Monday, July 12, 2010

Some Christmas gift ideas

Over at the crafters' corner on my favorite Christmas forum, we were brainstorming some ideas that would make use of the items we were currently crafting. I thought our ideas for gifts might give someone else some inspiration. So here are some of our thoughts:

* Maybe pair handmade tortilla cozies with matching fabric napkins and add some homemade taco seasoning or fajita seasoning mix.

* The fabric trimmed dish towels with a knitted or crocheted dishcloth (like this one, for example: seed stitch dishcloth)and a bottle of especially nice dishwashing liquid or hand soap.

* Or, the fabric trimmed dish towels with some pot holders made from matching or coordinating fabric.

* A set of pillowcases with some sachets for the linen closet, or scented shelf liner or a nice linen spray. (The Gooseberry Patch Gifts for Giving books even have some ideas for making these things yourself!)

* A set of pillowcase grocery totes with a handmade coupon wallet.

* A batch of homemade laundry soap, cleverly packaged and paired with a clothespin bag filled with nice new clothespins. The first Gooseberry Patch Gifts for Giving book has a recipe for lemon-fresh laundry rinse which is a possibility, too.

* For a family, one of the felt puzzle mats combined with a nice jigsaw puzzle and some homemade hot cocoa mix and maybe some homemade snack mixes, popcorn balls or candy.

Another idea I have had for a family is to make some special Christmas items (advent calendars, table runner, napkins, rag garlands, etc. etc.) and give to them before Christmas so they can all have the fun of using the items as part of their family's Christmas preparations.

I have tons more ideas here on my Christmas blog, so be sure to go over there and check out the archives for more inspiration!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Christmas shopping trip ... in late June

A couple of weeks ago, Mr. T got out of work early on a Friday. It just so happened that earlier that week I had received an email announcing a Porch Sale at Cracker Barrel restaurants on that Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. If you have never been to one of their porch sales, you have missed some great deals. The items are all 70% off and include everything from toys and Christmas ornaments to clothing and dinnerware. I have found the porch sales to be terrific sources for Christmas gifts to stash away. But Mr. T had plans for Saturday, and Sunday would have been out of the question, so I had figured we wouldn't get to the sale. The nearest Cracker Barrel is nearly an hour and a half south of here.

So, when he arrived home early on Friday, he suggested we hit that sale -- and, of course, plan to eat a late lunch at the restaurant while we were at it. We were both in the mood for breakfast (served all day at Cracker Barrel) and even had a couple of ideas as to what we wanted to order. All that changed when our server started telling us about a summer breakfast special -- the Blueberry Streusel French Toast Breakfast.

Here's how they describe it: "Three slices of our blueberry streusel bread, dipped in eggs and then grilled to a golden brown. Topped with real butter and served with a warm bottle of Dickinson’s® blueberry syrup. Comes with two eggs, cooked to order, and our own hickory-smoked bacon or sausage patties. $7.29/French Toast Only $5.99".

Well, we just had to try this breakfast special! And were we glad we did! It was simply delicious. We both had it with scrambled eggs. Mr. T had bacon and I had sausage patties, which I love at Cracker Barrel.

As we were eating, another server came by and saw what we had ordered. She commented that she had just tried the meal the preceding day and found it delicious. We agreed. I think Cracker Barrel has outdone themselves with this one! Our server told us to spread the word about how good it is, so I am doing so!

I did find some great buys at the porch sale, too, but cannot describe them here because the recipient reads my blogs. Suffice it to say I found a wonderful gift at an incredible price!

If you get to a Cracker Barrel this summer, be sure and try the blueberry streusel French toast...