I wished you a Merry Christmas

Christmas and decorations have notoriously been a bugbear from me! Each year for some time now I battle with the tree-or-not-to-tree question. I gave away the pine tree concept years ago, but have until 2012 been responsible for the slow death of several native Christmas trees, including my last sacrifice – a Woollamia pine. No more, the yearoftreadinglightly brought with it a new Christmas tree – one that lives and has existed happily on our front porch for 6 years now.

The decorations were made up from collections of kids creche gifts, bits and pieces from previous years and these simple patterns from www.polli.com.au.  They come in blue, red, green and silver. They are made in Sydney and on 100% recycled card.

Here are some photos of recycled Christmas cards that I created.IMG_0679Christmas cardsIMG_0675

A few years back I asked for a paper-making kit for my birthday. These things cost around $70 and come with some short and easy to follow instructions. 2 years later, and having run out of excuses as to why I hadn’t made any paper, I went and spent a further $100 on a paper making course through the CAE. It was well worth the effort and cost, as I had the whole day to learn, experiment and benefit from someone with loads of experience and creative energy. My first attempts were pretty woeful, and had I achieved only this much on my own, I would have packed it all in, saddened by my attempts to make a mess.

A week after the course I invited a couple of friends over to make some more paper! I had so much fun transferring my new knowledge and we ended up with some really cool pieces. In preparation I had kept all my old Christmas cards (lets say those 2 previous years weren’t completely wasted then), I begged all my Mum’s old cards out of her recycling basket and we remade them into – you guessed it – new Christmas cards.

There is a downside in that it is very difficult to write on some of the card – so I raided my work recycling bin (which is full of only the whitest paper) cut out strips and wrote my greetings. I also added a slip that mentioned the card being hand made and to feel free to re-gift it. Here are some great sources out paper for recycling into cards (I will never look at a bank statement to same way again)

* envelopes from the “serious” mail you get, coloured tissue paper from gifts and flowers, old cards, newspaper (use lemon juice to bleach it), butchers paper. The bottom of letters that don’t have too much print.

I have a friend who inspires me no end with her abilities to create and with such speed and efficiency (see “more party time” post). Last year for Christmas gifts, we made mint jelly. It had been a bumper year of mint for my in-laws and so I was able to put that all to good use. This year my friend suggested I make Dukkah. This is an Egyptian spice blend comprising of nuts and seeds. All toasted and ground up into a course powder. I used an Australian inspired recipe from “The Conscious Cook” cookbook by Giselle Wilkinson. My main goal was to source locally grown produce, however I did use some genuine Turkish spices that my Mum had brought back for me from her trip to Istanbul. I filled up all my empty spice jars with the Dukkah and used them as gifts for teachers, colleagues, food hampers.

Dukka, with handmade paper labels
Dukkah, with handmade paper labels