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Homemade Gift Ideas - Food and Crafts
By Cheryl Sandberg

Well, every time we turn around, another gift-giving occasion is here! And yes, it's here again! And of course we run frantically around looking for good gift ideas. I don't know about you, but my friends and family run out of ideas on what they want. They always love something homemade from the heart, and I do love doing it!

Cheryl SandbergThe tradition in our family is to have my kids help.  Many hot glue gun burns later, and we are still doing it! I'd like to give you this "Homemade" fantasy picture of our kids sitting around a table being nice to each other and working cooperatively. A calm mother looks on with glee, while Mozart is playing in the background (you know, to help the mind expand!) 

In our family, it's really not that way! It's chaotic and crazy, and we are blasting "The Chipmunks" because DARNIT that's what I used to listen to when I was a kid! We eat popcorn and get messy and have a great time. They love getting down and dirty. Homemade gifts are the way to go. The kids love giving things to the neighbors!

We have come up with so many ideas. Food, crafts, you name it, we've had the idea!

We've linked this year's favorite homemade gift ideas right here for you. We feel your pain when you make them with us. Enjoy!

Homemade Gift Ideas Food and Crafts

Food and Crafts - Scroll to see all of the ideas!

Homemade Gift Ideas - Food/Candy - Chocolate Spoon Flavored with Amaretto with Decorations

Chocolate Dipped 
SpoonMelt Guittard molding chocolate in 30-second intervals to avoid scorching. If desired, add Amaretto or other flavoring to enhance.

Fill squeeze bottle with your favorite chocolate. Use squeeze bottle to fill the spoon mold just to the edge. Place a mocha spoon handle into the middle of the chocolate and turn to coat it.

While still wet, add icing layon and Nonpareils.

Place in freezer for 15 minutes.

Place finished mocha spoon in the spoon bag and tie bows, using wired ribbon for best results.

Homemade Gift Ideas - Food/Candy - Molded Truffles

Wedding Favors 

TrufflesFill the entire cavity of the truffle mold with the chocolate of your choice: white milk or dark molding chocolate. (In order for the truffles to be shiny and beautiful, it is best to use the chocolate expressly for molding. It has the ability to harden and become beautiful and shiny.) Let the chocolate sit inside the mold at room temperature (not in the refrigerator or freezer) for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes is up, dump the chocolate out of the mold and remove the excess chocolate, leaving a firm shell of chocolate. Place this shell of chocolate into the freezer for 15 minutes. Fill the cavity with truffle ganache. Backfill the bottom of the truffle with extra chocolate to cover the bottom of the ganache, and place the entire creation back in the freezer for another 15 minutes. Remove the molded truffle from the freezer and drizzle with white or other contrasting chocolate, or add an icing layon. Place truffles in a single box, a triple truffle box, or a clear oval box that holds 4 truffles.

Homemade Gift Ideas - Food/Candy - Long Stem Chocolate Rose

Rose Chocolate Mold For the white chocolate (purple) rose: Melt Guittard white chocolate in 30-second intervals. After the chocolate is melted, add a few drops of the candy coloring to change the color slightly. You are going for a pastel color, not a dark color. Too much coloring will affect the taste. I also added some raspberry flavored oil to make a purple raspberry vanilla chocolate rose! Use this chocolate rose mold.

Use wired ribbon to decorate.

Homemade Gift Ideas - Food/Candy - EASY Chocolate/Caramel Dipped Pretzel Recipe

Chocolate Dipped PretzelMelt 1/2 pound of bulk caramel in microwave in 30-second intervals. To avoid scorching, stir at each interval to distribute heat.

Melt 1/2 pound of molding chocolate in the same way. Dip the pretzel into the caramel and use the dipping tool to make sure the entire pretzel is covered, or only cover part of it for an artistic look. Let cool for 2 minutes.

Dip the caramel coated pretzel into the chocolate, and coat the same way you did with the caramel.

Place on waxed paper and place in refrigerator to cool for a nice shiny appearance.

While the chocolate is wet, add confetti candy to the top for a dash of color.

Homemade Gift Ideas - Food/Candy - Chocolate Dipped Strawberries, Decorated.

Dipped StrawberryMelt Guittard chocolate in 30-second intervals to prevent scorching the chocolate. Grab a fresh strawberry by its stem. Only buy A+ quality strawberries for these; it WILL make a huge difference! Dip the strawberry into the chocolate, rotating from side to side to make a V-shape of chocolate around the strawberry. Lay on waxed paper. Immediately move to the refrigerator to get the shiny chocolaty look. Drizzle with a different color chocolate using the painter bottle. You can use white chocolate, or add some color by adding the candy food coloring. It looks extra special with pink! Be careful not to use regular food coloring with chocolate; the water in the coloring you buy at the grocery store will ruin the chocolate!

For variety try:

Dipping half the strawberry in white and half in dark chocolate.

Dipping the front in white chocolate then dipping the sides in milk chocolate to make a tuxedo

While the chocolate is still wet, add Nonpareils, candy sprinkles, nuts, coconut, granola and much more!

Remember, these will look the best on the day they are made. Strawberries only last 1-2 days after being dipped. Depending on size, it takes about 1 ounce of chocolate to cover one strawberry.

Homemade Gift Ideas - Crafts - Making Your Own Gift Baskets
by Cheryl

Making your own gift baskets is easy and economical.

Buy numerous items on clearance racks, dollar sales, etc. Keep them stored where you can easily get to them when a gift is needed. The time after the holidays is a great time to find deals for items for the following year's gifts. There are several different things you can use as your "basket" to hold all the goodies: wicker baskets, large plastic bowls, large decorator platters, decorated bags, etc. I have used large plastic containers in a red or green color. After the gifts are all removed it serves as a popcorn bowl, fruit bowl, mixing bowl, etc. I have used wicker baskets which can double as a small trash can or a planter. Plates or platters will have another use afterwards. The list can be endless.

Here are some ideas of items I have put in my Christmas baskets: hot chocolate mix packets, candies, coffee mugs, embroidered fingertip towels, calendars (full size and pocket), decorative and scented candles, flavored coffees, flavored coffee creamers, ornaments for the tree, coloring books and crayons (when the family has smaller children), bubble bath, flavored crackers, mints, potpourri, decorative nick knacks, coasters, pot-holders, dishtowels, dishcloths, incense, decorative containers for cooking oil or dish-soap, decorative soaps, ink pens, pencils, gifts in a jar items, note pads - the list goes on and on. Useful everyday items can be great fillers.

Bags to put the gift basket in are another item that you can get a good deal on after the holidays. Christmas seems to be the best after holiday sales for this item. They can also be found at some of the dollar stores. There are decorated ones and plain ones, and some that shrink to fit with a little heat from a blow dryer. Simply tie them closed with a pretty ribbon (which can be found on those holiday clearance racks, too).

A laundry basket filled with measuring cups, spoons, can opener, spatulas, wooden spoons, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, plastic zipper bags, dishcloths, dishtowels, maybe a duplicate of a particular item you have found indispensable in your home, etc. And then there's the baby.... a diaper bag filled with powder, lotions, baby wipes, disposable diapers, rattles, bottles, etc.

You decide how much you want to spend on a basket. If you collect items all through the year, it is much easier on your wallet come time to make up the gift.

Homemade Gift Ideas - Crafts -Making Handmade Candle Melts from Home
by Stephanie Davies

Recycling old candles serves the purpose of using old candle wax instead of throwing it out. At the same time you are scenting your home with delightful fragrances.

Old used candles
Two old stove pans, one larger than the other
A candy thermometer
A mold for your melts - this can be a metal mini-muffin pan, thick plastic ice cube tray, or any other small metal seamless container that won't leak.
A fire extinguisher (NEVER make candles without having a fire extinguisher handy in case of accidents!!)
A few drops of the fragrance oil of your choice

Add your chunks of used wax to the smaller pot. Be sure to remove the wick, and remove all foreign objects. Next, fill the larger pot about 1/4 full with water, and place it on the stove. Set the smaller pot inside the larger pot to form a double boiler. IMPORTANT: Never, ever, heat wax directly on the stove - always use the double boiler method as wax can reach flash points very rapidly. 

Turn your stove onto medium heat, and allow the water to heat up and melt the wax bits inside the smaller pan. This process takes about 15 minutes or so. During the time it is melting, stir the wax frequently and continue to check the temperature of the wax, which should never go higher than 180 degrees. Once the wax is entirely melted, add a few drops of essential or fragrance oil of your choice to the melted wax and stir it well. Make sure you only use essential oils or fragrance oils (fragrance oils that are made especially for candle making). Potpourri oils, lamp ring oils and other products are not suitable for use in candle products. 

As soon as you have mixed in the fragrance or essential oils, immediately pour the melted wax into your molds. You can use just about any type of metal mold as long as it is seamless and doesn't leak, however mini-muffin pans are ideal! Make sure that the mold is small enough so that the finished product will fit inside of a potpourri warmer.

After pouring your wax, allow the melts to cool completely which takes up to 12 hours. You can speed this process up by placing the melts in the freezer for about 30 minutes after they have hardened a bit at room temperature. Once they are completely cooled, remove them from the molds by turning the mold upside down and tapping on it. And there you have your finished candle melts which you can use at any time! 

Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas - Crafts - Homemade Christmas Reindeer T-Shirts

Paint the bottom the child's foot brown and have them step on the
middle of the t-shirt.

Wipe foot clean with baby wipes.

Paint each hand tan (or any color you wish) and press them onto the
T-shirt above the footprint to make antlers.

Use fabric glue to attach wiggle eyes and a red or black pom pom nose.

Use fabric paint pens to write the child's name on the shirt.

Homemade Gift Ideas - Crafts - "Crazy Crayons" By Stephanie

Get all of your old broken crayons from the couch cushions and out from under the bed, and don't forget about the car!

Take a metal muffin type tin and dust with baby powder, then arrange crayons "standing on ends" till the tin is full, but not taller than the sides. The crayons do not have to be the same color.

Bake at 400 degrees for 2 minutes. That should be enough time to for them to melt together. Then let cool. Pop them out and you can color the world all at once!

These make great stocking stuffers and party favors.

Recycling is fun! Can you dig it???

Homemade Gift Ideas - Crafts - Unique Glass Christmas Ornaments Ideas Made by Children
by Michell Custom Bracelets

Supplies: Round Glass RED ornaments
Black, orange and green sharpie fine point markers
White paint

Directions: Have your little ones place one hand in the white paint. Cover the whole palm of hand. Then, with your help, have them place their hand under the ornament. Have them wrap their fingers around towards the top, so their small fingers are what you see on the sides. Gently press each finger and thumb to make sure the white prints are good. Remove hand carefully. Hang ornament to dry. After the white paint is dry, take the black sharpie and turn the 5 finger prints into snowmen! Each finger print makes the shape of the 3 parts of a snowman. Place black hats, eyes, smile, and buttons on the
snowmen. Use orange marker for carrot nose and green for scarf! On the bottom, place name and age for future reference!

Homemade Gift Ideas - Crafts - Angel Sachets  By Elaine

Supplies List:
White Lace
Gold Ribbon
Gold Metallic Pipe Cleaners
Potpourri
Small Glue Gun, Small Glue Stick
Permanent Ink Fabric Pen

Directions:
Cut 12" round from white lace. Place a small amount of potpourri in center. Cut 2' gold ribbon. Raise lace up and tie ribbon just below the potpourri to form a ball at center of lace which is the Angel's head. The tied ribbon is her neck and the remaining lace is her gown. Continue with ribbon by tying a double bow to create the Angel's wings. Let the remaining ribbon fall to the bottom of the lace to accent her gown. Cut a small piece of gold metallic pipe cleaner and form into a circle. This is the Angel's halo. Glue the halo to the Angel's head. With marker, write what ever you like on ribbon tails, for example, "Merry Christmas to Mom" (Sister, Best Friend, Aunt, etc.) to personalize the Angel Sachet gift. I like to make 3 Angel Sachets per gift and wrap in a white gift box with gold ribbon and name tag.

Homemade Gift Ideas - Crafts - There is a great Yahoo Group called Crafting Friendz. Crafting Friendz is a group of crafters in all stages from beginners to pros that love to help each other on ideas and projects. We post numerous craft pattern and recipe links on a regular basis - it's a pretty high volume group. Every Wednesday is Christmas Craft Day, although they get posted more than that. If you're looking for great patterns and networking this is a great place to be.

Homemade Gift Ideas - Crafts - Cinnamon Scented Shapes or Ornaments By Gayle

1 cup cinnamon
1 tsp crushed cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup applesauce
2 tbsp white glue

Mix all together until smooth. Cut cookies or shapes to 1/4" or 1/2" thick.
Use a regular drinking straw to put holes in top if you want to hang with ribbon, yarn or jute.
Make without a hole at the top and glue a magnetic strip to the back to make a magnet.

Dry at room temperature.
(I dry them on a wire rack and flip often for more even, quicker
drying....since children tend to roll their dough very thick.)
Be sure to buy the cinnamon and cloves in the dollar store...otherwise this project could get expensive.
Cut a gingerbread man shape, decorate with white puffy paint.
Stars look pretty hanging on a wreath or tree.
Kids like to paint them when dry - a litter glitter is nice too.

 

Homemade Gift Ideas - Crafts - Scented Stones
By Takeshi

These could be cute for ornaments or just to give to someone to decorate.

Need:
Rubber gloves
food coloring of your choice
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
approx. 1/2 tsp scent (i.e. fragrance oil)
2/3 cup water (boiling)

First you mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Next, add the water and scent. Add coloring if you choose, until desired shade is created. Mix all ingredients and form balls (or other shapes you desire). Allow to dry at room temperature.

Homemade Gift Ideas -Handmade Soap
By Cindy Freland

Purchase molds, fragrance, colorant, and soap base from me or any craft store. Cut soap base with knife or soap blade. The amount of soap base will be determined by the size of the mold. Place base into a glass Pyrex measuring cup and microwave for 30 seconds with additional 10 seconds as needed. Add 1/2 teaspoon fragrance and colorant one drop at a time. You can always add more colorant but you can't remove it. Pour the soap base into the mold. Let set at least 6 hours and remove. Wrap beautiful soap in clear plastic wrap and tape ends or tie with a ribbon. These make very cute gifts.

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