Happy 2015! Hope everyone had a joy-filled Christmas, ours was certainly filled with all the best things – family, friends, food, drink, late nights, fun and love.
While it’s too late to help with Christmas just past, I am going to share a couple of the presents I made. The year will be filled with present-giving opportunities, so you can save these for later 🙂
We had a $10 limit for the adults in our family, so it made sense to use your talents to make that amount go as far as you could. For some it was creating or cooking, for others it was seeking out bargains. It was all in good fun!
For the ladies I made candles, scented with Japanese Honeysuckle and Jasmine. I shared how we made lovely soy candles in a recent post. I found some gorgeous footed glass dishes at the Op Shop, enough for everyone!
And here they are wrapped:
I also included another small token gift with the candle.
And since I was making candles, I made some for the Christmas table. I pulled out my grandmother’s tea set, and was delighted to find that they would fit with our yellow theme. These are starfruit and citrus scented, and I have one burning now 🙂 Soy wax is very easy to clean up, so when these are finished they can be washed and won’t be damaged at all.
Our DIY Christmas crackers looked great on the table with the tea cup candles!
For the men I made flavoured grinder salts. Do a search for flavoured salt, and you will get many ideas, mostly using table salt. But I followed my friend Mimi’s lead and used coarse rock salt. I included a grinder with the salt collection. (I can’t link to her instructions as they are posted on a members only site – Simple Savings)
Following Mimi’s instructions, I spread the salt with the flavouring on some baking paper on a baking tray and put it in a low oven for a couple of hours to completely dry out. I had my oven on 100C, and stirred them regularly. If you are using previously dried whole spices, then this step is not necessary. Where I used liquid flavours, I mixed them in a small bowl with the salt until thoroughly combined before spreading them on the baking tray. About 1/4 cup of flavouring to 1 cup of salt is what Mimi recommended, but I went for more in most cases 🙂
I found the balsamic vinegar took a lot longer to dry out than all the other combinations.
I made 5 variations in total:
Red wine and chilli
Balsamic vinegar and black peppercorns
Lemongrass, garlic and shallot
I had to think outside the square with the chilli chocolate variation. Feeling that adding cocoa powder to the salt wouldn’t work terribly well as the powder would just fall out of the grinder, I wondered how to make it work. It must have been serendipity that had me making chocolate syrup while I had the salt in the oven! I needed to make it into a liquid! I mixed the cocoa powder with some water, and mixed the salt in with that before drying it out. This meant the salt crystals were coated in the chocolate, the same way the balsamic and red wine flavours were.
There are endless combinations of herbs, spices and other flavours you could use. I cut most of the lemongrass I had growing at home, and then got more from mum. I asked neighbours and friends for any suitable herbs they had in their gardens.
I forgot to take photos of the completed gifts before handing them out, but here are the ones that stayed in our house
So we had plenty of wonderful smells and flavours going on this Christmas, what are your favourites?
I’d love to hear about any gifts you made too!
* Linking up with:
A Tray of Bliss, Coombe Mill – Trash to Treasure, Julie’s Lifestyle – Cooking and Crafting With J&J My Pinterventures – Merry Monday, Claire Justine – Creative Mondays, Create With Joy – Inspire Me Monday, I Should be Mopping the Floor – Inspiration Monday, Pastels and Macarons – Creative Corner,