Thursday, 29 November 2018

Christmas Apron

What makes Christmas unbelievably special, is the time we spend in preparation and anticipation of the moment when we will be together with loved ones.

The dressing up is purely vital - the cleanness of the house and mind is one thing that opens the heart for the blessing of Christmas. 

The night before Christmas, I remember how my grand-mom walked around her tiny house, burning incense in her little kettle dish to clear the home and land from the evil spirits and sins. She visited all the corners, well dressed and beautiful in her old-fashioned clothes, she only wore at this Holy time. She walked into the stables, giving hug and touching every one of her lambs and sheep with her fingers all curved as the branches of the old walnut, growing just outside her house, fingers already showing signs of the knowing no mercy arthritis, hands all stained and rough, from the work she had done during the day and at all her life, but with the most beautiful glare on her face - a kind reflection of the weak light from the candle she was caring in her other hand. It was a time to prepare ourselves for the Great event, a time to ask forgiveness and give one to ourselves, before the church ceremony at midnight.

This ritual, that I had always found annoying and disruptive to my comfort as a child, now fills my heart with love and sadness. I find piece in the little design from Tania Santarelli at  LilliViolette. It took me back in time with all the beautiful and unappreciated as a child memories.


It is ordinary and simple in my heart today. I have never liked the shiny Christmas, but I found for myself, that the simplicity in life keeps me grounded and strong. Whatever we make with our hands and heart is the most important - that is how we nurture our children, we create memories for them, to remember for who we were and we give them the tools to find themselves when they are ready to see through these memories. I am far from the thought that they could see through my memories with my grand-mom, but this design is what lit that memory in my heart and I think it will carry the spark for my daughter when she prepares her Christmas tradition. 


Baking for Christmas? That is the most important thing for me. I start light in November and when December hits, well, let's just say that 'I make them eat cakes' :))) I barely cook anything else, but bake for Christmas. 

In the days when I was growing up and spent time with my grandmother, it was a forty-day fasting period before Christmas day. As I said earlier - clean the house, the stables, the body and the spirit, prepare for the Holy arrival. Everything that my grandmother prepared before-hand, wasn't tasted, just well packed in air-tight containers and stored in the cold stone room. All this flavour and taste in the air was to be savoured in anticipation. What a test to my soul! 

I do not perform this "torture" to my family. I wasn't raised religious. When baking starts in my home, it becomes a struggle for the cookies to survive till Christmas.


Any concerns that anyone has with the stains on this celebratory apron, I would like to put to rest. I have a back-up and a back-up to the back-up :)

I made this little bent on the right side of the apron, so my dear girl could always wear a kitchen cloth to clean her hands. And she could only uses this apron for serving. When she cooks, I made a spare, vintage inspired apron with no stitched design. Sometimes cooking could be messy...


This apron has a very raised waist line and protects the clothing well. I think she would cook braver in it :) 



I sense it is that time of the day, that I have to put my Stained Apron and dive into the kitchen.

Thank you so much for spending time with me and my thoughts. Thank you for stopping by! I hope you dig into your beautiful memories of past Christmas time to feed your imagination. 



Happy Christmas baking!

 Ivelina

  

Friday, 23 November 2018

Lebkuchen Bags

These delicious, full of flavour and aroma cookies have become a tradition in our family. I have made them for the last four Christmas baking parties and this year is no different. You could find the recipe for the cookies in my delicious blog Tablier taché.

This year, I am sending a batch of the cookies to a friend in Germany. It is a challenge, since the recipe originates from there and the German market is flooded with them. But I am hoping that the homemade touch would create a brighter Christmas spark.

In order to appropriately pack the cookies, I have sewn cosy throw-string pouches and hand-stitched the tags for them.


I used very loosely weaved 18ct Belfast linen - it is so rough that it creates the rustic old-fashioned effect on it's own :)

Then I lined the tags with the fabric, used for the bags and framed it with a decorative stitch all around with a crocheted loop for the cord.


As rough and old-fashioned as possible my bags must be - the recipe for these cookies was firstly recorded as early as 1296. That is why I used a jute cord for the tags and bags.


I found these cellophane individually wrapping bags in DailyLike Canada. They make such a difference with their old-gold decorative elements and keep the cookies apart. 


I made a tiny crocheted edge on the top of the little bags for the jute cord. There are two very old looking (4-holes) buttons sewn on the bottom of the bags to create a stable self-standing bag.

People made everything with their hands at old times  and still managed to gift so many baked goods. Christmas should only be about that - handmade gifts and for as many people as possible. 


Ready... Set... Wrapped
Placed in the bags and ... in the mail.

I hope you are busy working on your handmade crafts and your home is filled with the sweet aroma of cinnamon and sugar.

Wishing you the best time in preparation for the big holiday!

 Ivelina