Category Archives: Twelve Days of Craftmas

Here’s the Situation

After a lot of thinking and much trying, I am at a lose as to what to do about the final Craftmas give-away thingy. I feel like if I just come out with the idea and where I’m stalling, I might get a bit of help or advice on what to do about it but I don’t know…

OK, here goes. The idea this year was to create a calender page each month for my lovely readers to download and keep…print and stick on your wall, or keep on your desktop…the calender page would be hand-decorated and might include a recipe or pattern or something nice for you to enjoy all month long, until the next one came out.

So I’ve been working on my little calendar, and I kind of feel like it’s a bit lame now. I don’t have any paint or any amazing journalling/collaging skills like other amazing people on the internet. It’s just me and my coloured pencils, that are a bit rubbish, and this woeful computer that hardly has Word on it, let alone Photoshop or Paint, or some decent software like that. So I’m afraid now to show you the project, in case you all laugh, and also that your January page would be quite late to say the least. But there is the idea anyway…out there in the open. All advice, suggestions or comments would be greatly appreciated.

In other news, I got the craziest idea for a knitting pattern today, while I was hanging out at Threads and More. It’s pretty wild and it’s usefulness will be debateable but it’s such fun I can’t help myself. I’ll have to think about it for awhile before I decide how I want to approach it. Also I’m trying to think what to knit for the Knitting Olympics, while the Winter Olympics are on. I’ve never watched the Winter Olympics before but they seem really into it in Australia and I’ve been learning lots about winter sports. I think watching a bit of snowboarding or ice-skating while knitting would be fun, just not sure what to do. I also finally have knitting again, after leaving it all behind in Sydney by accient. I’ve started a knit-a-long project with Threads and More, we’re making Jo Sharp’s Eyelet Cardi from Knit Issue 5 together. I’m going to make a few wee adjustments I think, but right now I’m just so glad to actually have something to knit again!

Tonight is my last night in Brisbane for quite a while. We head down the Gold Coast tomorrow, and then to Melbourne on Monday. Can’t believe the adventure is finally beginning, it’s unreal. Definitely hasn’t sunk in yet. More than anything right now I can’t wait to lie on a beach or by a pool and just read a book, truly devour a book. I’ve been lent a copy of ‘My Sister’s keeper’ and I can’t wait to get stuck in. Fabulous!

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The Twelfth Day of Craftmas: The Day of DOING!

Well people, it’s the Twelfth Day of Craftmas and the final post. Unfortunately my huge finale piece isn’t ready yet. It shouldn’t be long coming however and I really hope that it becomes something special. It’s going to be a little present, something that everyone can download and keep. With any luck, I’m hoping it will turn into a monthly gift too. But more on that in a few short days…

On the final day of Craftmas I’d like to reflect on all the amazing patterns, recipes and projects people have so kindly shared with me and you. They gave of their time, energy and ingenuity at a hectic time of year and all for the joy of creating! Included in the Honourable Mentions are contributors, supporters and crafty beings who have inspired and supported along the way –

Honourable Mentions

  • Lilycobweb a.k.a. Rena Roohipour a.k.a. My Mam and biggest cheerleader
  • Sorcha Turnbull
  • Apple.Fluff
  • Alix Cirac
  • Miss Regenerates
  • Sally B
  • Michelle Moore
  • Danika Rameshfar
  • Jill Casavecchia
  • Barbara Wendel Sands
  • Helena Close
  • Maryam Roohipour for creating all the banners
  • Heather Curtis for her untied tie bags. www.reallyreallyremade.etsy.com
  • Bente Elshotz for her amazing almond cakes
  • Angela Moriarty for her wonderful crosstitch creations
  • Ellen Reay for being all-round cool and crafty
  • Emma Kiely for baking the gingerbread immediately and posting photos
  • Anna Hunter…..doesnt even have to try to be crafty, she’s so crafty.
  • Jan Nagle, maker of teddy bears which we really want to see some pics of.

Helena remarked to my Ma that she imagined every one of the contributors to this project coming together in a room with their creations and being introduced. What a lovely image! I hope that other people have felt the same sense of community about the Twelve Days of Craftmas as I have, and that the experience doesn’t just end with this final post.

Wonderful people have contributed projects.

I have posted them on my blog.

Now it is your turn, readers, to actually have a go at the projects, recipes and patterns published here!

The Twelfth Day of Craftmas is the day of DOING!

I challenge everyone to DO something with any of the ideas from Craftmas. Comment below with your results. If you blog, please feel free to link so we can see and read about your results. I’ve even set up a Flickr group that people can add their photos to.

The Twelve Days of Craftmas doesn’t have to stop at Day 12, it can go on as long as we want, with a little participation :)

Light a Little Fire…or make a little gingerbread…it’s all good!

Helena’s Foolproof Gingerbread

Helena’s Foolproof Gingerbread

by Helena Close

I moved to the west coast of Ireland last year and after the novelty wore off I found myself with a very severe case of Cabin Fever – just cliffs and sea and bog outside my door and a constant whining wind! I thought I was living in an Enya video but baking proved my saviour. I am a writer (or so they tell me) and I bake like I write – sporadically and furiously. So there could be a month of wonderful cakes and buns and then nada for three months!

This is a recipe I stole from my good friend Monica. It is foolproof and delicious – the best gingerbread ever! For a crispier bread roll the dough a little more thinly. Dust with icing sugar when cookies or men are ready (are men ever ready?). It will keep in an airtight tin for days and actually tastes better the older it is!

Ingredients:

  • 190g brown sugar
  • 150g golden syrup
  • 150g butter
  • 5ml each, ground ginger, cinnamon, ground cloves
  • 450g plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 5ml bic. soda
  • 5ml cold water

Method:

1. Set oven to 180c (maybe a bit lower depending on your oven)
2. Put sugar, syrup, spices and butter into a saucepan and stir gently over a low heat until the butter has melted
3. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
4. Beat egg with a fok.
5. Disolve the soda with water in a cup.
6. Sieve flour
7. Once the sugar/syrup mixture is cool, add in all other ingredients.
8. Mix well and turn onto a lightly floured board – kneat lightly and shape as desired.

Bake for about 10 – 15 mins depending on the size of the pieces.

Helena Close is an amazing writer and a bad influence. She wrote ‘Pinhead Duffy’ and ‘The Cut of Love’, and taught Little Fire how to swear! Her new novel – The Clever One – is out in 2010.

Barbara’s Knitted Cable Wristwarmers

Barbara’s Cabled Wristwarmers

Designed by Barbara Wendel-Sands

This is a very easy pattern for lovely cuffs to keep your hands warm during these cold, frosty winter days and nights (and if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere like Little Fire, a project to start now so you’re all prepared for winter to come!)

If I can do it, anyone with basic knitting skills can!

Materials:

  • 50g aran-weight wool
  • 4.5mm needles
  • Cable needle
  • Darning needle

Wristwarmers approx. 30cm long, to fit average women’s hands. Suggestions for adjusting length are given in pattern.

Abbreviations:

  • k – knit
  • p – purl
  • CO – cast on
  • BO – bind off
  • c6f – put 3 sts on cable needle, bring to front of work, knit next 3 sts, then knit 3 sts from cable needle.

Instructions:

CO 36 sts

Row 1: (k1, p1) repeat to end.
Continue in this manner until ribbed section is 2cm long.

Knit next 4 rows in stocking stitch (1 row knit, then 1 row purl), ending with purl row.

Thumbhole row: k8, BO 4 sts, k to end.
Next row: p24, CO 4sts, p8 (36sts)

Continue knitting in stocking stitch (1 row knit, 1 row purl, repeat) until entire piece measures 15 cm, ending with purl row.
*Feel free to lengthen or shorten wristwarmers by knitting more or less in stocking stitch section.*

Then begin Cable pattern:

Row 1: k12, p3, k6, p3, k12.
Row 2: p12, k3, p6, k3, p12.
Row 3: k12, p3, k6, p3, k12.
Row 4: p12, k3, p6, k3, p12.
Row 5: k12, p3, c6f, p3, k12.
Row 6: p12, k3, p6, k3, p12.

Repeat cable pattern 4 times (24 rows in total).

Knit 2 cm in ribbed pattern as before (k1, p1,repeat).

BO.
Sew together along longest edge and weave in ends.

Knit a second wristwarmer, working thumbhole on the other side of the piece (so thumbhole row becomes: k24, BO4, k8. next row: p8, CO4, p24)

Wear with a big smile!

P.S. If you can’t be bothered with the cable pattern, just knit your cuffs plain and decorate with a nice button, felt flower, whatever you fancy!

This is Barbara Wendel-Sands’ first published pattern. Originally from Germany, she now lives in County Down, Northern Ireland. A creative soul, she knits, bakes, paints, makes stain glass hangings and generally adds colour and life to all she touches.

Jill’s Super Easy Chocolate Fudge

Super Easy Chocolate Fudge

by Jill Casavecchia

Today a good friend of mine, Jill Casavecchia, leaves our lovely little village in Ireland and begins a new life in Brisbane, Australia. She arrived this morning after spending New Years somewhere over Abu Dhabi, I believe. Todays post is her wonderful, super simple but ridiculously tasty Chocolate Fudge recipe, that I hope you all enjoy. Thank you Jill for being a part of this project during such an exciting and busy time in your life!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. or 3 cups powdered sugar (icing sugar in the UK)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Method:

  1. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil/tin foil, allowing foil to extend over sides.
  2. Butter foil.
  3. In bowl, mix together sugar, cocoa and cinnamon.
  4. In a saucepan, heat butter and milk until butter melts.
  5. Add vanilla extract.
  6. Combine with sugar mixture.
  7. Stir in nuts.
  8. Pour into prepared pan.
  9. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  10. Use foil to lift out of pan. Cut into 2-inch squares. Diagonally cut each square in half, making triangles. (Garnish with whole nuts, if desired.)Makes 1 pound (32 servings)

Jill is a California/Arizona native, who has been living in Northern Ireland for the past four years and today arrives in Brisbane, Australia to begin another adventure. She is a Waldorf teacher, jewellery designer (check out her brilliant etsy store) and creative nut.