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Sewing of presents continues!  I finished these ornaments last week for my partner’s sister and her husband.

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The inspiration came from this post that I had bookmarked some time ago.

Boy were these fun to make!  Messy, though–since I didn’t have a plan in mind before I started, I pulled out all my wool felt, beads, buttons, and embroidery floss.

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(Only a small portion of the mess shown here.  More on the floor and on the dresser behind me.)

I chose my felt colors, cut out the hearts, then selected beads and floss.  I really liked the way the ornaments in the original post were done in duller colors with a few bright accents, so that’s what I tried to do with mine.

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The embroidery is simple straight stitching and lazy daisy, so fun and relaxing to stitch.  No measuring, nothing fussy, just me holding the ornament at arm’s length and thinking about what might look interesting where.

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These will be packed up this weekend with some bags of spices and a recipe for mulled wine, our version of the Cook’s Illustrated method.  The package has to get all the way to Provence, so it won’t make it by Xmas, but I’m sure it will be appreciated whenever it does arrive.

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Mulled Wine

Toast spices in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. (Alternatively, let spices cool, then place in bouquet garni bag and return bag to pan.)  Add wine, orange zest, and 1/2 cup sugar; cover partially and bring to simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to low and simmer 1 hour until wine is infused; do not boil.  (I’ve also simmered this on low in a slow cooker for 4-6 hours and that also works, though I think the wine done on the stove comes out a bit spicier.)

Strain wine through fine-mesh strainer; return wine to saucepan and discard spices and orange zest. (Cook’s Illustrated recommends adding the brandy and more sugar to taste at this point; I’ve never found that to be necessary.) Ladle wine into small mugs; serve immediately.

* 3 cinnamon sticks (3 inches each)
* 10 whole cloves
* 10 whole black peppercorns
* 1 t. allspice berries (about 25)
* 2 bottles red wine , medium- or full-bodied
* 4 strips orange zest removed with vegetable peeler, each strip about 2 inches long by 1/2 inch wide, cleaned of any white pith
* 1/2 c. sugar
* 2 T. sugar (optional)
* 2 – 4 T. brandy (optional)

Please note that this keeps well in the fridge and leftovers are lovely microwaved on a chilly evening.  I’m not a wine drinker–I’m barely any sort of drinker at all–but I love this stuff.

I’m now into my next holiday project, a wall quilt for my partner that I have literally been trying to finish FOR YEARS.  This time I’m going to do it!

Here are the blocks laid out:

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And the first block has been embroidered and pieced.

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Plenty to do yet–I’d better get back to it!

STH

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