Something 2013 seems to have in common with 2012 is how quickly time seems to slip away, although I still think that my job has a lot to do with that!
And so I find myself on the cusp of another weekend, without having told you yet about the loveliness of last weekend. Back in the autumn, I was talking with one of my favourite people in the world, the lovely Carla from Ducking Fabulous. We had both read The Christmas Cookie Club, a novel about a group of ladies who meet each year to swap batches of cookies. We had the idea of doing the same thing, but with crafts.
We invited some of our crafty friends to take part – the idea being that how ever many ladies signed up, you made that many of anything you chose, to exchange at our First Annual Craft Swap. There were nine of us in the end, and we all set about making our crafts. The only rules were that you had to have fun making whatever you chose, and that there had to be enough for everyone.
However, with nine ladies, it was always going to be difficult to get our diaries to line up, and it quickly became clear that we weren’t going to be able to make it before Christmas. Instead, we set the date for last Sunday, and all converged upon the wonderful Angela’s home for lots of tea and cake and giggling.
What utterly amazed me was the breadth of creativity and talent in our circle, and how everybody interpreted the very brief brief differently! My love of buttons is well documented, so I decided to make button fridge magnets. I spent a happy morning sorting through my numerous button jars to find the prettiest buttons, and then cut a magnetic sheet into small squares and stuck one on to each button. I had some really lovely little paper bags, and I put an assortment of buttons into each one, before tucking them into my bag to take to the swap.
After much tea and cake and talking, we took it in turns to go round the circle and give out what we had made. I took home a bag of the most delightful gifts. Wendy had filled little jars with homemade herb and spice blends, with a choice of Italian or Barbecue – I took home barbecue, and it smelt wonderful! Annastasia made sloe gin chocolates, which were utterly divine, and Helen made a chocolate fridge cake which she presented in tiny cherry-covered boxes, tied up in cellophane with a ribbon. Sharon made denim lavender bag hearts, stuffed with lavender which Wendy had grown. Apryl made jars of jam using fruit she had grown herself. Gabby had been inspired but a trip to Budapest, where she had seen sweet little fabric chickens, and had made her own, complete with dangly little button legs. Carla decoupatched kilner jars with pictures of burlesque ladies, and filled with a recipe for gingerbread, a tiny jar of ginger, one of glitter, and some assorted cutters, which is a lovely idea. The best thing is that the empty jar can be used to post in slips of paper on which you write happy memories from the year. Angela had made the most beautiful teabag folded cards for us.
The best thing is that even though the things in themselves are wonderful, they are also imbued with happy memories of the day, which makes them even more special.
We had originally thought about doing another swap next year, but actually, I am not so sure that we really want to wait that long!