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!



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!


Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Nordic Winter Pullover

Nordic winter designs are unique. It is impressive how a snowflake could be drawn in so many different ways. I guess Scandinavian culture is quite connected with the structure and purity of a snowflake, since they exist in every story tale of theirs and in every decoration - modern and vintage.

When I was a child, I loved the fairy tales by Hans Christian Anderesen. I still do, but I feel them again with the heart of the young me, the child me. The world of Mr. Anderson had become a reality for the time I was reading the stories. Very sad and heart breaking at times, there were few, that helped me become a better sister, friend and grew into a crafty woman with settled but vivid imagination. 

There are two fairy-tails that stand out for me the most - "The Wild Swans" and "The Little Match- Seller".

In the world of Andersen, it snows a lot - most of the stories take place in winter. I like the world of winter - it is so clean and pure white. There is something warm in the description of the winter coldness. I guess, the Nordic countries really love the season - images of snowflakes are present in everything - from the house decors, to the embroidered designs on their clothing and decorative cooking. For the music and dances they inherited from ancestors, elements of snow-flakes were carved even on their wooden musical instruments.

The Nordic patterns on pullovers have always  amazed me - I love the created contrast and the details to the tiniest beam of a snowflake. I haven't dared to try knitting a pattern until recently, when I decided that maybe a little design of my own will make a successful start to my longly dreamt upon drawn on sweaters crystals of winter.

The first accumulated snow of this winter inspired me for these images. It was peaceful and beautiful to look out the window and crisp and cold to carry the camera :) but so worth it.

I used fine wool yarn and thin knitting needles, so it was a lot of knitting on this pullover. 

I like wide elastics on the sleeves. Every time I knit the elastic bands, I try to suppress my eagerness to start on the design and to see how it would look like. Since this was my first attempt on a simple Nordic, I have designed the scalloped edge above the elastic so I can finally start having some taste of the contrast between the snow-white and the crimson. Here is a sharp look of the other sleeve:

Oh, glorious sleeves, they have less knits in a row and my work seemed to go so much faster :)

I will not go in details of how difficult I managed the plain part of the sweater up until next scalloped line and finally ... to see my design growing. Changing the yarn from white to red and white to red again, could be frustrating at times, especially with the wool I used, but when the pattern was half-way done, it looked like it is going to be a rewarding experience at the end.

I have designed the top part to look like a snow falling. It looks so elegant, that when I was hesitant on how to finish the neck line, it did not took too long before I knitted it as similarly as the rest of the top part of the pullover:

I think cold days ahead don't look too scary any more. After all, thanks to the winter, I get to create and experience new things.

Have a warm and cosy day, my friends! Thank you for visiting again!