Happy Tuesday Everyone!
I hope everyone’s week is off to a nice start and all that jazz. It’s slightly warmer today than it has been, much to everyone’s dismay here in Cali, but it’s a great start to the week for me other than that! I managed to get a lot done over the weekend in terms of gifts for the holidays, blogging, holiday shopping and even got back into doing Insanity and eating very healthily this week! Just yesterday, I made my lunches for the week, did a 4 mile walk with my boyfriend and did an Insanity workout so I’m feeling quite accomplished! Back on the subject of gifts, I managed to start a few of the DIY gifts I’ll be giving away this year that actually require a bit of time to make and it got me thinking that it’s a great way to give presents without breaking the bank and it’s super personal so here’s a few of my favorites that I thought I’d share with you all that are really easy. Some are ones I’ve done this past weekend (or started, rather) and others are ones I may try, have tried or want to try in the future.
Homemade DIY Lemoncello
I used this recipe from Dine & Dish to make this, but there are tons of variations online when you type into google; I just picked one I liked that wasn’t too elaborate. You will see that recipes vary the amount of sugar, water, lemons and vodka used. My advice is if you want a more sour flavor, use less sugar, and if you want it to be sweeter, use more sugar (obviously, but just in case! Sometimes I’m slow to the show with these sort of things ahaha ). Anyway, I’ve posted the basic breakdown below of what I used and my method, but you can refer back to the Dine & Dish recipe, if you prefer something more structured.
- 6 lemons – the recipe says to use only the rind / zest (outer layers ) of the lemons, but I used the entire thing. I just cut them up into small pieces and separated the zest and center so the flavors would be released. No word on how good or bad it will taste haha.
- 1 (750-ml) bottle vodka – I used some random brand from Finland that I got at Target. It cost me $11.99. I will be separating the liquor into smaller bottles (similar to the one I made the vanilla extract in! ) to give as gifts over the holidays.
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
The basic breakdown of this recipe is to let the lemon rind/peel infuse in the vodka for around 1 week, though some recipes call for more time than that. Then, you dissolve the sugar in the water on the stove to make your own simple syrup, which is basically homemade sweetener. You add it, as desired, to the liquor, depending on how sweet you want it to be. I love this idea for a gift because 1. I’m Italian and this recipe is too! and 2. it’s simple, easy, and liquor is always appreciated as a gift, in my opinion. Plus, I’ll be sorting them into smaller, more decorative bottles so its really cute as a gift, but I spent very little on it – Thank God! LOL. I’m on a strict budget this year.
Homemade DIY Vanilla Extract
I got my recipe for this from TidyMom, but there are literally tons out there because the recipe is so simple and easy, though the kind of vanilla beans you use will determine the ultimate flavor you get in your end result. Check out TidyMom’s recipe for a breakdown of the different types of beans and their ultimate flavoring. I’ve used Mexican vanilla beans, but you can use any kind you like for a variety of flavors. All you do is put 3-6 vanilla beans (sliced open lengthwise) into a bottle of your choice and fill up with vodka. Let it sit for 6 weeks or more and then it’s done! You can leave the beans in for more steeping or you can take them out. Leaving them in will further develop the flavor, but it doesn’t matter really. I just wanted to make this one; I haven’t really decided if I want to give it as a gift or not yet. What do you guys think?
Homemade DIY Bath Soak
This was soo easy! I didn’t use any recipe for this as I already know how to make this one without it, but there are tons out there to choose from. For mine, I used a large jar from Michaels (cost – about $5.99) to store it in.
For the soak, I used 1 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup rose powder, 12 cup milk powder, 1/2 cup kaolin clay (but you can used any clay for detoxing purposes!), and 1/4 cup ground up oatmeal. Then, to fill up the entire jar, I doubled this recipe.
There are tons and tons of ideas out there for making or decorating your own ornaments for the holidays to put on your own tree or give as gifts, but this one is my favorite! I really love how green, whimsical, and earthy it looks. They also have some which involve painting that look fun and some others that look like they’d make great crafts for kids to do.
DIY Hot Chocolate Gift + Mini Alcohol
I haven’t decided yet whether I want to include this hot chocolate idea in with the lemoncello that I’ll be giving away or not, but it does look really cute together, no? This idea incorporates tiny store bought liquor (Kahlua, to be exact) which would be cool to use as well as making your own variation. Please don’t try to make your own alcohol, though; this is not Moonshiners! That stuff is so dangerous – you don’t want to be killing anyone this holiday, no matter how annoying they might be.
DIY Sharpie / Porcelain Marker Mug, Dish, Etc.
I love love LOVE this idea! It’s so simple, but you can absolutely customize it to the person you’re giving it to or you can customize all your own porcelain coffee cups too! I love the idea of putting quotes in cursive on cups. I’m actually doing this idea (or a variation of it) for a relative this year because it’s so cute and easy. All you do is draw on your cup with chosen porcelain marker(s) as you like and that’s it. There are also ideas out there for drawing on ceramic mugs with sharpies and then baking them to seal in the marker which look cool. Other ideas involve painting or marking up your own dishes and baking them or using porcelain markers, depending. They all look awesome!
DIY Baked Goods Gift
This is such a fantastic gift to give, especially if you’re strapped for cash. It looks adorable and it won’t cost you very much at all. I love how this idea involves using tissue paper and waxed paper to make the cute packaging!
DIY Gourmet Food Basket
I love how easy and simple this idea is! It’s relatively cheap and these ideas for baskets can be themed and don’t exactly have to be food. I think food is a great idea for those who love gourmet or are foodies or chefs or something, but you could branch this out to those who like games, movies, books, or anything, really, so that it’s personal, but also fun and affordable.
DIY Beauty / Makeup Board
I love this idea for a magnet board that allows your makeup to stick to it! How easy it would be for me to find things if my beauty products were organized like this! This is such a cute, fun gift idea for beauty addicts like myself, no?
DIY Baby Gift Basket / Flowers / Cupcakes
I think this idea is so cute! There are tons out there for baby gift ideas like this one. I actually will be doing one this year where you roll onesies up and put them into foils so they look like cupcakes. It’s so adorable! This one is also really nice as well and the finished result looks so great – like you’re all pro – but in reality it’s easy haha. I love gifts like this that make me look overly impressive without much effort. Just saying.
So, have you tried or are you planning on trying any cool DIY gift ideas this year?
If so, what are they?
Please share with me in the comments!