Gem & Em's Crafty Christmas Hamper
Welcome to Lark’s first ever blog post! We thought it would be a much more effective way to go into a bit more detail about our exciting Christmas Hamper Project and to outline just what we’re going to make for our own loved ones – and hopefully you’ll want to follow along as well. If you do, we would be delighted for you to send us pictures and updates from your own projects, so be sure to tag us in anything on social media related to it and check out our instagram
The idea essentially developed as a means to make Christmas a bit less stressful and a bit easier on our pockets, while still providing the people we care about with quality gifts that they’ll love using and we’ll love making. The season has turned into a source of national anxiety for many, so by making presents bit by bit, by the time Christmas comes along it will be one less hurdle to tackle.
Yes, it may seem a little soon to be thinking about Christmas and yes, the word may make you want to run a mile - but you can forget these items have anything to do with yuletide festivities if you like, as we’ve chosen a very autumnal theme for our first month’s batch of goodies. We’ve gone for spiced blackberry gin, a Mary Berry chutney recipe and scented soaps or lipsticks / lip balms (there are regular workshops available at our studio).
· To each month create and share with you 3-4 items that can be placed into a box/hamper basket. You don’t have to make them all – just pick and choose – and this can be for as many people as you wish to give a hamper to.
· To make gifts in bulk, both saving on time and money, which should make the whole process of making the gifts as fun as possible.
· To post via this blog and in our newsletter the items we’re going to make for the hamper (although this will be the place to get more in-depth information).
Before you start, make sure you bear in mind how many people you’re making the recipe for and adjust it accordingly. For example, 1L of gin combined with the blackberries and sugar would provide enough for around 6 people (assuming you use 250ml bottles). In all, our costs amounted to £4-5 per person if buying all the materials beforehand, but you can make this go further by adding less gin to a larger number of bottles. Also, it’s worth knowing that it’s going to take around 3 weeks for the gin and added flavours to infuse, which is why it’s a good idea to make this in October rather than December.
You will need (for 6 people):
o 6 x Airtight glass bottles - we used ones from Wilko’s, and Kilner-style bottles work well too, but if you can re-use ones you already have lying around then great!
o 2 x Airtight 1L airtight/Kilner jars – you want to be able to add the ingredients and mix them easily in these.
o 1L gin – don’t worry too much about the quality, the main flavour will be from all your additions.
o 300g granulated sugar
o 300g blackberries – buying frozen is your best bet here, they work just as well as fresh and are far easier to get your hands on (we used Tesco).
o 2 x cinnamon sticks – one for each jar that will be left to infuse over 3 weeks.
As for the instructions, here is a link to the Good Housekeeping website where we got our recipe from, and we also had a lot of fun filming a demonstration over on Instagram! You can find it saved in our highlights.
As Gemma is currently having her kitchen redone, we haven’t quite got onto making this yet, but stay tuned on Instagram for updates. This recipe makes 2.5kg of chutney, which we think will make around 9-10 small jars (we bought these from Wilko’s, but of course reuse your own if you can).
o 900g tomatoes
o 3 red peppers, 1 green pepper and an aubergine (total weight about 900g)
o 700g onion, peeled and finely chopped
o 4 fat cloves of garlic
o 350g granulated sugar
o 300ml white wine vinegar/distilled malt vinegar
o 2tbsp cayenne pepper
o 1tbsp paprika
o 1tbsp crushed coriander seeds
o 1tbsp salt
As a third optional addition to your Christmas hampers this month, you could come along to Green’s Vegan on Windsor Place in Cardiff for a lipstick and lip balm making workshop on Tuesday October 15th at 6:30pm. We’ll be using Candelilla Wax (an alternative to the traditionally used beeswax) & shea butter which can be combined with your choice of coconut oil, almond oil or avocado oil – we’re using all natural ingredients. There’s a wide array of different scents and colours, but you will be able to bring your own essential oils and natural colourings if you like.
By the end of the craft session you’ll have up to 6 lip balms and 4 lipsticks to take away - plenty for gift-giving! It would be great to see you there, so If you would like to sign up to the workshop, please click here.
Stay tuned for more hamper projects in our next newsletter (which you can sign up to at the bottom of the page), and of course we’ll be writing more blog posts here where you can also keep up-to-date with our progress. We’re always looking for inspiration, so if you have any crafty projects already planned for Christmas please let us know in the comments - we’d love to see what you’re all up to!
Thanks for dropping by,
Gem & Em