Handmade holidays

Complete with toddler assistance!

I made about 90% of the gifts we’re giving this year, and Lily was involved in the bulk creations along the way.

We did grape jelly (she pulled the grapes off the stems and put them in the pot)

And apple butter (I don’t think she helped much with this other than eating some of the profits)

Soap and lotion bars (she helped count the number of scented oil drops going into the pots)

And crayons with notepads (she helped organize the crayons pre-melting and sort them for wrapping as well)

Oh, and she helped decorate the brown paper bags for wrapping as well!

The recipes/instructions for all of these are as follows…

Grape Jelly

From pickyourown.org

-5 lbs of fresh concord grapes
-2 boxes of pectin
-Jarring supplies

Wash the grapes and pick them off the stems. Wash all canning supplies and keep them hot. Mash the grapes with a potato masher and heat in a pot on the stove with just enough water to cover the grapes. Measure the sugar per your pectin’s instructions. I doubled the mount of pectin needed because I knew grape jelly could be funny about setting. Simmer the grapes for 10 minutes and the strain them through a sieve. Add the pectin to the hot grape juice and return to a boil. Stir so it doesn’t burn. Add the sugar and bring to a hard boil for 1 minute. Testing the jell never worked for me, so I just carried on with canning the batch by boiling in a water bath for 5 minutes. This grape jelly took a week or more to set up in the jars at room temperature, but they did, so I suggest you wait it out too if you’re worried that your jelly is runny!


Apple Butter

Also from pickyourown.org

Peel and core a bunch of apples (in my case, half a bushel). Boil apples. Mash them with a potato masher. Boil them some more. Add cinnamon and clove. Boil them some more. Call it apple butter.

Funny, I know, but it really is that simple. Check out Pick Your Own for much more detailed instructions!



I used melt and pour stuff from the hobby store, but added in ground up oats for some exfoliation, plus a dab of shea butter, and some honey almond scented oil. I poured it into an 8×8 pan and when it was cool I cut it up into bars with a knife and wrapped them individually in waxed paper.


Lotion Bars

Equal parts vegetable oil, vegetable shortening, and beeswax (available at hobby/craft stores). I also added a dab of shea butter and some honey almond scented oil. Melt all the ingredients in a double boiler set up (mine was just a glass bowl on top of a normal pot) and then pour into a 8×8 or 9×13 pan (depending on how much you make). Once it’s cool, use a butter knife to separate it from the dish and cut it into squares. We then packaged them in waxed paper, but they’d likely do just fine out on their own. To use, warm in your hands and rub wherever needs lotion.


Melted Crayons

Organize (leftover, broken, Freecycled, whatever) crayons by color. Cut them into 1″ sections with scissors or a knife and sort into foil cupcake liners. Place liners on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil heated to 250F and check every 5 minutes to see if they’ve melted. When they have, remove the pan, let cool, and pop out of foil. I tried using silicon ice cube trays but the crayons stuck. I just thought of perhaps oiling the silicon trays, but I don’t know if I’m brave enough to try again for fear I’ll trash another one.

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