Author Topic: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts  (Read 8166 times)

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Isometric

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Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
« Reply #45 on: December 07, 2011, 04:55:06 PM »
I know you're not into the sweet stuff, but honeycomb is super easy and cheap to make, and looks great in cellophane with pretty ribbon.

What's honeycomb?  Sounds interesting.  I'm assuming it's not the stuff bees make?

Ohhh, you're missing out! It's so yummy! It's a honey flavored confectionary, made with bi carb, honey, water etc, ingredients you mostly already have in the pantry.  Basically you heat & mix it all together, it goes frothy, you put it on a tray, wait for it to set then smash it into chunks. It's great on it's own but even more wonderful dipped in chocolate.

I don't have my recipe with me, but here's one to give you an idea (haven't tried this one), there's a few different ways to make it though.

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/25583/homemade+honeycomb

Moray

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Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
« Reply #46 on: December 07, 2011, 05:00:14 PM »
I know you're not into the sweet stuff, but honeycomb is super easy and cheap to make, and looks great in cellophane with pretty ribbon.

What's honeycomb?  Sounds interesting.  I'm assuming it's not the stuff bees make?

Ohhh, you're missing out! It's so yummy! It's a honey flavored confectionary, made with bi carb, honey, water etc, ingredients you mostly already have in the pantry.  Basically you heat & mix it all together, it goes frothy, you put it on a tray, wait for it to set then smash it into chunks. It's great on it's own but even more wonderful dipped in chocolate.

I don't have my recipe with me, but here's one to give you an idea (haven't tried this one), there's a few different ways to make it though.

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/25583/homemade+honeycomb

That sounds fantastic!
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O'Dell

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Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
« Reply #47 on: December 07, 2011, 05:04:36 PM »
2. Coconut sugar scrub.  This is awesome!  I've been using it for about 2 weeks now, and it has kept my hands from getting dried out, cracked and peeling at the cuticles.  Mix 2 cups sugar into 1 cup of coconut oil (coconut oil can get expensive, but check walmart to get a jar of it for under $5) until the lumps of coconut oil are incorporated, then jar it up.  You can use repurposed jars, and if your little one eats baby food from the jar, the 6 oz sizes are perfect for this!  decorate the jar, and voila! 

This sounds awesome! But how do you use it?  ??? I have almost a gallon of coconut oil sitting in her bathroom and I would love to use it up for presents before it reaches its two-year expiration date in a year. Would warming the coconut oil up a bit to make it liquid and then letting it cool work?

Yeah. I use coconut oil for lots of skincare uses. It sometimes melts when it's warm and resolidifies and still works fine. Just scoop out a bit of the mixture and rub it into wet hands. Then rinse off with warm water and pat dry. You can use it on other parts of body and face. Other plant-based oils will work as well...olive, almond, etc.
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Tai

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Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
« Reply #48 on: December 07, 2011, 05:51:02 PM »
On the coconut oil sugar scrub- when you make it, you don't have to heat it up if you don't want to- it melts at like 77F.  I don't, I just use my hands to mush it all up together until its incorporated.  When I go to use it, I just scoop some out of the jar I have it in then rub in.  It is great stuff!

On the vanilla- I used New Amsterdam vodka and beans from Saffron.com.  Amazing!  Shake it once a day- mine lives in the same spot that the coffee lives in, so when I set up tomorrow's coffee, I give it a shake.  I started mine about 6 weeks ago, and its ready to use now if I wanted to, or it can keep on steeping if you want.


Xallanthia

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Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
« Reply #49 on: December 07, 2011, 06:03:44 PM »
Make truffles.  They are amazing and so easy.  There are a ton of recipes online, but the simplest one I've ever found is:

Take equal WEIGHTS dark chocolate and heavy cream (it helps to have a scale).  Break chocolate up into little bits (if you start with chips, that's fine).  Heat cream until it is warm, being careful not to burn.  Pour hot cream over chocolate and let stand 2-3 min.  Stir until smooth, then refridgerate until solid.  Use a melon baller or small spoon to scoop out little balls, and roll them in cocoa powder.  For a little more spice, roll them in cocoa powder with a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper.

These were a HUGE hit with my family last year.

Delia DeLyons

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Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
« Reply #50 on: December 07, 2011, 08:23:26 PM »
Love this thread!! Ive been agonizing over what to buy BFs mom, not knowing her very long... But making her a little basket of homemade goodies like these sounds perfect!! Particularly being consummables (I was dreading getting her something she wouldnt like/use and seeing it collecting dust everytime I come over, which is alot..) thank you all! 'Specially you OP, for starting thread :-)
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WhirlyBird

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Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
« Reply #51 on: December 07, 2011, 10:52:54 PM »
I make homemade caramels for the family every year. The first year I made them, I was hold I was never going to be able to stop. So that's what the extended family gets every year. Oh, and friends too.

I also like the idea of a consumable. I like the seasoned salt idea, because it's not sweet. Most people do sweets for the holidays, and that would be something different. If you're concerned about the size of the gift, use some of the seasoned salt to make some popcorn or pretzel treats with it, and give a little bag of it along with the salt. Then people know what they're getting as well.

If you want more, inexpensive and FABULOUS ideas, try pinterest.com. Lots of great ideas on there, many of which I have done myself. For this holiday season, I am making tile coasters for a bunch of people. All it takes is tiles (sixteen cents apiece), scrapbook paper, mod podge and a little felt for the bottom. And they are gorgeous!

I'm doing those too!  Just be careful, the paper doesn't like to lay nice!  I cheated and Xacto knifed the edges on mine so that I didn't have to center the paper...

You xacto'd the tile, or the paper?

 I made a couple of mock ups, and they turned out really well. Except that I am putting on a second later of paper with printed words on it, and it smeared a bit. So I think I need to use a different printer...

WhirlyBird

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Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
« Reply #52 on: December 07, 2011, 10:54:21 PM »
This is probably a bit late for this year but an idea I have heard of is to make your own vanilla essence using vanilla pods and vodka. I think it takes three months? You buy the vodka and pods in bulk and repackage them in smaller jars. If I ever locate some vanilla bean pods, I'm going to try it, apparently it's much better than the commercial stuff.

I am sure there are other places, but I know that you can get them mail order at www.penzeys.com (or at a store if you have one local to you).

I do that for my own vanilla, the big giant bottles. You can get extract grade vanilla beans on e-bay for about $15 for a quarter pound. Best deal ever!

amylouky

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Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
« Reply #53 on: December 08, 2011, 11:05:31 AM »
I've done the chocolate-dipped spoons before, they're really not hard, and they can look very pretty. What I did was, I got the red and green saran wrap, and wrapped the end of each spoon, tied with curling ribbon. I put 6 of them in a holiday coffee mug with a couple of single-serve packs of gourmet cocoa. I think they were received well. :)

I've also done the layered cookie mix in a mason jar, that was fun! I wrapped the tops of the mason jars in christmas fabric, tied with curly ribbon, and printed out the instructions on cardstock, punched a hole, and threaded it through the ribbon. They were inexpensive and cute, too. I think I paid more for the mason jars than anything else.

I'd definitely go with consumables. Even a plate of homemade cookies/candy/fudge is usually very appreciated.

Miss Misha

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Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
« Reply #54 on: December 08, 2011, 02:18:09 PM »
I thought of this thread yesterday when I took my gifts to my office team.  I made a variety of simple cookies and chocolates, wrapped them up and gave them out to all.  They were a big hit.  Lots of compliments and ooos and ahhhs, even though it was really not that fancy.

Amusing side note: Two team members had gotten up uber-early to catch their flight and arrived famished.  Since I had an extra box, I gave it to them to nosh on.  The one guy went, well, nuts over the spiced nuts.  He said I should package them and sell them.  Nice compliment, but hardly my chosen career path.

magicdomino

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Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
« Reply #55 on: December 08, 2011, 02:38:57 PM »
Last year I made homemade vanilla extract, using beans from here:  http://www.beanilla.com/
One batch, I added some orange and lemon zest to the vanilla.  That came out pretty good. Another batch used gold rum instead of vodka.  I still have some Bourbon vanilla beans left, and I'm tempted to soak those in Bourbon Whiskey.   :D  Bottles came from another supplier, whom I found via Google.

This year, the co-workers are getting hot chocolate mix:  http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/monster-hot-chocolate-mix-recipe  Since it's for Christmas, I'm leaving out the googly eyes.  Yesterday, I made both dark and milk chocolate versions, and oh-my-diety, are they good!

Bookgirl

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Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
« Reply #56 on: December 08, 2011, 06:06:44 PM »
I made these cookies last weekend and will be making them again next weekend as one of the cookies I'll be giving to people at work.  They were super yummy and she's right, they are really best warm.

http://scrambledhenfruit.blogspot.com/2010/11/caramel-stuffed-apple-cider-cookies.html
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Lady Snowdon

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Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
« Reply #57 on: December 08, 2011, 07:13:24 PM »
For my friends this year, I made a variety of infused vodkas.  The hardest was the chocolate vodka...there's two distinct stages to it, and it took a full 8 weeks to make!  However, the impressed comments I got more than made up for the time I spent!  I also did pepper vodka for my one friend who likes hot stuff, and lemon vodka for my other friend.  Both of those were well-received too! 

I'm making some soaps and candles to add into Christmas presents this year for family.  I usually try and do at least one homemade thing, and so far these aren't proving hard at all.  I'm trying to focus on colors and scents that a wide variety of people would like, so that nothing is too objectionable. 

Tai

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Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
« Reply #58 on: December 08, 2011, 09:54:49 PM »
I make homemade caramels for the family every year. The first year I made them, I was hold I was never going to be able to stop. So that's what the extended family gets every year. Oh, and friends too.

I also like the idea of a consumable. I like the seasoned salt idea, because it's not sweet. Most people do sweets for the holidays, and that would be something different. If you're concerned about the size of the gift, use some of the seasoned salt to make some popcorn or pretzel treats with it, and give a little bag of it along with the salt. Then people know what they're getting as well.

If you want more, inexpensive and FABULOUS ideas, try pinterest.com. Lots of great ideas on there, many of which I have done myself. For this holiday season, I am making tile coasters for a bunch of people. All it takes is tiles (sixteen cents apiece), scrapbook paper, mod podge and a little felt for the bottom. And they are gorgeous!

I'm doing those too!  Just be careful, the paper doesn't like to lay nice!  I cheated and Xacto knifed the edges on mine so that I didn't have to center the paper...

You xacto'd the tile, or the paper?

 I made a couple of mock ups, and they turned out really well. Except that I am putting on a second later of paper with printed words on it, and it smeared a bit. So I think I need to use a different printer...

The tiles.  Less bubbles and less likely to suffer the not so steady hands of mine...

Have you considered printing what you want directly onto the paper, maybe using a waterproof ink?  I bet there's a way to do that by just swapping out cartridges. 


Syfygeek

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Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
« Reply #59 on: December 09, 2011, 12:08:28 PM »
Skittles vodka: http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=102077.msg2522890#msg2522890

Thank you!  I was wondering what to get my DS (he's 23)- he's recently decided he likes vodka, and he loves Skittles!
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