Christmas dress! warm chocolate treats and cute little things for children – Handmade by Carolyn

I did new things…

…including a new Christmas dress for me…the last subtraction from your good old stash. So this new dress was made with a pretty border print garment purchased at the end of 2019, in New York, when I went there with Yoshimi… I’m pretty sure it was at Metro Textiles?

I thought I would make a simple, very plain straight dress and I turned to a pretty little straight dress pattern that I had made previously, Burda 07/2018; 118 is exactly that, but with pockets! Earn!

As usual, I didn’t really buy enough fabric and cutting out the pieces was a bit difficult! I had to cut these awkwardly shaped facing pieces out of a different fabric. For this I used a stiff cotton in a pale latte color.

Luckily I also had a zipper of the appropriate length in my stash, although it is a less than ideal bright white instead of ivory; it’s a little more visible than what appears in this photo.

This photo is simply to show the selvage used for the center back seam; I often do this if the selvage is lying flat, and it saves a little extra if the fabric is short.

If I’m completely honest with myself, I’m not 100% happy with how the print fits along this back seam, but then again, I didn’t have enough fabric to do anything, then that’s life.

I wear it here with my crochet hat…

It really is such a beautiful print! and I’m absolutely delighted that it became a cute little summer dress that I felt comfortable and very happy in all day. I didn’t take any photos of Christmas Day because I was just in a hurry all day, but I wore it again today and took these photos. 🙂

Afterwards! For Christmas gifts, I always like to prepare a little edible treat for the whole family. This year I was thinking of making hot chocolate bombs…however, a lot of the recipes I found online came in the form of perfectly spherical, beautifully shiny chocolate shells that you fill with cocoa powder and maybe some sugar and/or marshmallows… well, how chocolate artistry was completely beyond my skills! I decided to just make hot chocolate “bricks” instead 😉

These little pieces may not be very pretty, but they have everything you need for a cup of delicious hot chocolate. My recipe:

Hot chocolate bricks

each brick contains:

  • 45 g of dark cooking chocolate
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of sugar
  • 4 mini marshmallows

I used double the mixture above, which was an easy amount to handle, to make two at a time. Simply melt the chocolate in the microwave, then quickly and thoroughly mix the cocoa powder and sugar. The mixture should stick in a self-contained blob, collecting all the mixture on the sides of the bowl as you mix and leaving almost no residue. If it didn’t, I would add a little more cocoa powder until it sticks. Divide between two mini patty molds and gently push the marshmallows into them… this means people can remove them before melting the brick and put them on top of their hot chocolate just before serving.

Each carton is designed to hold 100-150ml of milk, depending on the strength you like. If you like it super rich, you can replace a portion of milk with a little cream! because they are pretty sturdy little things, they actually need a LOT of stirring and occasional reheating to mix well. But they are delicious! I used one of the previous ones, not so pretty, to check that they worked well…

By the way, I also made a little instruction leaflet to put with each package, explaining the procedure to follow. I actually can’t believe I didn’t take a photo of the final packages, obviously I got a little stressed about the weather towards the end! (Later edit: Mom took a photo of her for me… :). )

However, to describe; Throughout the year, I had saved these little plastic trays in which mini tomatoes are sold… I peeled off the labels and managed to squeeze 7 bricks of chocolate into each tray. I also inserted the instructions and finished by tying the trays with colorful ribbons.

Finally, and perhaps my very last achievement of the year? There are only three days left, so maybe! I made three little clothes for my three grandsons. Two raglan sleeve T-shirts in different sizes and a small onesie for the littlest and smallest, all made by ourselves. Each using a vaguely Christmassy mix of white and red checked cotton jersey, although I didn’t actually make them for Christmas! I bought the red checked cotton jersey (I think?) from the Fabric Store in Melbourne on a previous trip there…it’s quite thin and actually wasn’t much fun to sew. Doing the double-needle hems on the sleeves of the T-shirt was a hideous experience, with each one left unstitched and redone multiple times. I’m not sure what the problem was, but it only occurred on this particular fabric, not on the white cotton body hems.

The white jersey came from an old stash. I think they turned out pretty cute, and if I get a picture of the little guys wearing their new things I’ll upload it here!


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