Homemade Gifts; vanilla extract, terrariums and clay tags to name a few

Homemade gifts are what makes Christmas fun and memorable for me.  I have a few different gifts in mind for this year. None of them are expensive or elaborate.  Just some things I have read about this past year as I have surfed through a myriad of blogs and tweets.

The first homemade gift I am going to try to create is vanilla extract.  I read a post from Chef and Steward on making vanilla extract from scratch and I immediately added it to my Christmas gift making list.  Then the same week I saw an episode of Barefoot Contessa and she was making vanilla extract.  The cosmos collided and I knew this was a homemade gift I just needed to make.

This particular creation takes time to steep and mature…I have combined the ingredients; vanilla beans and vodka or rum, its your choice, into a  mason jar .  Actually I have a concoction of each steeping in the cupboard.  I hope I can pick up some vintage jars at the auction house tag sale this weekend that will make my homemade gift complete.

Also over the past year I have noticed in nearly every magazine I pickup and scan through there is a terrarium tucked into the decor.  I have collected several containers from tag sales and now I am ready to make a few of these adorable tiny gardens of my own.  I will make them over the next several days to make sure they remain healthy enough to give as gifts.  I certainly don’t want to give someone a dead plant for Christmas.  If that’s the case I may as well give them a fruit cake…

I have also been smitten by the crafters who are making clay tags.  There are a couple of crafting bloggers who are touting the ease of using air dry clay to make handmade inspirational tags.  I plan on giving this a try…think I will use them as gift tags or maybe even make them in sets to be used as Christmas tree decorations.  I also love the simplicity of a clay tag tied around a simple mason jar filled with a fresh bunch of flowers.

I have gathered the supplies for the terrariums and the clay tags…now it’s time to  jump in and enjoy making my homemade Christmas gifts.  I will post pictures and updates as the projects take shape.

Wishing you and yours a very joyful Chirstmas season!

20 Comments

Filed under Christmas Traditions, plain and simple, postaweek2011

20 responses to “Homemade Gifts; vanilla extract, terrariums and clay tags to name a few

  1. Great ideas, Jeanne.

    Another to consider . . . PEACE rocks. Rivers rocks with one word stenciled on them for people to use as paper weights ~ DREAM, HOPE, PEACE, LOVE, JOY, etc.

    I never made vanilla extract but I made Kahlua following the same technique ~ vodka, coffee, vanilla bean, sugar syrup. The hardest part was waiting for the Kahlua to develop.

  2. One of the simplest gifts I ever received when we first moved here was some homemade lavender bags to put in my drawers to keep moths away. I am going to unpick them and replace the lavender this year. Such a simple gift and so practical!

  3. I can’t wait to see the pictures!

  4. Such great ideas and the terrarium has my wheels turning . . . We used to roast peppers and place in nice jars with garlic and oil. Great post–would like to try the vanilla too. Thanks much!

  5. Thank you. I do want to give the vanilla a try. Now to find the perfect bottle/container.

  6. These are wonderful ideas that you are sharing. One year I made Russian Tea (AKA Friendship Tea) or hot chocolate, put them in pint size canning jars with a pretty label and directions and included a small jar of local honey to all my tea drinking family members and included an apron, or potholders or dishtowels that I made.

  7. Love all of these gift ideas, especially the terrariums! I haven’t made one in a long time, but they’re like magical little fairy gardens!

  8. You are going to be busy lady… All lovely gifts. I saw some gorgeous terrariums at a museum last year; an artist have created several in beautiful and creative ways in large glass containers. 🙂

  9. Really great ideas! definitely better than knitting..to me (i’ve tried learning :-/)

  10. Jeanne, you have inspired me. You gifts sound divine.

  11. I certainly don’t want to give someone a dead plant for Christmas. If that’s the case I may as well give them a fruit cake… LOVE IT!! Hmmm.. terrariums…just may try to make some of those!

    Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment for me. Looking forward to reading more of your posts! Hope you’ll come back to visit often!

    • Check out your local thrift stores or garage sales for large glass containers…the wider the better. My first attempt was with some old planters peanut jars…cute idea but hard to work in.

  12. Great ideas…wonder if I still have a burnt thumb or if I could make the vanilla extract which sounds suscipiously like something else!

  13. These are great ideas! I would like to do some of these for the holidays this year!

  14. I enjoy both making and receiving home made gifts – they show that the person has spend time in creating something special to give.

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