How to Make the World’s Simplest Gifts I love to explore the world by using the materials around me, to not only create little odds and ends for myself, but to make things for the people around me and the special individuals in my life. There is definitely a unique feeling associated with receiving a gift (I mean, who doesn’t like getting presents). However, I personally think there is an even more special feeling when you give a gift to someone. As the air gets colder, and the Fall months seem to be rolling in ever so quickly, giving is on my mind. However, you don’t just have to wait for a holiday to give something special to your loved ones! With these four unique and fun gifts, which are SUPER easy and quick to make may I add, you will be able to supply the people in your life with thoughtful gifts all year round!1. Homemade Rosemary and Lavender Salt
Makes: 1 cup of saltTime: 5 minutesWhat You NeedHalf-pint canning jar ($2.49 each, containerstore.com)Coarse finishing salt (Celtic Sea Salt®, 1 lb, $5.00, amazon.com)Dried rosemary (Dried Rosemary Leaf, 4 oz, $3.00, Mountain Rose Herbs)Dried lavender (CHEFS Dried Lavender, 0.40 oz, $7.95, Target)Small mixing bowlCraft ribbon (Stitches Craft Ribbon, $4.99, Joann)Gift tags (Printable, free from putitinajar.com)Metallic cordWhat To Do1. Canning jars are a practical and stylish packaging choice for handmade gifts, especially edible ones. For a flavored salt that can transform an ordinary dish into one that is fragrant, delicious, and unique, try this simple recipe.2. Measure ¾ cup of coarse salt, 2 tablespoons of dried rosemary, and 2 tablespoons of dried lavender in a small mixing bowl. Gently stir the ingredients until the salt, rosemary leaves, and lavender are evenly mixed.3. Pour the mixed ingredients into a clean ½ pint canning jar. Screw the lid tightly onto the jar.4. Print out a gift label of your choosing and attach it to the jar with the metallic cord. Decorate the jar with ribbon or coarse twine tied in a small bow.2. Mason Jar Hot Cocoa Mix
Makes: 1 quarts of hot cocoa mixTime: 10 minutesWhat You NeedQuart-sized canning jars ($2.99 each, containerstore.com)Powdered milkUnsweetened cocoa powderGranulated sugarSaltChocolate chipsCandy canesMini marshmallows (all food items should be available at your local grocery store)Ziploc sandwich bagKitchen malletCraft ribbon (Stitches Craft Ribbon, $4.99, Joann)Gift tags (Printable, free from putitinajar.com)Metallic cordWhat To Do1. Fall is the perfect time of year to concoct the perfect hot cocoa recipe. These jar-packaged gifts aren’t just pretty to look at; they’re delicious, too. It’s a good idea to make enough jars so you can keep one or two at home.2. Place 3 candy canes inside a Ziploc bag. Lightly crush the candy canes using the mallet.3. Measure ½ cup of powdered milk into the jar. Measure ½ cup of unsweetened cocoa into the jar, carefully ensuring layers are kept separate. Measure ½ cup granulated sugar and add a third layer. Add a dash of salt.4. Measure ¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips and add a fourth layer to the mix. Ensure all layers are tightly packed and separated.5. Measure ¼ cup crushed candy canes and add a fifth layer on top of the chocolate chips. Top off with mini marshmallows, as many as you can fit.6. Screw the lid tightly onto the jar, making sure layers remain separated.7. Print out a gift tag of your choosing and attach it to the jar with the metallic cord. Decorate the jar with ribbon or coarse twine tied in a small bow.3. Easy Button Bracelet
Makes: 1 elastic button braceletTime: 20 minutesWhat You NeedColorful buttons, assortedRoll of ¼-inch elasticNeedleWhite threadScissorsSmall jewelry gift boxRibbon (craft supplies can be purchased at Joann, or at your local craft store)What To Do1. If you can sew on a button, you can make this charming vintage bracelet.2. Measure 6 to 8 inches of ¼-inch elastic and cut. 6 inches would be for someone with a smaller wrist, while 8 inches would be for someone with a larger wrist. Most people fall in the middle; use your discretion.3. Cut a small length of thread. Thread the needle and sew one end of the elastic to the other, creating a band. This will be the base for your bracelet. Add a few extra stitches to make the band secure, if you’d like.4. Choose which buttons you’ll use. Begin sewing the buttons onto the elastic, overlapping slightly to create a layered effect. You can sew buttons individually or use one length of thread to connect all of them. It’s a good idea to double up your thread as you sew. Complete with a double knot, and snip any loose ends of thread.5. Place the finished bracelet in the small gift box, and tie with a ribbon.4. Chunky Sidewalk Chalk
Makes: 6 sticks of homemade chalk (or as many as you want)Time: 12 hours (for air drying)What You NeedTempera paint, colors of choicePlaster of ParisMasking tapeCellophane gift bagsCraft ribbonScissors (craft supplies can be purchased at Michaels)Ziploc sandwich baggiesMixing bowlsWaterWax paperMeasuring tape or rulerCupPaper tubes (best to use thinner ones – such as paper towel, wrapping paper, or aluminum foil tubes)What To Do6. Sidewalk chalk is a great handmade gift for kids and families; it can provide hours of fun on a sunny day. While the time needed for this simple craft project may seem daunting, don’t worry; almost all of it will be spent waiting for your chalk sticks to dry.7. Measure out 5-inch segments on the paper tubes. Using the scissors, cut each tube into 5-inch long segments – the perfect size for small hands. Prepare as many 5-inch tubes as you want sticks of chalk.8. Use rolled wax paper to line the inside of the tubes. Cover one end of each tube with masking tape to prevent leakage.9. For the first chalk stick, start with 2-3 tablespoons of tempera paint in a mixing bowl. You can use pure paint or mix colors as desired. Mix the paint with ¾ cup of plaster of Paris.10. Using a spoon, carefully transfer the mixture into a sandwich baggie. Snip the end of the baggie and squeeze the contents of the baggie into one of the tubes. Place the tube in the cup, masking tape down, so that it is situated upright.11. Repeat as desired, using a different color in each tube. You can also use an extra strip of masking tape to make a ring around your sticks of chalk to keep them vertical in the cup.12. Wait 12 hours for the mixture to dry at room temperature, then peel the tubes and wax paper lining off of the sticks.13. Arrange the chalk sticks in a cellophane gift bag and tie with a ribbon and small bow for gift giving.
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