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maggiethecat

"Artisanal" Holiday Presents

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"Artisanal" sounds soooo much better than "home made, doesn't it? :smile:

Unemployment provides me with (much)less money....(no trips to Tiffany this year!) but abundant time to satisfy my always-lurking artisanal instincts. So far:

1) "Retro" aprons for the ladyfolk. Think kinda a cross between Ethel Mertz and Carmen Miranda. I hope not to touch rickrack or seam binding for a good while. But, they are fetching, if I do say so myself!

2)Soap. Used all my adorable little tin tart/baba moulds as per Martha'a advice in December's "Living." The most restful and fun afternoon in awhile.

3)Small recipe book compiling all the recipes I use at Christmas that are written on twenty-year old smudged bits of paper. (Simple concertina binding, if there are any other bookbinders out there.)

To come:

Husband's famous ass't nut brittles. Said to be a favourite of brothers-in-law.

Homemade pannetone.

Anyone else going artisanal this year? If so, what are your specialties?

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Can I answer with Hanukah prezzies?

I've been making my artisanal home-roasted Colombian Supremo Bucharamanga Especial coffee beans for some friends.

For my wife I'm building some artisanal lighting equipment for digital photography.

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I should add that I received some artisanal Vermont maple syrup from our relatives in Vermont who actually do make maple syrup by hand from the trees on their property. It tastes exactly the same as the maple syrup you can buy at Costco, but it's definitely artisanal.

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It tastes exactly the same as the maple syrup you can buy at Costco, but it's definitely artisanal.

And would cost approximately twety times more, if their time and bother were priced out!

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One year, I made homemade fudge for everyone I knew. 35 pounds of the stuff later, and I can't stand to think of doing it again, or eating any more. icon8.gif

Another year, I bought decorative bottles, expensive vanilla pods, and quality cognac, and made home-made vanilla essence. People seemed to like that.

I'm considering making pickled onions for my friends this year, using the same recipe I'd use for making bread & butter pickles, but without the cucumbers. I made a batch a couple of months ago, using fresh pearl onions, and another batch using frozen ones. The frozen ones tasted as good, if not better...

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I may give out more of my late grandmother's "artisanal" jelly. I'm down to about 40 jars, so I should have some more shelf space soon. :wink:

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Dave: It would be great if you'd publish that recipe/procedure on the cooking board.

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For my wife I'm building some artisanal lighting equipment for digital photography.

Artisanal lighting equipment:

f3537a.jpg

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For my wife I'm building some artisanal lighting equipment for digital photography.

Artisanal lighting equipment:

f3537a.jpg

LOL!

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one year when i was in college i ground up ad(z)uki beans, coarsely, and bottled them in miscellaneous decorative glass jars. the paste makes an outstanding body/face scrub. to be honest, though, i really can't tell you if anyone in my family actually used them....i think they were scared :laugh::laugh::laugh: .

another year i compiled dry ingredients for different recipes & gave them to people with the recipe. it was pretty thoughtful, if i may say so myself.

but, alas, i too am in need for ideas. . . .very, very time-efficient ones.

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nesita -- I've made the adzuki bean paste for facial scrub also (I wasn't so nice, though, I made it for myself. I used to use The Body Shop Japanese Washing Grains and when I ran out I noticed that the only ingredient was adzuki beans. So the next time I went to Bread & Circus I bought some beans and, voila! (I store the ground beans in The Body Shop container)

I love the idea of dry ingredients in a nice jar with handwritten instructions. Tres artisanal. Just needs an artfully tied ribbon.

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I love this thread. I'm hoping to use it for inspiration.

Please continue, folks. :biggrin:

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Often do pralines...

Standby is to go to hardware store and buy cheap tin buckets, stencil a few Christmas designs on them, and then fill with my Caramel Corn (see Caramel Corn thread for recipe).

Sometimes do homemade salsa.

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I make tons of Aunt Rosie's Peanut Brittle--really addictive, and easy, and not only frequently requested--absolutely demanded by some.

I also hand out some dilly beans, pickled okra, and salsa, from my garden.

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Susie has lots of flowers and, in the fall, gathered seeds from some of them to give for Christmas. I think she's making little bags to put them in.

Since I'm an artisan year round I'm not making anything. Bah Humbug! :biggrin:

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Susie has lots of flowers and, in the fall, gathered seeds from some of them to give for Christmas. I think she's making little bags to put them in.

Susie has a seriously awesome idea.

Nickn: Not going the artisanal route does not mean Bah Humbug. I'm sure Susie, for example, wouldn't mind if you simply spent money! Something over a carat, say.

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Me too, I love this discussion. I'm thinking some nears and dears of mine will benefit from this fount. Tremendously inspiring. (Jaymes's caramel corn alone may smooth some gift-giving bumps burgeoning on the horizon.)

Some years ago I potted very small cactus and succulents in Japanese ceramic bonsai dishes as holiday gifts--a contemplative and satisfying endeavor. Some are still going, 10 years or so later, too.

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Diana and I are queens of "homemade" gifts. Peter is into the swing of things now, too.

The year I had more roma tomatos than I had the energy for, we did sundried tomatos. The year the basil plants were more like trees than even shrubs, we dried basil. Put in a canning jar, tied with a pretty ribbon.

Other gifts have included homemade notecards. On year, they were blank index cards, stamped with a heart (cut a heart out of a sponge, dip in a plate of red paint); this one was really easy when Diana was little, and now Peter makes them. Diana is into orgami now, so we get nice fold-over cards, and she does a more "one-dimensional" orgami (like robes), and glue them on.

We've also done ornaments -- last year, we made a lot of stars. Took heavy wire, bent into star shape. Took light weight wire, and twined it within the star, stringing beads on. One person we gave one to thought we had purchased it at a posh store that sells "artsy and off-beat" stuff.

We've also made earrings for the women with pierced ears. Last year, we did Xmas ones -- an amber tube beed, then a jade triangle, topped with a small mother-of-pearl star. They were gorgeous, and everyone loved them. For the younger girls, we got that elastic cord and made bracelets.

For our siblings, in order to keep everything reasonable, we've gone to "family" gifts. One year, we gave each family a jigsaw puzzle and a couple of those jiffy pop popcorn pans. The popcorn may not be the best, but the kids get a kick out of it. This year, we will make and freeze cinnamon rolls (unbaked), and include a pound of really great bacon from the meat market, for an Xmas breakfast (we get together with them on Xmas Eve).

We've also burned CD's of compilations.

So, some food oriented, some not. We've had fun doing this stuff on cold, dark December evenings. Part of the joy, for us, is making the gifts. Time together, without the boob tube, face to face, creating something beautiful. :smile:

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 This year, we will make and freeze cinnamon rolls (unbaked), and include a pound of really great bacon from the meat market, for an Xmas breakfast (we get together with them on Xmas Eve).

We've also burned CD's of compilations.

So, some food oriented, some not.  We've had fun doing this stuff on cold, dark December evenings.  Part of the joy, for us, is making the gifts.  Time together, without the boob tube, face to face, creating something beautiful.   :smile:

Snowie: I love your cinnamon roll and bacon idea. That rocks!

And your last sentence made me sniffle a little. You are so right, Lady!


Edited by maggiethecat (log)

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Some years ago I potted very small cactus and succulents in Japanese ceramic bonsai dishes as holiday gifts--a contemplative and satisfying endeavor.  Some are still going, 10 years or so later, too.

You should talk with Susie. By her own count she now has about 300 - in the house, in Maine. I think 3 is a reasonable number. :angry:

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Some years ago I potted very small cactus and succulents...

You should talk with Susie. By her own count she now has about 300 - in the house

Sounds as though your house might be a risky place in which to back up..... :biggrin:

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This so great. I almost feel inferior. :smile:

In the past I gave people old mason jars filled with my dried basil, decorated with little hand-colored labels. But I never seem to have the time or energy or creativity to get really artisanal at Xmas--by the time the semester ends, it's Dec. 19th and I am out of my mind with exhaustion. And the hoo-ha of assembling gifts for everyone, getting together to exchange them, etc., did me in for good last year. Eight years into our relationship, I have finally convinced my husband that we are no lonmger giving gifts, period. Next Saturday we are hosting an artisanal dinner for our eight close friends, asking them to bring top quality beverages to share, if we provide the food, the music, the lights. We're serving:

1] guacamole, hot queso, salsa & chips

2] chiles en nogada, corn pudding with roasted peppers, jicama and beet salad

3 cinnamon chocolate mousse and almond shortbread

The menu is going to be a challenge for me, and I am doing it all myself. I am really looking forward to it. Best of all, we'll have a night of great food and laughter to remember throughout the coming year.

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A couple of years ago, I picked up some good cotton cocktail napkins and hand decorated them with fabric paints - seasonal designs, fairly loose. on the backside, along the seam edge, a written "fortune" or blessing. One per guest at a holiday gathering.

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Some years ago I potted very small cactus and succulents...

You should talk with Susie. By her own count she now has about 300 - in the house

Sounds as though your house might be a risky place in which to back up..... :biggrin:

Not my house. Susie's. The most lethal plant in my house is a Plumosa fern. And the only stuff I've got besides that are rosemary, oregano, and thyme. :smile:

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But I never seem to have the time or energy or creativity to get really artisanal at Xmas--by the time the semester ends, it's Dec. 19th and I am out of my mind with exhaustion.

Three kids + school vacation + really cold weather = boredom and fighting and a crabby mom. Crafts are a good diversion and keep me from climbing the walls. If we're going to do crafts, why not go beyond just making stuff we'll pitch and make things to give away?

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