THE ARTISTIC LIFE – Living the creative life in everything we do

Posts tagged ‘Christmas gift’

Goji Berry Christmas Gifts

I’ve gotten an early start (for me) with my Christmas gift-making this year. Although I do my share of online shopping, I like to make a certain percentage of my Christmas gifts each year, both for economic reasons as well as creative reasons. Plus, many people appreciate a gift that the giver took the time to actually make. One of my gift ideas for this year, which I am not actually “making”, but am putting some creative effort into, is Goji Berry Plants.

If you have any friends or family members who like to garden and enjoy healthy eating, a starter Goji Berry Plant may be the perfect idea. It is unusual (I don’t know anyone personally with a Goji Berry Plant in their garden), but they are apparently quite hardy to grow in most gardening zones (zones 4-9) and may even be adaptable to other zones. I ordered some plants from Garden Harvest Supply, and soon after received several plants that resembled twigs with roots in the mail. I’ve planted these five “twigs” in some potting soil in terra cotta pots and kept them indoors, so far for 10 days. Goji Berry Plants like a lot of sun. My living room doesn’t provide full sun, but there is  plentiful ambient sunlight from all of the tall windows. I water them each day, because they like to be kept moist, especially as they’re establishing. They are sprouting like crazy, each at slightly different rates. Since it is only November 1, I hope that by Christmas gift-giving time, they will look like attractive little plants. I will add an instructional tag with each plant and tie each pot with a ribbon. My friends can then decide to either transplant them into larger 5 gallon pots or plant them outdoors in the ground. Read more instructions on growing Goji Berries here.

Goji Berries have a lot of health benefits, including large amounts of antioxidants. They have been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years, eaten raw, in teas or juice. Apparently both the berries and the leaves can be used. Not a bad plant to have around when one is fighting cancer!

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Cork Wreath Christmas Gift

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If you are even a little bit crafty (no need to be Martha Stewart) and a wine drinker (or even a bottled Belgian Beer drinker), you have the ingredients to make a nice Christmas gift for your wine lover friends or family. I am currently working on my 3rd wine cork wreath.

If you drink wine and wonder what to do with all of those corks, here’s an idea. Gather a number of corks (one can probably make a wreath out of about 75 corks, although the more the merrier). For us, it usually takes about a year to collect this amount. You want to try to use the real corks and not the plastic ones that are becoming more common. Even if you go out to a restaurant and share a bottle of wine with dinner, stash the cork in your purse. Nobody will mind.

Materials list:

– wreath base. I like straw but these are getting harder to find. Styrofoam will work too. I prefer the light green styrofoam, as they look less tacky than the bright white foam when little gaps peak through the corks.

– ivy leaves/grape leaves. The artifical leaves they produce now are more tasteful than they used to be. I use this as a base for the corks.

– 75-150 corks (not plastic)

– wooden toothpicks

– glue gun/glue sticks

– wide ribbon or fabric that can be tied into a big bow (red, burgundy, purple, gold make good accent colors for the wine wreath)

– green wire, floral tape or floral pins

1. Wrap the string of ivy or grape leaves decoratively around your wreath base. You probably just want to use a thin covering, to allow plenty of openings into the wreath base with the toothpicks later on. You can use green wire, floral tape, or the floral pins to attach the string of leaves to your base.

2. Break each toothpick in half. Use the sharp pointy end of each half to insert into the middle of the length of each cork.

3. Place hot glue around where the toothpick is inserted into the cork and a little bit on the length of the toothpick.

4. Insert each toothpick into a spot on the wreath base, making sure there is adequate glue for the cork to be permanently fastened to the base. Vary the direction and spacing of each cork so that the overall look of the wreath is appealing.

5. Continue this process until there are no unsightly gaps left on the wreath and double-check that there are no loose corks.

6. Clean up any “strings” of glue on the wreath.

7. Use the ribbon or fabric to create a large bow on either the top or the bottom of the wreath.

8. Create a hanger on the top of the back of the wreath out of the wire, tape, or pins.

And there you go…an easy peasy, but impressive homemade holiday gift!

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