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The personal touch
1:43pm Wednesday 20th October 2010 in Gift Guide
If you’ve not got a lot of money to spend on Christmas presents, or even if you do but prefer to give your gifts the personal touch, making that special something for your loved ones can be a very satisfying experience at this time of year.
And, contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to start working on your handmade presents months in advance to get everything finished on time – with a little careful planning, and being careful not to overstretch yourself, anything is possible.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Unless you’re a seasoned and speedy knitter, it’s unlikely you’ll have time to fit in more than about one jumper before now and the big day.
Instead, though, you could try some smaller projects – a scarf knitted on big needles will grow quickly and still look stunning, and hats are relatively quick to do, as are garments for babies.
And these can all be done in front of the telly during the evening, which is relaxing as well as productive.
There are many free patterns available on the internet – try www.knitty.com as a starting point – and you should be able to find something that suits your level of ability and time limit.
If not, pop along to your local craft shop for wool and advice.
Proper soap making takes gloves, goggles, potentially nasty chemicals, and more oil than you’ve ever seen in your life.
However, it’s possible to cheat a little and buy some ready-made soap base, known in the business as “melt and pour”, add your own colours and fragrances to it, and create beautiful scented gifts.
And all you really need is a microwave (to melt the base) and a mould to pour it in to – for which you can use a loaf tin, or a small roasting pan, or any other non-aluminium-based container you might find in a kitchen.
And then all you have to worry about is the packaging.
It is incredibly simple to make deliciously scented bath salts – mix one cup of epsom salts (available from the soap making websites left) with a quarter of a cup full of sea salt and three tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda (both of which are available at the supermarket).
Then add a few drops of food colouring – not too much or you’ll stain the bath – and a few drops of the essential oil of your choice to fragrance.
Collect a bunch of jars with lids from your usual recycling collection to put them in, and dress them up with a bit of ribbon and a homemade label.
Find a favourite biscuit recipe, and make several batches.
Then wrap a stack of ten biscuits up in some nice cellophane with a bit of Christmassy ribbon.
Or, alternatively, make batches of peppermint creams, and wrap them up in attractive festive boxes.
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