Merry Christmas…Happy Holidays!
This is the first year with my daughter having a serious boyfriend at Christmas. Things only recently became serious and so there’s always those awkward moments of Christmas gift giving. How much do you spend on each other, how personal do you make the items, and more to the point of this post….does this mean your mother is supposed to get your boyfriend a gift too? Well upon finding out that his mom has a gift for Sam, I decided then that it would be ok for me to give him one too. I had a couple cute pictures of the two of them from a family party and so decided that a framed photo would be a nice gift (I made one for my daughter too).
This is just a plain wooden frame from the dollar store. With the frame being $1 and the printed photo being $2…add in a few on hand craft supplies and this is a very reasonably priced but sweet gift. I began by covering the frame with three different materials (done in sections). In a couple of areas, I used masking tape (see my post about the masking tape technique I use but basically in this case it was just torn pieces of masking tape, overlapping each other), in others I used clear packing tape, and finally in the last few sections I used metal repair tape.
Then I put three colours of alcohol inks on a cosmetic sponge and sponged over the entire surface. In the areas where the metal tape is, of course, you get a metallic look, in the areas of packing tape, it’s a glossy look, and in the areas of masking tape, it’s a matte look.
The frame had only one hanger on the back and of course it was made for it to hang vertically so I used my favourite DIY method (hey, it’s recycling too!) and hot glued on a pop can tab.
We’re having Christmas dinner at Sam’s boyfriend’s parents’ house with his extended family. I asked to bring some kind of food but was told that it was all taken care of and that I could bring some white wine for dinner if I wanted to. So I got a bottle of white wine but a) I’m not much of a wine drinker unless it’s in sangria or something like that and b) I wanted to do something a little special so I’m taking some mulled wine (wassail) as well. I got a bottle of red wine (doesn’t have to be an expensive one – once you add the spices and such to it, it won’t taste cheap anymore anyway!) and here are the ingredients I’m adding to it:
Note: This is for about 2 of the basic sized bottles of wine (or 1 of the large ones as I have):
1 T. black peppercorns
6 whole allspice (can you believe they were sold out of whole allspice EVERYWHERE? So I’m using ground but the whole is better)
2 star anise
3 cinnamon sticks
8 whole cloves
about an inch of fresh ginger, chopped up (i’m using candied ginger which adds a nice little sweetness to it)
some citrus zest – pretty much to your taste but I’m using about 8 pieces of it that are strips 2 1/2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide – mine is candied citrus zest but plain works too
1/2-3/4 c. honey – I’m using the lower amount because of using candied ginger and candied citrus zest – if using plain, I would go for the higher amount. When I make a mulling mix to give as a gift, I make it with a base of brown sugar – that is substituted for the honey and allows you to put together a dry mix that they can just add to their wine. I used to cut oranges in half (keeping the fruit for another recipe or eating it!) and scoop the fruit out from the orange halves to leave a shell. I’d put these in my oven on the lowest setting and dry them out. Pack the brown sugar mixture into the shell and then reserving some of the ingredients like the cinnamon sticks (broken in half), some of the whole allspice/cloves/star anise, I’d create a design on top of the brown sugar mixture to make it look festive. Wrap these in clear cellophane and give as gifts. They make nice stocking stuffers or great hostess gifts. You can even tie them onto the neck of a bottle of wine and give it that way!
You can everything except the wine and the honey into the basket of an old coffee percolator if you have one (saw that tip on a cooking show recently – you may need to line it with some cheesecloth to prevent any small pieces from falling in) or you can make it as I always do in a slow cooker. I put the dry ingredients into a bag of cheesecloth or one of those tea infusion balls and float that in the honey/wine mixture. Let this mull for at least an hour or two before serving.