We're at the time of year when everyone is in a hustle and bustle of the Holidays. For us the Farmers Market is filled with beautiful gift items and our market friends are all too happy to stop by and pick up that beautiful, one of a kind, hand crafted item to give their loved ones. There's an art to gift giving. Some folks like the idea of gift cards- quick & simple and they don't have to worry about the 'did they like it or not?' Others love the thrill of searching and finding just the right thing for that special person. Then there are those that take the time to actually create something unique for each individual... and all three are fine! I don't think there is any wrong way to give a gift, especially when it's given with love. We are all different and we need to do what fits our personalities... and those that love us will know that whatever the gift is, it was given with heart. I hope this post will help all of the above and you will find something that helps you in this typically crazy time of year.
Be sure to check out my blog at www.fordragonfliesandme.blogspot.com to see all the great photo's that go with this blog post! Enjoy friends!
Here are some easy to create as well as purchased gift ideas that are special and will last a life time... and won't get broke and tossed the day after Christmas...
In my previous blog (12/15) I wrote about creating one of a kind beautiful gift 'baskets', today I will touch on gifts that can be purchased, but more on the side of Hand Made with Love. Hope you can all find something useful here to help you through the next few days of trying to find that perfect gift!
*Go to the Farmers Market! Of course I have a very biased opinion here- I'm selling at the Farmers Market and I run one where I have lots of vendors who have great items that would make incredible gifts. If you want to find one of a kind, hand crafted baskets, bowls, water color paintings, quilts, jewelry, pen & pencil sets, photography, centerpieces, metal work, bird houses, rolling pins and ice cream scoops, we've even got gifts for your pets and coffee beans for the stockings... The Old Winery Farmers Market is the place to be. Check us out at www.theoldwinerymarket.com and like us on Facebook! You won't be disappointed!
*Give a Gift Certificate to a local Nursery in the gift recipients area. Tell them the certificate is to be used for a tree in honor of the family, the birth of a child, a house warming gift or any other reason you can think of. Arrange a day when you can all be together in the Spring to plant the tree and have a family bar-b-que.
*Homemade Potpourri: here are several recipes
What you will need: cellophane bag, ribbon, twisty tie, homemade tag.
"With Love..." Ingredients: Rosebuds for love, Chamomile for patience, lavender for devotion, marjoram for joy and rosemary for remembrance. Place 4 cups of mixture in bag, twist and secure with twisty tie, then put pretty ribbon around and attach gift tag, be sure to label the ingredients on the tag as listed above.
"Herbal Garden" Ingredients: 1 cup EACH: dried parsley, sage, thyme, mint- your choice of scent, cranberries, 2 cup dried rosemary, 10 medium size pine cones.
"For the Love of Lavender" Ingredients: 4 cups dried lavender blossoms, 1 cup EACH: dried ivory globe, blue salvia blossoms, rose petals, 3 Tbsp. orris root, amaranth blossoms, 4-6 drops lavender essential oil. Mix ingredients and store in a sealed container for 6 weeks before using or giving.
"My Rose Garden" Ingredients: 3 cups dried rose petals- mixed colors, 1 cup rose hips, 7-8 drops of rose essential oil, 12 ivory strawflower heads, 1 cup star anise. Mix all ingredients and store in an air tight container for 4 weeks before using or giving.
Sunflower Wreaths: If you saved your sunflower heads like Ryan and I did this Fall (see photo) you can make this easy and beautiful wreath to give your bird feeding loved ones & friends. This works best with Mammoth or Giant Grey Stripe heads. Heres how: Take the sunflower head and cut a hole our of the center- where the stem would have been- about 4" in diameter; Take some evergreen boughs and make a small bouquet; glue gun or wire it on the sunflower wreath; put a piece of raffia or twine so it can be hung.
Bird Suet Feeders: Another gift for your bird loving friends. You can make super cute suet cakes, here's how:
Ingredients: 1 part Peanut Butter, 2 parts bird seed, 5 parts cornmeal, 2 parts melted lard.
How to: Melt lard on low heat; add peanut butter, stir till melted in; remove from heat and immediately add remaining ingredients, stir with wooden spoon till evenly mixed. Line cupcake cups with paper liners; press mixture into cups and place in refrigerator until firm. Using a thin pencil, press through center to make a hole right through where a wire can be put through so it can be hung.Transfer to plastic bags and keep in freezer.
When you're ready to give as gifts, place in cellophane baggies and tie with ribbons. These make cute stocking stuffers.
Gift of Food: Most of us make jams, jellies, relishes or salsa's each year. Why not give a few as a gift. If you don't do this, again you can find these types of goodies at The Farmers Market as well! Hope to see you there!
If you are interested in making something now, that you can still get ingredients for here a few easy and yummy recipes.
These recipes were taken from Taproot Magazine, Issue 3:: Retreat www.taprootmag.com
Peppermint Ginger Pancake Syrup
1/2 cup fresh peppermint leaves, chopped
1/2 cup fresh ginger, chopped skin is fine
3 cups water
1/2 cup honey
In a large saucepan, combine the peppermint, ginger, and water. Bring to boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the volume has decreased to approximately 1 cup. this creates a strong, fragrant eat.
Strain the liquid and return it to the pot.
Add the sweetener, and heat gently until completely blended.
Store the syrup in a 1 pint jar in the refrigerator.
Lavender Infused Honey
5-6 cups fresh or dried lavender flowers, chopped
48 oz. Honey
1 drop lavender essential oil (optional)
Place the flowers in a soup pot. Put the honey over them, packing with a long handled wooden spoon to ensure that all the flowers are covered.
Allow this mixture to sit overnight, or even up to 3 nights, covered with a lid.
Place the pot on very low heat. When the honey turns to a liquid (just a few minutes), immediately strain into jars.
Press the herbs to release every bit of the honey, and compost eh herbs.
Add the essential oil, if using, and stir.
Cap the jars and sore them in a cabinet
I thought this was cute and wanted to share it here...
"How To Preserve Children"
Take one large grassy field
1/2 dozen or so children, all sizes
3 small dogs, and a few big ones- a cat is fine too!
one narrow strip of brook, pebbly if possible
several large trees for shade... and of course a tire swing on one
a large picnic basket filled with goodies
Mix the children with the dogs and cat, empty them into the field, stirring continually; sprinkle with field flowers, pour brook gently over pebbles, cover all with a deep blue sky and bake in a hot sunshine.
After done, place under tree, take turns swinging and have a yummy snack.
Enjoy them while they're little, for they won't be little long.
Pick up these ingredients at the Farmers Market all year long... we've got em' at The Old Winery!
Thyme Grilled Vegetable
16 baby potato– about 1 quart
1/2 c chicken broth
1/4 c Olive Oil
2 tbsp fresh Thyme, minced
1/2 tsp salt
3 large peppers, sliced– use different colors to make it pretty!
2 c sliced onions
In an un-greased 9x13 inch baking casserole, combine the potatoes, broth, oil, thyme & salt. Grill, covered over medium heat for about 25 minutes.
Stir in peppers & onions. Grill 25-30 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender.
Soft Boiled Eggs in a 'Green' Nest
1 Bunch of Chard, Kale or Spinach from Garden Gate, stems & ribs discarded
1 1/2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/4 tsp Red Pepper
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 Tbsp. fresh snipped Parsley
4 Eggs from Garden Gate
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Chop your greens into bite size pieces and toss in the oil and seasoning to coat evenly. Spread evenly in the bottom of a 10"x10" glass baking dish and bake for about 30-40 minutes, till crisp. Remove from oven and divide into 2 bowls and create a 'nest' with a hole in the center.
2. While greens are baking, bring a 2 quart pot of water to a rolling boil and gently lower eggs into water, turn off heat and cover. Let eggs sit in water for 6 1/2 minutes for soft boiled eggs.
3. Transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water and let sit for about 1/2 minute. Working carefully and quickly, peel eggs, and place in center of nests. Season with a bit of sea salt and serve immediately.