Monday, November 21, 2011

A Handmade Christmas: Tea & Towels

I'm feeling very accomplished tonight. It could be because I am just that much closer to completing my Christmas projects. And it's not even Thanksgiving yet. Of course, the season is still young. I could decide to start weaving baskets using materials I've foraged from the hills and hollers. 'Cause I'm a little crazy like that. I'm kidding. About the foraging part. I wonder if I'd like weaving baskets? Somebody help me.

I also have been on a mission of mercy for my love. The Studly Muffin called about 9:30 with a tale of woe. He's working a 12 hour shift and the caffeine supply has run dry. Josiah and I piled into the car (me in my jammie pants...don't tell my momma) then drove down the street to Sonic for a Route 44. Nothing says love like a late night Cherry Coke run.

Between caffeine deliveries and making sure my family got a hot meal this evening I was busy doing crafty things.  This picture has nothing to do with anything Christmas or Crafty. Josiah hijacked the camera. I found a dozen pictures of these guys when I was downloading my memory card. I'm not sure, but it looks like they might be preparing for an invasion of some sort. If you see any in your neighborhood just send them back our way.

Warning: If you might be related to me. And if you might see me over the holidays you just might be the recipient of any or all of the following items. Just pretend you didn't see a thing. It will be our little secret.

I posted my recipe for Friendship Tea on my blog last year.  This year I made a batch of sugar free spiced tea. I changed the recipe up a bit. Mostly because I couldn't find the container of  orange flavored tea mix I just bought. Instead I used Sugar Free Cranberry Apple Crystal Light. I found the idea for the little bags in a Gooseberry Patch book I got at the library. I just stitched up the bag using muslin and stamped the front. 

They aren't as cute or as "applish" as the original idea, but they will work. And they smell delicious.

And they were fruitful and multiplied.

Then I decorated a few plain gift bags. They are pretty simple. The trees are either scrapbook paper or from old Christmas cards. I did tea stain the one crazy over the top project. Well, maybe not.
Tea staining is really easy. I  dissolved tea in some warm water and put a few drops of vanilla in the mix to make it smell extra special. Then I dipped the tags in the tea and put them on a cookie sheet. I baked the tags in a 175 oven...10 minutes on each side. I could have done a little more embellishment, but I decided just to stamp on them and then use colored pencils to fill in the stamp.  I'm wondering what else I could use my mad tea staining methods on? It was pretty fun. I am easily entertained.

Now I have been working on this next project for a few months now. I am not really patient enough to do real elaborate embroidery. I cut the tea towels out of muslin (the same muslin I used for the little apple bags) and hemmed them up on my sewing machine. I ironed on an embroidery transfer and back stitched the pattern using Christmas colors. I added a little Christmas ribbon and some buttons from Grandma's button box (I used them on the bags, too).  Don't look at my stitches too closely. We'll just pretend that I meant them to be a little wonky.

So here is everything together. My pic is a little blurry and I can see in the background that somebody has been rummaging on the shelf again. It looks highly suspicious to me. 

It's probably the work of these guys. They don't look like they can be trusted.

I have other top secret crafty projects I'll be sharing soon. Just now I am basking in the glow of a completed project.


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