Christmas Gifts From the Farm

| 12/29/2014 2:36:00 PM

TracyWhen I was a little girl, my mother taught me that homemade gifts were extra special. We would design, plan and make gifts for family members at birthdays and Christmas, and I was always so proud that I was able to give something that I had made all by myself. I guess I never outgrew that feeling.

We drove from Washington to California for Christmas this year, and we were going to see friends and family we haven't seen for quite some time. I was so excited to share some of the things I've learned to do on the farm. Other than the cookies, I have learned to make everything in my Christmas goody bags in the past year.

I needed six goody bags. I baked cookies, made jam, canned pickles, processed soap, made felted trivets, and sewed feed bag tote bags. We also added some kettle corn from our friend Johnny Kettle Corn, because who doesn't love kettle corn!?


I started in October, making a list of what I was going to make and how long each item would take. I had to make the soap first, because it would have to cure for three weeks. Then the pickles, because they take two weeks to process. Everything else I could make while the soap and pickles were doing their thing. The cookies would have to wait until the last day before we left because I wanted them to be as fresh as possible.

I haven't worked up the courage yet to make soap with lye. I found a process using Ivory soap, or other vegetable or olive oil soap, to make other soaps. By simply grating the soap, melting it, and adding ingredients such as honey, ground almonds, scented oils, and moisturizing oils, a whole new soap can be made. For Christmas gifts, I made Honey Almond and Cinnamon Orange soaps.

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