piece of cake?
kitty doll tutorial

swap round-up

house ornament

The Holiday Traditions Swap gave me such a warm and fuzzy feeling this year. Amidst book deadlines, holiday travels, and the general hubbub of the season, I found much joy and peace in making and putting together my package for Melissa. More on that below. First, let me say that you must check out her little felt houses. I just love my ornament, and I've already told her that I'm going to commission a special embroidery hoop in the near future.

In the package of delights from Melissa was a handmade snowbaby. Where's a picture, you ask? Umm ... I don't know - I was sure I had documented all the cuteness before leaving on vacation, but I apparently did not. Not to worry. Melissa has pictures - and a great tutorial - so that you can make your own for next holiday season.

recipe for vegan tamales made from recycled paper bags

Here's a peak at what I sent to her - "The Little Book of Tamales," a recipe for a vegan version  of a typical festive party food south of the border. (Although it's hard to avoid lard while living in Mexico for three years, I'm still not a fan.) I printed it out and glued it to pieces of recycled grocery bags, sewed the pages together on my machine, and that was that.

spanish christmas music CD

A fabric-lined, recycled grocery bag CD case containing typical Spanish Christmas music.

holiday traditions swap package

Also included were: a package of corn husks and maiz nixtamalizado for making tamales; a cone of piloncillo along with a recipe for piloncillo tea (a favorite of mine while living in Mexico); a book for Melissa's daughter; and two fabric-wrapped ornaments - an Emmeline apron ornament and some handknit, miniature mittens. The whole thing was stuffed into a recycled burlap fabric basket, inspired by maya*made's irresistable versions. I found the burlap coffee sacks on ebay after visiting three coffee roasters in the area with no success. Too bad the sacks from Mexico didn't show up in time - I had to use this one from Vietnam. A tad out of theme, but red and green nonetheless. I'll definitely be making more of these for the baby's room to use as clothing, book, and toy storage.

stocking full o' cheer swap

I also participated in the Stocking Full O' Cheer swap organized by Hope. Again, I'm guilty of a lack of photos - my package was half way across the Atlantic on its way to Katy before I realized that I hadn't taken one photo of its contents.

I did, surprisingly, take this spread of goodness that arrived from Katy in England. Let me tell you - she way outdid herself on this one. There is no way that all of this stuff could have fit in one stocking! She spoiled me with five ornaments, what I believe is a Liberty of London-lined stocking, fair trade chocolate that lasted about half and hour, a classic book, a fabric bag, a yummy-smelling candle, a gingerbread kit, and, last but not least, a stunning baby quilt made with hand-printed fabric from Australia-based Saffron Craig.

fair trade organic chocolate

Chocolate has a way of disappearing very quickly in this house. It's one of the very few things for which I cannot blame this little cat:

amelie, always on scene