Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hand Made And Heart Felt......!

Over the last couple of years, I've gone back to making a lot of the gifts I give to friends and family.

Hand made gifts are usually very well received, because folks realize that you put a lot of time and thought into them. They can be much more personal than a "store bought" gift, and they are certainly easier on the pocket book.

During the past, many of the gifts were home made...sometimes out of necessity, sometimes just out of love. The challenge becomes how to come up with new ideas for the gifts. Food is always a good idea...and is often the most appreciated.

I want to share a couple of new hand made gift ideas with you that I picked up over at the Farmer's Almanac. These folks are always a good source of food gifts, and gift ideas from the past. I'm making these myself this year, and I think they will go over big!

Confetti Pickles

To make easy, all-purpose sweet and colorful pickles, drain the contents of the following, reserving the juices, which you can combine in one container: 1 small jar each of mixed sweet pickles, kumquats in syrup, red maraschino cherries, and sweet gherkins, and 1 can of pineapple chunks. Mix the solids thoroughly, and spoon into clean decorative jars. Add enough of the mixed juices to cover the contents of each jar, and seal. Although they can safely be left unrefrigerated for several hours or even overnight, attach a colorful label advising that these pickles be stored in the refrigerator.

Raspberry Vinegar

In a glass container, combine 1/4 cup of crushed raspberries with 1 quart of white distilled vinegar. Let sit overnight at room temperature. Strain through a fine sieve into a decorative bottle, and add several perfect whole raspberries. (Packaged frozen raspberries work fine and usually have plenty of whole as well as crushed berries.) Add a colorful tag recommending it to be used alone or combined with olive oil as a salad dressing.

Fiery Pepper Vinegar

Lace brightly colored hot peppers into decorative bottles. (If you have some that are too large to fit, quarter them lengthwise or cut them into strips.) To each bottle, add a few black peppercorns, a peeled garlic clove, and a small slice of fresh ginger root. Fill to the top with white vinegar. Seal the bottles, and store for at least a week in a dark place.

You know, in this day of big time consumerism, the act of making your gifts by hand and giving them with love...should be more important than ever!

During this holiday season, we remind ourselves that it is the giver who makes the gift precious.

“Not what we give, but what we share,
for the gift without the giver is bare.”

James Russell Lowell, 1819–91

C'mon, my friends, let's get some fresh coffee. We can sit outside until the rain starts, OK?


The cottage by the Cranelake said...

I´m not a big fan of vinegar, but the Confetti Pickles sounds delicious! I really have to try that!
Have a great day now!

HermitJim said...

Hey Christer...
I hope you try them and find them enjoyable! I always enjoy finding new recipes to try!

Thanks for coming by today!

Momlady said...

They all sound good! The raspberry vinegar is very refreshing in the summer when diluted some with water. Me...I'm giving meringues to a lot of people and some knit things to others. Kids don't appreciate that kind of thing, however, so store bought it had to be. Thanks for the coffee!

JoJo said...

Good Morning My Special One, Great post. This year I started to crochet. It started out making a lap blanket, then on to beanies for cancer patients who lost all their hair. Then went on to try my hand at scarves. We work with the local Fire Dept. with donations for adopt a family,and I have put about 10 sets and single beenies, lap bankets and other items as they are needed for many families these days. I have also made sets for all my grand daughters and hats for all the boys.
It is a good feeling to make these items and know that someone really needs them.
So folks if you can make anything and donate it to any drive it will be greatly loved.
And thank you My Special One for more great ideas.

HermitJim said...

Hey Momlady...
It's a shame that the younger generation doesn't appreciate the hand mades!

A lot of truth in the old saying "it's the thought that counts!"

Thanks for the visit!

Hey JoJo...
I think that's an excellent idea! I'm really proud of you for thinking of others, and for learning to make things that folks need!

I know they will be appreciated...a LOT!

Thanks, sweetie, for coming by!

Kyddryn said...

I try to make gifts as often as I can, Mister Hermit, sir, or to buy hand made items and support other artists/astisans.

You reminded me of one year when Mum and I made flavored oils for our friends and neighbors, with herbs we'd grown ourselves. The bottles sure looked pretty!

Shade and Sweetwater,
K (who may have to give that hot pepper vinegar a go one day)

HermitJim said...

Hey K...
I know that I, for one, really enjoy getting anything that's home made! If the reciever of the gifts cannot appreciate the gift...tht's their loss! The joy and happiness will always be to the giver...not to mention the blessings and good Karma!

Thank you so much for coming by today, my friend!

Catman said...

Thanks for the suggestions, Jim!

HermitJim said...

Hey Catman...
You are quite welcome, my friend!

Thanks for coming by today!

Rae said...

Great ideas and so original. I have to try the fiery peeper vinegar for myself. Thanks for sharing.

HermitJim said...

Hey Rae...
It does sound pretty good, doesn't it? You'll have to let me know how you like it!

Hey, thanks for coming by today!

xox-Missi Mi-xox said...

Hey Jim buddy ... long time no see .. thought it about time to drag me back from my time out and get warmed up for a new blog year

That Fiery Pepper Vinegar is definitely on my list of things to try ... makes my mouth water just reaing the recipe ...

Glad to see you are well .. catch you soon


HermitJim said...

Hey Missi...
Good to see you back, my friend! We've been missing ya...!

I hope you enjoyed your time away, but I'm glad you're back!

I sure do thank you for stopping by today!