Woohoo! I made it to Christmas Eve, with a post every day during advcnt!

Just a quick post today, with warm wishes for a wonderful Christmas. (I’m off to spend it with family … very excited!)

See you after the New Year. :o)


Christmas Eve tomorrow (yay!) so here are a few last-minute heartmade ideas. Well, very nearly lastminute. They’ll all take less than an hour and some take only-a-few-minutes!

Five-Minute Gifts

If you have the ingredients, these will take just a few minutes to make. The ingredients aren’t difficult to source, though I appreciate you might not want to go shopping for them right now! But they are very simple things and you may well have them to hand. If not, the recipes are adaptable and you can easily substitute other ingredients.

(Click on the highlighted titles and it will take you to a previous post where you’ll find that heartmade project, with further details and images. If you have any queries, or I can help in any way, please leave a comment here.)

Bath Treats ~

A recipe for Lavender Bath Salts and a lovely Christmas Bath Boost.

Lavender Bath Salts

You’ll need sea salt, Epsom salts, dried lavender and lavender essential oil (though you could substitute other dried flowers or herbs and essential oils.) Note: This needs to be kept in a cool dark place for a week before use.

Christmas Bath Boost

In complete contrast, the bath boost is made with fresh ingredients and should be used within 24 hours! Although, you could, of course adapt the recipe and use dry ingredients. You will need some citrus fruit and fresh spices, plus a small piece of muslin or similar fine fabric and a ribbon (or piece of twine or raffia, etc.) to tie the piece of fabric.

Christmas Oatmeal Bath Milk ~ You will need oatmeal, dried milk, an orange and some Dried Christmas spices. And a jar, or piece of fine fabric.

Hot Chocolate Kit ~ A mug and ingredients to make a delicious hot chocolate.

Mulled Wine Kit ~ I haven’t already listed a heartmade project post for this, but put together your ingredients in the same way as for the Hot Chocolate Kit above, including some Christmas spices (choose from whole or ground cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, black pepper, allspice, star anise and citrus fruits (whole and fresh, or sliced and dried for a while in a low oven) plus some sugar or honey. Add a mini grater if you are using whole nutmeg.

Denim Bracelet ~ You can do this with any fabric, you just need a torn strip and a few large beads.

Fifteen-To-Thirty-Minute Gifts

Lavender Woollen Heart ~ Made from an old woolly jumper and some wool for sewing. You can stuff these with dried lavender, other dried flowers or herbs, Christmas spices or pot pourri, if you like.

Tealight Votives ~ A small jar and some paper or fabric is all you need to create a pretty votive.

Citrus Pommander ~ Made from an orange (or other citrus fruit), a piece of ribbon and some whole cloves, this is a delicious project to make; your hands and the room you work in will smell of Christmas!

Silver Paperclip Bookmark ~ A piece of silver (or other) wire is all you need; you could recycle an old clothes hanger. You can embellish with thin wire or thread and tiny beads, if you like.

Peppermint Creams ~ (These do take less than half an hour, though you will have to leave them to harden for a while.) Egg whites, a lemon, icing sugar and peppermint essence are the very simple ingerdients for these delicious, pretty treats.

Less-Than-An-Hour Gifts

Lemon Curd ~ Homemade lemon curd is entirely scrumptious and so very easy to make. All you need are eggs, butter, lemons and sugar.

Bookmark/Cuff ~ Recycle the cuff of an old shirt.

Christmas Cookies ~ My wonderful Dad’s yummy and oh-so-adaptable cookies. Quick and easy, all you need are sugar, flour, butter, golden syrup and oats, along with your own choice of additions.

Christmas Flapjack ~ Simple, adaptable recipe.

Shortbread  ~ (This will take an  hour and then you will need a little extra time for cooling.)

All Wrapped Up With Love

And here are a few ideas for making a simple gift extra special:

Make your own wrapping paper

Use plain paper (brown parcel paper or lining paper are ideal) and decorate with paint, gold pens or glue and glitter. Try cutting a Christmas shape into a potato or sponge and printing your design. You could also cut out Christmas pictures from old wrapping paper or cards and make a collage.

Wrap with a broad ribbon, several lengths of thin ribbon, string or twine or raffia. Or make a strip and a bow from your paper.

Use fabric instead of paper

Thin cotton is great for this, tie the fabric corners together in a knot, or wrap with co-ordinating or contrasting ribbon or a torn strip of fabric.

Use fine fabrics such as silk or organza and layer them for different effects.

Tie or glue on some fabric or dried flowers, or some Christmas greenery.

Recycle a jar, tin, box or basket

Decorate with paper or fabric and ribbons, wire and beads, flowers, spices, scraps of fabric, whatever you have to hand!.

Make your own gift tags.

Make some co-ordinating gift tags by gluing some paper or fabric onto a piece of thick card and then cutting out shapes. A simple square or circle is fine, or a heart, or you could make them Christmas shapes.

Use a mixture of fabric and paper for a simple, textured effect.

What you write on a label is as important as how it looks. A lovely friend of mine writes short personal, really heart-warming notes on her gift tags, which mean more than any gift she could wrap up! :O)

Heartmade Project ~ Hot Chocolate Kits

Make someone a kit to make the perfect hot chocolate.

Hot Chocolate Kit

Arrange the following in a pretty basket, box or tin:

A nice mug

A few sachets or small tub of drinking chocolate

A few sachets of brown sugar

A small bar of chocolate

A mini grater

Some tiny marshmallows

A wooden stirrer or pretty spoon

You could also add some cinnamon and nutmeg for a special Christmassy hot chocolate.

Write a recipe or method on a small card or paper scroll tied with ribbon.

A lovely way to add some extra luxury would be to include a handmade mug hug or mini hottie cover. Or maybe you could add a book, or a journal.

Heartmade Recipe ~ Peppermint Creams

Make some pretty peppermint creams and wrap as a sweet little gift.

Basic Recipe

Add enough sieved icing sugar to a beaten egg white and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to make a firm paste (approx 400g, depending on the size of your egg.)

Knead in a few drops of peppermint essence. (Add the drops carefully, tasting as you go.)

Roll out and use a sharp knife or cookie cutter to make any shapes you like. Or roll into a long sausage shape and cut thin slices.

Dip in melted chocolate, if you like, or drizzle some in patterns. Or dust with icing sugar or cocoa.

Heartmade Tip ~Wrap With Love

Peppermint creams make a great gift. Wrap in clear film with a ribbon and pretty tag. Or put in a glass jar, make a fabric lid and a handmade label. Or arrange a layer in a shallow box wrapped in paper or fabric and covered in clear film.

Taking a little care and using a little imagination when wrapping a gift, makes a simple thing very special. Just a beautiful ribbon and simple handmade tag can make unwrapping a gift a special experience.

Not long now! Will post some last-minute gift ideas and some wrapping suggestions tomorrow. :O)


Heartmade Project ~ Heartmade Hampers

Give a collection of small things, arranged in a pretty basket or box.

You can adapt this idea for anyone and it’s great fun to think up collections. They don’t have to cost much, you may well have some of the things you need lying around the home and if you buy things to put in the hamper, think small and inexpensive. It’s the time and thought that goes into this gift that’s important.

For example, if you know someone who loves gardening, you could fill a trug with a pair of pretty gardening gloves, some twine and garden wire, a gardener’s knife, some mini pots, a few plant labels and a couple of packets of seeds, or some bulbs, or maybe a couple of tiny plants. You could add some secateurs, or a hand fork and trowel; maybe you have a spare pair you could give away. It’s a nice idea to add a small journal or gardener’s diary and pencil. And maybe a lovely mug; gardener’s enjoy a cuppa at the end of a hard day! A packet of biscuits or a slab of fruitcake might be appreciated too. Your imagination (and the size of your basket or box) is the only limit here … have fun!

The way you arrange and wrap your hamper will make it extra special too. Wrap each thing individually, or at least tie a ribbon and pretty tag around things and decorate your basket or box too. If you are doing a hamper for a gardener, try tying some flowers or fresh greenery around the rim of your basket or the handle. You could use moss or straw between the items you put in your hamper.

Heartmade Recipe ~ Mulled Wine

Make yourself some of the ultimate Christmas drink. Warm, festive and perfect for sharing.


Use a cheap red wine (keep the good stuff for drinking as it is) and warm gently in a pan, adding, to your own taste, the following:

Orange juice, slices of orange (and lemon, if you like)

Some brown sugar (or honey, if you prefer)

Cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, freshly grated nutmeg (though you could use ground spices if you prefer) build up the spices slowly, tasting as you go

Not only does this taste yummy (and totally taste of Christmas), but it makes the house smell gorgeous too … here’s to your good health this festive season!

Heartmade Tip ~Reminders

Be sweet to yourself this Christmas! Use some post-it notes in cheerful colours to remind yourself of the essential stuff. I don’t mean the things on your To Do List, more the kind of things your Mum or a friend would whisper in your ear, if they were with you!

Here are a few ideas:

Have you had some time out today?

Treat yourself.


Be silly.

Slow down a little, busy bee!

Go for a walk.

Put your feet up.

You’re a star!

Stop. And stretch for five minutes.

Just stop for five minutes.

Stand (sit) up straight!

Have an early night.

Take your morning coffee back to bed.


Or you could write some of your favourite uplifting quotes. You could even use pictures instead of words.

Stick them up wherever you will notice them. Or need them. If you put one by your door, it will be the last thing you see as you leave the house and the first you see when returning home.

And listen to your own advice! Be good to yourself. :O)


Heartmade Project ~ Citrus Pommander

Make a traditional pommander as a lovely Christmas gift.

Wrap a ribbon twice around a small orange (or any citrus fruit) knot and leave a loop at the top for hanging.

Fill the gaps by pressing cloves into the orange skin. You can cover all the skin or use the cloves to make shapes, perhaps hearts or simple swirls.

Dust your pommander in cinnamon if you like and leave a few around the house for a lovely Christmassy scent. If you’re giving as a gift, wrap in tissue, with a ribbon bow and label. You could also put it in a pretty box or tin.

Heartmade Recipe ~ Lemon Curd

Homemade lemon curd is so easy to make and so much more delicious than any bought from a shop.


Whisk 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks with 165g of golden caster sugar in a saucepan.

Put on a low heat and add 80g of chilled butter, cut into small pieces, and the zest and juice of 2 lemons.

Continue whisking until it thickens (don’t let it boil) and pour into sterilised jars. I think you’re supposed to sieve it, but I like the fact there are bits of zest and even the odd pip!

(This recipe makes enough to fill one large jam jar or three baby food jars.)

Add a fabric or paper lid cover, a label and a gift tag. You might like to list your ingredients on your label and maybe some suggestions for recipes using lemon curd.

Heartmade Tip ~ Stock Up on Citrus Fruit

Besides being great sources of vitamin C (helping keep those pesky viruses at bay), oranges and lemons are so useful at Christmas so stock up with them (limes and grapefruit are great alternatives.)

Use them to make pommanders or tree decorations, to make mulled wine, or to decorate your gifts (thinly slice your fruit and dry slowly in a low oven.).

And don’t forget some little ones for the stockings! :O)

Heartmade Project ~ Bookmarks

If you like giving books for Christmas, why not make a handmade bookmark to give with each book?

Cut a cuff from an old shirt and sew the edges with blanket stitch, in a contrasting or co-ordinating colour.

Cut two small hearts from the sleeve of the shirt and sew together with blanket stitch. (You can always use another stitch, if you prefer. Even simple running stitch will be effective.)

Attach the heart to the cuff with wool.

(If you are giving this to a girl, she could wear it as a cuff too!)

Heartmade Recipe ~ Beautiful Brussels

Brussel sprouts are a bit like marmite; people tend to either love or hate them! But cooked like this, they are a very different thing entirely and even people who say they don’t like sprouts change their minds.

Cut your sprouts in half and gently cook in a frying pan, with a little olive oil some garlic, salt and pepper. When the sprouts begin to caramelise, turn them over and cook the other side for five minutes. Just cover the bottom of the frying pan with some vegetable stock and cook slowly until it has been absorbed and the sprouts are soft.

Brussel sprouts cooked like this are sweet and delicious. You could add a handful of chestnuts to your pan as they cook, making them extra festive.

Heartmade Tip ~ Holly Without the Spikes

If you don’t want to use holly because of the spikes, or because you can’t easily source holly, try substituting something else. I often use bay leaves as they resemble holly in shape and have the same lovely glossy green leaves.

Plus, when Christmas has finished and you take decorations down, the bay leaves will have dried and you can store them and use them as you need in all kinds of dishes. :O)

Heartmade Project ~ Mini Wreaths

Make some mini wreaths for your door, or to hang on your tree, or to give as gifts for friends and family.

Twist a few flexible twigs into a hoop and secure with twine, ribbon or wire. (I use privet twigs.) Twist a few more twigs round the hoop and secure in the same way.

Add some greenery to the back of the hoop, tying on with twine, ribbon or wire. Or wool, or torn strips of fabric. Or whatever you have to hand, really (see heartmade tip, below.)

Then add some different greenery to the front, in the same way. (I have used some yew here, with a small holly twig to finish.)

Add some Christmassy ribbon, some cinnamon sticks or some big red beads, if you like, or make a little fabric heart to hang beneath your wreath.

Heartmade Recipe ~Bath Treats

Make some to indulge yourself, or give as a pretty, pampering gift.

Lavender Bath Salts

Mix together thoroughly 1 part sea salt and 2 parts Epsom salts.

Put into a jar with a few drops of your favourite essential oil and shake well. I like lavender and add a couple of sprigs of dried lavender too.

Leave in a cool, dark place for a week before you use it.

So you just about have time to make some as Christmas gifts! Add a pretty lid and label to your jar or put a tablespoon in the centre of a piece of muslin or cheesecloth and tie with a ribbon. You could put a couple of these in a lovely box or tin, or in a jar.

If you need a little pampering right now, try this:

Christmas Bath Boost

This is warming and comforting, yet invigorating; great for stimulating the circulation and keeping pesky viruses at bay besides being a deliciously Christmassy pampering treat.

Tie up your ingredients in a piece of muslin (or similar; you could even use the toe of a laddered pair of tights!) and place in your running bath or tie beneath a running tap:

Torn or grated peel with a couple of slices of your favourite fresh citrus fruit

Some fresh spices (grated ginger root or nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon sticks)

This recipe is so adaptable; use fresh lavender and cammomile flowers with some dried rosemary, or rose petals with freshly ground black pepper.

You can use whatever makes you happy! :O)

Add some oats too, if you like, they are great for cleansing and softening your skin.

Heartmade Tip ~ Recycled Thread

Pulled threads from strong fabric are great for tying small things. Any strong fabric that frays will work, but for a lovely natural look, try pulling the threads from hessian or jute.

You can recycle an old shopping bag; cut a strip as long as you need, peel off any backing and pull threads out from the edge. (Pull them one at a time.)

Just a week now until Christmas, hope you’re having a fab advent! :O)