_Gift & Craft Tips

Serves: 5



Surprise a friend with the first blooms of Spring! Pick up some early annuals and leave them on her doorstep...a sweet reminder that Summer's right around the corner!

Vintage glass milk bottles and vases can be dressed up with paint...many craft varieties are made just for glass. Paint festive polka dots, stripes in old-fashioned colors or a whimsical checkerboard.

Put together a set of canisters for a blushing bride-to-be. Pick up a mismatched set in retro colors and toss in a few tried & true recipes as well.

Surprise a new neighbor with a stack of soup bowls wrapped up in a tea towel along with a favorite soup recipe...don't forget the crackers!

What a thoughtful housewarming gift! Give neighbors a new mailbox including the house number, address labels, stationery and stamps. Don't forget to include some fun pens too.

Coordinate a garden gift in a new flower pot...paint the pot to match the gloves then tuck in seed packets and a new trowel.

Create customized canisters with just a little craft glass paint. Add a flourish of script with the help of stencils or add a simple initial in a color that matches the kitchen. Try etching cream on glass canisters for a touch of frost!

Dress up pillowcases with whimsical buttons. Just sew them onto the finished edge of the pillow...line up in a row or make a polka-dot pattern with old-fashioned favorites.

Fill an old-fashioned blue canning jar with freshly roasted coffee beans...attach a hand-stamped or printed label. Tuck into a basket with some flavored non-dairy creamer, a few mugs and some yummy brownies. A gift coffee lovers will enjoy!

Herb gardens smell wonderful on a kitchen windowsill...why not give one to a special friend? Place individually potted herbs inside a wooden crate or a retro-style tin. How thoughtful!

Turn a vacation memento into a candle that can be enjoyed year 'round...place a wick in the center of a scallop shell and fill with melted wax. So easy!

Overrun with tomatoes, corn and peppers from the garden? Pick out the best of the bunch, tuck into a basket or vintage pail and surprise a neighbor!

Instant charm! Cover everyday frames, mirrors and boxes with squares of bright scrapbook paper, vintage fabric or even wallpaper remnants found at hardware stores. Create a patchwork effect with larger pieces and decoupage a chair, table or headboard.

Sew an easy pouch or buy cloth bags at the craft store to fill with dried flowers or fragrant herbs. Simple sachets are so pretty tied with a satin ribbon or raffia!

Roll up brightly colored dish towels and tie with a ribbon or some raffia. Place in a basket for a quick & easy housewarming or shower gift!

Use vintage mini cake molds to make charming candles. Use melted colored wax or a mixture of white wax and colored candies...a birthday candle in the center makes an easy wick. Perfect last minute gifts for birthdays, holidays or anytime!

Layer colorful jellybeans or candy-coated chocolates in a glass vase for a sweet surprise for a friend or co-worker...don't forget to tie with a ribbon!

Spend a day at the apple orchard with the family and surprise a neighbor with a bushel basket full of red, gold and green apples. Add a batch of caramel apple dip for a sweet treat!

Kitchen gifts are welcome for any occasion! Tie up a few long cinnamon sticks or a bundle of dried herbs with a bow or fill a small bag with personalized herb blends from the garden.

Frame fall's foliage in a wooden frame and hang in small groups. Dip leaves in glycerine, let dry and glue onto heavy white paper...stamp a label underneath, if desired.

Fill a Shaker-style box with homemade goodies and pass on to a dear friend. Use paints or rubber stamps to personalize the box and tie it all up with raffia.

Add a lovely touch of nature to white pillar candles. Lay the candle on its side and place colorful autumn leaves on the surface. Working on newspaper, spoon melted wax over the leaves until they are covered. Allow melted wax to cool and smooth surface with the back of a spoon.

Press pretty autumn leaves between 2 sheets of wax paper and place a cloth on top. Using a warm iron, press and then let cool. Trim the edges of the wax paper with pinking shears. Use as a placemat or cut out individual leaves, add a ribbon and hang in a sunny window!

Fill an oversized mug with some flavored tea bags and a new tea ball...give along with a good book for an afternoon of relaxation.

Remember the littlest trick-or-treater with a photo snapped on the big night! Frame with a mat decorated with Halloween stickers or old-fashioned candy wrappers.

Make handmade gifts even more special with clever tags. Make a pumpkin from a fat button or cut the tag into the shape of a leaf!

Fill up a simple glass jar with an assortment of hazelnuts, almonds, pecans and walnuts in their shells. Tie with a homespun ribbon for an easy hostess gift.

Sew a few old-fashioned yo-yo's out of orange fabric scraps and secure the middle with a button. Add a little green square for the stem and string together for a fun harvest garland!

Transfer gilded imprints of fall foliage onto simple cotton napkins in no time. Using a foam brush, apply a little gold paint to the backs of collected oak, maple or sycamore leaves and stamp away...just right for Thanksgiving dinner!

Look for die-cut wood shapes at craft stores...pick up an apple, a pig or even an old-fashioned milk bottle. Paint with 2 coats of chalkboard paint and add a stick-on magnet to the back. Hang on the fridge for a quick & easy memo board.

A new twist on the gift of a favorite recipe! Give a copy of the cookbook it's in and the ingredients to make the special dish...bundle it all up in a pretty basket or new mixing bowl.

Take advantage of the finished edges of vintage-style dish towels and transform them into pretty pillows in minutes! Using a straight stitch, leave a margin of about 2 inches on 3 sides, stuff and finish stitching across the fourth side. Add buttons, ribbon or trim along the edges, if desired.

Frame a photo for a loved one and decorate a simple frame with candy conversation hearts...how sweet! Brush some clear sealant over the hearts to keep them looking bright.

Giving a tin of homemade goodies for Christmas this year? Make it easier for little hands to open them up by gluing a pretty ribbon inside the lid. Leave a loop of ribbon hanging out of the tin and they can just pull up on it to get to the goodies!

Lay votives end-to-end and roll up in tulle...tie the ends with curly ribbon for a festive stocking stuffer or package tie-on!

Combine one cup cinnamon and 3/4 cup applesauce with 2 tablespoons craft glue to make cinnamon-apple ornaments. Roll out dough, cut with cookie cutters and let dry...hang on a tree or in the center of a wreath!

Deliver a dose of sunshine to a dear friend on a snowy afternoon. Fill a galvanized pail with oranges, tie on a bow and leave it on their doorstep...how sweet!

Surprise newlyweds with dressed-up towels...sew washable ribbon onto plain bath and hand towels in coordinating colors. For a no-sew version, use iron-on adhesive to secure ribbon in place!

Make a memo board in the blink of an eye! Cover a piece of plywood with cotton batting and fabric stapled into place on the back. Create a latticework of ribbon overtop, pull taut and secure with straight pins around the edges...staple in place on the back. Slip vintage photos, postcards or other mementos behind the ribbon!

Make your own homespun ribbon for wrapping up country gifts! Just tear vintage-style fabric along the grain. For a truly vintage look, try tea-staining the fabric. What could be easier?

Transform terra cotta pots or bowls with hard candy...just glue wrapped candies all around the edges. Fill with treats and it'll be just right for giving homemade goodies at the holidays or anytime!

Spruce up inexpensive baskets by trimming the edge with a sparkly wired ribbon. Add a plastic liner and place 3 or 4 little pots of herbs inside...an easy gift for any season!

A new twist on gift bags...instead of folding the tops over, punch a hole in the top and close with a grosgrain ribbon. Attach beads or buttons to the ends of the ribbon, if desired.

Look for unfinished wood pieces at the craft store to make seasonal decorating easy. Stencil or stamp tissue boxes, crates or picture frames to welcome the holidays year 'round.

For a thoughtful gift, attach colorful ribbon or rick-rack along the edges of a plain journal. Be sure to include a fun pen or pencil!

Wow 'em with wallpaper! Make plain-jane frames extra special by covering them with wallpaper remnants...add ribbon or sparkly beads too.

Make some edible gifts to pass out at this year's open house! Just cut out a star or a tree from a paper lunch bag, paste vellum over the hole from the inside to form a window...fill with homemade treats or candy and tie with bow!

From "5 Ingredients or Less!" Copyright Gooseberry Patch. Used with permission of the publisher, Gooseberry Patch. All Rights Reserved.

This _Gift & Craft Tips recipe is from the Gooseberry Patch: 5 Ingredients or Less! Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.

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