I’ve battled over the last few years with present ideas for my friends and family, there’s always that nagging worry that I’m over-spending on something they may not like or need. Last year I think I managed around 30% handmade; a start, but it still left me poorer than I would have liked! So my goal this year was 100% handmade.
I set aside an afternoon of research and this is what caught my imagination. Some I didn’t get round to making for a lack of time and tools, but there’s always next year! I think they’d make nice gifts whatever the occasion so here’s a roundup of how I got on. See the list below for original tutorials or recipes. There’s a full roundup over on my Pinterest account.
- Chilli Jelly - This was probably my biggest success in the hamper of goodies. Nigella Lawson’s recipe is so good — I wouldn’t recommend altering or substituting ANYTHING in the recipe. I didn’t quite have the right ingredients for my first batch and the results were not good!
- Caramelised Red Onion Chutney - This recipe is from the Guardian online, takes a lot of onions and crying but is very tasty.
- Ginger Ale Syrup - This is such a fantastic idea and so quick and easy, courtesy of Vanessa at Nifty Thrifty Things. The syrup has a lovely warm kick and offers something a bit different in a hamper full of preserves. Tastes awesome with straight fizzy water or tonic water.
- Easy Strawberry Jam - Another great recipe from the BBC website. I used a mixture of raspberries and strawberries when I made this; never realised how straightforward jam making is — I’ll definitely be making more.
- Coconut Ice - I have lingering memories of coconut ice from my childhood living in Canada. This recipe from Two Little Dicky Birds is scrummy. I chose to use traditional pink and they came out so so pretty.
- Flavoured Coffee Syrup - From the very talented Elsie at A Beautiful Mess, this is another brilliant idea. Sugar syrup is so versatile if you have the imagination to turn it into something. I made the vanilla version and it literally didn’t take more than 15 minutes.
- Homemade Tea-bags - Another one from Elsie at A Beautiful Mess. I got together all the components to make these but found hand-stitching the coffee filters quite tricky; think a sewing machine will be on my list of purchases this year.
- Crocheted Bangles - This is a really pretty tutorial from Second Sister. I do really want to try this at some point, but I ran out of time for my Christmas hampers.
I managed to find some clear sweetie bags in a local cookery shop, along with lots of empty jars and sealed bottles for the syrups. There’s all manner of ways to present a hamper of gifts; in the end I went with red and white bakers twine, scalloped luggage tags and circles of pretty scrap material to top the jars. Did you manage any handmade pressies this year?