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Homemade Christmas or Anytime Gift Ideas
Wed 16-Dec-09
10:49 am
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Ruthdigs
Devon

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I found the Kirsty programme seemed to spend an awful lot of time recapping and showing her wandering round shops, I didn't bother after the first episode.  Agree that her hand made and mine are very different both in concept and cost! 

Must admit my 'tree' this year is offcut branches, however they came from an overhanging sycamore at the end of my allotment that needed cutting back earlier in the year and I kept them from then for the purpose.  Not too bad: [Image Can Not Be Found]

I will post the truffle recipe, looks farily simple though I have to admit I haven't made them yet as they have fresh cream in so don't keep for a long time.  I'm going to do a trail run this weekend and then the actual product next tues as I have the day off for doing all my last xmassy bits.  Smile  The chilli chocolate I'm using if from Aldi, 99p for 125g of decent quality dark choc.  Not too warm, just nicely so.  This is a really nice hotter chilli chocolate.

For the last few years I've done my own cards, this year I'm making them with a simple detachable decoration made from paper/card on the front.  Bit different, lets me use up some of the masses of paper lying around my house, and hopefully gives your friends a little something to think of you each time they see it on the tree.

Wed 16-Dec-09
12:26 pm
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Toffeeapple
North Bucks

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Sorry Michelle! I do eat a few sprouts now and then, I just couldn't resist the urge.Smile

Ruth, your 'off-cuts' look very festive. 

Kirsty Allsop should stick to selling houses in my opinion.

I'll try that again!

Wed 16-Dec-09
1:30 pm
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Suky
Godalming, Surrey

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Ruthdigs said:

I found the Kirsty programme seemed to spend an awful lot of time recapping and showing her wandering round shops, I didn't bother after the first episode.  Agree that her hand made and mine are very different both in concept and cost! I


That's why I record it and then I can skim through at my leisure.  I did pick up a few ideas (see Boxing Day chutney) and it was interesting to see how some things are made professionally.  I loved the candle maker with all the wonderful print rollers making the fantastic detailed candles.  What vision to see those rollers for sale at the side of the road and see them as candles.Smile

I also saw it as a way for people to realise just what goes into handmade items.  I spent years making and selling wicker dolls house furniture and the comments from some people about the cost showed their lack of understanding of the hours and skill that go into hand made as opposed to homemade. 

Fri 18-Dec-09
5:09 pm
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Ruthdigs
Devon

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Truffles:

250g dark (or whatever you want) chocolate

250g dbl cream

100g light muscovado sugar

Melt choc.  Bring cream and sugar to boil, simmer for 1 min.  Remove from heat and let cool for 1 min, otherwise can split the chocolate.  Mix well together, should be smooth and glossy.  Cool then refrigerate for at least 2 hours until fully set.

Roll into small balls, do this quickly or the heat from your hands will start to melt the truffle.  Then cover as wished; dust in cocoa powder / caster sugar or cover in melted choc or cover in choc and roll in something lovely, vermicelli / nuts / coconut etc etc etc. 

Basically I'm going to use this recipe and try different chocolates etc.  Thought I may try a white choc one with candied lemon and lemon zest in, as well as the chilli ones etc, just need to see if I run out of time!  Laugh

Sat 19-Dec-09
6:57 pm
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Toffeeapple
North Bucks

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May I be your taste tester please?

I'll try that again!

Sat 19-Dec-09
10:32 pm
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dantom
Beckley , East Sussex

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I have to agree about dear old Kirsty!!!!! stick to selling houses and let us paupers live our simple life without feeling small and poor .

Myself and the tribe are awaiting the new year  and the arrival of three ex battery hens. Apart from the occcasional flirt with technology we are hoping to live this year as complete luddites.

Merry Christmas to you all and a cool Yule to our Wiccan friends xx

Mon 21-Dec-09
10:37 am
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KateUK
uk

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Kirsty was HILARIOUS.

Inspiration for her decorations from Liberty...absurdly impractical "home made" suggestions ( glass blowing, pears covered in gold leaf)...and as ever ( see her previous series) she makes a really hamfisted attempt at making something, then, like magic, two weeks later a box of perfectly made items arrives at her door "I left the ( insert craft item here) with ( insert name of craftsperson here) to finish it for me".

BUT having said that- the soap recipe was useful.

The programme is made for people who will never lift a finger to make anything but just love idea...the same people who buy all those flash cookery books and buy ready made from Marks and Sparks... its just handcraft porn for them and should not be taken seriously as anything other than hilarious (and, admittedly, slightly annoying) entertainment for those of us who actually DO handmake things.

Kateuk makes things at http://www.etsy.com/shop/finkstuff and sometimes she does this too http://www54paintings.blogspot.com/ and also this http://finkstuff.weebly.com/

Mon 21-Dec-09
1:28 pm
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SOL
UK

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You said PORN.   LMAO Am being completely stupid today. Ignore me

By shortbread and cookies went down an absolute storm today.  Hooray!

I have also made a few necklaces and earrings for a few peeps.  Namely family (female) members.  I am trying really hard this year to give everyone the hint that I wont be buying for anyone over the age of 21 next year.  I tried this last year and lots of peeps were very upset with me for even thinking of it.  but then moaned all through boxing day that they were broke...  Hello wake up call.  Credit cards are DEBT.  You guys all know that but my family need a bit of a shake every so often.

Anyways  I just want to say to everyone who frequents here

Happy Christmas, and I am wishing you all the most fabulous new year ever.  That means no blight for anyone!  Hooray

We are going to be busy bees over the next few days, we have had offers on our house already and the house hasnt even been featured on Rightmove.  so we are gearing up to move!  Hooray.  sorry to tell you this all, but I dont think its is going to be the FOREVER HOUSE of my dreams.  It will be a sensible one.   Plus I have to have the FOREVER HOUSE to aspire to dont I...?  Because if I get it, then what?  I will want something else?  Got to get on with what we can have right here, right now.  And you know what?  I am pretty happy with that idea.

Merry Christmas everyone!

 

I will raise my glass to all on the Day, with the Queens speech. 

Mon 21-Dec-09
3:19 pm
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Michelle from Oregon
Oregon, USA

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S.O.L., I'd like to second your motion.

I also want you all to know that I do consider you friends, and quote everyone frequently. My husband and Mom now know Fiona and Danny, Toffeeapple and S.O.L., Kate U.K. and Suky and Ruthdigs and eveyone else. We are at the point now that I don't have to preface my statements with "You know that blog I read a lot", they know I'm talking about you all.

Merry Christmas (or whatever your chosen holiday) to all of my online friends, and thank you all for your suggestions for this thread. Its great to see how helpful it is, and hopefully it will keep going, with suggestions for birthday, anniversary, or other holiday gift ideas.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

If you can't be a shining example, be a terrible warning!

Mon 21-Dec-09
4:13 pm
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shelley
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We stopped giving presents to adult relatives slowly; first my husbands nieces, who he never sees or hears from and their children, then this year his other nephew and niece that we see pretty regularly. It is a bit tricky as our kids are much younger than his brother and sisters; and I am sure he didnt give their kids good pressies when he was younger; however it has to be done!!

Mon 21-Dec-09
4:13 pm
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shelley
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We stopped giving presents to adult relatives slowly; first my husbands nieces, who he never sees or hears from and their children, then this year his other nephew and niece that we see pretty regularly. It is a bit tricky as our kids are much younger than his brother and sisters; and I am sure he didnt give their kids good pressies when he was younger; however it has to be done!!

Mon 21-Dec-09
10:13 pm
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Danny
Scarborough, England
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You guys are so great - extremely witty, acerbic (almost astringent at times!) and no-holds-barred honesty.Many loud belly laughs. Long may all that continue.

Now I find that I have to watch my Ps and Qs when i feel brave enough to post a comment on here Embarassed

You all have made it a hugely enjoyable place to hang out.

That was a sweet comment, Michelle. Fiona and I thank you all very much.

Shelley - I think you have the correct approach. Simply reduce giving presents to the older ones. I hate the commercial tyranny that Christmas has become. There are certain special people that I will always continue to try and find special presents for, but I have absolved myself of the obligation to keep the entire old list going. They will not miss my contribution anyhow.

Never knowingly underfed

Tue 22-Dec-09
2:03 am
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Betsy
San Juan Islands, Washington, USA

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Fri 18-Dec-09
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I'm delighted to have come across Ruthdigs' truffle recipe!  I have a couple more days alone at home before my husband arrives from the city with Christmas goodies... and I just happen to have some chocolate and cream in the pantry. Truffles and a good book for tonight!

It sounds like Kirsty must be the UK version of Martha Stewart.  I think the phrase "handcraft porn" just about sums it up.  Martha Stewart pretends to be the lady of the manor with nothing better to do than whip up insanely complicated handwoven-edible-birdseed-lavender-beeswax-table-decorations, while she's actually head of an entire corporate empire which bears her name. She probably spends her days in boardrooms and on her Blackberry.

I make soap to give as gifts, at least in years where I'm focused enough to get it all finished by late October (so it can cure for two months.)  I also give paintings, ornaments, painted furniture, tiles -- it varies hugely with my mood and our family's current state of chaos.

I have a question about the recipes on this site:  Does everyone in Europe have kitchen scales, with which to measure all your ingredients?  I do own one, which I generally use for mixing ceramic glaze recipes... but it's not a common kitchen tool in the U.S.  It's interesting to bump into this regional difference.

Happy Solstice to all!

Tue 22-Dec-09
4:49 am
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JoannaS
Latvia

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Yes most folks have kitchen scales in the UK anyway and another common tool that Americans don't tend to have is an electric kettle. I spent two years in Colorado and more or less the first thing we did was look for a kettle and as WalMart was the nearest shop that is where we looked, it was huge but only had a choice of two kettles – I was astounded.

I have not been organised at all this year, something to do with finishing off one course whilst starting another with exams and assignments to complete. I am really hoping the next two units are easier as I have at least finished the other course completely now and passed. I am still in the process of putting together an iPhoto book for parents of our past year and only got around to using Amazon for some books well after last posting dates. I have also requested two little Latvian outfits for two neices we see regularly and also to give someone a job. I am blessed that hubby's family which is much larger than mine does not give presents beyond 18 and since he is the youngest the principle was in place before we started.

Have a fabulous Christmas, however you like to celebrate it.

Tue 22-Dec-09
7:04 pm
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SOL
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If I am going to give presents next year I think I will make a list of all the things that went down well this year and then will elaborate on that. 

Has anyone here had any really fab homemade gift that they remember and how it was made?  I am all ears for ideas (oooohhhh that rhymed!).

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