a gathered holiday tree

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On Sunday we went for a walk to gather materials for our Christmas tree. Last year we made it like this and the children wanted to do the same this year, but there are no holes in the house from which to hang it like that. While looking at a craft book we came across the idea of a pyramid made with sticks for a table center piece, and we all agreed if we made it bigger it would make a great holiday tree.To me It’s a beautiful tradition we are creating, the making of our tree, and it warms my heart to know that, they too, prefer to make one than to buy.

The tree itself is made with fallen sticks, mainly of acacia (there are loads of acacias here, it’s nearly or maybe worse than eucalyptus), and then we picked a few other bits to wind around the main sticks. It has ivy, maple, pine, cypress, more acacia and other bits that I can’t identify. I really like that is made from a variety of plants around us rather than just one specie.

We also made a new advent calendar. I usually come up with the ideas myself, but this year we all contributed to it. We mixed the papers (except special days like Solstice or Christmas eve), and then hang them up, that way no one knows exactly what the activity for the day is and is a surprise for us all.

soap

Making the most of the electricity available while we’re in the flat to prepare these last batches of soap.

The one I like the most is the simple pure castile soap, made with only olive oil. This is the one I use most, it’s perfect for the children, although I use it as often, and it’s what I wash my hair with (and then raise with water and vinegar for conditioning). This time I made a batch with olive oil infused with calendula grown in the allotment, cornmeal for a little exfoliation and mint essential oil. The last batch, not pictured, is for washing up liquid (I use the recipe in Zero Waste Home) and Laundry powder, this soap is not superfatting (most handmade soap have around 15% to 5% of oil that is not turned into soap, that is superfatting). This way the soap is not too drying on the skin, but when you’re washing dishes or clothes, you don’t really want any more oil…).