As usual, the weeks leading up to Christmas were craft-packed.
I boiled two dozen cans of sweetened condensed milk to make dulce de leche for my colleagues as a twist on the "apple for teacher" cliche:
I made two trips to Snappy Quilts, a fun fabric store, to get supplies for some more gifts.
In an effort to get more into the Christmas spirit, I signed up for the Reddit Secret Santa gift exchange. I volunteered for an international match, and was paired up with a girl (woman?) in the Netherlands who, according to her profile, loves elephants, the colors purple and yellow, and had links to several fabric bags on her wish lists. So I made her this:
And shipped it off to the Netherlands about a week before Christmas:
I received word that my Secret Santa (who is not the girl in the Netherlands - they don't do direct pairings) shipped my gift right before Christmas. No sign of it yet, but if it's coming from somewhere abroad, I assume it may take a while.
The bag-making went well enough that I decided to whip some up for Rachel, Mom, and myself. I didn't photograph theirs, but here's a shot of mine:
I liked the fabric on the bottom so much that I bought some extra to make myself a skirt:
I made up my own pattern for it, this time going for more of a pencil skirt shape. I worked from a pattern, though, to make myself a dress over the break with some fabric from Fancy Tiger:
The fit didn't turn out as well as I'd like. In that photo I'm actually holding back a couple of inches at the waist. When I don't, it looks like this:
I've put it away for now since the fabric is more summer-weight, but I may try layering it with leggings and a sweater this season, or pulling it out again in a few months to tackle taking it in.
I did scale back a bit and buy Jack's gift this year instead of making things for both boys. Sam, as the newer nephew, got a handmade item: a family pop-up book:
He seems to like it, and I certainly enjoyed figuring out the puzzle of how to make a pop-up book from scratch. I taught myself a bit of Japanese bookbinding as a part of it, which made me want to play around more with bookmaking techniques.
I'm not sure the book is the most durable gift for a one-year-old, but hopefully it holds up long enough for him to "read" it a few times through.
Happily, I was also the recipient of a few handmade gifts. Jenn put her new makeup-making skills to use and gave me a lipgloss and eyeshadow set that has been a lot of fun to play with, and Rachel made me a terrific blue scarf:
It was a fun season of crafting, and I really enjoyed being able to put those skills to use for non-play production purposes.
Random bonus unabomber-ish photo of me and Mom at a rest stop somewhere on I-70 mid-snowstorm on Christmas Day: