A Homemade Christmas

In an attempt to avoid random retail rip-offs this year, we decided to go the route of thoughtful and homemade gifts.

First up, Gift #1: My husband’s hobby du jour: Pickling. I fully embraced this concept as a gift, especially as classic Ball Jars (that the goods come in), are so cute. They can be used as drinking vessels,as vases,for organizing kids art supplies, for pickling, and on and on.I can’t get enough of them.

The actual pickling, he says is easy (my part is more like color coordinating the ribbons as a final touch)

The recipe is made to taste based on your palette, but basically: One part water, one part white vinegar, handful of salt, boil it, let it cool. In the pickle jar, add one crushed garlic clove, peppercorns, pinch of chili flakes, dill weed, refrigerate for 24 hrs. and voila. We made pickles, pickled carrots, pickled fennel, pickled green beans, and can’t wait to pickle some more.

Gift #2: Ever since, high school, I have loved cutting paper (mostly from magazines)and making collages. Along the way, this craft has morphed into the art of decoupage. I’ve applied this technique to so many objects over the years, lamp shades, light plates, boxes, buckets, etc. This year it was photo frames. My favorite “varnish” is made and sold by Nantucket artisan Leslie Linsley.

Gift #3 Shadow shell boxes.  I was inspired to make these after seeing something similar at Gumps in San Francisco.

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