Over the past year or so I’ve been returning to being in touch with my creative side, and I’ve started hand making presents and gifts for people.
For example, at Christmas I made 40 pots of organic coconut and orange lipbalm, which have gone down a storm with male and female friends alike. Let’s be honest, soft lips surely get a thumbs up all round. It can also be used as a balm for cuticles, elbows, knees, feet, and just about anywhere you have got dry skin. Some of my male friends who go running say that it’s great for cold mornings and preventing chapping and chafing…ouch. This, dear readers, is why I’m no runner!
I used the recipe here (http://hiphome.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/all-natural-lip-balm.html); I bought all of the ingredients from Amazon, and bought my tins from Tinware Direct (http://tinwaredirect.com/p/109635/c/8375_8380/Stock-Tins/Mini-Tins/T0003-15ml.html). I had to buy 100 of them at 22p each, but now I have plenty of tins left over for next year’s batch!
I would recommend buying a cheap jug from somewhere like poundland, as the plastic one I used had to be thrown away. I know that the recipe says that you should use a double boiler on the hob, however I used the microwave. I put it on for 30-45 second intervals and stirred it regularly, and it came out fine. My last piece of advice is to pour it quickly but carefully – by the time I got to the last ten or so pots, the mixture was starting to set.
Homemade Peanut Butter Cookies…
I also made hundreds of peanut butter cookies. I had made them in the past to take to an engagement party, and also to someone’s leaving party. I bought curling ribbon and small cellophane bags (from where else but good old Amazon!) and stacked the cookies 5 to a bag with a homemade tag attached – I used brown parcel tags and a black Sharpie to make these. For Christmas I made about 15 bags full, and also decorated a couple of large metal biscuit tins for giving more cookies to families, rather than individuals.
The recipe is super easy and the cookies have a gorgeous texture. Give it a try for yourself…
45 g smooth peanut butter
50g butter, softened
50g caster sugar
45g light brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
100g plain flour
50g unsalted peanuts, chopped (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4.
2. In a mixing bowl, cream together the peanut butter, butter, caster sugar and light brown sugar for 4 minutes until well-blended.
3. Add in the beaten egg and mix for a further 2 minutes.
4. Add the flour, orange zest and baking powder, then mix in the peanuts.
5. Divide the mixture into 20 even-sized balls and place them onto a lined baking sheet, spacing them well apart. Press each ball lightly with a fork.
6. Bake for 25 minutes until set. Cool on a wire rack.
TIP: Use greaseproof paper and invest in an extra cooling rack…this will make several batches.
Homemade cards/framed prints…
I have also started making framed drawings for people – I have made one for a friends’ engagement announcement, one for a 5 year anniversary, and one as a post wedding Christmas gift. All of the people who I have given them to have been really pleased (I think?!) to receive such a personal gift). I bought the frames from IKEA (I think it’s called RIBBA or something like that), and the sketch book and other materials were from my local Hobbycraft. Side note: Hobbycraft is a dangerous place to go to on or around payday…a quick browse all too easily results in a fit-to-burst basket and a spend of upwards of £50.
Lastly, I have started making greetings cards (mainly engagement and birthday cards). I kind of resent spending money buying shop bought cards, unless I am caught short and haven’t left enough time to make one. They aren’t very personal, and really how can a piece of folded card with a generic picture, photograph or message printed on it cost upwards of £3? Plus, if you make a homemade card it kind of becomes a present in its own right. Here are a few examples:
That became a bit of an epic post…sorry! Let me know if you make any of the above (if you do, feel free to send me some pictures and I’ll include them in a future blog post).
DIY Bride x