Martha, Betty & Rosie

Another Christmas has come and gone. For this one, I experimented with the notion of creating a handmade holiday. I figured on having to embody the spirit of Martha Stewart, Betty Crocker and Rosie the Riveter to pull it off. I spent a thousand percent more effort and time on gifts and decorations this year than I have in the last 5 years combined. That said, I feel it was well worth it and greatly appreciated.

A LITTLE MARTHA.

My first task was to create a stocking for my pup’s first Christmas. I found a lovely faux raw silk fabric at Designer Fabrics in blush. My original plan was to cut out the stocking (using an existing stocking as the pattern) and sew it together at The Workroom. However, the timing was never quite right for me to get there and so I ended up stitching it by hand. I included a bit of batting and a lining so that it would be more substantial. I fussed a long time with the trim, unsure of what I wanted to add. Down to the wire, 48 hours before Christmas, I picked up a chocolate brown feather boa from the dollar store and sewed that on as trim on the cuff.

Among the most challenging gifts I made this year were paintings of two well-loved furry quadrupeds – Shadoe and Lassie. I am often a consumer of art for gift-giving purposes. But this year, I persuaded myself to stop buying other people’s art, and instead, create my own. Don’t get me wrong. I love to support my favourite artists but after awhile you realize that hundreds of people have the same print on their walls. I was inspired by Martha Stewart’s glitter art. These two canvases were painted from recent photos of the dogs using acrylics with the addition of a little glitter. Although imperfect in so many respects, I believe they capture the spirit of these two canines. Furthermore, this was a great opportunity for me to realize how much I still have to learn. (So as part of my 2012 goals, I will be taking a painting course through an indie art studio.)

For my hubby, I wanted to give him something inspired by his bear dog a.k.a. Khailee but not a literal representation. This painting is of my favourite constellation – Ursa Major or Great Bear. Ever a fan of astronomy (his own Heart2Heart painting featured a comet), this turned out to be a perfect gift for Mike.

A LITTLE BETTY.

There are not too many things that I can successfully bake but I have mastered one recipe. I shared the secret to my magical chocolate chip banana bread here in 2008. Since it has never steered me wrong before, I took to my kitchen to bake 5 batches of this good stuff for the holidays.

I am a huge fan of a young woman named Hannah Kaminsky. She has several amazing vegan cookbooks and a couple of years ago, I was gifted one called My Sweet Vegan. Amongst the many delicious recipes of cakes, cookies, tarts and pies, she includes a sugar-free cake perfect for our four-legged friends. Since this Christmas was most definitely all about the puppies, I made treats for them too.

CANINE CAKE by Hannah Kaminsky (My Sweet Vegan)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup shredded carrots

2 tbsp peanut butter

2 tbsp canola or vegetable oil

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a medium sized ramekin or any 8oz oven-safe bowl.

Combine the flour and baking soda in a medium bowl. Stir in the carrot bits. Add the remaining wet ingredients, and mix well. The batter will be very thick, similar to cookie dough. Drop the batter into your prepared ramekin and bake for 25-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Let cool completely before serving.

Makes 1 small cake

A LITTLE ROSIE.

For whatever reason, when I think of Rosie the Riveter, I think of the hardware store. I found this très cool DIY for a wrap bracelet and headed to my local Home Hardware for a chain and hex nuts. These beauties took me about 10 minutes to put together and then were sent away as gifts. I like them so much that I plan to make a couple for myself to wear in 2012.


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