April Guest Post :: Stephanie ::

Dear Annie and Laura,

Last year I decided to try to make as many gifts for friends as possible. This was partly in an effort to provide an outlet for my creative urges and partly in an effort to show that I care that little bit more. Surely a homemade gift shows more thought than something dreadfully predictable picked up in M&S? 
 It was also an effort to spend less, after a bit of a bad spell with myself and my husband both being made redundant within four weeks of each other, money was super duper tight. 

And so it began. I’m not hugely confident with my sewing machine and I can’t knit for toffees, however, we are fortunate enough to live in a really rural part of East Anglia (Laura’s Dad once called it bandit country) and so I worked with the seasons and good old Mother Nature to make gifts for friends and family. 

We have a little veg patch and two fabulous pear trees in our garden which provided plenty of ingredients. Within a half hour’s walk from our front door, we could easily harvest all the sloes, rowans, elderberries, crab apples and blackberries we could ever need. We also have our wonderful neighbours Debs and Jane who have a smallholding that they are currently setting up as a Care Farm. Debs and Jane provided plums, bramleys and plenty of seasonal gluts throughout the year.

With a bit of forward planning, Christmas gifts consisted of hampers for all the adults, with all our foraged, homegrown and scrumped ingredients. Beautiful glass jars dressed up with red ribbons and hand decorated labels. I was really quite proud of the results.

As the winter months rolled on, and fresh ingredients became trickier, the sewing machine has come out. Laura got some lavender stuffed hearts for her birthday. For another friend I covered a plain boring notebook with felt and a personalised embroidery

and I made some bright and cheery bunting.

Now spring is in the air. Not only are the daffodils holding their heads up high, but I can see my ingredients starting to appear too. The rhubarb is beginning to look splendidly pink and mouth watering, by late April I’ll be trying the Pam Corbin recipe for Gingered Rhubarb and Fig Chutney, yum...

Up the farm track in the village the earliest buds of the Elderflowers are showing, so May will bring Elderflower Cordial, maybe topped up with a splash or two of Champagne.

The seasons are a fabulous source of inspiration.

Love from,
Stephanie x


  1. I have recently stopped spending money for Lent and it has been an eye opening experience! I will defiantly be making more gifts for people rather than just buying!

  2. Oh, lovely post thank you. I'm teaching my self or re-learning new crafts this year and experiencing that push-pull of consumption vs creation. I don't want to just channel my spending urges into yet another field of interest. That resolve doesn't always survive the first 10 minutes in a wool shop, but still... C.x

  3. There is something for you at Apples and Pears!

  4. You know that is how I got back into sewing, I was a poor student and I wanted to give gifts to people so I decided to make them. It really was much more fun.

    Also your rhubarb looks delicious, I am so jealous I want some beautiful pink stalks sticking out of my soil. Maybe next year!


Thank you so much for commenting, we love to hear what you have to say.
Annie and Laura x

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