To make the jam, simply bring fruit, lemon juice and pectin to boil. Add sugar, then boil for another minute. And that's it. Each batch yields about seven 250-mililitre jam jars. Buy some labels for a few bucks at a dollar store and voila -- your very own name-brand jam.
Total cost (without shipping): $24. Depending on the fruit preparation (blueberries and raspberries are ready to go, others may take a bit longer), it takes about 20 minutes to make this kind of jam, says Phinney.
It's easy -- and cheap. Start with a digital photo or an image of a paper photo. Then, copy the image on to a piece of adhesive paper using a printer or photocopier. A box of five sheets costs about $18 at an office-supply store, and you can get about 20 images on each sheet. "You can put pictures of baby's first Christmas on the ball," says Brenda Neufeld, manager of MacPherson Arts and Crafts in St. Mary's, Ont.
Or, you could use a vintage black-and-white photo. A box of eight balls costs between $7 and $15. Total cost: about $20 for six to eight balls. And they take less than an hour to make.
For more professional-looking calendars, most photo stores and print shops can transform your photos. Calendars start at $19 for a mini-desktop calendar, or you can opt for a standard wall calendar in which one print appears per page and the month is on the other 8" by 10"' page. Prices range from $26 to $39 for these.
Don't leave this until the last minute. It can take a few days to make a calendar depending on where you go, so plan ahead.
Kellie Mowat, artist-in-residence at MacPherson's, suggests starting with a spool of wire for $6, which can be used to make necklaces or earrings. Craft store beads work really well and aren't all that expensive -- a brand called Gutermann, which are small beads that hang in bunches, costs about $11. Or, Mowat says old-fashioned beads from an old family or flea market necklace, or even one from the Salvation Army, work well when mixed together with new beads.
To get fancy, pick up a book on beading at any craft store, or search online for beading instructions. Depending on the kind you make, it shouldn't take more than a few hours to make a necklace. Total cost: about $16.
Or, do like Sharon Anderson of Fredericton, N.B. She puts together selections of her own homemade jam, fudge, shortbread cookies and pickles. Then, to make it look festive, she ties ribbons on the baskets she bought at a discount store and places holiday fabric over the tops of jars. "I just took the basket with a ribbon and gift card tied to the handle, as they always dug into it as soon as I gave it to them," she says.
The price can vary for a homemade basket but expect to pay about $30 for supplies.
Melanie Chambers is a freelance
writer based in London, Ont.
|-- Posted: Dec. 9, 2005||