I know that some of you dread hearing the "C" word this early, but as it is November & I love Christmas I am saying it anyway! Those of us who might want to make some gifts & decorations can also justify thinking along those lines as we do need some time to get things done!
I have made a start with some Christmas gifts by making some chutney with the last of my tomatoes & chillies from the poly tunnel & it does need a month or so to mature.
Making chutney in an Aga is really easy - just throw all the ingredients into a pot, stir & bring to the boil then put into the simmering oven & forget about it for 3 or 4 hours. Finally, bring to the boil again to reduce the liquid then pour into warm jars.
I tied brown card labels around the jars with colourful string & added a vintage spoon for serving - a simple & tasty gift!
Two books that I came across recently are good for inspiration - "Christmas Treats" is filled with recipes for cakes & brownies, muffins & biscuits, preserves & more, all of which can be made to serve to guests or given as gifts.
I like the look of the Christmas muffins & the cranberry preserve.
The second book is appropriately titled "Home-Made Christmas" & this is full to bursting with ideas for gifts & decorating with projects from simple biscuits for children to make to opulent wreaths for the front door.
The Christmas bunting looks very pretty in this hall....
I love the Victorian shoe style Christmas stocking.....
Not all decorations have to be pricey - these are just made with paper & it also shows how to make other decorations by recycling coke tins into hearts!
Isn't this little dog adorable? There is a pattern for knitting him as well as a funky reindeer...
Speaking of reindeer ("Oh no!" I hear you cry...".not this year too - the mad Christmas reindeer woman strikes again!)
And finally a few creative & pretty ideas on how to wrap up all those lovingly made Christmas gifts.
Are you planning on making gifts this year? I hope so, but if you aren't crafty you can always visit the Vintage & Handmade Christmas Fair on the 28th November & buy lovely handmade & vintage gifts from the talented stallholders there!
Homemade Christmas by Tessa Evelegh, photography by Caroline Arber, CICO Books
Christmas Treats by Linda Collister with photography by Linda Collister, Ryland Peters & Small