Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Gifts from the heart...

 
 
Learning to gift from the heart, not the wallet, is an important life skill, and one I've worked hard to instil in my children. It gets harder all the time with the plethora of inexpensive gifts flooding the market, and often even I am tempted to just shell out ten bucks for some shiny trinket or other. But really, it's always going to look like you ran out and spent ten bucks without thinking too much, isn't it. It's a zero effort kinda option.
 
Frankly, there are a zillion other options for less than $10, which are far more appealing and more memorable, that the ones on offer at the shopping centre.
 
For teens, it's especially difficult, as unless you're prepared to shell out for the latest thing, your trinket is likely to be welcomed with far less enthusiasm than you may have hoped.
 
I've been coaching my daughter to make gifts for friends over buying them, for several years now. She's now nearly sixteen, and will be off to University in a couple of years, and I am confident that even as a financially bereft student, she will be well equipped to gift generously and from the heart.
 
The rose petal cupcakes at the top of my post, were baked by her for a friends birthday, just last week. A packet mix that included icing mix,  and some rose themed cupcake wrappers, edible rose petals (which we always have...they make any cake look extra special), pink food colouring and pink metallic cachous, plus half an hour of her time, produced these little darlings. Aren't they adorable? Her friend was thrilled to bits.
 
 
We made this one a couple of years ago when she was just a tween. It's what is called a Tall Cupcake, and it's ideal when you want to gift just one special thing. It's a basic cake batter, baked in a well cleaned recycled tin, like a baked beans tin, to give the tall cylindrical shape. You spray the tin liberally with cooking spray before baking the batter, and remove the base with a can opener to release the baked cake. We rolled some purchased fondant out, and used the can to cut a perfect round of icing to sit on top. She tinted some fondant yellow and some green, and fashioned a lemon to finish it, as it was a lemon and poppyseed cake. A half a sheet of vellum, printed with delicate green ivy, was then wrapped around the cake and a natural raffia tie finished it off. It was presented in a gift box, surrounded by shredded paper, and it looked and smelled gorgeous.

 
These jam drops were made for friends and family last Christmas and they were a huge hit. The polka dotted cellophane bags are available at discount stores and party suppliers. Topped with shiny red ribbon, they look very festive!

 
Now these I think, were her friends favourites. So simple, it's ridiculous. They're oversized marshmallows, threaded on to skewers, inside the same cellophane bags. Quick, easy and impressive.

 
Cute little gingerbread cookies drizzled with melted white chocolate took all of an hour, and were lapped up by the Dance class. Who doesn't like gingerbread?

 
And the Piece` de Resistance...the Mockingjay cake she made for her bestie last year. I helped her with the Ombre icing, but the fondant Mockingjay, painted with edible gold paint, was all her own work.
 
The most expensive thing here was the Mockingjay cake, and it still cost under $30, and only that much because we had to buy all of the ingredients. We could make another tomorrow for under $10 as we still have leftover gold paint, fondant and food colourings.
 
The funny thing is, that while she was a bit shy about it at first, and wasn't sure how her friends would react, she is now known as the Baking Queen in her social circle, and her friends clamour for her home made goodies. At only 15, that's a bit of a feather in her cap I think!
 
She's currently working on ideas for two friends birthday cakes, and I think they'll be winners too.
 
 
And just to show it's not all about baking and food, she's currently knitting this lush, darling baby pink rug for her 3 year old niece (my granddaughter). Nubby, soft pink yarn, on oversized needles, knitted in plain stitch only, and it looks and feels like a cloud. The huge needles make the work go faster, and the nubby yarn hides a multitude of little knitting mistakes. She'll improve as she goes along, but this has been a great beginner project for her, and one I know her little niece is going to love. Total cost $12. We saw a similar one in an upmarket baby shop for $120. Those shops are great....but for inspiration only!
 
You don't have to spend a lot of money to gift generously and memorably. A gift of your time can be just as lovely.
 
How do you gift from the heart?
 
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29 comments:

  1. You must be so proud of your daughter! And you have done well to teach her that you can not do wrong with baked goodies. I love the idea of a tall cupcake. I have not seen that done before.
    It is nice to meet you, Mimi. Thank you for visiting my blog!

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    1. Thankyou Stacy, I really am! The tall cupcakes were all the rage a few years ago, or so it seemed. But they've faded off the radar a bit. We don't care, because they still make a stunning gift, and very few people have seen them before! Nice to meet you too. I hope to visit you again soon! Mimi xxx

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  2. Dear Mimi, This is all beautiful. I am so glad you are bringing up a capable daughter but of course you would. And every skill she learns will be such an asset to her and others.
    I love everything but the blanket really does look like a cloud and a marshmallow had a love child! Beautiful!
    with love, Annabel.xxx

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    1. Hello Annabel, and thankyou. These are disappearing skills I've found. And mostly the people who still have them, have invested much time, effort and sometimes money, on honing their skills, and subsequently charge dearly for them. To be able to bake and ice a lovely cake, knit a cloud of a rug (thankyou for the analogy by the way!), and invest your own time in creating a customised gift is a skill that is worth preserving all life long. I know you think the same way :) Love, Mimi xxx

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  3. Oh I do love your ideas Mimi! What a way to teach young ones that gifts truly can come from the heart! Have a beautiful week, Lynn

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    1. Dear Lynn, thankyou. You have a lovely week too. Love, Mimi xxx

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  4. What lovely gifts your daughter has made for her friends, Mimi. She has a reputation already at only 15! Well done, Mum!

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    1. I know, right? Good work on her part, I say! Thankyou. Mimi xxx

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  5. Mimi I love this post it fits in well with the war on TV chefs ones.

    I wish our daughter had been less of a tomboy and more into doing things around the house mind you she can cook and knows how to follow a recipe but it is the other things that she just doesn't have patience for. But then she has many other skills that she uses a lot.

    Lynette
    XXXXX

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    1. Thanks Lynette. I thought so too. I think it's so important to preserve the skills of good home cooking and making gifts. So many just don't bother any more. I'm fortunate that my daughter loves these things as much as I do. It's different with a tomboy I now. Perhaps your daughter will come to you later in life to learn these skills. Meanwhile, I'm sure she has her strengths too. Mimi xxx

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  6. You are teaching her to make gifts that are useful and appreciated. She has a lot of talent.

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    1. I think so too Debbie. She's very artistic, so that certainly helps! Mimi xxx

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  7. Your daughter surely takes after her talented mother!

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    1. Debbie, you are so sweet! Thankyou. Mimi xxx

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  8. A woman after my own heart! My children are 'all grown', and the eldest has children of their own. But my daughters in particular (my son is in the army and single, so cooking is not a 'thing') love to make food hampers or cakes as gifts. Mind you, they have yet to surprise me with something as yummy as you and your daughter have created! I better get on them about that. ;-) x Julie
    ps. love the twinkling star dust curser. :-)

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    1. Hi Julie. Isn't it lovely to have daughters who enjoy these things? Hampers are another lovely gift and we make those often. I swear by the little edible rose petals for zhooshing cakes up. A plain cake with ordinary icing, is suddenly a thing of beauty with a sprinkle of rose petals! Glad you like my sparkling cursor too. Love, Mimi xxx

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  9. Hello Mimi, and thank you for your kind comment, on my blog. Your and your daughters cakes from the heart looks beautiful and yummy,
    Greetings, Dorthe

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    1. Hello Dorthe, and how lovely to see you here. Your blog is a thing of beauty. I'm glad you like the cakes, and thanks for stopping by to say hi. Mimi xxx

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  10. I couldn't agree more! Homemade gifts are wonderful! Thanks for sharing your lovely creations! :)

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    1. My pleasure as always Jes. Mimi xxx

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  11. Dearest Mimi ~~ Oh it is so good to be back and do some visiting, and as always I love coming here to visit with you.
    You are a jewel as a mama, and the training of your daughter will not bring shame. She sounds as if she is growing into a lovely Proverbs 31 women, what a praise to the Lord.
    " Her children rise up and call her blessed" may you be blessed for the godly love and training you are gracing your daughter with.
    When we live to please and honor God, He will be glorified. :)

    Your daughter has made some wonderful looking treats to share with others. I especially liked the pink treats, of course I would go for the pink, lol. :)

    Much love to you ~~ Debbie

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    1. Dearest Debbie, I'm so happy to see you! Thankyou. I love the scriptures you've quoted, and agree that the training of a daughter is a joy indeed. Pink is a consuming passion in our household as well. Love, Mimi xxx

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  12. Oh, my! Please tell your daughter for me that the Mockingjay cake is brilliant! My 15-year-old would love to receive that from one of her friends. What a talented young lady you have brought up!

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    1. I'll tell her for sure! She is a talented young lady, and makes me proud often. Thanks for the lovely comment. Mimi xxx

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  13. Mimi, these gifts are gorgeous and you and your daughter should be so proud. I love that you are teaching your daughter the skills needed to make these gifts, but also that you are showing her how meaningful it is to give gifts like the ones above. How heart warming that at her age she has the confidence and inclination to make gifts for those special to her.

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    1. Thankyou Jen. Yes, it's such an important lesson, and the earlier it's learned, the better it sticks I think. I just think it's lovely that her friends have embraced the idea too. It's all been a bit of a game changer in her group, with everyone thinking 'well if it's okay for her to do it, it's ok for me'. I think that's a wonderful thing. Mimi xxx

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  14. Hi Mimi, I don't think I've commented on your blog before, but I've been reading for a while and really enjoy your posts. I love these marshmellow sticks - something very easy that my five year old could make for his friends. We'll definitely use that idea!

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  15. Gifts from the heart definitely are the best! So many cute ideas! Thanks for sharing them with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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  16. My sweet Mimi, you are such a beautiful and precious lady and your daughter is blessed to have you as a mother. What a joy for you to teach her and I know she is lovely JUST LIKE YOU!

    Thank you so much for sharing with Roses of Inspiration. I hope you're able to join us again tomorrow. Hugs!

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I love hearing from you! I always respond to comments, so don't be shy! Mimi xxx