I hate to be the one to remind y’all of this… but Christmas really is coming.  It will be here before we know it, which is a scary thought.  I have been struggling to come up with some new ideas that will be fun for the recipient, and relatively easy for me to make.  Although I do succumb to shopping for some of the items on my list, I do try to make as many as I can.

With all that has been going on, I haven’t had time to create anything that takes a lot of time, energy or money.  So, I started searching through my craft library and cookbooks to see if anything shook loose.  I found a note I had written several years ago, that had a few items on it that I have wanted to try.  So, I did.  Now I want to share those ideas with you.  There may be someone on your list that would love it.


Here’s an Idea


I love to give gift baskets.  There is so much you can put in one that the options are endless.  This year, some lucky person will be the recipient of a Cookie Basket.   I will put in a bottle of Homemade Vanilla Extract and some flavored sugar.  To accompany those items, I will add some cookie recipes, cookie cutters and a few other related items.  What I love about this is that the vanilla and sugar took all of fifteen minutes or less to put together, and has been sitting on my counter aging.  All it will take now is to pour it into some fun jars, cap them off and put them in the basket. 




Choose Fun!


The whimsical nature of some jars just adds a bit of pizzazz to the basket.  Take a Saturday and head off to a flea market or junk shop.  You can find anything from old medicine bottles to creamers and quite a bit in between.  One thing I highly recommend – make absolutely sure they are true glass.  Some bottles of yesteryear were made with Mercury glass, or contain lead.  It wouldn’t do to give someone a gift that could make them seriously ill…or worse.  If you aren’t comfortable with vintage bottles and jars, visit your local craft store.  They have shelves of every size, shape and description, and most of them already have the cork or flip top you will need to seal them off.  Rose found some that have a dotted Swiss design on them. Another thought are the new ‘vintage’ half-pint canning jars. For the sugar, you can also purchase some of the new Ball shaker tops.  Add a bit of raffia or ribbon, and you have a great gift!




Here’s a Thought


Digging through Aunt Emily’s stuff, I came up with another idea that can be used for a male or female, young or old.  She had templates for plain old quilt squares.  You can use any size you want – from around 6” to 12” square.  Sew them together in rows (mine were 10” squares, with six rows of five squares), then sew the rows together.  Back them with a piece of flannel, fleece or a blanket.  Instant throw!  The best part for me was that it has cost me zero.  Zilch.  I managed to find enough coordinating fabric in my stash.  They are cute, and are nice and cuddly.  Want to do a basket?  Roll one up and tie it with a ribbon.  In it, put a jar of homemade hot chocolate or a box or two of flavored tea, a mug and a book you know they will enjoy.  Everyone needs a little down time, and that would be just a bit of lagniappe to go with the gift.

As time goes on, if I come up with any more ideas, I will be happy to share them.  In the meantime, visit me at the DIY page and see how I made the vanilla and the sugar!

Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.

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