Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's Not Too Late to DIY!

Christmas may be less than a week away, but that doesn't mean you have to rush out and purchase the first Snuggie you see on the shelves. There's still time to create a lovely handmade gift that will be treasured over the years.

When making quick and easy DIY gifts, the key is to select quality materials and ingredients. A simple scarf made out of a single skein of hand-painted alpaca wool will be kept for years, while one made of the army-green acrylic remnants from the clearance bin may just find itself at the bottom of the closet (of course, your family members would never do that to something you made ... right?)

A few quick DIY options ...

Fleecy, Flannel Throw
(Est. time 1-2 hours)

Who doesn't love a snuggly throw to curl up with while they drink egg nog and watch and re-watch the stop-motion animated Christmas episode of Community? This quick and easy throw demands only rudimentary sewing skills (thank goodness, or I wouldn't be able to hack it).

Even I can hem... although not always in a straight line.

The pattern came from Design*Sponge (click here for directions). I modified it slightly by using a ribbon for the edging, rather than fringe. I believe Fringe belongs Thursday nights on Fox, not on my home decor (cymbal crash!).

Garter-Stitch Scarf
(Est. time 3-5 hours, depending upon how long you want the scarf to be)

One can never have too many scarves. Choose some cool yarn and start knitting while you listen to carols on your iPod. Bet the grandmother who taught you to knit would never have envisioned that.

Click here for some instructions from Light Green's past.

Spiced Cashews
(Est. time: Less than an hour)

To me, this recipe always says: "Christmas." Unfortunately, I don't have a very precise recipe -- I just make it up as I go along every year.

Garam Masala Cashews
(garam masala is an Indian spice blend you can find at most grocery stores)

One can of whole cashews (about 10 oz)
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1-2 tsp. garam masala
dash cinnamon

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the spices into the butter, then toss the cashews in the butter mixture to coat. Spread on a cookie sheet and bake for about 10 min. (Roasting nuts is a finicky business -- once you start to smell the delicious aroma, they're about to burn -- get them out of the oven ASAP).

Put into a nice jar with a ribbon around the lid if you're going to give as a gift.

Note: You can experiment with different spices of your choosing.

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