Homemade Holiday Gifts

This extraordinary holiday season gives us the opportunity to spend more time at home creating gifts. We asked our staff and advertisers to give us the directions on items they will be making for their family and friends this holiday season. We are hoping you will take advantage of this unique time and opportunity and start a new tradition of making some of your gifts. Enjoy!
 
Notecards from Napkins
From Birdie Shannon, subscription coordinator
Here is an easy way to create your own greeting cards from paper napkins. You can also create a beautiful and original gift by creating sets of notecards. Perfect presents for all!
SUPPLIES:
Pretty cocktail or luncheon napkins, plastic wrap (such as Saran Wrap), card stock, double-sided tape or glue, mod podge (optional), card base and envelope, two sheets of copy paper, iron.
PREPARATION:
Most napkins are two- or three-ply (layers). Carefully pull the extra layers away from the top decorated piece. Cut napkin to roughly the size of your card size. In this example, we are making an A2 size card that is 5 1/2″ x 4 1/4″.
Cut a piece of card stock to 5 1/2″ x 4 1/4″.
Cut a piece of plastic wrap slightly larger than your card stock piece.
Set iron on the highest setting. You may want to gently iron the napkin to erase any wrinkles or embossing.
Place a sheet of copy paper on the ironing board. On top of the paper lay your card stock. Place the plastic wrap on top of the card stock making sure the entire card is covered. The plastic wrap can have some wrinkles but it should be fairly smooth. Next place the napkin (pretty side up) on top of the card stock making sure that it is straight and centered. Place the second sheet of copy paper on top. Make sure that there is no plastic wrap sticking outside the paper sandwich, as this will melt onto your iron.
Iron your paper sandwich making sure that you heat up all edges and corners of the card stock/napkin. The heat from the iron will bond the card stock and napkin together. The excess plastic wrap will tear away from the card stock/napkin when you remove the copy paper.
Trim the edges of the card stock, if necessary, for any napkin overhang. I usually trim the card stock to 5 1/4″ x 4″. This allows a small edge of the card base to show when the card is finished.
(Optional) Carefully paint a light coat of modge podge on top of the napkin/card stock. You may want to thin the modge podge with water. You can add additional layers, once the previous layer is dry.
Affix the napkin/card stock to the card base using double sided tape or glue. Card bases and envelopes are available in many colors at craft stores such as Michael’s, Jo Ann Fabrics and Hobby Lobby or on Amazon.
Many napkins come with a greeting in the design. If you wish to add a greeting, just type and print one from your computer on card stock. Trim and attach to card.

 
Oyster Shell Jewelry Trinket Dish or Desk Decor
From Vickie Kite Milburn, publisher
These lovely oyster shell trinkets are the perfect present for love, especially for your friends who have everything. Don’t tell anyone, but I’m making them for everyone on my list.
SUPPLIES:
Medium- or large-sized oyster shells. (This is the
perfect time to go out and enjoy a dozen and bring
home the shells)
Gold liquid paint (I used Martha Stewart’s gold
metallic acrylic paint)
Patterned cocktail napkins. (Look for those with medium or small images that would fit nicely on an oyster shell)
Mod Podge gloss
White acrylic paint
Fine grit sandpaper
Gloss clear spray
Fine and flat paint brushes
DIRECTIONS:
Soak your oyster shells in bleach and water for several days and then scrub them clean, let them dry. Paint the inside of your shell with the white paint and allow to dry. Separate the napkin layers. Most of the napkins are actually two-ply, so you need to separate the top decorated layer from the white napkin underneath, splitting the layers from the corner with your thumbs.
Arrange the napkin design on the shell, leaving excess over the shell, cutting away the extra. Paint a generous layer of mod podge on the inside of the shell. Gently apply the napkin into the shell, slowly smoothing out all wrinkles. Once the mod podge has dried, pull away the excess material with your fingers. Once you have the excess napkin pulled off, time to file down all the edges of the napkin to make sure it is flat and smooth.
Take your fine paintbrush and paint the rim of your oyster shell with the gold liquid leaf. A flat brush works well. Allow the paint to dry, turn over and paint the back side of the oyster shell. I do more of a wash over the shell, but you can paint the shell solid gold as well.
Seal the inside of the shell and leafed rim with gloss Mod Podge or shell shellac spray. You can make napkin rings with these as well, drilling a hole and adding jute with matching wooden beads.
Allow to dry and gift!
Wrap in a beautiful box with a special note telling your recipient how special they are. The world is your oyster; you are the pearl!
 
Candy Christmas Trees

From Christy Oliff, longtime advertiser, owner of ADU. When we were younger my mother and sister would make these and give them to our family and friends. People love them and they look festive and fun.

MATERIALS:
Styrofoam cone in the shape of a Christmas tree
4 yards of red or green ribbon
4 bags of individually wrapped Christmas candy pieces.
(The smaller the candy, the more you will need.)
You can use Hersey kisses, peppermints, or any candy with a decorative wrapper
Star for top of the tree
Box of stick pins
DIRECTIONS:
Cut strips of ribbon the length of your cone and cover the entire cone
using the pins to adhere.
Using the stick pins adhere the ribbon to the cone, completely covering.
Add the star to the top of the tree shape, using hot glue.
Pin individually wrapped candy to the cones in a circle starting at the bottom until the whole cone is covered.
Attach the bow … and enjoy!
 
Canine Cookies
From Andra Perdomo, creative director. Treat your dog’s furry neighborhood friends and family members to a gift bag of homemade goodies this howliday season. What better way to say thanks for playing, sniffing and wagging your tail with me all year than through a tasty and healthy treat! The puppers will gobble them up and be barking for more!
Puppy Love Treats
INGREDIENTS:
1 egg
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
(no xylitol or sugar substitutes – they can be harmful to dogs)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oats
1 banana, mashed
1 apple, grated
PREPARATION:
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Knead dough until a ball forms. If the dough is sticky, add a bit more flour. Roll dough out on a floured surface and cut with bone shaped cookie cutters. Bake at 300° for 25 minutes. Let cool on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month or six months in the freezer.

Doggie delight Biscuits
INGREDIENTS:
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
2 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup natural peanut butter (no xylitol or sugar
substitutes)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
PREPARATION:
In a large bowl, stir applesauce, pumpkin, eggs and peanut butter until combined. Add in flour and cinnamon until
combined. Flour a flat surface and roll dough out to 1/4 inch. Cut shapes out of dough and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes. Let cool on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month or six months in the freezer.
 
Christmas morning scones
From Lisa Kelley, writer
INGREDIENTS:
1 cup blanched almond flour
¼ cup coconut flour
3 T. monk fruit
½ tsp. gluten-free baking powder
¼ tsp. sea salt
¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
2 T. melted coconut oil
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup white chocolate
1/3 cup dried cranberries
PREPARATION:
Preheat oven to 350. Line sheet tray with parchment. In a bowl, combine dry ingredients (excluding chocolate and cranberries). In another bowl, whisk wet ingredients. Fold the wet mixture into the dry until a dough forms. Fold in the chocolate and cranberries. Form a disk with the dough and cut into 8 wedges. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until golden.
 
Face Masks
From Carrie Lovejoy, contributing writer. This year there is a completely different kind of unique gift we can make for friends. I never would have thought I would be making pandemic masks for friends, but here we are. Since the pandemic started in March, I’ve been piecing together masks from scrap fabric. Once I realized we were going to need these masks a lot longer than we ever thought, I decided it was time to make them special. I bought a yard apiece of several fun prints that I thought my friends would like. I’ve been making masks for sports teams, animals, music and other hobbies. While I know it will be a bit strange to get a pandemic mask for Christmas, I also know these cute printed fabrics will make one of the most useful gifts I’ve ever given.

SUPPLIES FOR ONE MASK:
2 pieces of 6” x 9” fabric
2 pieces of ¼-inch elastic cut to 7” each
PREPARATION:
Cut out two pieces of fabric to 6” x 9” each.
Cut elastic into two pieces measuring 7 inches each.
Place the two pieces of fabric right sides together.
Measure a 3-inch opening in the top so you can turn it right side out when you are finished sewing. Sew the top and bottom edges only.
Place the elastic inside the mask and pin it to the top and bottom of each side, keeping it entirely encased in the fabric. It will be on the outside when you turn it later. Sew each side completely closed, back-stitching on the elastic.
Turn the mask right side out from the hole you left in the top.
Press the mask flat and add 2-3 pleats. Pin the pleats flat. Stitch all around the edge of the mask to enclose it and lock the pleats in place.

Still have questions? There are some fine tutorials on YouTube and printable mask patterns can be found online.
 
Stress Relief Salt and Scrub
From Bonnie Farmer, advertising assistant. 2020 – a year full of surprises, stressors and challenges. What better way to treat family and friends this holiday season than with a little pampering love! My daughter and I made sugar scrub as one of our many quarantine projects this year which we easily adapted into these recipes for the Christmas season. Peppermint Bath Salts and Gingerbread Sugar Scrub for the Shower … we’ve got you covered!
Peppermint Bath Salts
INGREDIENTS:
3 cups of epsom bath salts
2 T. of your preferred oil, jojoba or fractionated coconut oil
24 drops of peppermint essential oil
2 T. (or more) red sugar sprinkles
DIRECTIONS:
Pour epsom salts into a large mixing bowl. Add in the oil and mix well, breaking up any clumps. Sprinkle in your colored sugar sprinkles until they are evenly distributed. Scoop the peppermint bath salts into jars and seal to maintain freshness.
To use: Pour 1/2 cup of the salts into a warm bath as the water is filling. Soak in the bath for at least 15 minutes to receive full benefits.
Gingerbread Sugar Scrub
INGREDIENTS:
2 cups of sugar (I used turbinado)
1 cup of coconut oil softened
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 T. molasses
DIRECTIONS:
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Pour mixture into the
container of your choice.
To use: Gently massage over damp skin, rinse.