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Homemade Gifts

January 9th, 2018

I’m always making gifts, sometimes they come out of my sewing room, sometimes I crochet them, sometimes they come from my kitchen, other times they’re just creative things I come up with. Most recently, I made a set of spice jars for a good friend. The jars originally came filled with delicious local mustard, I’ve been saving them for a year just for this project. For those of you that love mustard, give Raye’s Mustard a try, I’ve tried most of their flavors and they’re FANTASTIC. Old World Gourmet is the most used variety in my kitchen, but I always have a few others around as well.

The labels were designed on Avery’s website, I printed them here at home, then added a few details with a gold pen. Overall, they turned out beautifully and she LOVED them.

I’ll keep saving jars and keep printing labels. She’s been wanting to organize and beautify her spice cabinet, so I gave her a good start and will continue to add to her collection.

Have you come up with any creative gifts recently?

Friday Favorite: Gifts

March 20th, 2015

Unexpected packages from friends are such a wonderful thing. This week I sent a package to a friend in Ohio and I received a package from a friend in Ohio (not the same friend).  Finding something unexpected from someone I love is one of the little things that makes my day, it definitley makes you feel loved and appreciated. I really need to make an effort to send a note or gift to someone at least once a month.
As you can see Dexter enjoys getting gifts from friends too!

Have you sent/received something unexpected recently?

Merry & Bright

December 26th, 2014

It was balmy here in Maine yesterday, around 50 degrees. We took advantage of the nice weather to get a few outside chores finished up. Mr Chiots washed the cars and I cleaned out the duck ponds.
Christmas 2014 2
Breakfast was overnight French toast with maple syrup, then we watched Christmas Vacation. There wasn’t a big fancy meal, we had a meat/cheese plate and some wine. Then off to the neighbor’s house for desert, I baked Bourbon Pecan Pie to take.
Christmas 2014 1 (1)
Christmas 2014 2 (1)
We had already opened up our gifts the night before. It’s always been a tradition in my family to open gifts on Christmas Eve. That way the parents could always sleep in. Even after we all got older the tradition stayed, there’s just something nice about opening gifts when it’s dark outside. As usual, Mr Chiots and I are very practical gift givers. Many times they are things we’d be buying anyways, it just seems more fun to wrap them up and put them under the tree. These are the things we found beneath the tree:
Christmas 2014 1
A handmade terracotta egg crate for all those lovely eggs laid by our chickens. Truth be told I could use about 5 of these in the summer when I’m getting a dozen eggs a day. This will be perfect to have sitting on the counter to keep the eggs within easy reach.
Christmas 2014 3
Mr Chiots is always complaining of congestion the day after spending time on the tractor or cutting/splitting firewood. A Respro mask seemed like a perfect gift. It’s supposed to be super comfortable and the filters keep out the toxic fumes from diesel and small engines along with small particulates.
Christmas 2014 4
Mr Chiots is always complaining of lint & cat hair on his clothes, I found this wonderful wood & rubber lint brush made my redecker. It works very well and now there is no longer a need to buy those sticky lint rollers.
Christmas 2014 5
Our neighbor made us these sweet little felted bacon ornaments. Handmade gifts are the best of all and these are so cute!
Christmas 2014 6
Mr Chiots has been in need of a new set of hair clippers. After going through a cheap set every year or so, I decided it was time to invest in a professional pair that should last for years to come. After much research, the Oster Classic 76 was the pair I selected. They are made in the USA and get great reviews. If you have someone who cuts their own hair, this would be a fabulous gift!
Christmas 2014 8
Being a Tolkien fan, this new book of his art was a perfect gift for Mr Chiots. This was actually purchased as a birthday gift (which is in January), but one of his Christmas gifts didn’t get finished in time. So it will be given at Christmas and this was given now.
Christmas 2014 9
We’ve been needing new outdoor thermometers, ours are falling apart and not accurate at all. Now we have a large French enameled thermometer that should give us accurate temperature measurements.
Christmas 2014 10
Mr Chiots also got me a Kindle for Christmas, definitely not a gift I’ve been pining for. I’m a tactile person and love the feel of an actual book, though it will be nice to get Kindle books from the library. It will also come in handy when I travel, I’m usually stuffing five or six books in my bag, now I can have an entire library in my purse.
Christmas 2014 11
All of my kitchen towels are getting old and warn, we did get most of them for our wedding sixteen years ago. Mr Chiots got me a few waffle weave linen towels from Fog Linen. When it comes to kitchen textiles linen is the best since it gets softer, more absorbent, and better with age.
Christmas 2014 12
Last but not least was the lovely men’s grooming kit I got for Mr Chiots. He’s always been meticulous when it comes to keeping his nails cleaned and trimmed. He has this really crappy set of nail clippers, the kind you get at a gas station for 99 cents. Now he has a lovely set that will last the rest of his life!

What did you find beneath your tree yesterday?

My Christmas Gifts

December 29th, 2012

Yesterday, Mr Chiots and I finally celebrated our Christmas. What did I find under the tree?
First off, Mr Chiots and I bought each other snowshoes. Technically they weren’t Christmas presents, but around this time of year just about everything gets labeled as a gift. They’re nothing fancy, just the cheapest ones offered by L.L.Bean. We took them out for a test hike yesterday and LOVED them. No doubt we’ll get more than our money’s worth with these.
Brian Snowshoeing
I also received a few cookbooks: The River Cottage Cookbook and River Cottage Every Day
Books 1
Lucky me, I even found a Clarington Forge long handled shrubbery spade and potato fork under my tree. I would have never purchased the potato fork for myself, it’s rather pricey, but I’ll take it as a gift. Clarington Forge tools are well made, this potato fork is a beastly tool, heavy and very well made, it will certainly last me the rest of my life and probably long outlive me.
Clarington Forge Tools
Mr Chiots and I are very practical gift givers, generally we buy useful stuff for each other. He lucked out with a nice Filson wool shirt, a wool sweater, new suspenders and a few books as well.

What did you find under your tree this year?

Unopened Gifts

December 27th, 2012

Under our Christmas tree there are still many unopened gifts, in fact most of our gifts to each other are still there. We were planning on opening them up on Sunday evening, but then my parents drove straight through and arrived right as we finished recording Cultivate Simple.
Christmas Tree 2013 1
So we decided to wait until this Friday or Saturday. We’ll make some eggnog, put on Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas and sit down to open them up. I can’t wait for Mr Chiots to open the gifts I got for him.

Have you already opened all your Christmas gifts or are there still a few left?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.