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IMG_5818I know, I know, Easter is over. But our Easter was just yesterday, and as always I left it to the last minute, but I did dye some eggs! It was so easy but so much fun, and I liked the end result so much that I decided to write about it anyway.

To make these marbled eggs I used:

  • white eggs
  • food coloring
  • plastic bags
  • tongs (optional)

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Lay a boiled white egg on a plastic bag and drop a few drops of food coloring directly onto the egg. I started with 3 or 4 of one color. IMG_5803
  2. Using the plastic bag to hold the egg and contain the food coloring, roll, tap, scrunch, rub or use any other technique that comes to mind to spread the color onto the egg. The plastic bag will create a marbled effect, and each technique gives a different result. Take your time to experiment with each.IMG_5802
  3. Move the egg to a different (clean) part of the bag, or an entirely different bag, and repeat the process to cover the rest of the egg. If you use a different part of the same bag you can take advantage of the blend of the two colors, which will inevitably happen.IMG_5805
  4. Leave the eggs to dry on another plastic bag – this will prevent them from rolling onto each other.
  5. That’s it! Wait till all paint is dry and enjoy!

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One of my favorite holiday traditions at home is setting up the family Christmas tree: my brothers and I bring everything out, move furniture to make room, unpack the ornaments from the old box with “bacon cheese” written on it (oh, how I miss the taste of bacon cheese on white bread!) Christmas music playing, my mother watching from her favorite chair, my father tactically staying out of the way. As an annual ritual worthy of its name, things are repeated, almost verbatim, every year: the good, the fun, and even the bad.

Last year, I felt trully fed up of arguing over the tree base scratching the wooden floor, and thought we could do without this particular detail in the tradition! All our previous rugs are somehow gone, including the first one I remember from my childhood, that my grandfather had crocheted in a mustard and brown yarn (yes, both my grandfather and father had learned how to knit at one point, albeit neither with much success in their final products!) So, my goal for this year was to make a tree skirt to remedy the situation.

Here is how you can make one too.
You will need:

  • Two pieces of fabric, one for the top and one for the backing, cut in a circle that will be right for your tree. They should be large enough for the edges to show, sticking outside the tree branches.
  • Felt sheets in brown and grey/green (for houses), 2-3 shades of green (for trees), white (for snow), pale yellow or off-white (for windows).
  • Fabric glue, scissors or x-acto knife, pen & paper for designing the templates.
  • A kitty, or three (optional).

Cut your two main circles and sew them together, right sides facing, leaving an 8-inch opening. Turn inside-out and top stitch around the entire perimeter, closing the opening and giving your circle a nice thin edge.

(sorry, no photo for this stage!)
Make a template with paper or cardboard for the houses and trees. You can make them all one size, or make 2-3 different sizes. (I made 1 size for the houses, and 2 for the trees).

Draw the outline on the felt sheets, as tight as you can to avoid wasting fabric.

Cut out all shapes, including curly lines for the snow on the roofs and chimneys, and little squares for doors and windows (I used left overs from the houses to make the tree bark, and doors & chimneys for the houses.)
Make as many as you will need to space around the edges without it being too crowded or sparse (eye ball it. Or have a kitty to help.)

Using fabric glue, put together all your trees and houses before attaching them too the fabric, it will make the final step faster and more enjoyable.


Arrange all trees and houses around the edges, and glue. Done!

In the last two weeks, my days and thoughts have been filled with the sea. Swimming, sailing, snorkeling, looking, listening, tasting and smelling it. I am not surprised that so much literature has been written about it, throughout the ages.

 

You don’t see it here, but knitting is sitting on my lap as I briefly put it down to take this photograph of a beautiful moment. Lazy morning away from everyday routines, me sitting with my coffee, a lovely book (and my knitting), listening to running water and birds that live so long in the neighborhood we ‘d know them by name if they told us what they were. The day progressed just as lovely, with an impromptu cookout and family gathering, and ended with a new knitter joining the ranks. My first man student, and I am so proud of him for how fast he picked up and how enthusiastic he was!

As for what’s hiding from the photo, I have wanted to share my latest knitting adventures for a while now, but a work in progress isn’t photogenic. Lots of tangled strings of yarn all over the place… messy. And my experiments in making up a pattern inspired by just a photograph (of someone else’s project that was certainly very photogenic!) didn’t seem like a thrilling topic of conversation. So I remain quiet for a little longer, until the quickest cardigan I have knit in years will be revealed. Stay tuned, FO coming soon!

 

I believe that most people who celebrate Christmas exchange their family gifts on that day – however, our family always exchanged presents just after the New Year rolls in. It might be because my parents could do with an extra week of shopping, or just because it would be a 50- 50 % chance of following one or the other tradition in Greece. Either way, I am definitely making use of the extra week to finish my handmade gifts, and the few purchases I am planning.

I am very fond of this timing. It just makes the end of the year a culmination of excitement and joy, and lets the New Year begin with a series of positive rituals. It also saves Christmas from the consumerism of gifts, something which I am definitely not fond of.

Since I am still keeping things secret, then, the crafty update will have to wait a few more days. All I can show for now as an update are the Christmas-tree ornaments I made for this year – stuffed wonky stars (yes, they are all wonky, my technique has not improved much since my first try) and a few stuffed birds.

Enjoy the best, most laid-back, festivity-laden final week of the year. Let 2010 go out with a bang!

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