Make great inexpensive gifts

Vanilla sugar

Vanilla sugar is quick and easy to make and is a fantastic gift for teachers, friends and relatives

To make:

  • Place castor sugar into a ziplock bag.
  • Split a vanilla bean lengthways and, using a teaspoon, scrape the paste from the pod.
  • Add the paste to the castor sugar and seal the bag. Rub the bag between your hands to distribute the vanilla paste evenly through the sugar.
  • Pour the sugar into pretty jars such as these from Consol Glass.
  • Decorate the jar with a spoon or vanilla pod, tying it all together with ribbons and twine.

Lemonade cordial

Lemonade cordial is deliciously thirst-quenching on hot summer days.

To make:

  • Squeeze lemons until you have about 2 cups of juice.
  • Put the juice into a pot and add an equal quantity (2 cups) of sugar.
  • Gently simmer the liquid until all of the sugar has dissolved.
  • Allow to cool before pouring into bottles.
  • Decorate the bottles with labels and twine

Handmade bath balls

Teachers, friends and grannies would love these handmade bath fizzers

You will need:

  • Bicarbonate of soda
  • Citric acid
  • Cornflour
  • Food colouring
  • Essential oils
  • Small spritz bottles
  • Baking moulds
  • Bowl

To make:

  1. Sieve together 1 ¾ cup of bicarbonate of soda, 1 cup of citric acid and 2 cups of cornflour.
  2. To make different colours, fill the small spritz bottles with water and add about 6 drops of food colouring to each.
  3. Pour 1 cup of the powdered mixture into a bowl. Lightly spritz, stirring after each spritz. Don’t over spritz as this will make the mixture fizz. Continue spritzing and mixing until the mixture is quite damp and the mixture can be tightly packed or shaped. This process takes a while but is quite fun for a group of friends to take turns at.
  4. Add 5 drops of essential oil and mix well. Firmy pack the mixture into the baking mould. Allow to set for two hours.
  5. Gently press the fizzers out of the mould and package them into cellophone packets. Complete the gift with ribbons and tags.

Try yellow bath fizzers with lemon essence, soft pink with rose, pale orange with tangerine or mandarine, or be experimental and make a variety of combinations.

Funky bracelets

Funky shaped bracelets and neck-pieces will be a treat for close friends

Bostik Crazy Clay is a soft, easy-to-mould craft clay that is perfect for making key ring holders, fact, all sorts of great gifts. The 6 bright colours, which do not need to bake in an oven in order to dry, will not shrink or crack while air drying.

Kids find it easy and fun to work with. No special tools are needed – just use a spoon, straw, knife, toothpick or whatever you have around the house – and the results are super.

You will need:

  • Bostik Crazy Clay
  • Coloured beading leather
  • Leather crimps
  • Clasps and rings

To make:

  1. For the tie-dyed heart neck-piece and bracelet: Use two or three colours of Crazy Clay and twist them together until you achieve a tie-dyed effect. Don’t over-mix the colours – rather keep it quite streaky. Roll into beads or roll out using a rolling pin and press the shapes out with a cookie cutter. Leave to dry overnight. Thread onto beading leather and fi nish off with the leather crimps, rings and clasps.
  2. For the polka dot beads: Form small balls of Crazy Clay. Dot with tiny beads of white Crazy Clay or your chosen colour and gently roll the ball on a flat surface until the white beads are flat against the ball of clay.
  3. To make the roll-ups: Roll out two colours of Crazy Clay (white and yellow) using a rolling pin. Form a snake with a third colour (tangerine). Wrap the white around the snake and follow with the yellow. Leave to dry overnight before slicing the sausage into beads. Thread into neck-pieces and bracelets.

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