Free gift wrapping all the time at Emma Makes #stressfreechristmas

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One of the best ways to cut down Christmas tasks is to get your gifts wrapped when you buy them – that’s problematic for a control freak like me though and I’ve often been known to re-wrap things when I get home because they’re not good enough.

At Emma Makes gift wrapping is always free – you just need to ask for it at checkout. I’m great at gift wrapping (the secret is double-sided tape and good taste).

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This year I’m using a black and white stripe gloss paper and a kraft paper with white spots. Add to that an array of washi tape and ribbons in lots of colours and I can do something great and special for you pretty easily.

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If you like to wrap yourself then I’ve also got wrapping supplies in my shop:

Doilies – white and heart

Heart pegs

Double-sided tape (the best thing you can use for great wrapping)

Bakers twine

Ribbon

First Flutter Fine Art Print

Did you know that here at Emma Makes you can purchase original art?

This is just one of the limited edition fine art prints available. 300 x 300m paper, woodcut, acrylic paint and pencil.

The prints are entirely handmade – from initial sketches, to cutting the print blocks, to printing. There is no machinery involved. These are only limited editions with nine of each print being available. Grab one today from the Emma Makes store.

Tears before bedtime #stressfreechristmas

One of the most heartbreaking things to hear before Christmas is this sentence;

“I really wanted that [insert product here] that I saw on your website last week/last month but I can’t find it and I wanted it for my sister for Christmas.”

The trouble with making super limited editions of any one thing is explaining that concept to people. I often get these heartbreaking emails and have to write back and say that what they wanted is all gone. I sew from vintage fabric mainly so the likelihood of  me sewing more is remote.

It’s a sad situation when you’re the one missing out.

Here then, for the common good is a blog post of lasts. Items that there’s only one left of. Click each image to head through to the shop (it’s not an exhaustive list).

Planning a great tree #stressfreechristmas

I’ve been thinking about our Christmas tree lately…

We’re staying at home this year, which means we can visit my favourite place – the Christmas tree farm down the road. I love roaming around the different types of trees then picking one for our house. And each time it’s the same routine – I picture the perfect little tree then fall in love and come home with a skyscraper.

Years ago I worked with someone who set a decorating theme each year. At the time I thought that was  a bit high-maintenance but over time it’s come to make sense. I like to see a lot of tree and keeping it simple lets you do that relatively cheaply. One year I cut bird silhouettes from white card and tied them on with white ribbon. Another I just did various colours of tinsel.

This year I think I’ll do lights, ribbon and baubles. But I’m not set on what colour…

What do you think?

Then again I really love this simple tree in a basket.

How’s your stress free Christmas going? I’ve got 90% of my presents sorted and 90% of my Christmas cards written and sent. I decided to send one to all my stockists this year, which was a big job and now just a few friends remain to be written to.

We’ve pretty much sketched out the menu and I have ideas for wrapping presents.

Now all that’s left is some proper decorating, which I plan to do this weekend.

A Christmas lunch idea: soup #stressfreechristmas

It’s not very traditional but a couple of times now we’ve began our served Christmas lunch with a soup course. It pays to create a nice, fresh, light soup so you make it special – not really the kind of occasion where you want Grandma’s rugged vege soup.

You should also serve a small amount – we go for low, shallow bowls to give the soup a restaurant feel. Here’s an easy recipe that never fails and is easy to adapt if you have dairy free people staying.

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Our Christmas table a few years ago. Tying cutlery with ribbons was an easy way to add low-key decoration.

Pea and rocket soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
700g frozen peas
100g rocket leaves
3 cups (750ml) hot vegetable stock
Shaved Parmesan and rocket leaves to garnish (optional)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for five minutes, or until soft.

Add the peas and rocket, and cook for a further two minutes.

And the stock and 1 cup of water, bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Cool slightly and then either blitz the soup with a stick blender or put it in batches into the food processor and blitz it that way. Return to the cleaned sauce pan and heat through.

Serve garnished with shaved Parmesan and extra rocket. I also recommend adding salt to taste.

Serves four.