Tag Archives: gift ideas

Ideas for craft projects

24 Jan

A round up of some great craft projects found on pinterest.

Origami heart bookmark via Bloomize

DIY Stencil pillows via Wit and Whistle

Sweet hand made teabags - what a great gift tag idea!

Amazing upcycled map drawers via Richmond Thrifter

Have you seen any good craft projects lately? Share them in the comments!

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Sloe gin: the final product

29 Dec

The sloe gin we started back in September was finally finished off the week before Christmas. We bought some really lovely bottles from a kitchen shop down the road for around £4 each.

The sloes were strained from the liquid, first just using a regular strainer, then again using some kitchen roll, to make sure all the sediment was removed.

We overestimated how much we would get, which was a shame, meaning it wasn’t quite as cheap as expected at around £11 per bottle.  In the end, we only produced two medium sized bottles of the stuff. But, it was (is!) delicious. Well worth the money and effort and something we will definitely be doing again next year.

East London Design Show

8 Dec

Another weekend, another great design show. This is a great time of year to see what artists and designers in your city have been up to as the Christmas fairs bring together so many people to show off their work.

The East London Design Show was held in the gorgeous Shoreditch Town Hall, which I have only ever been into the basement of, so I was excited to see the rest of the building. There were hundreds of artists, and lots of really interesting and creative ideas on display.

I came away with a brilliant giant calendar and weekly planner from Katy n June and saw a few other bits I really liked these little critters (below) from NooDoll.

Another favourite was the brightly coloured stand from Kate Clarke.

The Make Do and Draw stand was amazing – tiny wooden models of streets. They can even create a doll’s house of your house if you give them all the dimensions. So much detailed work!

Not pictured but also worth a mention: Heart Zeena had some great Christmas tape, which I bought (and have already used here), Goodwin & Goodwin‘s letter holders were brilliant and I was seriously tempted to buy one for myself, and great stationery from Lollipop Designs.

Sloe gin: An update

1 Nov

About a month and a half ago, P and I made our first ever batch of sloe gin. We hand pricked each one and have been religiously turning the bottles every week to stir up the sloes inside.

Now, half way through the process, the liquer looks amazing! It has gone a deep pinky red from the fruit and appears to be a bit thicker as well. The sugar has completely dissolved into the alcohol. I’m planning on bottling this up in small bottles and creating hand made labels to give them as gifts over Christmas. I’ll do another post when they’re all finished so that you can see the final result!

Gift idea: Sloe Gin

13 Sep

Although Christmas feels a long way away now, it will be here before you know it. I have a special ‘Christmas’ bank account, which I save a small amount of money into every month, but I always spend more than the alloted amount to buy extra presents for my family. This year, however, I need to be good and will be attempting to make those little extra gifts myself.

The first crafty gift idea is Sloe Gin. I’m writing about this SO in advance of Christmas because it takes a very long time to make. The preparation takes an hour or so, but the finished product then takes another 2-3 months to mature.

This gift was inspired by my fiance’s foraging tour earlier this summer with Miles Irving, author of The Forager Handbook, at Latitude earlier this summer. Sloes are commonly found in hedgerows all over the country and a freely available to anyone with a eye for spotting them and the ability to avoid the thorns.We had planned to go foraging for them on a long countryside walk we are planning next weekend, but then a visit from P’s mum resulted in a huge bag of them, so we got started straight away!

750g of sloes

There are quite a lot of very different recipes on the internet, but in the end we used this recipe from the BBC, and multiplied the quantites to match the large bowl of sloes we were given.  Make sure you sterilise any bottles you use before filling them.

280g of caster sugar divided between two bottles

We didn’t have a large enough jar, so used two 750cl bottles instead and divided the sloes, sugar and gin evenly between them.

Pricking the sloes

If you haven’t picked the sloes after the first frost, you will need to prick each one individually. I thought this would be a faff, but it ended up being rather relaxing. P’s initial suggestion was to use a big kitchen knife (!?), but luckily my suggestion of a toothpick worked very well (and with rather less opportunity for self-harm).

Add the gin!

Next, add around 700ml of gin. If, like P, you like a G&T, make yourself a tasty drink at the same time.  The higher the alcohol content, the better it works, so we went for a 43% proof London dry gin.

Day one of the sloe gin!

And that’s it!

Well, not quite.

You need to store the bottles in a dark, dry place. We have put them in our bedroom closet. For the first week, you need to shake it every other day and following that you need to shake it once a week. Do this for 2-3 months and soon you will (apparently!) have a beautiful, deep red liqueur.

The only cost for this gift idea comes from the gin and then, if you want to give it away in nice bottles, from the cost of the bottles. The gin cost £15 and we estimate spending around £3 per bottle (which I will design some pretty labels for). We want to create 3-4 350ml bottles from this, so it will be a cost of around £6.75-£8 each.  However, if you save up 350ml bottles (which gin and other liquors come in) and put new labels on, each gift would cost just £3.75-£5. Not bad for delicious homemade liqueur!

The BBC recipe mentions that you can do the same thing using Blackberries and Brandy, which sounds AMAZING, so perhaps we will be doing some foraging next weekend after all…

UPDATED 13/09/11: Apparently, if you don’t want to prick each sloe individually, you can spread them out on a tray and place in the freezer to imitate the first frost. Take out as soon as the skins split.

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