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Is this really edible? Handmade Gifts by Yours Truly

Home bound today with a cold and sore throat, I thought I'd recap our holiday gift making bonanza that started up in mid-fall when I, inspired by my canning with a friend, decided to leap into canning for Christmas. In addition, an unfortunate slam by the down economy" made Scott and I realize we could save a lot by not hitting the mall or big box retailers and instead, show our love for friends and family with gifts made by our own little downsized but not downtrodden hands.

In addition to the pear chutney and the Spicy Red Pepper Jelly (which didn't jell, but became a nice sauce for pork and the like) my friend and I made, I canned Apple Butter and Sweet Potato Butter. If I chose this endeavor again, I would only do one at a time - not both. I quickly realized that I don't have enough counter space or stove burners for two recipes at once.

After hunting unsuccessfully for some cute retro-style canning labels, I took Scott's suggestion and used name badges. Funny man, that husband of mine.

For the dog lovers in our fold, I baked some very easy dog biscuits from scratch - cornmeal, whole wheat flour and chicken broth was all it took. Michaels sells little bone-shaped cookie cutters, so those worked perfectly. Once we have another dog, I will use this recipe and never buy expensive treats in the store.

Being the scone fanatic he is, Scott jumped at the chance to make six batches of World Famous Scones, some with dried cranberries and others with frozen blueberries. The ones with the frozen berries leaked a bit and got a little too moist on the baking pan, so I would advise using dried blueberries or fresh instead. Unfortunately, we were rushed getting packed for our DC/Baltimore trip that we left these scones in our freezer!

At least we looked cute making them, especially Scott.

The Clever Crafts

Ever thrifty (or cheap, or frugal, or economical...however you want to say "My wallet doth not overfloweth"), I took some of the glass votives I scored at Old Time Pottery (basically a warehouse of cheap floral, kitchen, and home wares items that time forgot) purchased for our wedding decor but never used, and Modge Podge-d the hell out of them with scrapbook paper. In my search for the right decoupage techniques, I discovered this blog - now SHE knows how to use the Modge Podge. Maybe one day I can be that industrious and cool.

I also found a wooden star at Michaels, painted it, and inscribed it for my mother Margaret, who is indeed the Queen of Christmas.

Her house can't accommodate one more precious holiday knick-knack or Baby Jesus. The Inn is too full, mmmkay? No Vacancy!

Finally, Scott and I sat down and hacked through fifty-plus wine corks we'd been saving for...I don't know what. Now I do - trivets and coasters!

Hot-glued on cork board squares, the corks make excellent hot pads - makes me thirsty just looking at them. The sad part is realizing practically all the corks were of the Charles Shaw variety...a.k.a. "Two Buck Chuck" from Trader Joes, hauled in by the case from the Atlanta stores, as Tennessee is ridiculous and doesn't allow wine in grocery stores. Yes, we're thirsty thrifters.

Looking back, I am so glad we decided to forgo the shopping insanity and make gifts this year. It was fun to see our friends and family open the gifts and see what we created. If they didn't like their presents, they were excellent actors at feigning appreciation.

Hope everyone has a most happy, healthy and tasty New Year!


  1. Beth's ma needs to see the recipe for the home made dog treats! how cool! We're lame and didn't do any homemade things... not even cards, which is terrible considering all the photos I take!

  2. Great gift ideas! I'll have to save that for next year.

  3. Happy New Year! Love the gifts! Very nice!

    If you are here, the USN couples massage is in the beginning of March. We are taking it again and bring pad and paper and making notes this time. BUT, if you are in the DC area, enjoy 2 buck chuck for me!


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