If you are anything like me, every year you think you are  going to get all of your Christmas shopping done super early, so you can kick back, relax and feel so accomplished that all of your shopping is done. More realistically, you start shopping a couple of weeks before. That’s okay! With two and a half weeks to go until Christmas, it’s not too late to get those perfect presents for your loved ones and I am here to help you with some ideas. I am all about supporting small businesses by buying their products, so here are my faves this year!

rakeandmake_gift_guide

1. Addition Holiday Spice Gift Set- You may remember Addition from my Tarragon Whiskey Sours post, but in case you missed it, they are a new local cocktail spice company specializing in making savory and spicy flavors to add to your cocktails, drinks or even in baking. They have assembled this yummy Holiday Spice Gift Set to add to things like Egg Nog and Cider. $64 for the whole set. If these flavors don’t excite you, browse their 20+ other cocktail spices on their site!

2. Old Dog Sk8s limited edition hand silkscreened skateboard- Created by Chip Baker (friend of the blog and designer of my lovely logo). These boards are all hand painted, silkscreened and one of a kind. Give it to your favorite skater or art collector, because it can be ridden or hung on the wall as art. $50 and it comes with grip tape!

3. Shroom by Becky Selengut-  I was introduced to Becky Selengut through her first book Good Fish, during the Cook the Books Cooking Challenge that I participated in last year. I made her Hang Town Fry recipe and it was delicious… I should make it again! Now she has a new book called Shroom and it’s all recipes for cultivated and wild mushrooms. While not a foraging book, (Becky strongly emphasizes that in the book), wild mushrooms have gained popularity recently and this books gives you tons of new and interesting ideas for what to do with them. It would be a great gift for the mushroom lover or adventurous chef in your life. I bought this book for my mushroom loving friend Cara… and one for myself (more on the adventurous chef side)! If you are in the Seattle area, you can pick up a copy in person this Wednesday evening at Marx Foods, where Becky will be doing a cooking demo and signing books. Check out Becky’s website for other events and places to buy Shroom. There are also videos on her website that accompany the book.

4. Fiddlehead Hat- These are the cutest, softest, most cuddly little hats for kids. I know, because I bought one for my nephew. Shh, don’t tell! You can find these in Tasha Miller Griffith’s Etsy store and all of these hats are made from recycled cashmere sweaters. You get to customize your colors too! $32
Check out her blog too, Stale Bread into French Toast, where she sews and knits and does all the things I love!

5. Heritage Soaps- As someone who has sensitive skin, I am constantly on the lookout for good soaps that don’t irritate my skin, but are still moisturizing. There are a lot of fragrance free soaps out there, but that’s boring! With Heritage Soaps, I can have it all. The owner, Kate, just happens to be Chip’s sister (what a talented family) and was once a guest poster, with her soap making tutorial. There are many types and scents to choose from. I am currently using the Chamomile Flowers Soap as a face soap and the Pomander (orange and clove) soap as a hand soap. I was intrigued by the description of the Bergamot and Coffee soap and she advertises it as “a nice kitchen soap to remove odors or dirty hands from a day in the garden”. She sent me a sample of it, so that will be on my next order. She has a holiday sale going right now where you can get 3 soaps for $15 and if you mention Rake and Make, she’ll throw in a sample for you too!

 

Hope this helps! Happy Shopping!

Now that the wedding is over and done with, I feel like I have all this free time on my hands… to do things like sewalongs! The timing of the release of the Colette Patterns Dahlia dress and subsequent sewalong could not have been better. I have a nice plaid shirting that I found in the remnant pile at Pacific Fabrics and have been wanting to make Matt a Negroni out of it, but I’ve been sitting on it, since I had never sewn with plaids before and was a little intimidated by it. The Dahlia dress was designed with plaids in mind and came with a plaid matching guide in the form of a free download. I figured this would be the perfect entre into the wonderful world of plaids and I could experiment with something for myself, in case I screwed up, which I almost did.

Guys, this dress was almost a wadder… let’s be clear right away though, it was in NO part the fault of the pattern designer or the host of the sewalong, the adorable and oh-so-talented Devon of Miss Make. The pattern instructions were as clear as always and the sewalong posts spelled everything out even further. I just brain farted for some reason and made some stupid mistakes. Maybe I got high off making my wedding dress and thought I could just coast through this one or maybe I drank too much wine while sewing. Who knows? Whatever the reason, let’s recap anyway, shall we?

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Okay, it looks totally wearable in these pictures, right? And it is! I mean, I am so pleased (and amazed) that it turned out so good, but at one point it almost ended up in the bin. The pattern is listed as a beginner level pattern, but for some reason I had a lot of trouble with it.

Let’s start on an up note though and talk about something that went well. The fitting was a breeze. I followed my measurements and graded from a size 6 at the bodice to a size 12 at the waist, which was different than my usual 8 to 10. I’m glad I went by my measurements, because I did a muslin and found that no adjustments were needed. That never happens!

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Here I am showing you my side seam matching. It looks better in photos than it does in real life, and I just noticed that I didn’t try to match my yoke side seams at all, but all in all not bad for my first time! And my invisible zipper is very invisible!

I think I can attribute a lot of the problems I had to my fabric choice. I used a cotton flannel from my stash, that I had bought at Bolt Fabrics in Portland, when I was there for the Blogcademy last year. I originally bought it thinking I would make a Peony dress out of it. I love the colors and it is very soft to the touch and doesn’t seem like it will pill much or anything. It was kind of stretchy though, so it moved around a lot more than I had anticipated it would when I was sewing it. I even followed Sarai’s advice from the plaid matching guide and basted the seams first (most of the time), to make sure they matched, but I swear sometimes they still moved a little bit. Maybe I should have used a walker foot?

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The other side seam. I ain’t got nothing to hide.

Another thing I did right, is that I cut the fabric on a single layer, so at least everything was pretty even to begin with, so I think that helped.

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The biggest boner move I made, was that I somehow sewed the yoke lining in backwards. Here’s where the stretchiness (and the fact that the yoke was cut on the bias) became an asset, I was able to maneuver the yoke lining into sort the of the right place, so in the end it didn’t fit too bad!

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It doesn’t look too pretty on the inside, as some the yoke lining was not caught by stitching in the ditch. I got crafty and basted it from the inside and then stitched in the ditch again, so most of it attached correctly. I had to cut my losses at this point and be thankful that the yoke was even still fitting somewhat correctly.

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Everybody loves a good inside shot, right?

 The inside of the back looks okay though!

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The best part of this whole dress is this hem. Just look at this hem! Devon taught us how to do a blind hem in the sewalong and my life has been changed forever. I have spent hours catch-stitching hems in the past and sure, something may still call for that, but in the meantime, this is just magic to me. She also taught us a technique for joining bias tape that I had never tried before and it worked really well, so I learned a ton from making this dress.

This is totally going to be my holiday dress this season and it is really comfy, so I think I’m going to enjoy wearing it. Now if I could just finish my Miette cardigan! That would look so cute with this, don’t you think?

Thanksgiving is almost here! This year, instead of food recipes, I was thinking I would share a drink recipe with you. My friend Matt and his buddy Eric recently started a cocktail spice and beer sauce company called Addition. I have primarily been a hard cider drinker, so it’s only been lately that I have started getting into the whole craft cocktail thing. For me it started when Matt brought me some of Addition’s clove and cinnamon cocktail spices (still in test phase), promising it would make my cider taste like apple pie, and that it did. To me that was magic. A couple of years later, they were in full production with 25 cocktail spices and 3 beer sauces. Their philosophy? Every chef has a spice rack, why shouldn’t a bartender? And thus Addition was born. They also encourage their customers to expirement and that’s how I came up with this drink- The Tarragon Whiskey Sour. The cool thing about Addition cocktail spices is how subtly they can change the flavor of a classic drink. Tarragon is the perfect pairing for this drink, as it takes the sour down a notch and gives it a nice mellow tarragon and citrus flavor.

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You have to make a simple syrup for this drink, but’s it just a matter of boiling water with sugar and adding fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice. It’s a little extra effort but so worth it!

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Tarragon Whiskey Sours
 
Ingredients
Sour Mix
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup of fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice
Tarragon Whiskey Sour
  • 3 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. sour mix
  • 3 droppers of Addition's Tarragon Cocktail Spice
  • Soda Water
Instructions
Sour mix-
  1. In a small pot, bring the water to a boil.
  2. Add the sugar and reduce heat to simmer.
  3. Stir constantly until the sugar is dissolved.
  4. Add the lemon and lime juice.
  5. Stir until incorporated and then remove from heat.
  6. Let cool and then pour through a mesh strainer to remove and seeds.
Tarragon Whiskey Sour
  1. Fill a glass halfway with ice and pour in the bourbon and the sour mix.
  2. Stir.
  3. Fill the glass to the top with soda water.
  4. Add the Addition Tarragon Cocktail Spice.
  5. Stir.
  6. Garnish with lemon.

Stores that carry Addition*-

Seattle

Wine World (University District)
Delaurenti (Pike Place Market)
E Smith Mercantile (Pioneer Square)
Capco Beverages (West Seattle)
Downtown Spirits
Liquor & Liquor (Tacoma)
Surgarpill (Capitol Hill)
Picnic (Greenwood)

Portland

The Meadow
Pearl Specialty

Los Angeles

The Cocktail Lab

New York

The Meadow
Chelsea Market Baskets

*the assortment at these stores may vary. Wine World has the full line, Delaurenti has almost the full line and the rest of the Seattle stores I know have the Tarragon.

Or order online at drinkaddition.com

They also have a couple of events coming up-

Dec 5-7th they will be selling their wares at Urban Craft Uprising

Thursday, Dec 11, from 6:00pm to 7:00pm they’ll be at MOHAI for Antifreeze, where Matt will be doing a short presentation about how to use cocktail spices in other holiday drinks, like eggnog and hot cider.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

**This is not a sponsored post. All views expressed are my own.

Getting sick of wedding posts yet? I hope not, because I still have a few things to share! Don’t worry, this won’t be a long, wordy post or a tutorial or any kind. I just wanted to show you guys the rest of the wedding decorations we made, because they came together so nicely. Plus, I listed where we got everything, in case you wanted to know.

Amy Kiel Photography

photo by Amy Kiel Photography

Matt was able to repurpose some sandwich boards that his step-dad had made to protect some of the plants on their deck in the winter. He sprayed them with chalkboard paint and then hand drew and lettered the signage to go out on the street and at the end of the road.

Amy Kiel Photography

photo by Amy Kiel Photography

He also made all this signage with a neat sign making jig he bought at the Woodcraft store near us.

Amy Kiel Photography

photo by Amy Kiel Photography

The birch for the signs and the arbor came off the property.

Amy Kiel Photography

photo by Amy Kiel Photography

Matt’s mom borrowed the beautiful container plants from a friend!

Amy Kiel Photography

photo by Amy Kiel Photography

 I bought these letters at Joann Fabric and spray painted them for the photo booth.

Amy Kiel Photography

photo by Amy Kiel Photography

The background for the photo booth was made from the leftover burlap I had from making the bunting. I sewed three panels of it together to get a wider width. We also bought some small chalkboards from Joann’s to use as signage.

Amy Kiel Photography

photo by Amy Kiel Photography

Matt constructed the big chalkboard for the seating arrangement. I drew the tables and Flower wrote in the names with her nice handwriting!

Amy Kiel Photography

photo by Amy Kiel Photography

The galvanized vases came from Seattle Floral Supply and the flowers we got in bulk and arranged ourselves from the Stray Cat Flower Farm.

Amy Kiel Photography

photo by Amy Kiel Photography

The table cards were designed by me, with assets from Creative Market and were printed by Zazzle. The adorable candles on the tables were provided and hand decorated by Flower, with all sorts of fun materials like burlap, ribbon, string and chicken feathers.

Amy Kiel Photography

photo by Amy Kiel Photography

I was amazed at how the house became a wedding venue seemingly overnight. In reality it took days, but it was so cool to see what we could do. It also took everyone helping out; me, Matt, Flower, Matt’s mom, step-dad, sisters and their boyfriends, cousins and aunts… everyone! It really is fun to look back, so a big thank you goes out to all our friends and family that helped create such wonderful memories!

I think my favorite part of planning Matt and I’s wedding was making the decorations. I’m not sure if bunting is trendy or classic at this point, but I love how it looks and it’s a great way to create signage, so I knew wanted to make some for our wedding. It’s also easy to make in different materials and colors, so there are ways to make it your own. I’d been seeing burlap all over Pinterest and in floral supply places (I guess it’s all the rage now), but it kind of makes sense. It’s a cool texture, it provides a neutral color to work with and it’s cheap. Sign me up! As a gardener, I use burlap in my garden, so I am already a fan of the material. Our wedding had a loose woodsy, campfire theme, so I figured some burlap bunting would fit right in.

I didn’t want to have to do a lot of sewing, so burlap was also a good material for only doing one layer of fabric. I did sew around the edges, so it would not fray, but that was still faster than cutting out twice as much fabric and sewing two pieces together.

I knew I wanted to use bias tape to hold it all together, but had to figure out how I was going to do the letters. I wanted it to be quick and easy, so I didn’t want to spend time cutting stencils or sewing on individual letters. I had the amazing font that I used for the wedding invitations and had been wanting to try printable fabric for a while, so that is the route I ended up going for the letters.

Materials:

Burlap- The amount of fabric needed depends on what you want your banner to say, and how wide your burlap is, but I was probably able to get about 30 triangles out of 1 yard of burlap.

Bias Tape (in whatever color or pattern you want)- Determine the length you need by adding an inch in between each flag and at least a foot to each side. I added two feet to each side, so I would have room to tie it to something, if need be. Some pre-made bias tape only comes in lengths of 3 1/2 yards. The bias tape I bought came in a giant roll, so I was able to have it cut at the length I wanted. Or you can make your own!

Printable Fabric- I used the June Tailor Colorfast Sew-In Ink Jet Fabric Sheets.

Fusible Web- I used Wonder Under Fusible Web. You can get printable fabric that is iron-on fabric and then you don’t need this, but I couldn’t find it so had to get sew-on printable fabric and apply this to the back.

Rotary Cutter or Scissors

Iron

Sewing Machine

Sewing Gauge (optional)

Instructions:

Step 1- Decide what you want your bunting to say and cut out a flag for each letter. I added a blank flag to each end, but that is optional. I created this bunting template in Photoshop to use as a pattern piece for cutting, which you are welcome to use and is downloadable, by clicking on the image. I printed it on a heavy card stock, so it would hold up better when cutting around it, but plain paper will work as well. I used a rotary cutter, and just cut around the pattern piece. If using regular shears, you might want to trace around it and then cut.

bunting_templateStep 2- To prevent flags from fraying, stitch around the outer edge of the flag at a 3/8 inch seam allowance.

Step 3- Print out the letters you want (in the size you want) on the printable fabric.

Step 4- If you did not get iron-on fabric, attach fusible web to the back of the letters. It’s easier (and cleaner) if you do this before you cut the letters out. Otherwise you will get sticky stuff either on your iron or your ironing board.

Step 5- Cut out your letters.

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Step 6- Iron letters onto the flags. I used a sewing gauge to make sure the letters were generally in the same spot.

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Step 7- Pin bias tape to flags, by sandwiching the top edge of the flags inside the fold of the bias tape.

Step 8- Stitch bias tape to flags. Stitch as close to the flags as possible (about a 1/8 inch seam allowance) and make sure the flags are staying sandwiched in the bias tape, so that the flag is caught by the stitches.

Amy Kiel Photography

photo by Amy Kiel Photography

This is a great project for having your friends over to help (which is what I did) and is even wine and conversation friendly, because it doesn’t require a whole lot of concentration. I had pre-printed the letters before people came over, so we had a few girls cutting letters, one cutting flags, one person sewing and one ironing. We made 4 banners total in just a few hours!

Amy Kiel Photography

photo by Amy Kiel Photography

I was very happy with how they all turned out and I think it really added to the look of everything.

Amy Kiel Photography

photo by Amy Kiel Photography

Pinterest worthy indeed!