confiture d’abricot

apricot jam and croissant

At the end of last year, a couple of lovely friends gave us a bag of apricots from a tree that overhangs their garden. As I pondered all manner of grand things to make with them, I realised the priority was just to do something with them before they went a little rotten.

So, apricot jam it was. I used this recipe as it had less sugar in than most (apparently that’s the way the French like it). Aside from requiring my attention for a while, it was surprisingly simple and the results far exceeded my expectations.

I had planned this as a practice for when the apricots on our tree ripened. However, our visiting rainbow lorikeets saw to that and polished off the lot while they still looked not yet ripe to us*. Never mind, it was our first summer in the house so we will know for next year and try to beat the birds to it.

*Later in the week I saw some apricots for sale in the organic stall at the markets. There was a little note on them to say that although they didn’t look ripe, they were in fact ready to eat (they looked exactly like ours). The birds knew what they were doing.

handmade christmas tree

the reindeer ornament is from oxfam – it’s made from cinnamon bark and smells divine

As I was putting my Christmas crackers together on Saturday I realised that I didn’t have a little gift to go in mine. There was nothing for it but to make a last minute trip to The Drapery, a lovely little shop that opened earlier this year and is within cycling distance from home. I picked myself up a little something and also spotted their Christmas tree, which was bare branches, decorated simply with a felt ball garland and some handmade ornaments.

I already had my own felt ball garland which I made a few weeks ago but my plans for a tree had stalled. I wanted a native Australian tree, rather than the traditional pine and was hoping to somehow transplant the woolly bush (adenanthos sericeus) which is growing in the front garden. Unfortunately ours is already about 2 metres tall and they don’t transplant well. I’d left my run a little late to try and grow another from cuttings so I took inspiration from the Drapery and scoured the local neighbourhood on the cycle home to find a good branch. This wasn’t exactly difficult, since high winds the night before had brought down branches all over the place, meaning there were plenty to choose from.

christmas tree 2

I liked the smooth, light bark and the gum nuts on this one, and I think it’s scrubbed up pretty well.

I’ve finished sewing my napkins and just have a tablecloth to hem but otherwise I’m on track with my Christmas making – if you’re still going I wish you well and hope you all have a wonderful holiday break.

handmade christmas

There’s been a lot of making going on around here of late, mainly of the Christmassy kind. We’re hosting for the first time this year and I wanted to give everything a handmade feel.

Cracker and napkin

I don’t like the plastic stuff that comes in Christmas crackers, so I set about making my own. They all have a small, personalised gift and a paper hat, as well as the obligatory so bad it’s good joke (it’s just not Christmas without them). They won’t ‘crack’ though – turns out you can buy those little strips of cardboard that make them go pop but I left it too late to order online. Hopefully nobody will be too disappointed.

Christmas crackersI made these using a bit of loosely rolled cardboard (from the inside of an old roll of wrapping paper), with some kraft paper over the top and finished with bakers’ twine. I’ve seen tutorials for some fancy cutting of the paper so it makes a neat cracker shape, but that seemed like a lot of time and effort so I went for the good old scrunch and tie method.

Rosemary wreath inspiration from here.

Now all I need to do is work on the dinner that’s supposed to go with them.