Thursday, January 26, 2012

Simple Giving Gift Ideas

This year for Christmas, I decided to give only handmade (or thrifted) items.  I did this mostly out of panic, at first, thinking I would be embarrassed with how modest our gifts would be because of our budget.  So I figured I could give more, and more meaningful, gifts if I could be creative.  Once I discovered how many fun and easy ideas there were out there for DIY gifts, I realized I could have fun along the way and personalize my gifts in a way I hadn't been able to in years past.

I wish that I would've taken more pictures of the gifts I made this year!  Somehow in the Christmas rush, I forgot all about pictures for later... I did find a few, which I'll share with you, and try my best to describe and link to any other sources that I used.


From Left:
  • Vanilla Coffee Syrup: A big hit this year! (and unbelievably easy!)  Check out the original recipe at A Beautiful Mess.  I used a combination of my own, reused bottles and cute oil and vinegar bottles from Dollar Tree that I covered with my own labels and brown paper.
  • Vanilla Almond Sugar Skin Scrub: A great scrub for winter skin after washing dishes, being outside, and for really any other reason!  I found the original recipe at RadMegan, and adapted it a little by adding both almond and vanilla extracts.  I also made a Pumpkin Pie version (with canola oil and pumpkin pie spice) for my sister.  It smelled so good that I had to gift a little to myself too!
  • My friend Kensey's homemade Peppermint Vanilla Skin Scrub: I'm guessing this could easily be made by adapting the above recipe with peppermint extract instead.
  • Apple Butter: This was the easiest apple butter recipe I have ever come across!  It is from Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook, a resource for tons of crockpot recipes in one book. The recipe calls for 7 cups applesauce (unsweetened) + 2-3 cups sugar (and then I just added as I tasted it, since I like it sweet!) + 2 tsp. cinnamon + 1 tsp. nutmeg + 1/4 tsp. allspice (or ginger if you don't have allspice).  Again, you can add the spices to taste.  Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker on high for 8-10 hours.  For the last hour, take the lid off and stir occasionally.  It will smell so good, so start in the morning and you'll have the whole day to let it cook and have your home smell amazing!  Ladle into jars and refrigerate. (Makes 2+ pints)

Peppermint Sugar Skin Scrub - Made by my friend Kensey

My own vanilla almond sugar skin scrub

Homemade Granola

Christmas may be past, but it's never too early to start planning for next year! Most of these would be great birthday, housewarming, and just because gifts.  Not only will they not break your budget, but your friends and family will feel the love each time they use/enjoy your handmade gifts!

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