to our boys who are tucked in on either side of him on the couch. We set out a glass of milk and a cupcake for Santa and some carrots and water for the reindeer and the boys hope against hope that Santa received the letters they sent.

Christmas Day...our getaway!

Some of our favourite Christmases have been at our dear friends' beach house in Eden. The pace is nice and slow compared to the rest of December. Last year we were lucky enough to have my brother, his family and one of my younger sisters join us too. We play down at the secluded little cove, fish off the jetty and explore the national park. We read books, play pool, eat prawns fresh off the trawler. We skype the rest of our family to wish them a happy christmas. It's magic and I'm so thankful that we have such wonderful and generous friends who open their home to us.
I really do love the spirit of the holiday season!

I couldn't possibly pack all our traditions into one post but I hope it inspires you in some way as you prepare this Christmas!

Cheers! xx Em

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Hullo Spring

Hullo Spring!

My, what an entrance you've made today. 
The air is warm and filled with the humming of bees in blossom. The sky is cobalt blue and the garden has made its floral debut. 

Heavenly...and its only going to get better!

xx Em