Tonight’s guest joining me to chat about Christmas, and to give us a little look behind the scenes, is Holly from Millie Made. Holly makes beautiful slow fashion and accessories, and also happens to be one of my best friends =) I have loved seeing Holly start and grow her business, and it was fun to have her as a guest here on my blog tonight! Let’s get into it!
I absolutely love the clothing and accessories you sew for your label Millie Made. Can you please tell us a little bit about Millie Made and what inspired you to start it?
Thank you, that’s very kind. I love to sew – my Mum often had her sewing machine out, making quilts and clothes, and my sisters and I learnt to use it. I didn’t sew for a number of years after I left home, but then had a big desire to take it up again when I had my first child, who is now eight. After a while people started asking me about the clothes I was wearing and if I’d make them something. I guess it grew from there.
Do you like to read Christmassy books and/or do you have a favourite Christmas story?
I do love anything Christmassy. My recent searches on Audible and Borrow Box have been ‘Christmas’ and ‘cafe’ because you know, usually these lead to sweet happy romantic endings. I’m currently reading The Christmas Swap by Sandy Barker which I’m really enjoying, and I’m looking forward to reading A Very Country Christmas which sounds perfect – Aussie outback, Christmas and no doubt romance!
Is there a particular book that you’d like to find under the Christmas tree this year?
Ooh, this is a hard one! Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson sounds like it would be perfect for me. Also The Godmothers – I always enjoy books by Monica McInerney. And a hotel voucher so I have time to read the books!
Do you have a favourite book you like to recommend or give as a gift?
Not really, I’m very lucky to have you to help me with recommendations!
Can you share a favourite Christmas tradition or recipe?
We’re not a huge tradition family, but it would have to be this wonderful gingerbread house/biscuit recipe. Every year we consume copious amounts of this delicious gingerbread.
Gingerbread House (or biscuits)
There are so many wonderful free templates available online. Probably choose something fairly simple to start. Find one you like, print it and then trace the pieces onto cardboard (something like an empty cereal box is perfect). You can cover it in contact if you want to preserve it for future years.
5 cups flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnmon
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
8 oz butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses, treacle or golden syrup
half a cup of strong coffee
Cream butter and sugar until light. Beat in molasses until fluffy. In a seperate bowl mix dry ingredients – flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, bicarb soda. Stir in dry ingredients alternately with coffee until well blended. Chill several hours or overnight.
Cut the dough in quarters. On a well floured surface, roll out a quarter at a time to approximately 1/8 inch thick.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
For cookies: cut as many as you can and bake for 15-18 minutes.
For gingerbread house: cut out all the pieces and bake for 8-10 minutes. Recut (using your template directly on the hot dough) and cook a further 8-10 minutes.
Don’t try to ice on a humid day!
1 1/4 cups (8 oz) of icing sugar (not icing sugar mixture)
1 egg white 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Beat egg white with a wooden spoon. Gradually add the sugar beating well with each addition, then the lemon juice.
Join the walls thickly adding a row of icing along the base inside, then roof (hold together for a few seconds to set) and chimney. The door can be placed ajar. Have wonderful fun dripping icing wherever you want and stick on goodies such as freckles, smarties, mint leaves, dolly mix or licorice allsorts. You can make icing lace for the roof or stick on lollies. Enjoy the process!
(I’m so glad Holly has shared this recipe on the blog – this gingerbread is famously excellent, and I ask her for the recipe every year, then manage to misplace it before the next year! We made ours into biscuits today, and decorated by dipping in white chocolate and sprinkling with crushed candy cane!)
Are there any Millie Made goodies that you are sewing up especially for Christmas this year, or is there something you make that you think makes the best gift? (I’m quite partial to your book sleeves, of course – there are a few in my photos on this post!)
Christmas pj shorts are often sort after. Also I’ve been doing a lot more of utilising the fabric scraps I create from clothes making. Book sleeves, wheat and lavender hot/cold packs, eye pillows and lavender bags have been particularly popular this year.
I think more than ever people are looking to shop small and/or local, which I love. Do you have a favourite Canberra/local business you’re shopping with this year that you want to give a shout out to?
Mostly shopping for myself(!) but I love the gorgeous ceramics and wreaths by The Seasonal Ceramicist and I can’t wait to buy a ceramic hanging bauble vase from Lucy Gemma Design (they are beautiful!!). Trove in Dickson always offers up something gorgeous too.
If you are looking for something for the garden, my clever sister Dimity runs Reid Tiny Farm. She has just released some CSA style seedling boxes for 2021 – the perfect gift that keeps on giving! (you can see my Christmas Q&A with Dimity here)
Finally, where can everyone find you to keep up to date with your gorgeous range?
You can find me on Instagram @milliemademakes (website coming in 2021!).
Thanks so much to Holly for joining me on the blog today, and – as I said above – for sharing her family’s divine gingerbread recipe!
Make sure you pop over to follow @milliemademakes on Instagram to keep up with the latest from Holly!