10 Best DIY Food Gifts

I love giving food as gifts (partly because I’m poor and have a HUUUUGE family) but also because who doesn’t love receiving tasty treats, especially at Christmas?!

Here are some of my favourite food gifts to give out at Christmas, for the most part these ideas are things you can make in bulk and give out to family and friends, great if you’re visiting lots of people over the festive season!

  1. Slow Cooker Chocolate Orange Fudge
  2. Fudge

    Credit: Me!

    Ok, ok, shameless self promotion, these were my DIY food gift last year and it was super easy to make!

  3. Chilli Jam
  4. chilli-jam

    Credit: Me!

    This one is also me, I made chilli jam for my extended family 3 years ago and essentially started the tradition of giving food as a gift each year!

  5. Bacon Salt
  6. Bacon… salt… Bacon Salt. This is pure genius.

  7. Chocolate Bark
  8. Chocolate-bark

    Credit: Jamie Oliver

    Chocolate Bark is another super easy, fairly cheap to make option. You can make grown up versions with tasty nuts and dried fruit and a kid’s version with jelly beans or popping candy. Hey who am I to judge? Make whichever one you think your family and friends will enjoy most!

  9. Infused Vodka
  10. For your grown up friends and family!

  11. Bacon Jam
  12. Bacon-Jam

    Credit: Lori Mama at http://www.food.com

    BACON JAM. Make it. Eat it. Try and remember to give some as presents. Eat some more of it. Probably have to make two batches.

  13. Peanut and Toffee Bon bons
  14. Peanut-Toffee-Bon-Bons

    Credit: Jennifer Joyce for BBC Good Food

    Obviously don’t give this to anyone with nut allergies but these look delicious.

  15. Polar Bear Peppermint Creams
  16. Peppermint-Polar-Bears

    Credit: Miriam Nice for BBC Good Food

    These are supposedly good to make with kids, this could be a fun way to get kids involved with making food gifts. Perhaps for their teachers at the end of term or just for their friends!

  17. Chocolate chunk pecan cookies
  18. Chocolate-Pecan-Cookies

    Credit: Sara Buenfeld for BBC Good Food

    Cookies are a classic gift for a reason. Add pretty packaging and throw them at your family and friends.

  19. Salted almond snaps
  20. Salted-Almond-Salted

    Credit: Cassie Best for BBC Good Food

    A twist on the classic cookie gift but another delicious option!

Nice packaging is key to a home made food gift, invest in some pretty Christmas themed cellophane bags like these and add pretty ribbons.

Let me know which one is your favourite! ūüôā

Pin this for later!

Festive Tea Wreath

Featured Image

So in my continued quest to DIY as many of my presents as possible I made a tea wreath!

I was originally inspired by this¬†tea wreath but decided that I couldn’t be bothered with all the clothes pegs!¬†I went with double sided sticky tape instead.

I used a 20 bag box of Pukka Organic Peppermint Licorice Tea Bags and a 20 bag box of Taylors of Harrogate Spiced Apple Tea Bags; I confess mainly for the colours, though the spiced Apple one is nicely festive too!

You can use any tea you like to make this, just make sure you buy tea that comes in individually wrapped packets (usually this means buying the nicer, more expensive ones).

You will need:

40 teabags in any combination of colours and flavours

Thick cardboard or foam board

Double sided sticky tape

Colour coordinated ribbon

A glue gun (optional)

Steps:

  1. Cut out your wreath from your cardboard or foam board.

I started by putting a standard dinner plate on the back of some flimsy cardboard from a pizza and drawing around it. I cut this out and then marked the inner circle with the base of a bowl. I used a wooden clothes peg at this stage to make sure there was enough cardboard for a decent layer of teabags.

I then used double sided sticky tape to attach my cardboard doughnut to some foam board I had lying around:

tea wreath1

Then carefully* cut the foam board to match the cardboard using a craft knife.

*Confession: Not that carefully because I did this really late at night and I’m an idiot so I thought I’d nick my finger:

Cutyoself

2. Lay your teabags around the wreath and work out where they look best:

Teaplacement

3. This would be a good time to attach your ribbon to the wreath (I didn’t consider this until later and had to attach it to the back.)

Start sticking your teabags down using double sided sticky tape, working from the outer layer inwards:

tapeplacement

first two rounds

4. Attach a ribbon to the back of the foam board using staples and a glue gun if you haven’t attached it at step 3!

Finished Wreath

And you’re done!

This probably took me about an hour and a half from start to finish but makes a gorgeous and thoughtful present.

 

 

Sneak peek of Chocolates for everyone!!

So I have a massive family. Like huge, my mum is the youngest of 10 and they all have kids and lots of those cousins have had kids now so our family get togethers are always big! Every year we organise a Christmas party and I try to make my presents because I’m too poor to buy everyone something… 

It’s usually food because that’s easy to do in bulk, one year it was biscuits, another it was chilli jam. This year it’s chocolates!

I’ve got myself a chocolate box silicone mould from Lakeland:

  
 
I’ve never done any proper chocolate making (just plenty of chocolate eating!) I decided to get the Thermospatula as well so I can attempt to temper the chocolate and hopefully make them look really good:

  
I’m kinda excited about using this just because I love a good gadget!

I’ve already started making some boxes using this tutorial and some Christmas scrapbook paper that I bought from eBay:

  
(Sorry about the fuzzy photo, working with an iPad is hard!)

  
This was my second attempt after I failed to follow the instructions the first time around…

I’m hoping to make the chocolates this week and post a full tutorial next weekend. Keep an eye out! 

Best DIY gifts for Teenagers

Teenagers… they can be a nightmare to buy for let alone make things for! My advice is to not DIY gifts for teens you don’t know that well!

  1. DIY Gold Leaf Jewellery Tray
Jewelry Tray Display

Credit: Homey Oh My

I mean, I would love this now just as much as I would if I were 16!

2. DIY Galaxy Print T-Shirt

Galaxyshirts

Credit: byhandlondon

Fun and cute. Their friends will ask where they got it, you will be cool forever.

3. A Starbucks Cup gift

Credit: somuchtodew

Obviously include a Starbucks gift card but you can tailor this to your teen. Add little Lego toys for boys, think small beauty items like nail varnish for girls.

4. Chalkboard Coasters

Credit: westermanfam

These are a great present for slightly older teens (think 17+) who are about to head off into the wilderness of real life. Everyone needs coasters!

5. DIY Passport Holder

Credit: AlwaysRooney

Feed their wanderlust with a custom passport holder!

6. Soda pop candy bottles

Credit: kmckaydesigns

Technically a father’s day gift but I know a lot of teenage boys who would love this!

7. Lip Balm Locket

Credit: beautylish

Just love everything about this, I am forever without lip balm, anyone want to make this for me?

8. Lounge Pants

Picture of How to Sew Your Own Pajama Pants

Credit: compwalla

Make these in an appropriate fabric, the more aligned with their interests the better! Think Comic Books, Superheroes, Video games, Disney etc. Find out what they like!

9. Heat-resistant Hair Straightener Cozy

Credit: gatheringtwigs

This is a brilliant DIY and parents will thank you for not allowing their house to burn down!

10. DIY giant chevron floor pillows

pin

Credit: OverLovin’

Teenagers will LOVE these floor pillows, brilliant for lounging about with their friends. Try and match the fabrics to their room decor if possible!

Pin this for the future:

TeenOval

Best DIY gifts for Best Friends

Continuing my posts on DIY gifts for different people in your life, I’ve compiled my favourite gifts for best friends. Besties can be hard to buy for, especially if you don’t see them as often as you’d like to!

1. Teacup Lights

Teacup Lights

This is a super cute DIY, that’s gentle on the purse but looks awesome when given to someone.

2. Mini Book Necklace

I love this DIY, I’ve made two of these for my besties¬†in the past and will likely make another for myself soon!

3. Scrabble Coasters

I love all things scrabble themed and these would make a gorgeous gift.

4. DIY Gold Flutes

DIY Painted Glass

I love how elegant these glasses are and how easy they are to do!

5. Homemade coffee syrups

Coffee-Syrups-ChaosServedDa

Perfect for your caffeine addicted bestie!

6. Cute make-up bag

IMG_6560

I for one am always in need of a new makeup bag and this DIY is super easy. Pick fabric to suit their personality and go to town!

7. Earlier this year I posted my monogrammed mugs DIY made for a couple of my besties:

Finished Mugs

I really enjoyed making these mugs and I’m tempted to make some more this year!

8. DIY Mini Spa Kit

For your stressed out bestie, pair with slippers and a hot water bottle so they can pamper themselves and relax.

9.¬†30 Minute Infinity Scarf (You don’t even need knitting needles!)

30-minute-infinity-scarf-gaba

Ok, I’m going to have to make this even if I don’t give it to anyone else, it looks so snuggly and so easy to make.

10. Emergency Chocolate

Emergency Chocolate Craft on 30 Minute Crafts

When in doubt, chocolate is the answer and this is an awesome way to give it!

These are my top 10, let me know in the comments which are your faves…

Pin this for later:

BFFOval

10 Best DIY Gifts for “Geeks”

Continuing the Christmas DIY gift lists, these are my 10 best DIY gifts for so called “geeks”. Really this is just a chance for my fave Fandom based DIYs to shine!

1. Bow Tie Tuxedo frame:

Credit: Plaid

So this tutorial isn’t actually Dr Who themed but it was where my brain went immediately when I saw it. I would theme it with a white checked shirt and add braces to make it even more Dr Who themed. Add a photo of you and your geeky friend for the perfect, personal gift!

2. Batman Lamp:

Picture of Batman lamp

Credit: fabrika.carolija

This looks awesome and the perfect gift for the Batman fanatic in your life!

3. Harry Potter Wand:

Tutorial to make these diy wands for your Harry Potter party

Credit: Boxy Colonial

This tutorial is aimed at making multiple wands for a Harry Potter party but there’s nothing to stop you making one for your geeky loved one!

4. Darth Vader Shoes:

Darth Vader Shoes Tutorial

Credit: Twin Dragon Fly Designs

I love geeky shoes. They’re practical, subtle (ish) and still show your geeky side.

5. TARDIS Christmas Tree Ornament:

Picture of DIY TARDIS Ornament

Credit: craftycounterpart

The perfect addition to any Whovian’s Christmas Tree.

6. Comic Book Heels:

Credit: ironspleen

I don’t even think this needs explanation… amazing.

7. Harry Potter Potions Kit

Harry Potter potions kit

Credit: Stitch/Craft

This is amazing, I want this, who wouldn’t want this? The potions actually do things (spoilers, it’s basically a science experiment wrapped up as Harry Potter which I LOVE.)

8. Pixel Trash Can:

Picture of Pixel Trash Can

Credit: BrittLiv

Practical and geeky. Wins every time!

9. Pikachu Hoodie:

Pikachu-Hoodie-Instagram

Credit: kawaiikakkoiisugoi

Gotta catch ’em all! Perfect DIY for the Pok√©mon fan in your life!

10. Hunger Games Tote Bag:

Credit: showmecute

May the odds be ever in your favour when you make this awesome tote bag!

Pin this for future reference:

geekoval

10 Best DIY Gifts for Men

It’s October, that means there are only 11 weekends until the big C word… Christmas! If like me, you prefer to make gifts rather than buy them, then that means starting now. Unfortunately, my full time job gets in the way of crafting all day, every day so every weekend between now and then will need to involve some craftiness to get everything ready by Christmas. The last couple of years I have been horribly disorganised so this year will be different!

I’ll be posting DIY gift lists for different people in your life over the next couple of weeks as inspiration!

Here are my 10 best DIY gifts for the men in your life:

  1. Make a handmade leather catch-all tray:
Make a leather valet tray tutorial

Credit: 17Again

I’ll be attempting this one soon, check out Facebook to see how it goes!

2. The Story of Us:

Image

Credit: The Unengaged Undergrad

This one is so good, I pinned it twice… I’ve been saving things to scrapbook for ages so this one might be on the cards for Christmas or possibly our anniversary since that’s in January!

3. Lego Key Holder:

Credit: Felix Grauer

Because organisation is more fun with Lego!

4. Bacon infused Whiskey:

Credit: Modern Wife Style

Because literally everything is better with bacon.

5. Comic Book Coasters:

DIY comic book coasters

Credit: Modpodge Rocks Blog

For the Comic Book lover in your life. This principle is easily applied to other fandoms/geekiness ūüôā

6. CD Photo Cube:

Credit: Paper Jewels

I made this one for my Dad using old mini-disc cases (who remembers mini discs?!)

7. Make him a Nut and Bolts Chessboard:

Credit: Reddit user shama_lama_ding_dong / WonderHowTo

Does he love chess? Take a trip to your local DIY store to get everything you need.

8. Paracord Lanyard:

Credit: Storm Dranes

This project is the perfect amount of fun for you and cool for him!

9. Grill Rubs:

Credit: Kojo Designs

For the chef in your life, these rubs look great! This tutorial even includes free printable labels. Ikea have some great spice jars for this project.

10. Home Made Chocolate Fudge Gift:

Credit: What’s Gaby Cooking

And finally if you’re strapped for cash, one of the best home made gifts is the gift of food! It’s easy to make it look nice with ribbon or these pretty bags¬†from Lakeland.

Pin this post for future reference:

Picture1

Now I’m off to indulge in a Lakeland spree to so I can make chocolates for my extended family!

Christmas is coming…

2014-12-01 15.17.57

I know, I know, it’s September, it’s horrifying that there are already Mince Pies in the supermarket. However, one thing I cannot recommend enough is to start budgeting for Christmas now. Actually I’d recommend budgeting for Christmas all year round to avoid a skint January and February but if you haven’t done so yet, it will still help to start thinking about it now!

Now, lots of people will think I sound like a massive misery now but the reality is that Christmas is just one day of the year. It’s never worth getting into serious debt in order to buy the most expensive presents for everyone in your life.

Christmas comes but once a year but it does come every single year and it is more than possible (and frighteningly easy) to get into serious cumulative debt every year to try and have the “perfect” Christmas.

Call me old fashioned but I think Christmas should be about time spent with loved ones not who spent the most money on whom.

To this end I’ve devised a Christmas budget spreadsheet.

ChristmasBudgetPlanner

You can download it here. There are full instructions on the first sheet and different sheets for different festive expenditure. Use it, see if you can afford your planned Christmas now and adjust if necessary. Be totally honest about how much you’re likely to spend at Christmas parties (i.e. if, like me, you work in Publishing don’t budget ¬£10 for drinks at the Christmas party! You know you’ll be spending potentially three times as much so be honest!)

If after doing this you realise that you can’t afford to buy everyone in your extended family a present, consider DIY gifts that you can make that keep you within an affordable budget. I made Chilli Jam for my extended family a few years ago for less than ¬£3¬†a jar, which was good since my Mum is the youngest of ten!

I will be posting a¬†DIY gifts¬†series in the run up to Christmas but you can¬†start planning now. The other thing I do all year round is pin gifts to my Pinterest Gift board that I can look at before people’s birthdays and Christmas to plan things I could make for them.

Be creative with your planning this year and avoid the January money blues!

For more great ideas on how to save for Christmas or any other finance advise check out Martin Lewis’ website:¬†www.moneysavingexpert.com

Build a Fort Kit (UK style)

Build a Fort Pic

A long time ago, or so it seems, I talked about making a “Build a Fort” kit using UK sourced items but based on this DIY¬†here.

If you would also like to do this, you will need the following:

РA lantern (I got this wind-up and solar powered LED lantern from Tesco for about £5)Build a Fort Kit 8

– Two single sheets or blankets (I used these, also from Tesco)

Р4 metres of ribbon for creating loops (I bought mine from Wilkinsons around Xmas but any haberdashery type shop or even pound shop should have some ribbon, mine was pale blue to match my colour theme)

РPegs (I used the blue ones from this pack from Wilkinsons and covered them with decorative tape)

– Suction cups (I used these from Wilkinsons and removed the hooks)

– a sewing machine or you could hand sew this, it’s just a matter of time.

– a bag to put everything in (I used a cloth shopping bag)

First step is to decorate your pegs if you would like them to be a bit more interesting:

Build a Fort Kit 6

I used two different kids of decorative tape, one with chevrons, one with stars and then left some plain blue. This probably took me half an hour to do one evening in front of the tv.

I cut 12 ribbons to 20 inches in length:

Build a Fort Kit 2

You will also need a length of ribbon roughly twice the length of your blankets.

Some were a little shorter but it doesn’t matter. I pinned a¬†20 inch ribbon in a loop to the corners of both of the blankets:

Build a Fort Kit 3

And then one to each edge in the centre of the blankets:

Build a Fort Kit 5

However, knowing that the boys I was making this for have large built in cupboards in their playroom with sheer surfaces, I wanted to give them another option for making a fort, which is where the suction cups came in.

I took the bag of suction hooks and pulled each hook off which left me with a load of suction cups with a convenient hole in the middle:

Build a Fort Kit 9

I then threaded¬†a suction cup to each of the loops I’d added to the blankets:

Build a Fort Kit 11

I then took the extra long length of ribbon that was left over, attached a suction cups at each end and tied a knot to keep it on.

Build a Fort Kit 12

The I popped everything into the cloth bag and tied the handles together with the ribbon that came with the two blankets:

Build a Fort Kit 14

My cousin came over the next day and we visited Didcot Railway Centre for their Thomas Day. I gave the boys their present just before they left and they were both very excited to get home and start using it!

Monogrammed Sharpie Mugs!

I pinned this tutorial way back in June last year to my Gift Ideas Board. I finally got around to doing this yesterday for Tom and Beth¬†(two of my best friend’s)¬†Christmas presents. Time got away from me a bit this Christmas, I’m aware it’s quite late in¬†January!

You will need:

  • Mugs (I got mine from Amazon but I think Asda or Wilkinsons would have been cheaper!)
  • Oil Based Paint Pen (I used a gold, oil based paint¬†Sharpie)
  • I didn’t have scrapbook stickers like Stacey did so¬†I thought I’d just use ordinary address labels. As I discovered later, these aren’t really thick enough but¬†I couldn’t find any proper¬†stickers to use and I preferred being able to choose the font of the letters.
  • Oven

I typed the letters I wanted to use into Word and then played with the fonts until I had the ones I wanted. I printed these onto address labels and then cut them out. I held the letter against the mug to decide where I would position it before I peeled the back off and then stuck it on firmly.

Starting Mug

I dotted all around the letter, I concentrated on the edges of the sticker to start with and then randomly dotted away in a rough circle:

Halfway Mug

I left the mug to dry for 20 minutes or so and then I peeled the sticker off. That’s when I discovered that the paint pen had bled through the sticker a bit. It wasn’t horrific but it wasn’t perfect either. Since I’m a perfectionist I spent 5 minutes just scratching the excess paint off (I didn’t have any rubbing alcohol to clean up with, anyone know where to get that in the UK?!)

I then baked the mugs for 30¬†minutes at 170¬į C. When the time was up, I switched the oven off and left the mugs to cool for another couple of hours.

I’m so pleased with the final present (even if it is basically a month late!):

Finished Mugs

I’ve asked my friends to let me know how they get on with washing¬†these in the dishwasher if they decide to risk it!

I’m also planning to make a geometric shapes one using masking tape, I’ll post it when I find five minutes.

I enjoyed this project because it didn’t take forever and looked really great as a finished product. The actually painting probably only took 20 minutes per mug plus 5 minutes for cleaning up around the edges. Once the mugs were in the oven I could go off and do whatever else I needed to and just come back when the timer went to switch the oven off.