Homemade Christmas

People have been asking me what I made my son (I think they were shocked when I told him his birthday present from us this year was the first time he'd had a not home made gift!) so I thought I'd post some ideas in case you fancied making presents next year. 

Making your own gifts is not only more personal, it can be fun and helps you get excited about the holiday season for much longer periods of time, rather than the few seconds you actually spend purchasing a gift. It's also a great way to save money, as most of your home made gifts can be done in bulk (to save time and expense) and/or can be made with things salvaged from around your home. 
I posted a few weeks ago about candying orange peel, which some people will be receiving from us this year, but the item I am asked for most often is our sea salt chocolate truffles, so here is the recipe: 

8 ounces, weight (up To 9 Oz.) Good Semisweet Chocolate
8 ounces, weight (up To 9 Oz.) Good Bittersweet Chocolate
1 can (14 Oz) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
8 ounces, weight Meltable Milk Chocolate
Sea Salt

Heat dark chocolates and condensed milk in a double boiler over medium low heat until chocolate is melted. Stir—mixture will have a slight marshmallow texture. Stir in vanilla.
Remove from heat, cover and refrigerate for two hours.
Once chilled, roll in balls, then roll in melted milk chocolate coating. Sprinkle with sea salt or other fine, coarse sprinkles.

Yummy. You can put them in kilner style jars and make your own labels (jars can be bought from poundland) and they make a really nice inexpensive gift. 

Last year I made Will a toy of his favourite character from a show that he loves called 'stuffy' 

Stuffy was actually surprisingly easy and cheap to make, and to be honest, for a toddler it doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be vaguely recognisable. So get your sewing machine out and have a play. Our stuffy is filled with Will's old terry nappies that we are no longer using. ;)
The real stuffy is below:

This year I made both children stockings, but we are also making Will a car park for his cars. I've taken a scrap piece of wood (old shelf) and painted it black (78p taster pot from Wilkos) and we are going to tippex car parking spaces onto it as soon as it's dry. 

Very inexpensive but you can guarantee it's going to be one of his favourite presents this year. He just loves his cars so much!

Our New House!!

Thank you all for your prayers, things are finally moving on with our house!

We have transferred the deposit to the solicitors and they are hoping we will have the keys by tuesday. 

I can't wait to get in there and start making it our own. I have so many projects planned. There are two walls to take down, carpets to rip out, wood block flooring to be laid, tiles to be painted, the list goes on and on...

But there are two projects I am particularly excited about. The first is a coffee table/lego storage I'm going to build. The plans (should you wish to do the same) are available on Ana White's website for free. We have been blessed with free wood and free plans, and someone has even offered to lend me the power tools (although I may just do the cutting at school so that I can have some supervision!) 

The second project I am most looking forward to is the garden. I can't wait to start planting out my own vegetable patches and growing fruit. I love preserving and at the moment I use fruit bought (all be it very cheaply) from the local market, but it will feel so much more special to be using our own. William loves watching things grow and was so excited about using the herbs he planted in cooking, so it will be great fun for him to grow and harvest his own food.

I'm really intrigued by different coloured carrots too. Not only are there great health benefits to the different varieties, but I think they'll jazz up a dinner plate, and as carrot is one of my families favourite vegetables, it will be really fun to introduce some new types. The seeds for redyellowblackwhite and purple carrots are available on amazon and I'm told can be grown with great success.
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