Budget Homemade gifts made now that just get better in time for Christmas

(113 Posts)
Afrodizzywonders Sat 11-May-13 11:04:03

I've started making foodie things over the last month and thought....these would make nice gifts for Christmas. I thought (hoped), maybe others could share their ideas.

Neverending Vanilla essence - I'm trialing this, 5 vanilla pods (bought online) plopped in 250ml of vodka. In 3 months time it's ready, as you use it top up with more vodka. Great for bakers.

Vanilla Sugar - couldn't be easier, vanilla pods in caster sugar.....put in a pretty jar, wait 2 weeks.

Now the biggie, DIY champagne or sparkling wine as its being made in my garage not champagne technically! I'm planning this now, never homebrewed, but...big but! I think I can make 30 decent bottles of fizz for £30 excluding equipment, so I'm trying to find cheap ways of doing this over the next week. If a success, we will have a bloody big party and I will make tonnes of the stuff.

Finally, spiced apple chutney (apples from our tree) but that's a little way off.

Anyone else up to any homemade stuff?

buildingmycorestrength Sun 30-Jun-13 11:03:38

I've started saving jars and bottles for vanilla essence. I found a load of beautiful stoppered glass bottles online but postage was dear so will see how I feel with a budget version.

NumTumDeDum Sun 30-Jun-13 11:15:43

Kveta there's a recipe for Elderflower cordial in Kirsty Allsop's Craft book. I haven't tried it but I was thinking about it as there are lots of elderflowers about.

mrsdinklage Sun 30-Jun-13 12:56:27

There are also several recipes on bbcgoodfood for elderflower cordial. I bet all those elderflowers disappear in the next few days smile

Kveta Sun 30-Jun-13 13:28:36

after posting here yesterday, I had a good look at the elderflower cordial recipes online, and most say they only last 2-6 weeks, so that's no use for christmas! might try some anyway though smile

I have spent this morning cutting lavender and herbs (sage and thyme) from the garden, to dry, and will use them to make various flavoured salts and lavender bags I think. I don't have a sewing machine, but could probably rustle up some bags out of cotton and hand sewing. might get the DCs to decorate them, then that's their gifts to family done.

last year I made loads of jams and chutneys, and hand made and decorated sugar cookies, need to mix it up a bit this year though smile

I had an idea for smaller children of friends, I might make them a wee personalised story book. I've got some concepts of stories to do, so need to sketch it out now, and see if it looks anything other than crap grin

Afrodizzywonders Sun 30-Jun-13 18:04:47

Wowsers, been busy and not checked back for a while and now there are all these amazing suggestion...my to do list keeps getting longer.

Just been out and collected some elderflower, I'm making 6 bottles of wine, so it's going in the demijohn tonight, takes a year to improve so I a, actually making it for Christmas 2014 blush feel like a loon.

Made some more rhubarb and ginger jam, was very nice. Got my eye on my rambling rose that's gone berserk, some rose petal jam there I reckon.

SOAP-someone asked about soap....sorry on iPad typing one handed with baby on nork. I did a soap selection box for family and friends 3 years ago, Bought stuff from www.soapbasics.co.uk/ just go melt and pour, you can add Shea butter etc, some nice essential oils and dried petals. Pop in a nice mould, and then faff around wrapping them. Really easy, and I kid you not, everyone asked if they could have them again. Which reminds me I should do some of those too! So I highly recommend doing some good quality melt and pour soap.

Struggling to get stuff done right now, baby is 6 months and going through sleep regression/separation anxiety/teething/fuck knows.

Jojobump1986 Sun 30-Jun-13 18:34:03

Working soapbasics link here

VegPatchLurker Sun 30-Jun-13 18:43:32

We have a lot of people coming for Christmas this year and not much money, so a homemade Christmas is the way to go!

We'll be doing Blackberry Mead (made 10 bottles last year - have only 2 left which we're saving for Christmas - it gets better with time). Blackberry wine.
Am now going to be making Limoncello - the demijohns are empty until the bramble crop comes in so might as well make use of them ;)
I also did a runner bean chutney and an apple and green tomato chutney last summer - but we had such a glut of both that we still have some left!
Oh and Bramble Jelly is gorgeous - the smell and taste of summer on toast through the winter.

I make a big stash of mango chutney in the slow cooker when mangoes are very cheap in the summer. We also make llackberry jam, sloe gin, damson gin and marmalade. With apples, I do some chutney too. I've done chilli jam in the past - very easy.

HomageToCannelloni Wed 03-Jul-13 15:29:26

Kveta, if you can get hold of some citric acid your cordial will last longer...not sure about Christmas from now though. There is a v tasty lemon and mint cordial recipe by Hugh F.W. that you could make with supermarket ingredients nearer the time, and I bet it would be easy to make a Christmassy cordial of some sort! You can also freeze it, but once defrosted I've found it only lasts about a week or two.

HomageToCannelloni Wed 03-Jul-13 15:30:56

Ooooh veg patch, would love that blackberry mead recipe if you have it?

YoungBritishPissArtist Wed 03-Jul-13 15:53:20

Mustard seminar? I love this thread grin

I'm thinking about making body scrubs, some with brown sugar, some with coffee granules, haven't quite figured out the recipes yet.

buildingmycorestrength Wed 03-Jul-13 17:28:11

I did sugar scrubs a few years ago. Easy a and nice to experiment with on yourself!

Olive oil, caster sugar (not granulated!), few drops of essential oils. Could do seasonal, like frankincense or nutmeg. You just put them together til the texture seems the right sort of gloopiness... I think. I remember Lakeland had Kilner jars for about £10 for 6 at the time.

YoungBritishPissArtist Wed 03-Jul-13 19:02:24

Thanks, buildingmycorestrength!

I'll start experimenting grin

craigslittleangel Mon 08-Jul-13 15:53:13

Scuttlebutter, mango chutney in the slow cooker? Fancy posting your favourite receipt?

Afrodizzywonders Tue 09-Jul-13 19:47:34

Yes, I also like the sound of a slow cooker mango chutney!

I made some rose petal cordial yesterday, really delicious, would like to make some and give in Christmas hampers but not sure how I can make it keep. Suppose I could freeze some? How long does citric acid prolong shelf life for things anyone know?

It looks like I'll be doing hampers this year, just bung in bits I've made through the year.....that is if we don't eat and drink it all first. We've almost polished off the 5 gallons of ginger beer with lashings of rhubarb vodka blush

MooseyMoo Fri 12-Jul-13 06:16:28

Smirnoff Red Label 1 litre is £17.50 at Waitrose at the moment. Bought some for everlasting vanilla and limoncello

buildingmycorestrength Fri 12-Jul-13 06:41:32

Think I'm going to have to buy glass bottles for the vanilla essence...worldofbottles looked good but wondered what others were using?

Afrodizzywonders Sun 14-Jul-13 18:09:28

I think Ikea have some small swing top bottles.......I know they have larger ones as I'm using them for the cordial at the moment.

Got lots of rose petals happening here, so I've put on a gallon of rose petal wine, plus I'm making more cordial and freezing it. I fancy remembering these hot summer days when it's winter and dark! Put another 5 gallons of Ginger beer as it's been sunk plus the prosecco stuff I made was a good hit. At first DH wasn't sure but after two glasses we were 3 sheets to the wind and he was very vocal at how wonderful it was! At 60p for 1.5 litres he wants gallons of the stuff for some Christmas parties.

Next week I'm going to make lots of mincemeat....going to use the recipe suggested on here.

LifeIsSoDifferent Thu 18-Jul-13 10:20:34

Argh I've been roped in!

Very interesting in making alcohol and vanilla essence. Anyone know any links to good easy fool proof recipes?

I can't remember who wrote about putting berries n vodka? Would that work well? Oh and sweets which have people tried?

Aw I'm going to end up on the hunt for bottles now aren't I

AGnu Fri 19-Jul-13 14:48:20

Pinterest is your friend Life! I'm finding so many ideas on there! My sister will be getting an ice cream kit in a jazzed up icec cream tub if I can find one big enough - cones, sprinkles & homemade magic shell sauce with a cute ice cream scoop if I can find one she'll like. My mother will be getting vanilla essence as she's a keen baker. Apple chutney always goes down well with the men in my family. My older sister & SIL will be getting homemade smellies of some description & 2 of my 3 nieces will probably end up with homemade skirts. I've not decided what to do for my eldest niece yet! Might attempt to crochet a cute hat for her... I've never crocheted anything other than v simple granny squares before so that could be interesting!

Hopefully planning on doing homemade presents again this year.

leesmum Fri 19-Jul-13 22:23:48

I need some ideas for Apple recipies ladies, our Bramleys start falling 2nd week of August so would love some of your chutney recipes , could I make apple vodka or would it not work? Thanks

Zeeky Mon 12-Aug-13 21:15:20

So far I've made raspberry jam, strawberry & pimms jam and strawberry, rhubarb & vanilla jam.

Once the crab apples in the garden are ready, I'll make some crab apple jelly, and will start blackberry picking to make blackberry jelly or jam and blackberry gin (bung equal amount of berries & sugar in a big jar with a load of cheap gin, shake daily & keep in a dark place).

Quite like to have a go at some vanilla essence and limoncello.

Not started on any sewing projects yet though which I really need to cracking with, as planned to make lots of personalised bunting for children.

Here is link for slow cooker mango chutney link

It's from the slow cooker cookbook I use - and like the blogger I make extra quantitites. I chop up the squash small and put it on for a good long cook - this is one of those recipes that everyone loves who tries it. It turns out the most wonderful colour. Depending on the size of the mangoes or the squash I add more. I make it in the summer ready for giving at Christmas. If there's a pot of this, some chilli jelly and some marmalade, some jam, the colours of the jars are wonderful.

I know everybody in the world except me has already done this, but how do you make skittles vodka? I'm thinking I might start by having a go at that. Are there any other (preferably retro) sweets that work? I'm thinking of making a few for my difficult to buy for brother.

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