November 29, 2010

Homemade Gift: Caramel Corn

I received a lovely email from Charissa at The Gifted Blog asking if I could share the recipe for the caramel corn I posted about last week. So here it is Caramel Corn Recipe . (just click on caramel corn recipe) It is a Martha Stewart Recipe with a couple of modifications
1. I omit the almond extract
2. I use pecans not almonds
I have used almonds before as well as a mixture of nuts but have found that I enjoy the texture and flavour of the pecans the most. I hope that this recipe puts a smile on a few more faces this holiday season!

November 26, 2010

Holiday Gifts : Past and Presents

If you haven't started thinking about Holiday shopping today is the day! In the spirit of Black Friday I thought I would share a couple of gift ideas. These gifts are thoughtful, won't break the budget and should please almost everyone.

1. Homemade Treats

No one can pass up a yummy homemade treat. My favorite is caramel corn with pecans. I make enough for my extended family - this year my Aunt Nancy will get her own jar (It was so popular last year my uncle ate the whole jar while everyone was opening their gifts). You can put it in a mason jar or other glass container, tie a bow and ta-da instant gift.

2. Coffee and Tea

The coffee sleeve how-to is great gift on it's own but if you want to jazz it up why not add a cup (paper or ceramic) and some coffee, tea or coffee giftcard. Put all of the items in the cup and use some celo or wrapping paper and some ribbon to dress it up. A great mix of homemade and thoughtful.

3. Personalized Stationary

An easy way to give the stationary fan in your life some personalized stationary of their own is to have a stamp made. Last year I drew Ann Marie for secret santa and came up with this gift. A personalized stamp, a stamp pad and some blank stationary - now the sky's the limit!

4. Author Signed Books

Not everyone will have the opportunity to get their book signed in person but most bookstores ask authors at book signings to sign extra copies to sell in the store. So if you missed the book signing take a look for signed copies at the store or online. Make the gift a little more special with a signed copy.

I hope these ideas have inspired you today. Remember you don't have to spend a lot to find a thoughtful and meaningful gift!

November 18, 2010

Christmas Came Early Today!

Today I met Jamie Oliver! I have been a fan of Mr. Oliver's for 10+ years now and have always wanted to meet him but I didn't commit to going to this book signing until this morning. I had known for about a week that Jamie was coming to Toronto and that he was doing a book signing but last time he was in Toronto people started lining up at 6am to get their books signed and I didn't want to show up but miss out.

This morning though, I was sitting here thinking to myself you have to at least go down there and see how long the line is, if it's too long you can leave. When I arrived at 10:30 I was shocked, I was only about 40 people back. As time passed we all got more and more excited and it was great! He was so sweet and just the way you expect him to be. The people at Chapters/Indigo were sweet enough to take some pictures and if you could see my face you would see a huge smile.

Thanks Jamie for making my day, signing my books, shaking my hand and for all of meals you have helped make delicious!

November 9, 2010

Give: French Wrapping

{Christmas: idea 2}

I discovered this wrapping technique a couple of years ago after receiving a beautifully wrapped gift from my mom. She had gone on vacation to France and brought me back one of my favorite gifts - stationary. Since that trip I have been using this techniques for all sorts of gifts.
You'll need wrapping paper, tissue, twine or yarn, a gift tag and an embellishment (optional). First, cut the paper and tissue to fit the gift. In this case I used craft paper and grey crepe paper.

Next, place the tissue paper on the table and craft paper directly on top. Fold both layers back an inch and then over itself another inch, just like you're creating a hem.

Now wrap your present like you would traditionally except you want the seam on the front not the back of the package. Also don't tape the flap down on top. Fold the ends in and affix to the back of the gift.

Lastly, secure with twine or yarn, attach your tag and embellishments and you're done. This is a great way to wrap almost anything but works really well on fabric, notebooks and other floppy items. This is a great way to wrap gifts for any occasion. It's not difficult and doesn't take long but will make the person receiving the gift feel special to receive it.

November 5, 2010

Collection: Cocktail Rings

I love jewellery! I wear the same earrings and watch everyday but can't get enough cocktail rings. Some are old some are new all of them are big!
Above some of my collection is a Laudree truffle box.

Above is a selection of the glitzy and the simple. One of my favorites is bottom left - it's blister pearl.

You can't have too many rings.

November 3, 2010

Make: Gift Tags

{Christmas: idea 1}

After choosing my color scheme for Christmas wrap this week I decided that the place to start would be with the gift tags. I use these manila tags for gift tags for most occasions. They are easy to decorate and can add some flair to any present.
First, gather your supplies. You'll need manila gift tags, some items to embellish with (stamps, stickers, tape, office supplies, etc) and finally you'll need something to attach the tag (yarn, twine, or ribbon).

Start from the background forward. Above I used a stamp for the first tag and the tapes and stickers for the second. One is more traditional and the other modern both are great options.

Lastly, add the finishing touches. For the stamped tag I created two options. First a monogrammed tag, I added a stripe with tape and a silver M from some letters that I found on sale in the scrapbooking area of the craft store. Second a nature inspired tag, I added a felt bird sticker. For the more modern tag I attached a glittered peace sign with the twine I used to attach the tag to the present. I added the same twine to all of the tags but yarn or ribbon would do the trick as well. Make sure to make your tags in advance because when you're wrapping gifts at the last minute you won't take the time to make the tags. This is an easy and fun way to get started.

After Monday's post I thought about other non-traditional color schemes for the holidays and the one that I would go for if I had the supplies is Silver, Black and Eggplant. It would be so beautiful - think crowns, velvet ribbons and glossy black paper. If anyone goes for it let me know I would love to see the results. What color scheme is inspiring you?

November 1, 2010

and it begins... {the holidays}

As I was taking down my halloween decorations and putting them away I took a look at my holiday supplies and began to think about my favorite part of the holidays - gift wrapping. I decided that today was the day to plan out my gift wrap color scheme and figure out what I needed to buy this year.

Above is the scheme I came up with - red, white, silver and blue, mixed with craft paper items. I have red and white twine, some glittered peace signs and wrapping paper that is red, white and silver. Craft paper items are a staple of mine so I always have them on hand. A little nature with some glitter and snow.

Above will be my base - wrapping paper that includes my colour scheme, craft paper items, manila luggage tags, white tissue paper and grey crepe paper.

Some of the little touches are above - I pulled out anything that looked like it match my scheme. I have some of these cute dog cards (Martha Stewart) from last year so I'll use them again this year.

The present toppers. I like adding something extra to the top of gifts and bows will not do. Earlier this year I picked up the small glass ornaments and some crepe paper bells. I have some peace signs, tape and twine for the smaller packages.

Finally, let's talk about what I'm going to saving from the recycling bin for the next month or so. Toilet paper rolls - I make my own Christmas crackers. Brown paper bags - a lot of stores have switched to unbranded paper bags and they work great with my scheme. Glass jars and bottles - for home made goodies.

I know that it's early to start thinking about the holidays but if you start planning now you will save time, money, and you won't miss out on the really good stuff by waiting to the last minute. Remember - everyone loves a hand written note and beautifully wrapped gift. Over the next little while I will be sharing with you some of my unconventional gift wrapping tips and tricks!