Holiday Hangover


All set and ready to go

Another holiday season come and gone.  The tree is down, stockings and a variety of chachkies are safely tucked away to a worn banker box in a  corner of attic storage until next year.  Aaaahh, peace and fucking quiet.  The silence is welcomed.  This year was a bit stressful – more so than years past.  Family was in town from Chicago for 10 days, there was a death in my boyfriends family that left us separated the whole holiday break, my two and three year old niece and nephew were sick, and for some inexplicable reason I decided to make all of my Christmas gifts just a month before the holiday…while on holiday for Thanksgiving in Quebec.  Aside from the time crunch to get everything accomplished, winter never really arrived.  We’ve had a week or two of cold temperatures, but all of December was very moderate with balmy temps in the 40s.

Homemade gifts – Worst and best idea ever.  I always love the idea of homemade gifts.  I love giving them and always love receiving a gift that’s homemade. However, four weeks is nowhere near enough time to complete this task.  Somehow we pulled it off (somewhat).

The kiddos are easy – toys.  I spent every weekend in December felting, a new hobby of mine.  I made a variety of  stuffed felt woodland animals for my neice and nephew.  I had so much fun making these guys and they paired adorably with this darling book, The Secrets of Winter.

Felt plushies for the kiddos

For the adults the theme was a kitchen/culinary themes crate.  Each would include a hand carved  wood spoon (another recent hobby), salted bourbon caramel, homemade caramel filled bonbons (bourbon caramel & tobacco caramel), hand dyed ombre kitchen towels, and optimistically thought I would be able to sew waxed canvas knife rolls and aprons.  The aprons and rolls were not complete, but that’s what birthdays are for – right?


In progress spoon

Salted Bourbon Caramel

2/3 cup heavy cream

1 cup sugar

1 stick of butter

3/4 tsp salt flakes (we used Malden smoked salt flakes

1/2 cup Bulliet Bourbon


1. Slowly heat the cream in a saucepan and put aside.

2. In a different saucepan, add sugar on medium heat until it starts to melt around the rim.  Gently stir with heatproof spoon until it’s completely melted.

3. Add butter, small cubes at a time and stir until melted.  Slowly add the warmed cream and stir until smooth.

4. Let the caramel cool down a bit- 10 mins or so before adding salt and bourbon.

5. Pour caramel into jars.  Use a funnel to make life easier.

**We also did a version of caramel where we steeped 1/4 oz.of pipe tobacco in the heavy cream before making the caramel for a tobacco infused caramel.  This gives the caramel a peppery, sweet note. We used this caramel along with the bourbon caramel to make bonbons as well.  The sauce is awesome on top of vanilla ice cream!


some of the goods/tools for giftmaking


Moral of the story is, if you’re going to make shit by hand, make sure to have enough time allotted.  Great news is I have a couple of months to refine my sewing capabilities in order to complete birthday gifts and perhaps get a head start on next year.

wrapping it up




Words and Photos by Candice Alinovich

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