Paul and I started Steens Honey nearly 40 years ago, and we're still just as passionate about our bees as we always were. I love using our deliciously raw, grainy honey to create recipes with ingredients fresh from our garden in Papamoa Hills.
I’ve been thinking a lot about gift giving and the important people in my life, it is the festive season after all. The concept of gifting takes us right back to our beginnings. It’s innate in us to want to give and giving means loads of different things. I really love to give gifts but there is a side I don’t like, when I have to rush the process.
When someone has touched my life in some way, I want to spend time pondering how I might best show them my appreciation, gratitude and how I value what they mean to me. The outside presentation is the beginning of the emotional journey when gifting I believe, so how I wrap things takes time, it is mindful for me and often very personalised.
I love to make bento bags for this very reason, I’ve lost count of how many I have. But there is a stack in the cupboard.
And always a pile of fabric with stories behind them.
This one I’ve made for the blog is cut from a piece of ‘mangle’ cloth that I purchased when on holiday from a beautiful store I stumbled upon when walking down Portobello Rd in London, it was love at first sight and brings back a wonderful time that was had in this vibrant, bustling city with its glorious green spaces.
I’m a country girl at heart but this city took me the moment I stepped into it. I was told they were often gifted to brides and it’s well over a hundred years old.
These beautiful linen cloths were used to wrap clothes before they went through the mangle to protect the lace, buttons and other delicate features and now over a hundred years later this wonderful piece of French linen gets another life.
A 'Mangle' - used to wring the water out of freshly washed garments.
They make outstanding bento bags that last forever and can carry a hearty weight…they make the perfect wrapping to repurpose into an endless shopping bag!
This wrapping is far more than just a piece of cloth made into a bag, it will be gifted to someone that I am grateful to, appreciate and value very much this Christmas.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
Fabric - I collect fabric whenever I find a piece that jumps out at me but any fabric will do, and I try to choose natural fibres rather than synthetic
A spool of your favourite thread - the colours don't have to match
Freshly cut garden sprigs
any other treasures you have collected for the person you are gifting to
1Cut a piece of cloth into a rectangle, approximately 76cm x 26cm / 29in x 11.4in.
(A delectable jar of Raw Steens Manuka Honey is always a good idea!).
2With right side of the fabric face up, take the top right hand corner and take to the bottom edge to form a right angle triangle.
Take the bottom left hand corner and do the same, only this time taking it to the top.
3Take the bottom right hand corner, lift it and carry it up to meet the other side.
There will be a point at the bottom.
4With a gentle half turn, a little bag will start to take shape.
5Pick up the two edges and pin together, turn bag over and do the same to the edges on the other side.
Machine stitch pined edges, turn the right way out, press the edges and you're DONE!
Happy sewing and happy gifting! 🧡
On another note:
What an incredibly surreal year each of us has travelled. From our little country at the bottom of the globe I can honestly say I have never felt so connected to the rest of the world.
There has been pain, loss and tragedy for so many. May each of us find some solace, peace and love this festive season more than ever 🌱💚
Paul and I and All our lovely Team at Steens Honey want to say a heartfelt thank you for your support and we wish you a very Healthy, Happy and Merry Christmas.