Author Topic: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!  (Read 23124 times)

swick

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Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« on: January 15, 2017, 12:03:02 PM »
The Challenge:  Make some or all the Christmas gifts for your loved ones.
The BONUS Challenge: Move your family to a Homemade/non-consumer Christmas as much as possible.


Lots if ideas and inspiration in previous challenges here:

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/homemade-christmas-2013/

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/homemade-christmas-2014-edition!!/

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/homemade-christmas-2015-edition!!/

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/homemade-christmas-2016/

Starting the thread pretty early this year is we want to tackle some more mindset shifts in extended family as well as incorporate more things that can be made in the spring/summer so starting to plan early is key!

Want to join me?

EDIT: Idea Board:

I have created a "secret" Pinterest board that we can share ideas on called "MMM Homemade Christmas!" I have kept it secret because it may not be something that you want showing up in your regular feed. If you want to join so you can see/add to it, please PM me the email that you use for your Pinterest account. It is currently empty, waiting for your contributions! Updated with all the links I could find from previous years. Lots of ideas for kids and edibles and other cool crafty-ness

EDIT: MINI MONTHLY CHALLENGES!!

There has been some interest in doing some mini challenges to keep us motivated and on track throughout the months.  I'll update this OP with the monthly themes and you can chose to participate or not in any of them as you like.

January - Inspired by Chippewa: Create your gift list and a list of projects with a TIMELINE attached
This will be especially important for those bigger projects and projects such as infused liquors, soaps and others that need a longer lead time or ingredients that can only be harvested at specific times of the year. Please share your project list and timelines so we can inspire each other!
« Last Edit: January 21, 2017, 10:35:51 AM by swick »

Chippewa

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2017, 12:11:58 PM »
I'm in! I actually have been thinking this quite a bit and want to make a spreadsheet about what projects to work on. If I start now then hopefully I can do pretty good by holiday.

tortoiseshell

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2017, 12:17:21 PM »
I'm in! I knit a fair portion of my gifts as it is, but I'd love to make some other things, AND finish everything on time. *glares at the pile of 2016 knitting left to do*

Cherry Lane

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2017, 12:18:44 PM »
Checking in for 2017!

One year I grew luffa, then made lots of things with the resulting fruits for Christmas gifts:  exfoliating soap, wash mitts, scrubbies, etc.  In my mid-Atlantic climate, the growing season wasn't quite long enough for fully mature luffa, but it would be good for someone a little warmer.  Get those seeds started early!


swick

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2017, 12:21:00 PM »
Love the spreadsheet idea!

Wonder if it would be worth it to create some very mini-challenges each month or a specific area to tackle/look at/plan each month.  So something along the lines of:

January - Create a projects spreadsheet and gift list
February - Look at Present packaging (less waste, reusable gift bags, etc)
March - Examine traditions what to keep what to reevaluate (Specific things might include advent calendars, Christmas crackers etc)
Apri....

If anyone is interested in looking at it from that way, I can noodle some ideas around.

Chippewa

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2017, 12:24:33 PM »
Well I love plans that would help forward my movement. I would be up for it.

swick

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2017, 12:35:15 PM »
Well I love plans that would help forward my movement. I would be up for it.

Cool, any ideas for mini-challenges/areas to consider?

Freckles

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2017, 01:09:10 PM »
I did not do much for Homemade Christmas 2016 because I started quite late. But the two things I did do were quite well-received, and very easy, so I recommend them.  This recipe in a little jar with a tea infuser and cute mug that would appeal to the recipient:  http://www.thekitchn.com/the-5-spices-you-need-for-homemade-chai-200440 and this recipe in a 8 oz. mason jar:  https://smittenkitchen.com/2011/12/peppermint-hot-fudge-sauce/ Homemade vanilla ice cream might have made a nice addition, but also a hard-to-package one!

This year, I'd like to start earlier for sure but I'll probably focus on food stuffs since that's what I do best.

frooglepoodle

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2017, 01:51:13 PM »
I didn't get as much done for homemade Christmas this past year as I would have liked, but I am going to start earlier this year. I suggested that the adults on my side of the family draw names next year and the idea was well received, so hopefully we go forward with that!
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sonjak

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2017, 02:50:43 PM »
I'm in for some of my gifts.  One of my goals for this year was to focus on homemade and keeping overall budget to $20/person for gifts (not counting shipping).  Been toying with making vanilla extract after an herbal tincture I made turned out well.  Whew.  You all have inspired me and I will get the vanilla started in Feb. 

I do not have a lot of the crafty skills that some folks here do (OMG, Cherry Lane, your pics from last year wow me) but I can embroider well and am doing wall-hangings for my nieces for their birthdays based on their loves.  Will continue to watch this post (and read the others) for more ideas.

Thanks for starting this thread.  Super fun!

SeaKayEl

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2017, 03:57:56 PM »
I am in!  I have never done this before, but I love the idea. 

I can make some killer homemade peanut butter cups...besides this, I will have to read through the old threads and look on Etsy and Pinterest.


frugalfelicia

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2017, 04:38:07 PM »
I'm in. Thinking about...

*food....baked goods, ingredients in a fancy jar to make soup...
*knitting scarves, slippers...need to learn to knit first!

marion10

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2017, 04:38:54 PM »
Posting to follow. My nuts were popular- egg nog varied. Some people just don't like it.

1967mama

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2017, 05:57:57 PM »
I'm in for 2017 too! Such great ideas here!

G-dog

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2017, 06:03:35 PM »
Has anyone collected all the recipes, patterns,etc. in one place?  If someone did it, could we get it pinned somewhere?

pachnik

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2017, 06:06:34 PM »
I didn't do anything homemade for Christmas 2016.  I give few gifts - cash for my niece and nephew because they are teenagers and then we take my parents out for dinner in January as their Christmas present. 

One side of my family celebrates Orthodox Christmas which is January 7.  My cousin usually does home-made gifts which are really great.  I reciprocate by buying chocolates for the kids and bringing wine as a hostess gift.  I think for 2017 I will do some candied nuts in cute jars for my cousins and my aunt.  Chocolates for the kids still though.  :)

tortoiseshell

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2017, 06:07:10 PM »
*knitting scarves, slippers...need to learn to knit first!

I found the videos at http://knittinghelp.com to be immensely helpful when I was learning to knit. Once you feel comfortable, Ravelry is a great place to find patterns.

sparkytheop

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2017, 10:59:11 PM »
My family has pretty much converted to either homemade gifts or no gifts (and either is fine, some years we give, some years we don't, depends on time, other demands, illnesses, etc).

I made two potholders after Christmas this year.  I bought a couple yards of insulbrite with a 60% off coupon, added terry cloth on one side, so seeing how they work.  If they are good with the heat then I'm set-- I like their thickness, but haven't used them yet (cook a lot, but haven't thought about using the new ones when I'm doing it).  I received a pan handle pot holder as an "extra" in a fabric postcard swap, and really like it, so will probably make everyone at least one of those (everyone in our family cooks).

I'm also going to hand quilt a queen size quilt for the parents.  My sister and sister-in-law are both helping make blocks for the top, but not sure if they will be able to help with the quilting, since one doesn't hand quilt and the other lives too far away.  If we can get the top completed this spring or early summer, I should have enough time to get it finished.

Not sure yet what I'll do for my son.  We'll see if he goes away for school in the fall or spends one more year at home.

GreenSheep

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2017, 09:35:50 AM »
2016 was a success (thanks to several ideas from this forum), so I'm going to do it again in 2017! Fortunately, a lot of what I gave were consumables, so I can just make them again! Melt and pour soap, chocolate-covered graham crackers, roasted almonds, soup mix in a jar, tea mixes. All were well received.

The chocolate-graham crackers were probably the best, mostly because my mom (who is a really good cook, so this should not be foreign to her) kept asking me how I made them, like there was some kind of magic to it. Um, buy graham crackers and chocolate chips. Melt chocolate chips. Dip. Cool. Package.

The soap was also great because I now have plenty of leftovers for myself, which means I don't have to buy any for a long time or maybe ever, if I continue to make more.

As for packaging, I got ribbon 70% off at Michael's, and while I was standing in line, I used their free Wifi to download a 50% off coupon for the little bags I was buying.

Travelling Biologist

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2017, 11:19:23 AM »
Posting for motivation. I failed miserably last year, but am undeterred. Well, I actually gave my husband a painting I made some creative but not made by me gifts based on my photographs, but I think I can do better. I loved everyone's ideas from the 2016 post. I think I just need to start much earlier, and build practice and confidence in my newbie sewing skills.

1967mama

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2017, 11:53:29 AM »
One of the semi-homemade gifts I gave was a huge hit with my sister and her family! I put an iTunes card in a small canning jar for each of them and filled it with Christmas candy (the cheapest ones I could find) bought in bulk. It was cute because at first her 11 and 13 year olds were like "oh fancy ... cool" and THEN one of them spotted the iTunes card tucked into each jar. I was pleased with this as a gift and would do again.

westtoeast

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2017, 02:32:06 PM »
LITERALLY just mentioned wanting to do this to SO this morning. Thanks for making the thread!

I'm considering making calendars with a series of paintings, and also looking for other ideas that don't require too much technical ability, haha! 

mustachepungoeshere

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2017, 02:59:18 PM »
Love the spreadsheet idea!

Wonder if it would be worth it to create some very mini-challenges each month or a specific area to tackle/look at/plan each month.  So something along the lines of:

January - Create a projects spreadsheet and gift list
February - Look at Present packaging (less waste, reusable gift bags, etc)
March - Examine traditions what to keep what to reevaluate (Specific things might include advent calendars, Christmas crackers etc)
Apri....

If anyone is interested in looking at it from that way, I can noodle some ideas around.

Oh I'm already winning at this one. I found my Christmas gift tags in January. After not being able to them at, you know, Christmas.

I always save proper ribbons when I receive them, so haven't bought ribbon in years.

hunniebun

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2017, 03:06:45 PM »
I am interested in this and thankfully we have shifted to a no-gift-giving-for-adults rule. But I still have a fair amount of children to buy for (6 in total under the age of 8...youngest 3)).  I'd love to hear some ideas for homemade gifts that might fly for kids. I am so tired of buying shite at toys r us.  This year, I gave candy and money because I just didn't have the time/creativity on my side.  I don't love giving money because (as horrible as it is to say about some family members...I think the parents often keep it for themselves).    I haven't read through all the past forums, but the ideas generally seems tailored to adult gift giving...so if any one has any great ideas I am all ears!

Looking forward to seeing the ideas flow!

GreenSheep

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2017, 03:54:30 PM »
I'd love some ideas for men that don't involve sewing/knitting or meat. My fiance, dad, and brother have everything, buy whatever they want (which isn't much), and are generally impossible to shop for. And they're not really into all the soap, tea, chocolate, etc. that works so well for my mom.

Freckles

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #25 on: January 16, 2017, 04:23:04 PM »
GreenSheep, men are difficult to get gifts for, in general. Would they enjoy limoncello or some other homemade liquor?

HappierAtHome

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #26 on: January 16, 2017, 05:18:31 PM »
I'm tentatively in. Not sure how much will be achievable given I'll have a bub halfway through the year, but I'm keen to crochet some simple tree ornaments earlier in the year and then make consumables later on if I can...

And I definitely want to follow everyone's ideas and successes :-) this is always one of my favourite threads!

Freckles

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #27 on: January 16, 2017, 06:23:12 PM »
Actually, if you're prepared for gift making, you might have a better than usual chance at getting gifts made. Baby will make you busier than ever before, sure, but not in a running around kind of way, and not in the first few months especially. In those early days, especially if you are breastfeeding, you spend a lot of time sitting around with an infant on you. Once you get nursing down, you could probably crochet with baby snuggled up to you. They also sleep a lot at first. 18 months old? Forget it.  But 3months old? Lots of time to make stuff.

sonjak

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #28 on: January 16, 2017, 07:19:56 PM »
I'd love some ideas for men that don't involve sewing/knitting or meat. My fiance, dad, and brother have everything, buy whatever they want (which isn't much), and are generally impossible to shop for. And they're not really into all the soap, tea, chocolate, etc. that works so well for my mom.
Is all food out or just chocolate?  Applesauce?  Caramel corn?  Brownies or chocolate chip cookies?  Banana bread?  Or if you cook and they live close, could you make a real meal for them?   (All of the guys I know like food of some kind.)

Massage for fiance?

How old is your brother?  What kind of stuff does he like?

GreenSheep

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #29 on: January 16, 2017, 08:43:49 PM »
I'd love some ideas for men that don't involve sewing/knitting or meat. My fiance, dad, and brother have everything, buy whatever they want (which isn't much), and are generally impossible to shop for. And they're not really into all the soap, tea, chocolate, etc. that works so well for my mom.
Is all food out or just chocolate?  Applesauce?  Caramel corn?  Brownies or chocolate chip cookies?  Banana bread?  Or if you cook and they live close, could you make a real meal for them?   (All of the guys I know like food of some kind.)

Massage for fiance?

How old is your brother?  What kind of stuff does he like?

That's a good point; other food would be fine. It's just that my mom is always cooking for both of them, so homemade goodies and meals are a daily thing for them. (Brother doesn't live at home anymore but is 10 minutes away, whereas I am across the country.) They are also both ridiculously picky. I'll have to try to come up with some new and different food!

Hmm... in thinking about what my brother's into, it occurred to me that he recently bought a house which he is fixing up himself. So really what I should do is offer my services to help paint a room, put in a tile floor, etc. -- assuming those projects are still under way a year from now. That would actually be kinda fun! His frugal girlfriend bought some chairs at a thrift shop, sanded off the horrible old paint, and repainted them as his Christmas present. She's a keeper!

Sorry to derail the thread... just thought others might find it harder to come up with gifts for the men in their lives, too!
« Last Edit: January 16, 2017, 09:04:16 PM by GreenSheep »

swick

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #30 on: January 16, 2017, 09:16:14 PM »
Sorry to derail the thread... just thought others might find it harder to come up with gifts for the men in their lives, too!

Not a derail, this is something that is pondered and discussed every year as we all seem to a man or two in  our lives who we find it difficult to figure something out for. If you want to make some fancy pants liquor for your bro and have access to a walnut tree, you could make Nocino http://homestead-honey.com/2015/06/17/homemade-black-walnut-liqueur-recipe/ We did a bunch for Christmas a couple of years ago, went over really well! You do have to start in June though, when the walnuts are still green. They are still a pain to cut (I crushed them with crab crackers. And they will stain everything they touch. I had brown stained hands for about a month.

I haven't read through all the past forums, but the ideas generally seems tailored to adult gift giving...so if any one has any great ideas I am all ears!

Looking forward to seeing the ideas flow!

Lots of ideas in the 2016 thread, play food, felt books, capes and other wearables!  Also experience gifts are always good too if they live close by and you can do something with them.


SeaKayEl

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #31 on: January 16, 2017, 10:10:47 PM »
I think I want to make a paracord collar and/or leash for my little sister's dogs.

Does anyone have any experience with paracord?  I have none, but have watched a few how-to videos and it seems doable.

Also, for those of you trying to find a gift to make for a male a paracord bracelet, keychain, rifle sling, etc. could be an option.

frooglepoodle

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #32 on: January 17, 2017, 06:49:16 AM »
Paracord is pretty straightforward to work with! I haven't ever done much with it but it is fairly smooth and knots easily.

Ideas for kids:
Recycled crayons: http://www.makeandtakes.com/recycled-chunky-crayons
Pajama pants
Personalized anything
Superhero capes
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A-train

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #33 on: January 17, 2017, 07:47:15 PM »
I really like this idea. My wife and I tried to do a few home-made gifts last x-mas, but mostly we did not start preparing in time to cover a significant portion of our gift-giving. We'll work on that this year for sure.

I'd like to give away some of our homemade hard cider, or mead (honey wine) next x-mas. The basic recipes for these are surprisingly easy to follow. The mead takes a long time to age to a drinkable condition and good honey from which to prepare it can be expensive. However, it seems a very novel gift!

swick

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #34 on: January 21, 2017, 09:03:21 AM »

I'd like to give away some of our homemade hard cider, or mead (honey wine) next x-mas. The basic recipes for these are surprisingly easy to follow. The mead takes a long time to age to a drinkable condition and good honey from which to prepare it can be expensive. However, it seems a very novel gift!

Welcome to the forums! Mead is an awesome gift! My sister usually has a batch going - and I know I'm going to get some, so I don't do it myself :) She's done a reg mead, a spiced mead and a huckleberry.  She did hand illustrated labels and always looks super duper fancy. You can't really buy commercial Mead here, so if you can find it it is upwards of 75 bucks for an ice wine-sized bottle. 

Jan mini-challenge:
I've added a gifts spreadsheet to out budget and listed out Birthdays as well as Christmas gifts. Still working on gift ideas and this is probably going to be ongoing.

I have created a "secret" Pinterest board that we can share ideas on called "MMM Homemade Christmas!" I have kept it secret because it may not be something that you want showing up in your regular feed. If you want to join so you can see/add to it, please PM me the email that you use for your Pinterest account. It is currently empty, waiting for your contributions and updated with all the links I could find from previous years. Lots of ideas for kids and edibles and other cool crafty-ness
« Last Edit: January 21, 2017, 10:37:27 AM by swick »

sonjak

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #35 on: January 21, 2017, 10:46:27 AM »
I bought the vanilla beans and vodka this week and started my vanilla!  Have been shaking it in the morning and at night and it already looks pretty lovely.  Need to start working more on my embroidery projects today!

swick

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #36 on: January 21, 2017, 11:08:52 AM »
I bought the vanilla beans and vodka this week and started my vanilla!  Have been shaking it in the morning and at night and it already looks pretty lovely.  Need to start working more on my embroidery projects today!

Wat to go getting an early start!

Going through all the old threads reminded me of a few ideas I wanted to do but didn't have the time for in previous years so my list is coming along.

Does anyone have any ideas for homemade gifts that can be made with a Dehydrator or Pressure Canner? Really want to do as much as we can with these pieces of equipment this year. So far on my list is dog and cat treats in the dehydrator.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #37 on: January 21, 2017, 04:10:33 PM »
Apple rings in the dehydrater would be good! In a jar with ribbon around it :-)

sonjak

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #38 on: January 21, 2017, 04:26:51 PM »
I bought the vanilla beans and vodka this week and started my vanilla!  Have been shaking it in the morning and at night and it already looks pretty lovely.  Need to start working more on my embroidery projects today!

Wat to go getting an early start!

Going through all the old threads reminded me of a few ideas I wanted to do but didn't have the time for in previous years so my list is coming along.

Does anyone have any ideas for homemade gifts that can be made with a Dehydrator or Pressure Canner? Really want to do as much as we can with these pieces of equipment this year. So far on my list is dog and cat treats in the dehydrator.
Thanks!  :)  Wouldn't have done it in time without this thread!

Re. dehydrator: I agree with the dried apples suggestion and also would add pears, if you can get them for a decent price.  I absolutely adore dried pears and would love them as a gift.  My sister also dries pineapple when it's on sale at the grocery store.

GreenSheep

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #39 on: January 21, 2017, 05:32:19 PM »
I bought the vanilla beans and vodka this week and started my vanilla!  Have been shaking it in the morning and at night and it already looks pretty lovely.  Need to start working more on my embroidery projects today!

Wat to go getting an early start!

Going through all the old threads reminded me of a few ideas I wanted to do but didn't have the time for in previous years so my list is coming along.

Does anyone have any ideas for homemade gifts that can be made with a Dehydrator or Pressure Canner? Really want to do as much as we can with these pieces of equipment this year. So far on my list is dog and cat treats in the dehydrator.
Thanks!  :)  Wouldn't have done it in time without this thread!

Re. dehydrator: I agree with the dried apples suggestion and also would add pears, if you can get them for a decent price.  I absolutely adore dried pears and would love them as a gift.  My sister also dries pineapple when it's on sale at the grocery store.

All of these are great. You can dehydrate just about any fruit and make it into a nice gift. I usually add some cinnamon to my apples.

Dehydrated raspberries are a pain to make (have to stand each one upright, hole facing down) but look gorgeous in a jar because they keep their shape. They're worth the effort for a gift. If you have some that turn out looking not so pretty, you can crush them into a powder. Then they make a nice bright (and delicious!) addition to the tops of cakes instead of powdered sugar.

I've also done dehydrated cranberries (if I remember correctly, you have to boil them first because of the thick skin), which are nice and seasonal and can be added to muffins, granola bars, etc. throughout the year. Oh, and mangoes (get the ataulfo ones -- the smaller, yellower, sweeter, less stringy ones) with chia seeds sprinkled on top for a sweet and crunchy treat. Candied ginger would also probably be easy and well-received for the holidays, but I haven't made it myself.

G-dog

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #40 on: January 21, 2017, 05:48:20 PM »
You can make jerky in the dehydrator for carnivores (good gift for guys).

Fruit leathers? Tomatoes. Could make up a veggie soup mix from dehydrated veggies.

Wasabi peas? I've bought these before, they might be dehydrated - but it's hard to tell.

Herbs - if you have a garden you can get massive amounts of herbs to dry down. Including mint (for tea). You can dry at peak season.

Well Respected Man

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #41 on: January 21, 2017, 06:26:20 PM »
In. Last year I made chocolate truffles, beef jerky (good for men), jardiniere (good for men), and apple butter. I also gave gift certificates for ski lessons, day of household repairs, and homemade granola.

A decorations section would be good. A few ideas: white pine clippings wired onto a coat hanger with thin green wire makes a nice wreath. Pine cones glued on with a glue gun are good. Save greeting cards, and use the front part for gift labelling. If anyone is taking a ceramics class, ornaments are easy to make. Of course, there is the age-old popcorn and cranberries garland. As a kid, I used to make ornaments with pins and beads stuck into styrofoam balls.

What I need help with is the overspending on the holiday meals. We did non-traditional meals last year, and I spent a fortune on ingredients for a 20-course tapas extravaganza for 11 people. I'd like to slash that spending considerably, while still maintaining the feeling of extravagance for the holidays. Dishes where the preparation can be spread out over days or weeks are especially appreciated, because we were cooking for about four days straight last year.

sparkytheop

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #42 on: January 21, 2017, 07:20:54 PM »
Apple butter, tomato/pizza sauce, relish (green tomato relish is really good), are great things to make in the pressure canner.  If you use it though, please follow an "official" recipe (from something like Ball or the Extension Office) and all the instructions.  I've taken canning classes, and my dad has as well, so I feel safe eating anything we can, but I have a sister who wouldn't follow a recipe and thought she was "canning like gramma" (she wasn't).  I'm a little afraid to eat anything she cans...  The PNW has a lot of botulism in the soil, so it's a pretty legitimate concern.

Not sure what all you plan to do for dog/cat treats with the dehydrator, but my dog just loved dried sweet potatoes.  I wonder if pumpkin would dehydrate well?  She would have loved that, if I had thought of it, too.

sparkytheop

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #43 on: January 21, 2017, 07:23:21 PM »
I found an idea to make my pot holders even better...  We all love my mom's peanut butter bon bons she makes every Christmas.  I need to have her hand write the recipe for me again (I can't find my copy! :( )  I'll get some fabric made with her writing and the recipe (from Spoonflower), and make potholders for everyone with that.  Just need to come up with a similar short recipe from my dad, then everyone would have a set.


swick

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #44 on: January 21, 2017, 08:03:54 PM »
What I need help with is the overspending on the holiday meals. We did non-traditional meals last year, and I spent a fortune on ingredients for a 20-course tapas extravaganza for 11 people. I'd like to slash that spending considerably, while still maintaining the feeling of extravagance for the holidays. Dishes where the preparation can be spread out over days or weeks are especially appreciated, because we were cooking for about four days straight last year.


Do Italian-ish next year? We do a charcuterie/antipasti Christmas Eve buffet. Lots of different cheeses/meats, crackers, pickles, chutneys, salsas, roasted olives, dips, sundried tomato, roasted peppers,  bruschetta, baked brie, palmiers, mini quiches, chicken wings. You don't need too much of each of the expensive stuff (By a variety of the smallest pieces of cheese you can) but it looks like a ton once everything is laid out. Play with display using different dishes and heights on the table.

The great thing about this is most of the stuff can be prepared earlier, a lot of it can be done in the summer if you are canning your own stuff.  Then chose only 1 or 2 more labor intensive hot appys and you are ready to go!


Not sure what all you plan to do for dog/cat treats with the dehydrator, but my dog just loved dried sweet potatoes.  I wonder if pumpkin would dehydrate well?  She would have loved that, if I had thought of it, too.

Most of the time we do Sweet potato, but I was also thinking liver for the pups and tuna for the cats.


I've also done dehydrated cranberries (if I remember correctly, you have to boil them first because of the thick skin), which are nice and seasonal and can be added to muffins, granola bars, etc. throughout the year. Oh, and mangoes (get the ataulfo ones -- the smaller, yellower, sweeter, less stringy ones) with chia seeds sprinkled on top for a sweet and crunchy treat. Candied ginger would also probably be easy and well-received for the holidays, but I haven't made it myself.

Love the idea of the Cranberries! It's hard to find ones here that don't have a ton of sugar in them. I also plan on doing a ton of plums.

I LOVE everyone's dehydrating/canning ideas, THANKS!!

1967mama

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #45 on: January 21, 2017, 11:10:09 PM »
I never thought of dehydrated food in a jar as a gift! Awesome idea! I just did a whole bag of clearance apples for us last week. They were fantastic!

PMG

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #46 on: January 22, 2017, 07:27:39 AM »
I'm in.  No grand plans yet.

Well Respected Man

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #47 on: January 22, 2017, 07:42:28 AM »
What I need help with is the overspending on the holiday meals. We did non-traditional meals last year, and I spent a fortune on ingredients for a 20-course tapas extravaganza for 11 people. I'd like to slash that spending considerably, while still maintaining the feeling of extravagance for the holidays. Dishes where the preparation can be spread out over days or weeks are especially appreciated, because we were cooking for about four days straight last year.


Do Italian-ish next year? We do a charcuterie/antipasti Christmas Eve buffet. Lots of different cheeses/meats, crackers, pickles, chutneys, salsas, roasted olives, dips, sundried tomato, roasted peppers,  bruschetta, baked brie, palmiers, mini quiches, chicken wings. You don't need too much of each of the expensive stuff (By a variety of the smallest pieces of cheese you can) but it looks like a ton once everything is laid out. Play with display using different dishes and heights on the table.

The great thing about this is most of the stuff can be prepared earlier, a lot of it can be done in the summer if you are canning your own stuff.  Then chose only 1 or 2 more labor intensive hot appys and you are ready to go!

We did do that for another holiday meal the day before the tapas feast! I made 2 lasagnas, freezing one for later, homemade gnocchi gratin, and also had the charcuterie/antipasto. Oh, and a delicious cheesecake made with ricotta as well as cream cheese. I do like the challenge of making new fancy dishes for feasts, and so for this year, I'll cut down on the number of dishes, as well as choose dishes that use less expensive ingredients.

Shieldmaiden

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #48 on: January 22, 2017, 03:46:53 PM »
Replying to follow. Also did this late last year, and am still working on a few gifts for friends who live out of state. Hmm, will need to make up a gift timeline though...

Mtngrl

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Re: Homemade Christmas - 2017 Edition!
« Reply #49 on: January 22, 2017, 05:10:41 PM »
I'm in. I only have one thing on my list so far -- desk 'emergency' kits for a couple of people. I saw a link somewhere to buy them for like $30 and I remember thinking -- I could make those!