Category Archives: Homemade Gifts
This post is from the Poet’s Circle blog
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner!
It’s the perfect day to take the time to celebrate love in your life.
Single? I know you love yourself! So treat yourself…you deserve it of course.
In a couple? You may think that Valentine’s day is just another holiday and it’s not important and you don’t want to celebrate it. But make the effort, make it extra romantic and celebrate your love for each other. It may be tacky or whatever but if you make the effort to make it the most romantic day ever I am sure you will come home at the end of the night, knowing that next year you want to make it even bigger and better!
Keep your glass bottles and jars. Soak them in hot water to remove their labels. Use them over and over and over again
I have been making my own cards for the past few years. Cards bought at the card shops always seem so plain to me and so impersonal.
I make tons of different kinds of cards, using feathers and beads, glitter and origami…but lately I’ve been into a new card-making trend and this is what I’ll show you today.
Just like you saw at Christmas, I am taking my own photos and turning them into cards to send.
I have been using my absolute best photos, photoshopping them with a pretty quote which I find online and then putting the whole thing together.
To do this yourself…
-Open a photo on photoshop and edit the heck out of it until it looks like something you would want to but on a card. (I like playing with saturation, contrast and brightness)
-Now on photoshop, set the “offset” to 0.02 so that the photo turns a little faded and the words won’t get lost.
-Add a quote in your favourite font in a colour that compliments the photo.
-Now print it at a photo store or something like that.
Here are a few I’ve made:
This morning as I was boiling water to make a vanilla latte (the instant powdered kind, which I find quite delicious. Although, every time I make one for myself I have to mentally prepare because of all the freaking preservatives in that darn powder…but it’s just so good!) annnnnnnddddd THE POWER SHUT OFF!
This normally wouldn’t be a big deal but everything on my to-do list had to do with being on the computer and my computer battery is not one to brag about, if you know what I mean.
So what do I decide to do with my time? Have a shower instead? No. Read a book? No. Wash the dishes? No. I decide that the empty glass beer bottles in the recycle bin are too good to throw away. So I washed them, steamed off the labels and decorated them, thus turning them into some wicked awesome carafes d’eau (water jugs).
The French are keen on carafes d’eau which I love because if there is a carafe around and your glass runs out of water, you can just fill it up without having to either ask a server at a restaurant or walk to the kitchen at home. Brilliant, I know! I never really encountered the popluar usage of carafes before coming to France.
Anyways, if I am going to have a carafe, then why not make it awesome!
Basically, I measured the bottle and cut out a rectangle of a map that would fit around the bottle like a label.
Then I soaked the map into a mixture of half water, half glue. I took the map out of the mixture and scraped off (gently) all the excess and neatly placed it around the bottle.
Then I pressed the map down tediously to get out all the excess water between the bottle and the label and to get rid of any air. It kind of made the map a little more rustic.
Then it was a little boring, so I tied some yellow hay-type string around the neck which made it quite handsome.
Now I’m going to give it to someone…I don’t know who yet. Hopefully the person I give it to uses it.
Wouldn’t it be awesome to give these out at a dinner party except the map portion is a map of the city of where each guest lives?!
Until next time, everyone!
I have religiously sent out Christmas cards since I have been living on my own (around 4 years now). For the most part, I buy some of the cards I give out, and make some cards. I love making cards! I make birthday cards, thank you cards, mother’s day cards…cards, cards, cards!! I almost cried when I had to part with my crafting bin coming to France. It’s full of materials I’ve collected for 7 or 8 years to mainly make cards.
So this year I couldn’t resist but to hunt down some materials here in France to make my own Christmas cards again. I was struck with a brilliant idea (inspired by Monica) and I will share it here with you. I hope I am writing comprehensively because I am listening to music and usually when I listen to music and write, and the reread what I wrote, I can totally tell that I was listening to music, if you know what I mean.
Soooo, without further ado I present you with this years Christmas card craft.
For the 1st part you will need:
You will also need a big wall, a camera and yourself (and boyfriend if you have one, or whatever).
Now do this…
- Tape two large pieces of red wrapping paper to the wall.
- Cut out two green Christmas trees
- Tape them to the red paper
This will be the background for your photos.
Now take some awesome photos…
Add some text in a photo editing program…
And after you do that, you will need these things:
Blank red (or any colour) card stock (I bought the kind that already had a crease, ready to be turned into a card), smaller card stock to write the message on inside the card, envelopes, a glue stick (or double-sided tape) and the pictures I printed out.
I wanted to go traditional this year and so I chose traditional colours.
Now do this…
- Rub glue on the back of the picture and on the back of the smaller card stock.
- Paste the picture to the front of the card and paste the card stock inside the card.
- Place the cards underneath a heavy book to dry.
Et voila, your very own Christmas cards…don’t forget to send them out!
I made these last year for the first time and they were a huge hit. I cannot exactly remember why I made them but I ended up giving them away to some people at work and some friends. I met Max a couple of weeks after that and I had a crazy thought, “The next time I go over to his house (he was living with Bryan), I’m going to make him these chocolates and he is going to taste them and fall in love with me forever!” This was my exact thinking process.
Anyways, I made them and he fell in love with me.
You will need…
Begin by breaking 400 grams of white chocolate into a bowl, and then do the same with the milk chocolate…
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Not sure what a double boiler is? Well…I’ve demonstrated it here! You are no longer in the dark!
When the chocolate melts, add in 1 teaspoon of either cinnamon OR a spice blend, which is what I’m using. The spice blend contains cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, ground ginger, cardamom and some other spices but you can just use 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and a 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg.
Add the spices to each type of chocolate (1 teaspoon each)…
I never buy piping bags because they are expensive because food storage “baggies” do the same job most of the time…and when I’m working with chocolate I can use 4 or 5 at a time and they all go in the garbage afterwards. I wouldn’t have that same convenience with piping bags.
Place the bag in a large cup to make it easier to pour the chocolate in…
Then pour the chocolate in…
Cut a little hole in one of the corners to pipe the chocolate out…BUT NOT YET! First prepare the nuts so that you have something to pipe that chocolate on right away once that hole it cut.
Line the nuts out on two sheets of parchment paper (I placed around 60 nuts on each sheet). One sheet will be for the white chocolate and the other one for the milk chocolate…
Then begin piping out the chocolate. Again, one tray is for white chocolate and the other is for the milk chocolate.
Pipe just enough chocolate to cover the nut…
Once that is done, drizzle white chocolate over the milk chocolate and milk chocolate over the white chocolate…
Then sprinkle the white chocolate with the colourful sprinkles and the milk chocolate with the coconut.
Just a warning: You will need to work fast and get it done before the chocolate dries or else the toppings will not stick…
Place the chocolates in the fridge to set for 15-20 minutes.
Now let’s get those jars prepared! I’m giving you the full-package deal here today folks!
I began by tracing out a small circle on some bright pink card-stock…
This circle will be pasted on top of the jar lid.
Cut out the circle, along with a rectangle which will be the label…
Glue the circle to the top of the lid and place it upside down to dry…
Now write the name of the chocolate, or any message on the rectangle you cut out…
And glue this to the side of the jar.
A couple of side notes here: I boiled the jars to get their original label off of the side but there was still a glue mark visible. My solution was to glue this paper over the section of the jar with the glue mark.
2nd note is that I had to LIGHTLY tape down the sides of the label to let the glue set and then I took the tape off…the sides would have rolled if I hadn’t done that.
Now take some string, or I’m using a mustard coloured straw-type fabric (use whatever colour scheme you want!) and neatly place it at the bottom of the jar…
Place parchment paper inside the jar…
And then your chocolate! Tie a bow around the jar with that same straw or some string!
Thanks for reading.
Max and I decided to visit his parent’s in their city this past weekend. They live in the capital of the Champagne region called Reims (pronounced rense). I wanted two things: 1) To give them a gift and 2) To make it myself. I am not a huge D.I.Y. type of person but I do love making gifts for other people and if I can make them super mature, uber creative, and useful, than even better! (P.s. Most of my gifts include the usage of some food or drink)
After lots of debating what I should do, I decided to use two of the hundreds of jars I keep and put them to good use. I made infused vodka. This recipe is a great way to have flavoured alcohol without buying it directly from the store. Afterall, to infuse their alcohols, the companies just use some processed syrups. Not this recipe! It’s raw, it’s healthy, it’s yummy, it’s AWESOME!!
I made mint/lime vodka. Other flavours you could try are:
- Dill (for bloody marys)
- Or any interesting combination you can come up with!
Jars. I am using two medium-sized ones. You can use one large one, a hundred large ones, one small one, a thousand small ones. It’s up to you and the type of jars you have. There are no set quantities of ingredient when you are making this so just modify how much vodka you purchase and ingredients you purchase to match the quantity you want to make.
Begin by drying off the lime thoroughly. It’s important to have dry ingredients…
Now cut it in half…
And slice it. Just a note that I am putting half of the lime into each jar…
Dry your mint by patting it with a paper towel…
Now into the jar the ingredients go! First push the mint in there (I used 3 LARGE sprigs per jar)…
Then shove the lime inside (including the ends!)…
Pour in the vodka next! I left about an inch of space in the jar so it wouldn’t spill everywhere when they opened it. Remember that it’s harder to pour vodka out from a jar than from a bottle.
Dry the rim…
And screw on the lid the tightest you have ever screwed on a lid in your entire life!!!
Then take pretty pictures and admire your work! I assure you that this step is essential!
Ohhhhh how nice, a close up…
Do not drink the vodka for at least 3 days to let the flavours infuse. You will notice that the herbs begin to turn a brown colour after a few hours. Just wait and within a day the vodka will take on a yellow tinge and the herbs will look yummy again (no longer brown). It’s just what produce does!
Et Voila! Enjoy for yourself or give it away as a gift!