Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Although the snip of scissors and the fresh rustle of wrap are festive sounds enough, it is awfully agreeable to accompany wrapping with a bit more auditory pleasure. Christmas carols are an obvious choice, but if you've heard enough singing cheer while shopping, opt instead for a story. Toast is streaming a free reading of Along the Enchanted Way by William Blacker for just such a time. As Toast tells us...

Along the Enchanted Way recounts William Blacker’s adventure as he travels east from London to the mountains of Romania. As the Berlin wall falls and the Soviet Union crumbles he seemingly moves back in time - away from modern western comforts to a simpler, but happier, life spent between two remote villages...

Olive is going to make a mug of Christmas blend tea, unwrap her new ribbon and settle into an evening of wrapping and storytelling. She encourages you to do the same.

buy along the enchanted waybuy along the enchanted way

The Christmas Stocking

"The stockings were hung by the fire with care..."

As much as crisply wrapped parcels, bags of abundant tissue (reused, of course) and little boxes exquisitely tied with crimson ribbon cause Olive's heart to leap with anticipation, she is secretly enamored with a far simpler gift giving medium: the humble stocking! How she waits for its limp form to be plumbed up with the most basic, yet appreciated of gifts. Indeed, lying deep amongst the new lip glosses, toe warmers and face creams hides her favourite gift of all - a mandarin orange, tucked lovingly into the stocking's toe each year.

Just like such a stocking, Olive's Christmas posts will be a medley of simple, yet gently chosen gifts. She hopes they bring a flush of warm holiday spirit to your cheeks and just a twinkling of calm to the bustle of your day.

Image: {this is glamorous}

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Homemade: Miscellany

This post may have been prompted more by Olive's wish to use the word "miscellany" than anything else! A "mixture" does this word mean and today Olive offers you a delightful medley of homemade gift ideas.

Yet, there is a little thread tying them all together into a neat package. This time of year often feels so laden - deep tones, ample refreshment and bits and bobs decking the home from the tip of the rooftop to the bottom of the tree. My, don't you yearn from something a bit lighter and airier, if only for a moment? If so, these gifts have a delicacy and lightness to help you float through the season.

Teacup Lights

If you have a miscellany (two uses in one day!) of mismatched teacups and heaps of half-burned candles, simply buy wicking and new light will emerge.

Egg Cup Candles

Have little bits of wicking left over? Follow the same directions for egg cup candles. You can delve even deeper into your inherited china collection and turn sugar bowls, creamers and the like into a luminescent candle collection. Wax adheres well to porcelain, ceramic and glass.
Cookie Cutter Soap

Made with any shape of cookie cutter and some glycerin, these sweetly translucent soaps are easier to make than a batch of gingerbread. Olive thinks she will try a series of pastel Christmas ones, perhaps adding a drop of lavender for extra bathing pleasure.

* * *

Olive hopes she has spurred you onto great (and easy) heights of handmade Christmas joy. If you are feeling a tingling in your fingers to continue, these sites will offer even more outlets to let your inner elf out:

* Festive Holiday Craft Projects - includes snow globes!

* Bath and Spa Gifts - Olive tested, these are always easy and inexpensive.

* Handmade Gifts for Him - for those tricky fellows who don't like to light a homemade candle and sit in gardenia salts.

* Gifts to Really Make - Olive has warned you: these gifts may involve a needle or some knitting skills! Just look at that charming bear, though. How could you not attempt him?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Handmade: Coupon Books

"What is the best gift you've ever given someone," asked one of Santa's elves as he and Olive spent a quiet evening crafting homemade silhouettes (see previous post) for friends and family.

With nary a pause, Olive glanced up from her workbench and replied, "coupons!"

The elf sniffed derisively, "Coupons! Pfft! Do they take skill, craftsmanship and many hours of labour? I don't think so. Hardly a memorable gift."

Olive only smiled to herself. Why upset the poor fellow (elves are, I'm afraid, prone to oversensitivity) by telling him that the most mentioned gifts she had given last Christmas were said coupons? Had not the free pedicures, offers of cleaning and coffee dates not been cashed in ever so quickly? In fact, she was sure she had seen the same ticket used twice! This year she plans to stuff stockings with ribbon tied scrolls offering movies for two, window washing and cookie baking. She would however, be wise to include a disclaimer:
Valid for One Use Only!

Kodak Coupon Book

An easy-to-download set of five coupons, including dog washing, baby sitting and yard work.


This smartly designed book of four coupons allows for the ultimate ease in gift giving: a few choice words, a pop into the stocking and pour yourself a cheering cup of eggnog.


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