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Xmas Eve. 11.28pm. Just got into bed after a full on day finishing all our handmade presents.

This year we are gifting soaps that Toku makes- lavender & orange; cedar wood & peppermint; nutmeg, cinnamon, clove bud & orange. Plus a hemp seed, shea butter and sweet almond oil face cream. Browning sauce (a dark bitter caramel flavour) to marinate fish, chicken. Sazon Verte – green seasoning made from wonderful organic herbs in our garden. Adobo Sazon – an essential Caribbean seasoning herb/spice salt. Ginger, lemon balm & peppercorn syrup. (Yum!) Plus old fashioned ‘Lolly logs’ that my great grandmother Beebee taught me how to make as a child (so named as she felt way too fabulous and young to be a grandmother let alone a great grandmother).

For my baby god daughter, as well as the ‘Taggie Hedgehog’, I wrote a story about her and their ‘pet’ eel, and recorded it onto a CD. If you want to listen I’ll try and work out how to attach it!

For my 5 year old god daughter (in addition to the dress ups mentioned yesterday), I spent a few hours this morning doing up a rather crusty old trunk! It’s aluminum with a veneer wood inside which was in a terrible state. So I stripped it out and wall papered the inside. It’s now ready to add the costumes in the morning and a big ribbon on the latch.

For my beloved wife I brought the usual suspects of new underwear, bath and hair goodies. Plus, she wanted an entire batch of her favourite sweet treats, which I have indulged her with, (minus one piece for the official taste tester).

For the last week on and off I have been working on a hand stitched hot water bottle cover, made from an old blanket. She made me one from the same blanket about two years ago and it is brilliant for keeping a hottie warm all night. No central heating in NZ houses mean old fashioned ‘hotties’ are very popular. It’s totally the wrong season, but her birthday is in summer too, so I’ve been putting off making it for 3 years now lol. The part that took me so long was that I got ambitious and decided to appliqué a pig sitting in mud on the front (and I didn’t really know how to do that). She tells me (in french creole) that she loves me ‘More than pig love mud’. Hence the happy pig in mud. So that took me about 3 hours to stitch on tonight!

But my main present to her is not really a ‘thing’ at all. Just near our cottage is a dilapidated 1950’s caravan that is supposed to be used as our spare bedroom. But it was filthy, overrun with ants and (harmless) spiders. Toku has been talking about using it as a writing space for her, but is always busy so had done nothing about it. So while she was at work, I had Manaaki help me remove a single bed at the end that has a lovely view and he kindly cleaned the windows too. I then swept and scrubbed it from floor to (and including) the ceiling with sugar soap. It came up great. I added cushions to the remaining bed end for lounging and have put her guitar and music books in there, plus a big wooden chest full of incense she has. I’ve put pictures on the walls, made a mobile of paper hearts (cut from travel magazines with maps of NZ and the Caribbean plus other places she has travelled on them). I was given a desk by a friend and added one of our cool old chairs and a book case which has some of her writing pads and books on it (that I pilfered out of the office from under her nose while she was on phone conference calls hehe.) She has a hand held fan for hot days and I’ve sewn a mosquito / fly net for over the door. It really looks so lovely and will be a great creative space for her to escape up the driveway to. I think she is going to flip. I know she will actually 🙂

Some photos of the presents…

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I wish you all a peaceful and loving Christmas. See you on the other side!

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