A scrapbook, some jars and a wannabe crafter

I live in a house of constant crafting. My dad spends his free time making wooden trinkets and recently got into pyrography; my mum has dabbled in card making, scrapbooking and sewing, and has the big project of decorating a bare doll’s house to keep her busy currently; and then there is me with my (terrible) paintings, drawings and general crafting. I have grown up making things, and I don’t think my creative streak will ever stop having its own way and causing me to start projects that take a ridiculous amount of time to get done. But I love it.

A Scrapbook for a Travel Lover
For Christmas this year, which now feels like a far away dream, some of my friends and myself took part in a secret santa. As soon as I found out which lovely person I had been assigned my brain immediately jumped to the creative side and I started writing down all my ideas of gifts I could give her because I have way too much spare time. My friend is very into travelling and as it is something we have in common I thought it might be a nice idea to create a kind of European city travel scrapbook. I know, I am like a ten year old who just wants to glue and stick things all the time (was that just me then as well?).

On a trip to Liverpool my friend helped me choose this lovely scrapbook from Paperchase and the rule is when you have bought the scrapbook you have to start filling the scrapbook – no backing out. Uh oh.

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So for about a month and a half, I slowly filled up the pages with a city profile for each two page spread. Some pages are pretty terrible (e.g. the first pages on Paris), but on a whole I was quite pleased with it. The idea behind it was that my friend could put her own photos in, check off the places she had visited and fill in her memories from her adventures, and her task is now to make sure she gets all those places ticked off and more. It isn’t perfect by any means – I am not actually that good at arts and crafting, I just really enjoy doing it. But it is full of lots and lots of love, because I am a walking cliché. Here are a few of the pages that aren’t too naff:

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I know, it is a bit of a weird present, but I think she liked it!

Gifts in a Jar
I also wanted to get something for the rest of my friends, but I as worrying about offending them a little if I gave them lavish gifts when the majority of them are living the student life I am soon to live. I know they wouldn’t be offended really, but I a ma bit of a worrier. So I decided if I went homemade-ish I could get away with getting them something. I had some jars lying about so I decided to utilise the jars and make 3 different types gifts:

1. Spa in a Jar
It rhymed so I had to do it. For the spa in a jar I bought various minature spa-type bits and bobs and quite simply… Put them in the jar! Each jar had one main product (e.g. body mist, body lotion etc…), a candle, a loofah/flannel, face mask, bath fizzer and rose bath petals. Then I covered the lid in purple tissue paper, made a label out of black card, and stuck it on. Easy!

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'Pamper yourself'... I sound like an advert

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Note: the mess

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Crammed it all in

2. Coffee/Tea Break Jar
It doesn’t rhyme, but it involve coffee and tea so you can’t go wrong. For these ones I actually found these jars that said coffee and tea on, and filled them up with various goodies – unsurprisingly, various types of coffee, various types of tea and then a load of chocolate and a few biscuits. I plonked some rope round the jars, made a label and again, easy!
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3. Cookie Jar
The final jar was quite simply full of cookies. Yum. My friend asked for he cookie recipe, and this is the one I tend to use for gooey, chocolate chip cookies.

‘Millie’s Style’ Chocolate Chip Cookies

(recipe by alice1211 on BBC Goodfood)

Ingredients:
125g butter, softened
100g light brown soft sugar
125g caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g self-raising flour
½ tsp salt
200g chocolate chips

Method:
1. Get your oven on gas mark 4. Or 180°C. Or something else.
2. Get your butter and your sugars, sugar. Cream them, which I always find really fun.
3. Egg time. Beat it in. Then plonk in the vanilla, mmmmm.
4. Grab a sift and sift in the flour and salt.
5. Fold in those chocolate chips.
6. Make them into little balls, and put them on ungreased baking paper.
7. Bake them for no more than 7 minutes (believe me) and take them out – they will harden as the cool.

COOKIES! I cut them with a small round cutter whilst they were still fairly soft so they fit in the jar, and then plonked in some cinnamon star shaped biscuits as well.
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That was my creative Christmas splurge. I always like to read about other people’s crafting endeavours so I thought I would write about my own. Like I say, I’m not very good at it, but I don’t think you need to be. Especially if you have some jars lying about.

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