Recreate Santa’s workshop at home, crafting cozy blankets for holiday gifts.
By Rhoda Brimberry and Anna Crelia of Loot Finer Goods and Loot Rentals, Flatlay photo by Giulia Bertelli, Loot photos courtesy of Loot Rentals
December is the month of gathering with the ones you love and gifting them with more love. Why not double up your elf duties by combining gathering and gifting all in one? Hosting a holiday craft night is a great way to get together and share during a time when we often find ourselves hustling about town to beat the clock and snatch the deals. Let’s slow down. Bring it home and create those gifts with hearts and hands rather than pushes and shoves.
This month, we are opening our homes to our besties to create wool blankets for our families and friends. Just catch one of the many YouTube videos that illustrate the easy process of making these blankets and get to knitting! It takes anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to make a lap blanket, which is the perfect gift on a chilly holiday eve. All you need is chunky yarn, two working hands and a warm heart.
The satisfaction that is achieved after creating something with your own hands is beyond empowering. It is such a thrill to lift up your creation and see what you made. The next step is figuring out which of your loved ones will get this beautiful handmade gift.
Check out your local craft store for chunky-yarn options. Typically, the bigger craft stores carry an acrylic or synthetic jumbo-weight option, which is great for those who follow a vegan lifestyle or have an allergy to wool. Skeins don’t carry much yardage, so you’ll need to sew ends together, which can be time-consuming.
Next Level: If you’d like a really high-quality wool, we suggest finding an unspun 100 percent merino wool. Check with locally owned yarn stores like Hill Country Weavers to see if they have the chunky wool or can order it for you. If you’re unsuccessful, we have found online source Wool Couture (woolcouturecompany.com) to have great options at a decent price. For a 30-inch-by-50-inch blanket, we recommend getting 4.4 pounds of wool, which comes in a beautiful ball of continuous yarn. If you know how many people are coming to the blanket-making party, we recommend ordering for all your friends and having the wool shipped to your home for them to use when they arrive to the gathering. They can pay you back later.
Share the responsibility and make it a potluck. Everyone brings a dish they’d like to share. Potlucks are a great way to try each other’s family recipes and enjoy some holiday comfort food.
Next Level: Call on your favorite restaurant or caterer to prepare a meal you can have delivered or picked up. We are suckers for fresh tamales during the holidays. This would be a great opportunity to hit up your favorite maker, like Tamale Addiction in Manor, Texas, to provide these delicacies for your guests. Catch Tamale Addiction at the Mueller or Barton Creek farmers markets to sample the tamales and learn about catering options.
Having a variety of beverages on hand is always nice to appeal to all palates. Provide your guests some wine and beer options, in addition to nonalcoholic beverages. A tasty mulled wine or hot cider warming in the crockpot is a lovely holiday touch and has the added benefit of inviting aromas wafting through your home.
Next Level: Anna perfected her famous warm margarita that is always a crowd-pleaser. Be sure to prepare it well in advance and warm it up in the crockpot. Including dried cherries and apple rings adds a holiday touch and looks beautiful inside the glass.
Prep time: five minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Yield: four to six servings
3 1/2 cups (28 ounces) apple juice or cider
1 to 2 sticks Mexican cinnamon
2 tablespoons granulated cane sugar (optional)
1 cup dried fruit of your choice (We used dried apple rings and tart cherries.)
3/4 cup (6 ounces) tequila blanco or reposado
1.Combine the apple juice or cider and cinnamon sticks in a deep pot. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks.
2. Add the sugar and tequila and stir to incorporate.
3. Pour the margaritas into cups and add the dried fruit to each cup just before serving so the fruit doesn’t rehydrate too quickly. (Note: We used a crockpot at our party, which made it much easier to prepare. Dump all the ingredients except the dried fruit into the crockpot and heat it on high until it’s thoroughly hot and ready to serve. For added fun, serve the margaritas in crystal goblets and sugar the rim of each glass by gently wetting the rim and dipping it in a small dish of granulated cane sugar before pouring the margaritas.)