Homemade Holidays :: Make & Listen

It's Thursday! Time for some more making and listening! 

Before I share what I have been making for the upcoming holidays, I wanted to show you my finished Autumn Sampler. I think I will try to frame this one. 

I have started making Christmas gifts. I prefer making things as opposed to buying presents. Christmas has never been a holiday I have celebrated a lot, even growing up, my birthday was always a bigger affair than Christmas. I would like to start celebrating the winter solstice more this year and I am looking for suggestions. Leave me a comment if you have some. 

My mother-in-law knows I enjoying making gifts and recently gave me her wish list. I started this past weekend with her quilted artist tote bag. I created my own design and I hope it will work out. For now, here is a sneak peek. It isn't much yet, but you can see the fabrics I chose: 

I also started making pillowcases for my kids. Two of these are made with flannelette and are super soft. The Hello Kitty one is regular cotton, Celeste chose the fabrics for it. I followed a tutorial for making these easy tube pillowcases. They are super easy and fun to make. I think I will be making more! 

Here is the tutorial I followed:

In the kitchen, Celeste and I made a small batch of hot cocoa mix. The recipe was very simple and I was told it was tasty. I used 1/2 cup of white sugar, 1/2 cocoa powder, and a pinch of salt. I blended the sugar first in my mini food processor, then added the cocoa powder and the salt. We whisked 1 tablespoon of mix into one cup of hot milk. 

We used the mix during our poetry teatime this week, along with some delicious ginger peach tea from the English Tea Shop. 

I made a spice cake for our tea time. I changed the recipe a tiny bit by replacing the butter with greek yogurt. The original recipe can be found here.  I also skipped the icing, instead I dusted a bit of icing sugar. I rarely add icing to the cakes I make. I find that they are sweet enough without and it makes them a bit "healthier" that way too. 

We started listening to CBC Radio 2 this week. I am not sure why I didn't start earlier! The classical music played is a perfect match to our studying, and there is only a small amount of talking. Soon, I will play their Seasonal Favourites Stream 

I am linking this 30th Make & Listen post to Dawn's blog Simple Things Notebook.  Check out her socks in progress! 


  1. What yummy making going on over there!
    The sampler turned out great and will look so neat framed!
    My mother-in-law made pillow cases for the kids a few years ago and they are favorites!
    We have been shifting our focus to solstice more and more each year. The winter fairies have been visiting and leaving little bits of nature behind in felt mittens since my oldest was 2. They count down to Solstice, then on to Christmas - but recent years have stopped at Solstice ;-)
    We made a sun cake (yellow cake) to welcome back the sun.
    We gather twigs in the forest to make a "solstice bundle" with special yarn. This is set aside to dry and used to start the solstice fire. My son loves this!
    We also watch our shadows closely in the weeks before and after. Noting how they change.
    KC, of Olive and Owl, went with candle light only for solstice week last year. I think we are going to try to do that for the Friday night and Sat of Solstice this year.
    There is also a homemade Solstice gift for everyone. Something very simple.
    There is always a hike where we focus a bit extra on the Solstice and come back for a fire.
    I will let you know if I think of anything else. I would love to know what others do as well!
    Thanks for sharing again this week!

  2. I never thought about making pillowcases! What a fun idea! Came over from the Make and Listen Along. Glad to have found your blog! xoxo, summer

  3. I love the sampler - so cute! Did you make up the design or get the pattern from somewhere? I never thought of making pillow cases but that's a great idea as we could use some more - and dishcloths...
    For Solstice we will be making paper lanterns and beeswax candles and we always say what we have been thankful for from the past year and what we want to accomplish in the next and write it down.

    1. I forgot to link this time to the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery! Here is the link:
      Dishcloths are always useful too, do you knit?
      Thank you for the suggestion for the solstice.

  4. I love making gifts as well over buying. Sadly not all my recipients appreciate handmade :( I attribute that to our consumer culture of which I can not compete. So I make where I can and that keeps me happy :) I love the sampler!!!


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