...if you have a backyard and a kitchen, this blog might be for you!

a chronicle of tips and recipes on everything from gardening to canning and baking your produce, even if you're planted in suburbia...in fact, especially if you are planted in suburbia.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Garden in Your Holiday Gifting

Ever get tired of fighting the crowds for those gift-purchasing outings? It's fun for a while, but when it comes time to find gifts for those outer circles of acquaintances, it can grow tiresome, not to mention expensive. One option to remember is that personally made items make great gifts! All you need to do is find a jar of homemade relish, jelly or maybe even create a "soup mix" jar with beans and rice and seasoning. Top the jar with a hand-made jar topper, add a matching crocheted pot holder and put it in a basket with a little ribbon. You might even line the basket with a bed of your homemade potpourri to make it even more elegant. And, if you don't know how to crochet, don't be dissuaded from trying this gift-option. Crochet lessons are easy to find online, and for most people, the video lessons make it more than easy enough to pick up the hobby. Here is a link for basic crochet stitches followed by one on how to crochet in a circle:



I simply crochet a circle, then make a trim by chaining three stitches and single crocheting into every other stitch of the circle around once. Then I go around a second time, chaining three and single crocheting into each loop I made on the previous round. A chain in a contrasting color makes a tie that I thread through these loops and I have a country-kitchen jar topper ready to use.

Not sure you're quite ready to try something that ambitious? You can make simpler jar toppers by buying a yard of fabric you like, cutting it into small squares with pinking shears, centering it on the jar and tying it down with a decorative ribbon.

Besides topping canning jars, you can also fill a jar with little bags of bath salts (described in a previous post) as a gift. Appropriately-sized bags can be found in the wedding dept. of a craft or party store. They're rice bags, officially, but make nice bath salt bags as well!

Another option you might like for gifting in a jar is your homemade potpourri or a mix of dried soup herbs. This gift is handy in that when the lid is removed, (if you use an open netting or a loose weave crochet topper) the aroma will waft right out from the jar without requiring an added container.

Options for homegrown gifts abound and add a sentimental touch as gifts for teachers, neighbors, service workers etc. Plus, they don't breaking the bank.

Happy gifting!


  1. Hi Surburban Settler,

    One year I made bath salts. I cut squares (about 5-6 inch) of cheesecloth and put a couple of tablespoons of salts in the center of the cheesecloth. I then pulled up the corners and wrapped cotton string around it, so it formed a ball. I made the cotton string long enough that I could make a loop to hang it on the spigot in the tub so the water would run over it.

    Nice gifts from your garden.


  2. I like that idea of making the string long enough to hang the bag in the running water rather than simply floating it. Very nice!