Thursday, November 05, 2009

Make-it-Yourself Secret Santa

It has become a tradition that the crown court team does a Make-It-Yourself Secret Santa sometime in autumn. I think we first did it four or five years ago, when only Anna and I took part, making a present for each other. We have since recruited more members, though with colleagues coming and going the mix is always different. The only condition for taking part is that you have to make the present yourself. ANYTHING that is home-made is allowed. What I really love is the inventiveness of what people come up with, particularly colleagues whose first reaction when asked if they want to take part is, "But I can't make anything."

The photos I can show are: above, Mia holding up her Beady Bed Socks, knitted by Anna (pattern from the Rowan 'Home' book).

Mia made Katie this delicious bread (we all tried it), with her name lovingly spelled out on top. No need for a gift tag.

Katie made Anna the most delicious, soft oaty, choc chip biscuits.

Jo made me chocolate and syrup cornflake cakes.

And I made Jo this Postcard Pouch! It's a fairly simple design, inspired by Amanda Soule's Gratitude Wrap. Jo LOVED the Go Elephant exhibition that was spread all over Norwich last summer. I was struggling to decide what to make her when I had a lightbulb moment as my sister was paying for her Christmas shopping; the postcards of the Go Elephant elephants were displayed next to the till. I was originally planning to put recycled envelopes in one of the pockets in the pouch, but I couldn't find any envelopes the right size, so I defaulted to postcards in both pockets and added the stamp pocket and a pen holder in the middle. It took me a bit longer than anticipated (I was finally able to go to bed about half eleven last night!) but I was pleased with the result.

I love the outer Amy Butler material, and the velvet green ribbon just finishes it off beautifully.

I also made, for the first time ever, Treacle Toffee! I've wanted to make it for years and never got round to it. When I was a child one of my neighbours made Treacle Toffee every Halloween, and it was a race to go round all the neighbours who made the good stuff first (one did Treacle Toffee, another did Toffee Apples, another did Fudge), before going round the rest of the neighbours who gave out monkey nuts and fruit and shop-bought sweets. The home-made stuff always got snaffled up first.

The Treacle Toffee was the best I've ever tasted, though I did take it off the boil perhaps a little early. I ended up having to roll each piece in baking parchment as it all stuck together when left in a tub. A definite winner. The recipe was Mrs Beeton's

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