Sunday, November 14, 2010

Playing in the Kitchen

Last year, after the holidays, my friend, Jennifer, and I agreed that we wanted to hold on to our holiday-creative-energetic spirit and get a jump on next year! Well, I hope she agrees that it isn't too late to get that jump. For the last ten months I have been planning, hoping, dreaming, and wanting to make things for Christmas... gifts, decorations, crafts, but you know... stuff happens, and the days pass, and suddenly: November!

All right. So this isn't exactly early planning. But there is still time to enjoy some crafts, and leisurely preparing. Alex, Maria, and I had the glue and glitter out today, and we made some ornaments... mostly acquainting ourselves with some lovely supplies I have been collecting and the beautiful things from 32˚North that arrived. We had a grand time... the carpet is sparkling!

I cleaned up all of the paper-glue-glitter fun, and then decided to try stamping on some little muslin bags I had on hand, and then I remembered the can of mulling spices I brought home from Trader Joe's.

These smell wonderful! Look at all those bits of spice and orange rinds... the cloves, cinnamon. It even sounds lovely. Maria asked if she could stir them, to hear them tumble around in the can. Following the directions on the can, I measured two heaping tablespoons, and centered that in a square of cheese cloth.

With a long section, about sixteen inches, of cotton cooking twine, I cinched the cheese cloth around the spices. I tied it close to one end of the string, leaving a long end to make a loop with.

The big loop is for convenience. It can hang over a wooden spoon when steeping the spices in cider or wine, making it easier to remove when you are ready to serve your spiced beverage.

I chose a chickadee and a simple star to stamp my bags, and love how they came out. A little rustic charm s'il vous plait? I put the cheesecloth wrapped spices in the stamped muslin bag, then added a tag.

One more little stamp, another bird. Bird... Bird House... get it? I thought it was a sweet touch.

I need more muslin bags! I want to share these with everyone. I want the house to fill up with the aroma of spice and fruit! I like the idea of giving them alone, as a token of kindness, or with a jug of cider... maybe a hostess gift? Coupled with a nice red wine, and it could be a very classy gift.

If you have a friend with an eclectic collection of stemware, like me, who loves to mix up her styles, like me... then the mulling spices would go beautifully with a pretty wine glass, or a thrift-shop goblet, like mine!

These aromatic gift bags are ready to go.
That was fun.


CarrieMarie said...

i love the smell of mulling spice!! : )

Tracy said...

Oh, mulled wine, mulled cider...mmm... I do LOVE this time of year! Your spice bags are wonderful--and what a great gift idea! Oh, I couldn't resist mentioning, that I heard about a random search leading you to find some friends of mine in blogland who happen to live in your town! What a small, funny, wonderful world! :o) We travel to the US on Friday to be with family for Thanksgiving and celebrate birthdays--very excited! TONS to do, though... LOL! I hope to visit at your place at least the once before we leave. Happy Days to you all! ((HUGS))

judy in ky said...

You make the holidays (and every day) bright!

Alison said...

Oh, gee, I was hoping for a giveaway after that yummy-sounding craftiness. Guess I'll have to schedule a trip to Trader Joe's instead. :)

Jennifer said...

How wonderful! I'm in my usual state of why didn't I take my own good advice and do more during the rest of the year, but I'm trying to let that go and just have fun doing things NOW. Do you remember that gum (yellow, shaped like little lumps of gold) used to come in those same kind of little muslin bags? Yours are wonderful, and I'm very impressed and inspired. Gluhwein is one of my favorite holiday beverages -- wine, a little brandy, and the mulling spices, maybe a slice of orange and/or lemon, heated just til warm, strained, and served.... Might need a gingerbread cookie on the side. Oh, hurray for holiday time!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Jennifer... Yes, do let it go. Let's both of us have fun doing stuff NOW! I loved those *gold rush* gum bags! I need to look for a good source for more of these bags, because they were so easy and fun to dress up! Hurray for holiday time, and sharing the fun with good friends!

Flartus... I have been on a Trader Joe's Love band wagon, and I think you may be correct... a giveaway might be in order.

Judy... I am so tempted to post the *craft central* photo I took. It shows the chaos and sparkle of our little session. Basically: A huge mess! I would have chosen to craft in my office, but it has been an even huger mess ever since Geoff cleared out the garage (hahaha!) Anyway, I appreciate your comment, because this morning I am feeling less than *bright.*

Tracy... isn't fun and funny and sweet? That was such a fortunate encounter. I almost thought you were going to say "I hope to visit your place," as in Here, our home, and I got so excited! lol. Maybe. Someday. It's a small world after all! Have a wonderful visit, and a happy Thanksgiving.

Carmar...the fragrance is so warm and good. Maria sniffed and in the same inhale she said: "It smells like Christmas!"

warren said...

That's an awesome gift! And I love that set of smells...

Don't forget your sunscreen you lucky's turning to winter here and fast

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Hey Warren, dude, we do got it good, but I would love to have some real winter too! We may have to arrange a swap sometime!