Monday, December 23, 2013


I'm a big fan of homemade gifts. There is something really special about the act of giving something made by your own hands. It's important for me that the little people witness the process of making and understand how those kinds of gifts are as important (and in some ways more so) than the newest electronic gadget that tends to cost way too much. It's important that they also understand how receiving a gift that's handmade is like receiving a little part of the person giving the gift.

Every year at Christmastime, I have big plans to make something for everyone on my list. Maybe the item will be significant, or maybe just a small token, but something handmade for everyone is the idea. Every year I fall short. Sometimes my problem is time; it's tough to find the time to get everything done that I would like to do. Other times it's execution, my end result doesn't match the picture I have in my mind.

My gifts typically include knitting or sewing projects and jam or other preserves from our spring and summer efforts in the garden. And although I am giving some of those kinds of gifts again this year, I did fall short of my goal yet again.

However, I did try something new. I tried my hand at vanilla extract. It was very easy to make, the most difficult part of the process being the amount of time it takes to transform from vodka to a baking necessity. But shocking as it may sound, I started the process back in October and was able to bottle my concoction over the weekend. A pretty bottle and a simple tag, and ta-dah! An easy and practical gift for the bakers in my life.

On the heels of this minor success, I should put together my plan for completing hand-crafted gifts for next year. The secret is clearly an early start! Sounds like I have a good reason to spend some additional time on Pintrest in 2014!

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