I have recently developed an (possibly unnatural) obsession with putting things in jars! Notably mincemeat, chutney and flavoured vodka (OK, that was a bottle but it makes little difference). But I also love the idea of putting dry ingredients of different recipes in a jar and I came across loads when searching for homemade gift ideas. Just search for “gifts in a jar” for almost infinite ideas. Below are a selection of ideas I came across which I’ll be trying soon, but this is my idea:
(Pepparkakor is Swedish gingerbread and alliterates with popcorn)
You will need:
- 2 tsp icing sugar
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- Cellophane (or baking parchment)
- Gift ribbon
- Small jar
- 100g popcorn
- Fabric or paper (cut into a circle a few centimetres wider than the lid of the jar)
What to do:
- Mix together the icing sugar, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon.
- Make a small sachet with the cellophane, place the spice mix in and secure with the ribbon. To ensure the cellophane and ribbon are clean you can wash them by hand just as you would the dishes (although I have a feeling putting them in the dishwasher would not do them any good!).
- Weigh 100g of popcorn into the jar, place the sachet on top and place the lid on the jar.
- Tie the paper or fabric circle to the top of the jar with some more ribbon and attach a label with the following instructions:
1. Heat a teaspoon of oil in a saucepan with a lid.
2. Remove the cellophane sachet from the jar.
3. When the oil is hot, tip in the popcorn and place the lid on.
4. When the popping begins to slow remove from the heat.
5. When the popping has stopped completely transfer to a bowl.
6. Add the contents of the cellophane sachet and mix well.
Cowboy Cookie Mix in a Jar
Gingerbread Mix in a Jar (I’ve seen these in shops which have a gingerbread man cutter tied on with the label and I love the idea)
Hot Chocolate Mix in a Jar
Curried Lentil Soup in a Jar
Searching the internet for gift ideas I came across several suggestions to make books of favourite family recipes as a gift. But none of them had any suggestions about how to go about it. As it happens last year I made my mum a file of Christmas recipes cards, this is what I did:
You will need:
- An A5 ring binder (you could use A4 but A5 is a nice, convenient size for recipe cards)
- Favourite recipes
- Computer and printer
- A5 lamination pouches
- Standard 2-hole punch
- Single hole punch smaller than the 2-hole punch (desirable but not necessary)
What to do:
- Type out the recipes and design the page layout as desired (don’t forget to set the page to A5). I illustrated mine but if you are not so artistically inclined it is easy to find free, nice clip art online.
- Print and trim as necessary.
- If you have two sizes of punch, punch the paper with the 2-hole punch as you would for anything you were going to put in a ring binder. If you only have the one size, do not punch at this stage.
- Laminate the pages.
- If you have already punched holes, use the smaller punch to make holes in the plastic inside the existing holes (this means that there are no holes in the lamination and helps prevent the ink running should they get wet). If you only have one punch, punch as you would for anything you were going to put in a ring binder.
- Place the cards into the file. Add cover pages and file dividers as desired.
These paper rose rings are adorable and can be made from pages of old books or magazines! I bought two ring blanks for 99p, the paper was free and they look amazing!
The instructions suggest you need a quilling tool, I found it was quite easy to do this just by wrapping the paper around the end of a wooden kebab skewer.
In the winter months a little extra warmth is always welcome and I’m sure the recipient will be delighted with bits of my old jeans filled with rice!
You will need:
- Fabric of your choice
- Dressmaking pins
- Machine thread of your choice
- Sewing machine (or needle if you prefer to hand sew)
What to do:
- Iron fabric and cut two pieces 23cm x 13cm (this includes a 1.5cm seam allowance).
- Fold in half (so the fabric is almost square) with the right side inside and pin the edge opposite the fold.
- Stitch this edge and press the seam flat.
- Turn the right way out and press the 1.5cm seam allowance in on the two remaining raw edges.
- Top stitch one of the unclosed edges.
- Fill each bag with 90g of rice.
- Fold the open seam so it is now at a right angle to the bottom one (this is what makes it pyramid shaped).
- Tack just above the rice (to contain it while you are sewing the final seam.
- Top stitch.
- Put the bean bags into the microwave for 1 and a half minutes to make them warm. It is a good idea to do this a few times after you’ve made them as the rice releases moisture the first few times it is heated.
If desired you could make a label so the recipient knows what they are and how to use them (or you could use mine).
I fell in love with this tutorial for a ring of colourful little gnomes and within 24 hours of finding it I had completed my own Christmassy ring of little elves.
I made mine entirely with things I had in which was incredibly satisfying. I adapted it slightly according to what I had ( I didn’t have any pipe cleaners but I found a bit of jewellery wire but I think the pipe cleaner must make a firmer base. I also felted some beads, just because I happened to have some felting wool and didn’t have little wooden beads).
I also added blanket stitch, hair and tassels just because I felt like it, they are beautiful without it.