Here's another version of kzsteven's Modern Japanese Rice Pouch. I had been wanting to sew another pouch, inspired by the upcoming winter solstice.
little bit of embroidery I stitched last week served as the hopping off point for the bag. Sewing this up yesterday during the snowstorm got me to thinking about the solstice and I was surprised to realize it's just a bit more than a month away. As I sat at my Bernina, I began to brainstorm a list of wee gifts that might be appropriate for holiday giving. Maybe you would like to see my ideas and add a few of your own suggestions.
Bringing the outdoors in is a natural way to mark the solstice.nging the outdoors in is a natural way to decorate for the solstice...
-One of the most simple of gifts might be a heart, cut from foraged birch bark, and hung on a string. On the darkest of nights, the birches glow in the woods, with their white bark catching the moonlight.
-Pine cones, strung on twine, can create a lovely garland, to hang in a window or from a shelf.
-Frangrant bundles of fresh herbs, like sage, wrapped together with cedar bits, cinnamon sticks and anise stars, and hung with a bit of ribbon could scent a room for days.
-A swag of balsam boughs, bound with ribbon and a jingle bell creates a welcome at the front door, like this.
There are so many ways to bring light to a friend's home...
-Beeswax candles can be purchased and gifted or you can make your own by tightly wrapping bee's wax sheets around wicks.
-Luminaria can be crafted from paper bags, a bit of sand and votive candles.
-Stars, folded from white paper, can be hung alone or strung in a row or piled in a bowl. Pinterest is full of tutorials!
-Make a date with a friend to go out at night and look up at the stars. Bring cozy blankets and a thermos full of hot chocolate. Check before you go out, to see what constellations you might see.
Food is a central part of celebrating holidays...
-A nicely wrapped loaf of quick bread is easy to tuck into your bag to drop off at a co-worker's desk, or at your local library. Or make an oven's worth and drop them at your local senior center. Cranberry orange, pumpkin spice and lemon blueberry are some of our faves.
-Homemade granola, stored in a pretty glass jar and tagged with the recipe will be appreciated by most folks.
-We like to make raspberry cordial because it reminds us--in the dead of winter--of the sunny summer days when raspberries are falling of their canes. A small bottle of cordial makes a nice solstice gift. Recipe here.
-Who wouldn't love a jar of spiced or roasted nuts, delivered along with a mesh bag of clementines?
-Don't forget the birdies! Gift a friend with a suet feeder and a few cakes of suet. Or make suet balls at home with this recipe.
As cold as it is outside, there are seeds germinating under the ground, a precious reminder that warmth will return.
-Gift a glass jar, filled with an amaryllis bulb or a few paper white narcissus, anchored with some rounded pebbles or aquarium gravel. Include a note describing how to "force" them to bloom.
-Sew a little pouch and slip some seed packets inside.
-Make a collage with photos from last year's seed catalog and put it in an inexpensive frame.
If you are a stitcher, here are some ideas for sewing a gift or two...
-For the sewer in your circle of friends, consider making a needle case, or a meditative pincushion. The needle case instructions can be found here. The pincushion instructions can be found in issue 3 of making magazine. Crazy Mom Quilts has a number of free tutorials for pin cushions on her blog, here.
-Lotta Jansdotter has written a wonderful book called Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style, which is full of patterns and quick projects. I found a tutorial for a neat fabric bracelet, you can see my version, here. There's also a fun patchwork bias tape necklace that I'd like to try in solstice whites. Lotta also has patterns for tunics, totes and dresses included. Maybe your local library can find the book for you!
-If you have an artist in your midst, here's a very fun pencil roll you can sew. The pattern for this gift can be found in Joelle Hoveson's book, Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts.
-A "treasure pouch" can be stitched up to hold any number of goodies (think Duplo blocks for kids, a small knitting project or juggling balls). I made a bunch of them and love how easy they are to make. The pattern can be found here.
-For snail mail aficionados, here's a sweet little stationary kit tutorial by Fabric Mutt.
Finally, some other books that you may enjoy...
Celebrate the Solstice, by Richard Heinberg
The Winter Solstice, by John Matthews
Handmade Scandinavian Christmas, by Here Barnholt
I hope these ideas spark some creative energy in you, dearest readers. Please let me know if you try any of them. AND, please be sure to add any of your own ideas here in the comments. I'd love to hear if and how you celebrate the shortest day/longest night of the year. xoxoxoxox