Homemade Gifts 2016

Happy New Year!


If you have followed EE during the holiday season, you know that homemade gifts are always on the table.   The adults on my side of the family banned store-bought gifts many years ago.  If we want to give gifts, they have to be homemade.



For my Brother-in-Law, I whipped up some pancake mix and boxed it up with some homemade lemon syrup and homemade grape syrup.

I arm-knitted (thanks Pinterest and YouTube) infinity scarfs for mom, my sister, and the nieces.


These were my last two attempts after knitting five. I think I finally got the hang of it.

As my library is overflowing with free books from Blogging for Books, I made some homemade beaded book markers and am rationalizing giving the Amaro book to my brother-in-law and the Victuals book to my mom.


Notice the whisk on the end of mom’s.

My sister is getting Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking because (a) I ordered one too many copies for the upcoming Cook the Books round, and (b) she visited the USSR when it still was the USSR.


Gifts of Victuals, Amaro, and Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking with beaded bookmarks.

And speaking of books, since 2011 I have made family cookbooks using the Tastebook site.   Alas, last year was the final year they allowed cookbook printing.   Although I found some pretty decent software here that allowed me to organize my recipes, I ended up using Microsoft Publisher to design my own.   The Hubs printed them at work and for a fraction of the cost of printing through Tastebook (like about a quarter of the cost), I got them spiral bound at Office Depot.


This year’s family cookbook.


The Hubs made lawn dice (pretty easy and fun).  It took part of a 4×4 cedar post, some sawing, routering, drilling, and staining but we definitely didn’t have $50 in this project.  (That’s what these are selling for.)   I also researched some games and included laminated copies of directions in the re-purposed coffee bean bag that we gifted them in.


Homemade lawn dice, laminated game instructions with markers to keep score and a 3′ rope loop for the game Snake Eyes.

He also made some cedar cacti planters.  I love these.  (We got our inspiration at Uncommon Goods for these as well and they were $44.  Again, we didn’t have near that much money in this project and we got to be creative with the decorating.)  He used 4×6 cedar posts for these and a big forstner bit for the pot holes.


Stenciled, stained, and stamped planters ready for cacti plantings.

Even the dog nephew, Gus, is not left out and I made some quick dog biscuits  for him to inhale.


Don’t you love this gift bag?

I used the recipe found here.  I made these last year as well and they were a hit with the dog-nephews on both sides of the family.

For our older nieces and nephew who live far away and whom we rarely see, I was tired of sending the obligatory gift card.  I saw this idea in Real Simple and decided to make my own “candy” boxes.


Homemade “candy” money boxes.

I used cupcake wrappers of various sizes and some colorful holiday twine to wrap up the money. (See the $5 package in the bottom left and the $20 package in the bottom right.   To the above-left of the twenty are five one dollar bills tied in scrolls.)  The stocking holds a Starbucks gift card.   I used candy kisses and some other chocolates along with some small holiday ornaments to fill in the holes.   I also used LOTS of double-stick tape because this was getting shipped across the country.


Yes, we did wait until the last minute on some of these gifts and because we usually celebrate the weekend after Christmas, we ended up having plenty of time.  (Almost….)

We love this tradition and every year we vow to start our preparations earlier.

I hope you had a wonderful holiday and Happy New Year!





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Eat, Pray, Love
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SantaLand Diaries
Me Talk Pretty One Day
Angela's Ashes
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
My Life in France
Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen: How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job, and Her Sanity to Master the Art of Living
Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise
A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table
Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table
The Liars' Club
Code Name Verity
The Paris Wife
The Shoemaker's Wife
The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo: A Novel
Brother of the More Famous Jack
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