• Posted by Califia Suntree on December 10th, 2012, 5:27 AM

    I neglected to do a homemade gift roundup last year (though I stand by my 2010 suggestions–particularly the cocoa mix, which I made again for a camping trip this summer), and now it’s a bit last-minute for 2012. But if you are like me, last minute is the name of the game. Last Christmas, I gave lemon-lime marmalade, which is a great last-minute canning project since citrus is in season and it’s ready to eat right away. I included a recommendation to use it as a marinade-booster or glaze for chicken and fish. Here’s a fresh batch of ideas for 2012!

    Go hyper-local: I’ll be making treats that feature the bounty of Oregon, my new home. I’m thinking maybe Tillamook cheese straws, hazelnut toffee and Willamette Valley pinot noir truffles. Wherever you live, there are local products and specialties that will be exciting and special to your friends and family who live far away. And if they live close by, they’ll still like them. (Who doesn’t love a cheese straw?)

    Make a personalized cookbook: If you have special food memories shared with a loved one, or dishes you make that you know they love, or recipes they’ve asked you for or that remind you of them, write them down in a little book. There’s something so lovely and romantic about longhand, and a handwritten cookbook is a truly personal memento. I’ve used these Kolo albums in the past, which have paper pages, and slid a little photo in the front.

    Sew some market totes: If you are a seamstress  or seamster (?), simple market tote bags are an quick project. Search the internet for a free pattern (like these). Sew the totes out of durable denim, canvas or duck, and doll them up with colorful webbing handles.

    Hit the bulk aisle: I don’t have really specific advice here, except that every time I wander down a well-stocked bulk aisle I start grabbing at things to experiment with: Bulk teas can be custom blended; bulk spices presented individually or mixed together; bulk nuts made into lovely snacks; bulk beans and grains can be made into soup mixes. Presentation is key here–cute little jars or glassine bags, plus ribbons and instruction cards, are key. Find your nearest bulk aisle, and get inspired.

    Finally, if you aren’t the DIY type, pick up a vintage treasure from the Spooning shop! Sure to please all the cooks on your list…


    Do you have a favorite handmade gift, to give or receive? Share it in the comments or on Twitter! 

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