homemade-skittles-vodka-recipe-diy

Homemade Skittles vodka recipe

Making & DIY

This is a really easy recipe that will produce a delicious and colourful rainbow of homemade Skittles vodka.

homemade skittles vodka recipe

A rainbow of Skittles Vodka brewing!

You could make a batch as home-made gifts. Getting into a thrifty mindset, it is a great idea to make and prepare DIY Gifts all year round. Have a little stockpile of beautifully-made, special presents, ready to give loved ones, family and friends. Making your own gifts can save you a small fortune.

It’s easy to believe that the more you spend on a present, the more the recipient will feel loved. The truth is, the more thought and time you put into a present, the more the recipient will KNOW they are loved.

Why not put even more thought into the gift by personalising and decorating the labels for each bottle. You could write on the glass with a Sharpie, or decorate the bottles with 3D Embellishing paste – as in this previous article: 3D embellished glass jars

You will need

First off you will need clean, sterilised, small glass bottles with screw top or stoppered lids. You can shop around kitchen stores or supermarkets during the sales to find cheap, empty, glass bottles.

You can save even more money by recycling your empty small glass bottles. Supermarkets sell small wine bottles that you can re-use once you’ve enjoyed the contents.. or try using empty soy-sauce or vinegar bottles.

To recycle your own bottles, ensure you wash each bottle and lid thoroughly. When you have a good stash, sterilise in bulk, all the bottles and lids using sterilising solution. You can buy a pot of sterilising powder for under £2 which will make a few batches of sterilising solution – available from anywhere that sells home-brewing equipment, or here is one from Amazon – VWP Cleanser and sterilser – 100g

 

homemade skittles vodka ingredients make skittles vodka recipe homemade skittles vodka recipe

Skittles vodka recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 family-sized bags of Skittles
  • 1.5 litres of vodka (two 75cl bottles)
  • feel free to double up if you want to make a large batch for presents

Method

  1. Separate the Skittles into piles of each colour
  2. Place each colour in a clean mason jar or bottle
  3. Top up with vodka
  4. Screw the lids onto each bottle nice and tightly and give each bottle a really good shake
  5. You can now leave the bottles overnight (if you’re in a hurry), or for a day or so. Shake the bottles a few times a day, to help the Skittles to dissolve into the vodka
  6. After a couple of days the Skittles will have completely dissolved. You will have created a fruity rainbow of Skittles vodka
  7. Filter the vodka through a coffee filter or cheese cloth at this point, to remove the sugary sediment
  8. Pour the Skittles vodka into smaller gift-sized bottles
  9. Screw the lids tightly on the smaller gift-sized bottles and decorate away
Skittles vodka for party

Mini bottles of Skittles Vodka as gifts

As an alternative to separating the colours, you can add all the colours into one batch minus the green ones (which can make it taste sour) and make a separate green batch or just eat the leftover green skittles!

If you are running short of time and need to have it ready in an hour rather than soaking over night… simply shake the mixture vigorously every ten minutes and you will still create a very tasty skittles vodka.

What to do with your Skittles vodka

  • This Skittles vodka is best served chilled straight from the fridge, or over ice. It is delicious when you add lemonade or tonic water as it’s pretty strong if you drink it neat!
  • This Skittles vodka should be stored in a cool dark place and will keep for months.. but you know it won’t have a chance to last that long!
  • Get creative if you are making little bottles of Skittles vodka as gifts, maybe tie a ribbon around the neck. You could decorate the label with glitter or a Sharpie pen, use 3D embelishing paste on the glass, or perhaps tie a parcel label around the neck and write ‘Drink Me’ on it

 

Enjoy, drink responsibly and get used to being incredibly popular – as you start to give bottles of home-made alcohol as gifts!

You might enjoy these related homemade alcohol recipes…

Make it: Homemade Toffee Vodka

Home Brew: Elderflower Champagne

Make it: Sloe Gin

 

If you would like to receive Thrifty Sustainability updates by email when a new article is added, please subscribe here:


 

Homemade raw bars recipe nutrition bar energy bar healthy pecan nuts raw food

Homemade raw bars – no bake recipe!

Cheap Food / on a Budget, Making & DIY, Thrifty

Try making these delicious homemade raw bars, with no baking required.

Homemade raw bars recipe energy bar nutrition bar recipesBuying raw bars, nutrition bars or energy bars can be very expensive, but if you buy the ingredients in bulk and make them at home, they are actually pretty cheap.

Have a go at making this easy recipe to ensure that you have tasty, healthy snacks, to keep you going this January.

These raw bars are nutritious, packed full of protein and will help to give your body slow-release energy.

Why not try them as a healthy alternative to chocolate bars. These homemade raw bars are also gluten-free, great for vegans and perfect for those who follow a raw food diet.

Homemade Raw Bars Recipe

Ingredients – (makes 16 squares)

Homemade raw bars recipe nutrition bar energy bar healthy pecan nuts raw food

Pecan nuts – rich in vitamin E, B vitamins and antioxidants

  • Pecan nuts 50g
  • Walnuts 50g
  • Cashew nuts (raw unsalted) 50g
  • Ground Almonds 55g
  • Raisins 30g
  • Stoned Dates 80g
  • Cocoa Powder (you can also use raw cocoa powder or vegan chocolate powder) 30g

Method

  1. Add all the ingredients together in a bender and mix for about a minute. It’s ready when the nuts are in small chips and everything is stuck together with the dates and raisins – you can add a teaspoon or two of water to help the mixture to blend if it gets stuck
  2. Form into squares or bars or roll into balls and refrigerate for an hour to set
  3. If you like, you can roll the raw bar or ball in desiccated coconut or ground almonds for a different texture
  4. Once made, you can keep them refrigerated for up to 2 weeks

Try making these tasty, nutritious homemade raw bars for your breakfast, or as a healthy snack. Maybe take some to share at work, as an alternative to the usual cakes and sweets – Enjoy!

 

If you would like to receive Thrifty Sustainability updates by email when a new article is added, please subscribe here:


 

DIY gift ideas homemade handmade presents inspriatoin thrifty save money

30 DIY gift ideas

Making & DIY, Sustainability, Thrifty

Christmas is coming, which can be an expensive time of year. Just because it is the season to spend, doesn’t mean you have to! Why not have a go at these thrifty, homemade, DIY gift ideas and save money whilst creating something beautiful.

If the slideshow above is not displaying correctly for you, you can visit it directly here: 30 DIY Gift Ideas slideshow

Enjoy clicking through the 30 DIY gift ideas in the slide show above, for some homemade gift inspiration.

Why make DIY gifts?

Making your own DIY gifts can be a fun and creative project. There is something quite satisfactory about making something yourself. Not only is it good for saving money, it’s also great for your self-esteem! So, go on, have a go!

Repurposing materials that you already have, will save you from buying something new. If we can make what we need, out of what we already have lying around.. we have another way to help the environment by living sustainably.

Getting into a thrifty mindset, it is a good idea to make and prepare DIY Gifts all year round. Why not create a little stockpile of beautifully-made, special presents – ready to give to your loved ones, family and friends.

DIY gift ideas christmas chutney yummy tomato apple diy home made gift gifts thrifty sustainability making relish

Homemade Christmas chutney

Making your own gifts can also save you a small fortune at Christmas. Because of advertising and media pressure, we can get swept up in the commercialism of Christmas and of gift-giving. It’s easy to believe that the more you spend on a present, the more the recipient will feel loved. The truth is, the more thought and time you put into a present, the more your friends and family will KNOW they are loved.

Why not have a go at making some of the DIY gift ideas, in the slide show above, this year. You will probably decide to make homemade presents every year, once you realise how enjoyable it can be. A friend might like to join you for a gift-making evening or perhaps a family craft day might be fun.

Finally, some of the DIY gift ideas show recipes and how-to guides, that have been featured in previous blog articles. Below you will find links to those related articles.

Making and DIY gift ideas:

Sloe Gin, Toffee Vodka, Tomato & Apple Chutney, Caramalised red onion & chilli chutneyDandelion Jam, 3D embellished glass jars, Upcycle inspiration & ideas

 

Enjoy making beautiful homemade gifts this year and please do post any DIY gift ideas that you have in the comments section below.

 

If you would like to receive Thrifty Sustainability updates by email when a new article is added, please subscribe here:


 

Home Remedies natural remedy alternative medicine herbal remedy herbs tea tree lemon eucalyptus oil

Natural home remedies – prevent a cold & boost your immune system

Cheap Food / on a Budget, Making & DIY, Thrifty
home remedies alternative medicine herbal remedy thrifty health tea tree eucalyptus oil

Natural home remedies can save you money and boost your immune system

Try these natural home remedies this winter, they may help to boost your immune system, or help you to recover faster from colds and flu. Traditional over-the-counter treatments and medicine can be quite expensive. You can often achieve the same results for a fraction of the cost by making your own alternative natural remedies.

Obviously, these are alternative, natural, home remedies, but if you are feeling unwell, use common sense to determine if you need to visit the doctor also.

If you are feeling unwell or have a fever, give your body the best chance of recovery by resting, staying warm and keeping hydrated.

Drinking warm drinks will help to hydrate you. Breathing in the steam will also help to relieve congestion. Some herbal teas have additional benefits, which you might be quite surprised to discover. You can buy herbal teas, but why not get thrifty and make your own – just steep fresh herbs in warm water and drink!

 

Herbal Tea & Warm Drink Home Remedies:

Echinacea – a natural antibiotic, immune stimulant, anti-allergenic and anti-inflammatory. Taking echinacea as a tea, or in tablet form, can help to boost the immune system and also prevent recurrent infections.

Peppermint – to help the digestive process and relieve stomach ache, the menthol released in the steam can help to clear a stuffy head and also loosen catarrh.

Ginger tea – is an aromatic, spicy tea that helps to combat nausea, sooth the digestive system as well as warming the body. Ginger is a natural antiseptic, circulation stimulant, and can also help the body to expel catarrh. Breathing in the steam from the tea will help if you have a blocked or sore nose. To make your own, buy a piece of ginger root from the supermarket, slice off a few chunks, pop it in a mug and top up with hot water.. leave it to steep for a couple of minutes then enjoy. If this is too spicy for you, simply add a teaspoon of honey.

Honey lemon ginger herbal tea home remedy remedies boost immune system thrifty

Home remedies can be rather tasty! Honey, lemon & ginger.

Honey and Lemon – a teaspoon of honey and a couple of slices of fresh lemon in a mug with warm water… soothing and wonderful at relieving cold symptoms. Lemon is great for the immune system as it is naturally antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, an antihistamine, antiviral and antioxidant. It can also help to reduce a fever.

Honey, lemon and turmeric -To make a more medicinal honey and lemon tea, why not try adding a teaspoon of turmeric. Turmeric is anti-bacterial and anti-viral.

Honey, lemon and ginger – Another more medicinal honey and lemon tea, adding fresh ginger as it is an antiseptic, circulation stimulant, and can help the body to expel catarrh.

Lemon and Basil tea – Basil leaves can really help to relieve a sore throat as well as lift your spirits. Basil is a natural antidepressant, antiseptic, can relieve bloating and can help to clear catarrh naturally.

Honey and cinnamon tea – Cinnamon is an effective antiviral and antibiotic. Add a teaspoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of honey to warm water and drink. Cinnamon can also help to lower a fever.

Cider vinegar – drink a couple of teaspoons mixed with a teaspoon of honey in a mug of warm water. You can also use cider vinegar as a gargle if you have a cold or sore throat. Cider vinegar has quite a strong taste so the honey really helps! The Cider vinegar is antibacterial and anti-viral.

Lavender tea – As well as having antibacterial properties, to treat your cold symptoms, this is a soothing tea that can help if you suffer from anxiety or insomnia. Why not save money and make your own. Just add a few heads of lavender to warm water in a mug and leave it to steep for a few minutes. It tastes delicious and is very relaxing.

Lavender and Lemon balm – For a truly delicious tea, try adding lavender heads and lemon balm leaves, the combination is fantastic. Lemon balm is a naturally uplifting herb so works very well for those who are feeling a little low as well as anxious. Lemon balm is sedative, antidepressant, antiviral, antibacterial, relaxant for the nervous system and a digestive stimulant. It can also be used to treat tension headaches.

 

Food Home Remedies

garlic onlin bulbs home remedy food remedies thrifty wellness

Cheap and effective remedy for fighting colds & flu

Onions  – are anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory. A great natural remedy if you have a persistent cold. Try adding onions to meals or eating raw in a salad.

Garlic – the king of home remedies, is a natural antibiotic, packed with antioxidants. It is a real all-rounder, especially good at helping to prevent coughs and colds. Garlic is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antihistamine and anti-fungal. Garlic is also an expectorant, so can help your body to naturally get rid of catarrh. Add it to your meals often or, if you are feeling brave, eat raw garlic for maximum benefit.

Chilli – Spicy food is a tasty way of clearing congestion and helping the body to expel infection by loosening mucus. Chillies are wonderful for this and simply adding a chopped chilli or two to any soup, stew or curry will certainly do the job.
Chillies are a natural antiseptic, antibacterial, digestive stimulant and circulation stimulant. Again, if you are feeling brave.. just eat one raw!

 

Home-made Syrups

Both Elderberry and Rose Hip syrups are traditionally taken to help prevent and combat cold and flu symptoms.

Rose hips – also known as the fruits of the wild or dog rose, are absolutely packed with vitamin C.. 20x as much as oranges! Can be foraged in the late summer and early autumn.

Elderberries – are also packed with vitamins A, B & C, they are anti-inflammatory, help to boost the immune system and can help to prevent recurrent infections. Can be foraged in the late summer and early autumn.

There is a recipe for each at the bottom of this article, or you can jump straight to each:

Rose hip Syrup recipe

Elderberry Syrup recipe

 

Home-made Ointment

Inhaling Eucalyptus or peppermint oil can help to decongest a stuffy nose.
Mix 5 drops of oil with 2 teaspoons of Vaseline and apply the ointment – either a little under the nose, or rub into the chest for best effect. This can also help to warm you and boost circulation. If you don’t fancy walking around smelling of eucalyptus or mint, simply apply a few drops of the oil to a tissue and inhale.

 

Steam Home Remedies

You can breathe in your favourite essential oils and fresh herbs using a home-made steamer. Breathing them in via steam will really help to clear a stuffy head. It can loosen congestion whilst killing viruses and bacteria in the lungs, bronchials or sinuses.

steam inhale home remedy inhalation of herbs cold and flu remedies thrifty health

Inhaling herbal steam to help fight a cold

Get a large mixing bowl and carefully fill it with boiling water. Add a few drops of essential oil or a handful of herbs. Lean over the bowl so that the steam is rising into your face. Place a towel over your head covering both your head and the bowl, so that the steam does not escape, and breath deeply for a few minutes.

The steam will not only help to open your pores and cleanse the skin but the essential oil or herbs will have a chance to enter your respiratory system via the steam.

Herbs such as mint, oregano and rosemary and oils such as Eucalyptus, and Tea-tree will help if you have a cold.

Eucalyptus – is a natural antiseptic, antiviral and antifungal.

tee tree essential oil herbal home remedy for colds and flu healing steam

Worried that essential oils are expensive? This tea tree oil was £1 in Poundworld.

Rosemary – is a natural antiseptic, antidepressant, circulation stimulant, bile stimulant and digestive remedy.

Tea-tree – is a natural antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral and immune stimulant.

Peppermint – is a natural antiviral, bile stimulant, and can relieve bloating and calm the digestive system. Additionally, the menthol released from peppermint can help to clear catarrh.

Oregano – is a natural antibiotic and antiviral and is often used to treat infections of the respiratory system and digestive discomfort.

Lavender – If you also suffer from anxiety or insomnia, breathing in Lavender oil, either directly or as a steam, can really help to ease and sooth a busy mind. As well as having antibacterial properties, to treat your cold symptoms, it is also very calming and is often used to treat tension headaches. Lavender is a natural antiseptic, antibacterial, antidepressant, relaxant and can also help to stimulate circulation.

 

Enjoy the benefits of naturally boosting your immune system with these delicious home remedies:

 

Rose Hip Syrup Recipe

rose hip syrup recipe rosehips home remedies home remedy thrifty

Rose hips

Ingredients

  • 1kg rose hips
  • 3 litres of water
  • 500g dark brown soft sugar

Method

1. Bring to the boil 2 litres of water.
2. Mash rose hips by hand or in a food processor, then add to the boiling water.
3. Bring water back to the boil, then remove from heat and allow to steep for 20 minutes.
4. Strain the rose hips and liquid through a cheesecloth or jelly bag into the sink.
5. Take the separated rose hip pulp add it to the saucepan add 1 litre of water and bring back to the boil. Then remove from heat and allow the contents to steep for another 20 minutes before straining through the cheesecloth or jelly bag once more, this time keeping the strained liquid and pouring into a saucepan.
6. Add sugar to the strained rose hip liquid and dissolve, allow to simmer for five minutes, then pour into hot, sterilised bottles.

Use the syrup as a drink made up with water, or serve on pancakes, or with thick yogurt, or ice cream. Alternatively, just take a spoonful when you need a vitamin C boost because it is a delicious way to help your immune system.

 

Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Elderberry syrup recipe elderberries home remedy home remedies thrifty

Elderberries

Ingredients

  • 1 part fresh elderberries (or ½ part if using dried elderberries)
  • 2 parts water
  • 1 part honey (you may like to use raw honey for its antiviral properties)
  • optional – you can add a little raw ginger, cloves or a cinamon stick to taste

**please be sure to remove all of the stems from the elderberries before adding the fruit to the recipe, because they can contain toxins and are not good for you**

Method

1. Pour water into a saucepan and add the elderberries (and ginger, cinnamon and cloves if you are adding these)
2. Bring to a boil, cover and then simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half. Then remove from heat and let it cool. Mash the elderberries, then pour the mixture through a strainer/cheesecloth into a glass jar or bowl.
3. Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm, then add the honey to the liquid and stir well.
4. Once well mixed, pour the syrup into a pint sized, sterilised jar or bottles.
5. Store in the fridge and take a tablespoon or two a day for its immune system boosting properties.

 

There are many more natural home remedies out there. Why not do a little research on google, or at your local library, or ask family and friends if they’ve tried anything that has worked for them.

 

Enjoy naturally good health!

 

If you would like to receive Thrifty Sustainability updates by email when a new article is added, please subscribe here:


 

toffee vodka homemade recipe gift idea alcohol

Make it: Homemade Toffee Vodka

Making & DIY, Thrifty

This is a really easy recipe that will produce delicious homemade toffee vodka.

toffee vodka homemade recipe gift idea alcohol

Decorated bottles of delicious toffee vodka

You could make a batch as home-made gifts. Getting into a thrifty mindset, it is a great idea to make and prepare DIY Gifts all year round. Have a little stockpile of beautifully-made, special presents, ready to give loved ones, family and friends. Making your own gifts can also save you a small fortune at Christmas.

It’s easy to believe that the more you spend on a present, the more the recipient will feel loved. The truth is, the more thought and time you put into a present, the more the recipient will KNOW they are loved.

Why not put even more thought into the gift by personalising and decorating the labels for each bottle. You could even decorate the bottles with 3D Embellishing paste – as in this previous article: 3D embellished glass jars

You will need

First off you will need clean, sterilised, small glass bottles with screw top or stoppered lids. You can shop around kitchen stores or supermarkets during the sales to find cheap, empty, glass bottles.

You can save even more money by recycling your empty small glass bottles. Supermarkets sell small wine bottles that you can re-use once you’ve enjoyed the contents.. or try using empty soy-sauce or vinegar bottles.

To recycle your own bottles, ensure you wash each bottle and lid thoroughly.  When you have a good stash, sterilise in bulk, all the bottles and lids using sterilising solution. You can buy a pot of sterilising powder for under £2 which will make a few batches of sterilising solution – available from anywhere that sells home-brewing equipment, or here is one from Amazon – VWP Cleanser and sterilser – 100g

 

toffee vodka recipe homemade gift idea alcohol

Making this Toffee vodka is easy and it is ready within days!

Toffee vodka recipe

Ingredients

  • 300g bag of toffee or butterscotch such as Werthers Original
  • 1.5 litres of vodka (two 75cl bottles)

Method

  1. Remove all wrappers and packaging from the toffee and smash it all up into tiny bits with a rolling-pin. If you have a coffee grinder or sturdy food processor, you can use these appliances to get the desired ‘smithereens’ result
  2. If you have two 75cl bottles of vodka, pour about a third of each bottle into a sterilised empty third bottle
  3. Divide the smashed up toffee into three piles and add a pile to each bottle using a funnel
  4. Screw the lids onto each bottle nice and tightly and give each bottle a really good shake
  5. You can now leave the bottles for about two days. Shake the bottles a few times a day, to help the toffee to dissolve into the vodka
  6. After a couple of days the toffee will have completely dissolved. You will have created a creamy and delicious toffee vodka
  7. You can keep the three big bottles as they are, or pour the toffee vodka into smaller gift-sized bottles. You can choose to filter the vodka through a coffee filter at this point if you wish, it can make the vodka taste a little smoother.
  8. Screw the lids tightly on the smaller gift-sized bottles and decorate away

What to do with your toffee vodka

  • This toffee vodka is best served chilled straight from the fridge, or over ice. If it’s too strong, you can add it to milk or coffee to drink it. It’s also delicious poured over ice cream!
  • This toffee vodka should be stored in a cool dark place and will keep for years.. but you know it won’t have a chance to last that long!
  • You can experiment with the amount and types of toffee that you use. Try mixing different types of toffee or butterscotch to make your own special flavour
  • Get creative if you are making little bottles of toffee vodka as gifts, maybe tie a ribbon around the neck. You could decorate the label with glitter, use 3D embelishing paste on the glass, or perhaps tie a parcel label around the neck and write ‘Drink Me’ on it

Enjoy, drink responsibly and get used to being incredibly popular – as you start to give bottles of home-made alcohol as gifts!

You might enjoy these related homemade alcohol recipes…

Home Brew: Elderflower Champagne

Make it: Sloe Gin

 

If you would like to receive Thrifty Sustainability updates by email when a new article is added, please subscribe here:


 

chutney recipe jars of caramelised red onion and chilli chutney homemade gift idea

Make it: Caramelised red onion & chilli chutney

Making & DIY, Thrifty

Caramelised red onion and chilli chutney is a great recipe to make this autumn. Once the chutney is sealed in the jars, it will have time to mature to be extra delicious just in time for Christmas.chutney recipe jars of caramelised red onion and chilli chutney homemade gift idea

Getting into a thrifty mindset, it is a great idea to make and prepare DIY Gifts all year round. Have a little stockpile of beautifully-made, special presents, ready to give to your loved ones, family and friends. Making your own gifts can also save you a small fortune at Christmas. It’s easy to believe that the more you spend on a present, the more the recipient will feel loved. The truth is, the more thought and time you put into a present, the more the recipient will KNOW they are loved.

With this gift idea you can put even more thought into the design by personalising and decorating the labels that you stick on each jar.

You will need:

First off you will need clean, sterilised, glass jars with lids. You can shop around kitchen stores or supermarkets during the sales to find cheap, empty jam and preserve jars. You could save even more money by recycling your empty jam and chutney jars.

To recycle your own jars, ensure you wash each jar and lid thoroughly. Then, when you have a good stash, sterilise in bulk, all the jars and lids using sterilising solution. You can buy a pot of sterilising powder for under £2 which will make a few batches of sterilising solution. Available from anywhere that sells home-brewing equipment, or on Amazon – VWP Cleanser and sterilser – 100g

 

Caramelised red onion & chilli chutney recipe:

(this makes about 3 jars so just double up if you’d like to make more)

Ingredients

10/11 red onions (peeled)chutney recipe caramelised red onion chilli chutney homemade gift
1 red chilli  (de-seeded) or 1 tsp of dried chilli flakes
3 bay leaves
25ml olive oil
350g dark muscovado sugar or dark brown sugar
100ml balsamic vinegar
100ml red wine vinegar
2tsp ground ginger
A good sprinkle of salt and pepper

Method
  1. Cut onions and chilli into short strips and place into a large, heavy-based saucepan with the olive oil and bay leaves. Cook on a low heat for 20 mins, stirring occasionally until the onions are darker.
  2. Next, stir in the sugar, both vinegars, ginger, salt and pepper.
  3. Cook on a medium-high heat for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is very thick, dark and sticky. You can check if the chutney is ready by taking half a teaspoon of the mixture and popping it in the fridge for 5 mins to see if it is thicker when cool.
  4. Once ready, remove saucepan from heat and take out the bay leaves.
  5. Spoon the chutney, whilst still a little warm, into the sterilised jars. At this stage you can add a piece of cling film over the top of the chutney if you like, to help it to keep for longer.
  6. Finally, seal the jars tightly with their lids and add your own labels. The chutney will mature and the flavours will deepen if you can leave it sealed in the jar for a month or two before opening and enjoying.

You can leave the chutney, sealed in its jar, for a year or two in a cool dark store cupboard – it will still be safe to eat. Once opened, keep refrigerated and the chutney will be fine to eat for a good few months… if it lasts that long!

How to thicken runny chutney

Making chutney is not an exact science and sometimes it can take ages to thicken. The runnyness is due to how much liquid is in the onions that you used and there is nothing you can do other than wait it out.

As you simmer your mixture, the liquid evaporating is what makes the chutney thicker, so keep it simmering and eventually it will thicken.

If you would like to speed up the process, transfer your mixture to a couple of wide-based pans – an increased surface area of the mixture will allow for more evaporation.

Decorating your jars of yummy chutney

There are lots of ways to make the label that you put on your chutney special…

  • You could personalise each jar by writing the name of the recipient
  • You could draw a picture of the ingredients on the label
  • You could write serving suggestions, such as: Great with Sausages, Cheese and in Christmas Sandwiches!
  • You could add the date that the chutney was made
  • You could add 3D embellishing paste to the jars as in this previous article: Make it: DIY gift ideas – 3D embellished glass jars
  • You could add stickers, glitter, whatever… get creative!
If you’re a complete chutney nut, you can, of course, keep the whole batch for yourself and scoff the lot! Enjoy!

 

If you would like to receive Thrifty Sustainability updates by email when a new article is added, please subscribe here:


 

Elderflower Champagne recipe home brew sparkling wine delicous alcohol forage foraged forager foraging bushcraft wildfood cheap thrifty

Home Brew: Elderflower Champagne

Cheap Food / on a Budget, Making & DIY, Thrifty

Making Elderflower Champagne is a fantastic way of turning free, foraged ingredients and low-cost store cupboard ingredients, into a few large bottles of actual alcohol. If you are new to making home brew, Elderflower Champagne is a great place to start.

Elderflower champagne recipe home brew for foragers foraging forager foraged

Elderflowers in bloom

This drink is so cheap and easy to make. The result is a delicious, elegant drink that you can take to a picnic or BBQ and share with friends, or just enjoy at home on a summer’s evening when you fancy something refreshing.

Foraging for Elderflower is pretty simple and the flowers are easy to spot. They have a creamy white colour with a very distinctive smell. They appear in large, flat heads in early summer, usually at the end of May and beginning of June. Elderflower heads should be picked as they are just coming into flower. You can read more about Elderflower varieties on Wikipedia here: Elderflower

Elderflower Champagne Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 6 large heads of Elderflower (gently shake the heads to remove any insects but do not wash them as you will need all the blossom to ferment your brew!)
  • 4 ½ Litres of water
  • 2 sliced lemons
  • 450g granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar

Make it:

Elderflower champagne recipe home brew lemons sugar bowl brewing

Leave to steep in water for up to 36 hours

  1. Add the 6 heads of Elderflower, and the sliced lemons to the 4 ½ litres of water in a large bowl. You can split between a couple of bowls if you like. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel to keep insects away and Leave the mixture to steep for 24-36 hours
  2. Strain your mixture through a sieve into another bowl – you can now discard the Elderflower and lemon slices
  3. Add the 450g of sugar and the 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar and give it a good stir
  4. Pour into clean plastic bottles with screw top lids – close the lid but not tightly. As the mixture ferments the pressure will build in the bottles and you will need to release the pressure every couple of days. Releasing the pressure
    Elderflower champagne recipe home brew sparkling wine delicous home brew brewing foraged foraging forage forager elderflowers

    Serve chilled and enjoy!

    avoids an exploding bottle and an Elderflower-flavoured kitchen

  5. Keep releasing the pressure every couple of days for 4-5 weeks. If you like you can do the occasional taste test during this time, as the longer you leave it, the drier (and stronger) the drink gets
  6. After the above fermentation time of about 5 weeks, firmly close each bottle and store in a cool dark place, until you are ready to drink!
  7. This drink will keep for months in the cupboard… but it doesn’t usually get a chance to! Tastes best if it has been chilled in the fridge for a couple of hours

 

Enjoy home brewing!

You might also enjoy this earlier post with a home brew Sloe Gin recipe: Make it: Sloe Gin

 

If you would like to receive Thrifty Sustainability updates by email when a new article is added, please subscribe here:


 

Repair Cafe by Ilvy Njiokiktjien Creative Commons-CC BY-SA 3.0, httpscommons.wikimedia.orgwindex.phpcurid=24316530

What is a Repair Cafe? – Sustainable skills

Free, Making & DIY, Sustainability, Thrifty

What is a Repair Cafe?

A repair cafe is a free meeting place, where people can bring along broken possessions to be fixed by a group of local volunteers. The volunteers have experience in repairing all kinds of items from furniture, clothes and bikes to electrical goods.

Repair Cafe by Ilvy Njiokiktjien - CC BY-SA 3.0 - Regeneration Cafe sustainable skills fixing DIY mending Repairing

Learning how to repair brings communities together

Repair cafes encourage communities to reduce waste and save money by maintaining and repairing, rather than throwing stuff away and buying new.

Many repair cafe initiatives also encourage visitors to work side-by-side with the volunteers to learn how to repair their own possessions. The idea being that the visitor can fix it themselves next time and teach others to do the same, passing on the knowledge and the learning of basic repair jobs.

Repair cafes have lots of useful tools and materials provided and, as well as encouraging a sustainable and thrifty perspective, it is a great way for  communities to get together, over a cuppa, and strengthen bonds.

Why repair?

Lots of items are thrown away needlessly every day, these items are often easily repaired. Sometimes people don’t realise that the item could be repaired, or it may be that the knowledge of how to repair the item has been lost.

By RaMa2016 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46595423 Repair Cafe Repairing sustainable thrifty

Save money – repair rather than replace

Learning how to repair an item yourself is not only a great way to save money and help the environment, but you also gain a real sense of achievement and self-esteem, as you apply a newly learned practical skill to fix your item.

When things are used for longer and are not thrown away, it reduces the amount of raw materials and resources needed to make new items. For example, harmful CO2 emissions are reduced and the energy that it would take to create, transport and sell a new product is saved.

As well as resident repair experts, lots of repair cafes also have books and leaflets available, which detail DIY repairs and tips.

 

A Repair Cafe in Cheltenham

This post has been inspired by the Regeneration Cafe which launches in Cheltenham on Saturday 7th March. Vision 21, University of Gloucestershire Product Design staff and students and the Gloucestershire Joint Waste Team are launching a monthly repair cafe in Cheltenham.

If you live in Cheltenham or nearby, why not pop along to support this fantastic initiative. Do you have something that needs fixing? Do you have skills or repair knowledge that might come in handy? Want to learn more about the project? Why not pop in, all are most welcome.

Launch Event:

The Regeneration Cafe – Saturday 7th May 2016 – 10am – 12.30pm
St Andrews URC, Montpellier Street, Cheltenham GL50 1SP.

For further details about this launch event: https://www.facebook.com/events/972253176162377/

 

Why not get in touch with your local council, or search on Google, to see if there is a repair cafe near you. If there isn’t one… you could start one!

Do you have details of your local repair cafe? Please feel free to share them in the comments section below

 

 

If you would like to receive Thrifty Sustainability updates by email when a new article is added, please subscribe here:


 

Dandelion jam jelly honey make home-made thrifty sustainability gift present DIY

Make it: Dandelion Jam

Making & DIY, Thrifty

Dandelion Jam is a really unusual, but delicious treat. It is unlikely to be in your local supermarket or even your local farm shop. The fact that it is hard to Dandelion jam jelly honey make home-made thrifty sustainability gift present DIYget hold of makes this jam a brilliant home-made gift for friends.

Try Dandelion Jam on toast or scones, pair it with cream cheese, use it as a glaze or salad dressing… think of how you might use honey and try using Dandelion Jam instead. It’s tasty!

Getting into a thrifty mindset, it is a good idea to make and prepare DIY Gifts all year round so that you have a little stockpile of beautifully-made, special presents – ready to give to your loved ones, family and friends. With this gift idea you can put even more thought into the design by personalising and decorating the labels that you stick on each jar.

Foraging Dandelions

Dandelion jam jelly honey make home-made thrifty sustainability gift present DIY dandelions

Dandelions flower in the Spring and in Autumn too, so you have two chances to forage for this recipe.

When picking your Dandelion flowers, make sure that you are picking them from an area that has not been sprayed with weed killers or insecticides, you don’t want that stuff in your yummy jam.

If you pick too many dandelions, you can freeze the leftover flowers for a later date.

You will need:

First off you will need clean, sterilised, glass jars with lids. You can shop around kitchen stores or supermarkets during the sales to find cheap, empty jam and preserve jars, or you can save even more money by recycling your empty jam and chutney jars.

To recycle your own jars, ensure you wash each jar and lid thoroughly then when you have a good stash, sterilise in bulk, all the jars and lids using sterilising solution. You can buy a pot of sterilising powder for under £2 which will make a few batches of sterilising solution – available from anywhere that sells home-brewing equipment, or here is one from Amazon – VWP Cleanser and sterilser – 100g

 

Dandelion Jam Recipe

Ingredients:
  • 300 yellow dandelion flower heads
  • 1kg sugar
  • 1000 ml water (about a pint and 3/4)
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1x sachet of fruit pectin – or if you have a box of pectin powder follow
    instructions on the box (you can add more pectin for a thicker jam)
Method:

Dandelion jam jelly honey make home-made thrifty sustainability gift present DIY dandelions

  1. Wash the flower heads throughly in cold water
  2. Pluck or cut the yellow flower from the small green leaves that hold it, it’s ok if a few small green bits are still in the mix, but ideally you just want the yellow flower for this jam. The small green leaves have a bitter taste and can turn the jam a light green, so it is worth the extra effort. Prepare yourself for sticky yellow fingers during this bit
  3. Mix water with sugar and bring to boil in a pan
  4. Add the flower heads to the mix, Bring to the boil and simmer for 20mins
  5. 2-3 mins before the 20mins is up add the lemon juice
  6. Remove pan from heat and allow to stand for 24hrs
  7. Dandelion jam jelly honey make home-made thrifty sustainability gift present DIYPour mixture through a sieve into a new pan to remove the flower heads (you can leave some of the petals in the mix if you like, they are edible and look really great in the finished jam – a bit like yellow marmalade)
  8. Simmer mixture on a low heat for 20 mins
  9. Add pectin 3-4 mins before the end, bring to boil and then boil for a further 5 mins
  10. When finished, you should have a clear yellowish jam that smells like honey and tastes absolutely delicious! Pour the warm jam into warm, sterilised, dry jam jars. Pop on the lids, then label and date

If you would prefer to make dandelion syrup, just leave out the pectin.

 

Did you know?
  • Dandelion flowers have antioxidant properties
  • Don’t waste the Dandelion greens either, they can be eaten raw as salad or cooked like spinach. Dandelion greens contain vitamins A, B and C, along with potassium and iron

 

If you would like to receive Thrifty Sustainability updates by email when a new article is added, please subscribe here:


 

upcycle upcycling reuse repurpose reusing repurposing recycle recycling sustainability slideshow presentation

Upcycle, reuse & repurpose – Inspirational ideas

Making & DIY, Sustainability

Upcycle, reuse and repurpose unwanted items. Make the most of your rubbish and maybe even make something beautiful.

Take a look at these weird and wonderful ideas. Hopefully they will inspire you and help you to look at your rubbish in a whole new light.

Just click through each slide using the yellow boxes at the bottom of the pictures, or by clicking on the actual pictures. Enjoy!


Upcycling – by ThriftySustainability.net – Created with Haiku Deck

Why Upcycle?

Upcycling unwanted materials helps our environment, one repurposed item at a time. Creating something from our waste will save that waste from going into a landfill site. It will save the energy and transportation that would have been used to process the waste.

Repurposing can also save us from buying something new, if we can make what we need, out of what we already have lying around… we can save money as well as live sustainably.

Upcycled items can also make fantastic gifts, just take a look through the slides above for some great thrifty and sustainable DIY gift ideas. Or take a look at this previous post for another upcycling idea: DIY gift idea

Some of the most inspirational upcycling ideas are those which use our rubbish to create something beautiful and that puts something in the world that will cheer people up a little when they see it. That’s got to be worth the effort!

What will you upcycle? Do you have any upcycling ideas? Please feel free to share them in the comments section below.

Happy Upcycling!

If you would like to receive Thrifty Sustainability updates by email when a new article is added, please subscribe here:


 

lemon lemons healthy thrifty cheap versatile sustainable saving money

Lemons – multi-talented, powerful… cheap!

Making & DIY, Sustainability, Thrifty
lemon lemons healthy thrifty cheap versatile sustainable saving money

Lemons – not just for gin!

Lemons, often only chosen in the supermarket as a companion to gin & tonic or perhaps for squeezing over a piece of fish, but this cheeky little fruit has so much more to offer as you embrace a thrifty and sustainable lifestyle.

Ahh, the humble lemon, look closer and you will discover, not only that it is cheap and tasty, but that it has many other uses for the house, garden, health, beauty and cleaning, uses that can save you money whilst helping the environment.

A few ideas for using lemons

spray bottle lemon cleaner thrifty sustainable cheap save money clean
Air freshener –
mix equal amounts of water and lemon juice into a spray bottle. You can re-use the bottle as many times as you like and the spray will last for ages. The lemon smell is fresh, disguises odours and you can rest assured that you will not be breathing in lots of the chemicals that you find in regular air fresheners. Not only does this air freshener only cost pence but it also cuts down on the amount of aerosols and packaging that you may use – this helps the environment.

 

Sink/bath cleaner – Lemons are a natural bleaching agent and can dissolve soap scum and limescale on baths and sinks. As the acidic lemon is also antibacterial and antiseptic, it disinfects as it cleans too! You can apply neat lemon juice on problem areas, using a sponge, leave for a few hours and then rinse off. If it’s only a light scum, you only need to leave the lemon juice to do its lemony magic for 10mins.

 

All-purpose cleaner – If you want an amazing all-rounder, look no further than this powerful cleaning solution: Mix together some bicarbonate of soda with lemon juice and some warm water to make a paste. This powerful cleaning paste will clean the oven, hob, microwave… any tough, grimy, greasy, built-up, caked-in dirt. The bicarbonate of soda (also known as baking soda) is an abrasive, the lemon juice has fabulous de-greasing properties and together they are a force to be reckoned with! Rinse the surface well after using, to remove any of the powdery residue.

 

lemons lemon natural stain remover clean clothes thrifty sustainability sustainable effective

A natural, effective stain remover

Stain-remover – If you suffer from sweat stains on shirts or tops, mix together half lemon juice and half water and scrub the stain gently to remove the marks before putting the shirt or top in the wash. This will also work for stains caused by fruit juice, tea, ink etc… if it’s a really bad stain, add a little salt into the mix as an abrasive. You can also add lemon juice to your wash if you are washing white clothes as the slight, natural bleaching properties of the lemon will keep your whites whiter for longer… at a fraction of the price of the branded whiteners… and using zero harmful chemicals.

 

Disinfectant – Pour the juice of a couple of lemons down the kitchen or bathroom sinks or drains to disinfect them and to remove odours. You can also spray a mix of lemon juice and water over kitchen work surfaces as the lemon has antibacterial and antiseptic properties that will keep your kitchen germ-free. The lemonine in the lemon is also toxic to insects so will help to keep flies from having a fly party in your food preparation area.

 

Natural insect deterrent – If you want to keep insects away from your plants, or from entering your home. Try leaving strips of lemon peel dotted around as insects can’t stand the smell of lemon. Try squeezing lots of lemon juice onto doorsteps or windowsills to keep insects at bay. Ants, flies, fleas and cockroaches all hate the smell of lemon.

 

natural weed killer lemon juice thrifty sustainable environmentally friendly

A natural weed killer

Natural weed killer – Soil becomes polluted with the harmful chemicals used in commercial weed-killers. Why not try using lemon juice directly on the weeds instead. Pouring lemon juice between paving cracks will prevent the weeds from growing. It’s a much cheaper solution and much kinder to our environment.

 

Skincare – Fill a bowl with boiling hot water, add the peel of half a lemon, put your head over the bowl, put a towel over your head to cover your head and the bowl, and allow the steam from the bowl to cover and clean your face. The lemony steam will help to clean out pores at a very deep level. This is especially good for greasy skin. It feels amazingly fresh and energising too. Afterwards you can tone the skin and close the pores by dabbing a mix of two parts cold water to one part lemon juice on the skin and allowing it to dry naturally, then wash off with tap water. You can even apply sliced lemons directly to the face as lemon acids are smoothing and moisturising for even the driest skin types. Lemons – Who knew?!

 

lemons lemon juice hair rinse haircare healthy shiny cheap thrifty sustainability

Shiny, healthy, natural haircare

Haircare – To treat damaged hair or to give healthy hair a fantastic shine: Rinse hair with water and the juice of half a lemon. The lemon juice cleans out any residual soaps or shampoos, encourages natural proteins in the hair which can repair hair damage and creates fatty acids which give your hair a natural shine. All for the cost of half a lemon!

 

lemon juice in water hangover cure thrifty health healthy vitamin c

A hangover cure! – You’re welcome

Health – Lemons are a great source of vitamin C, vitamin C encourages the body to make collagen. Having lemons in your daily diet will help your body to repair muscles and skin and will help you to enjoy the humble lemon’s amazing anti-ageing properties. Lemon can also help reduce the amount of cholesterol that we take in from food.

 

Hangover prevention – If you’ve had a heavy night of drinking and suffer from hangovers, try drinking a glass of water with the juice of a lemon squeezed into it before you go to bed… the lemon will help the liver to process the alcohol and will give you a dose of Vitamin C at the same time… you will have a much better time when you wake up – you’re welcome!

 

There are hundreds of similarly amazing uses for lemons and you can discover more by google-ing ‘household uses for lemons’ ‘uses for lemons’ ‘lemon uses’ ‘lemon benefits’ etc

You can, of course, also use the lemon in lots of delicious recipes such as lemon drizzle cake, lemon cheesecake or lemon and ginger tea.

If you discover a great use for lemons, please let us know in the comments section below.
If you would like to receive Thrifty Sustainability updates by email when a new article is added, please subscribe here:


 

christmas chutney yummy tomato apple diy home made gift gifts thrifty sustainability making relish

Make it for Christmas: Tomato & Apple Chutney

Making & DIY, Thrifty

Tomato & Apple Chutney is a great recipe to have a go at in October/early November as the fruits are in season and once the chutney is sealed in the jars, it will have time to mature to be extra-delicious just in time for Christmas.

tomatoes tomato apple chutney chutny pickle pickles home made preserve thrifty sustainability cheap foodGetting into a thrifty mindset, it is a good idea to make and prepare DIY Gifts all year round so that you have a little stockpile of beautifully-made, special presents – ready to give to your loved ones, family and friends. Making your own gifts can also save you a small fortune at Christmas. If you get swept up in the commercialism of Christmas and of gift-giving, it’s easy to believe that the more you spend on a present, the more the recipient will feel loved. The truth is, the more thought and time you put into a present, the more the recipient will KNOW they are loved.

With this gift idea you can put even more thought into the design by personalising and decorating the labels that you stick on each jar.

Making your own gifts can save you a small fortune at Christmas!

You will need:

First off you will need clean, sterilised, glass jars with lids. You can shop around kitchen stores or supermarkets during the sales to find cheap, empty jam and preserve jars, or you can save even more money by recycling your empty jam and chutney jars.

To recycle your own jars, ensure you wash each jar and lid thoroughly then when you have a good stash, sterilise in bulk, all the jars and lids using sterilising solution. You can buy a pot of sterilising powder for under £2 which will make a few batches of sterilising solution – available from anywhere that sells home-brewing equipment, or here is one from Amazon – VWP Cleanser and sterilser – 100g


Tomato & Apple Chutney Recipe:

(Makes about 6 jars)

Ingredients

  • christmas chutney tomato apple diy home made gift gifts thrifty sustainability making relish450g (1lb) Apples – finely chopped (do not use the core)
  • 450g (1lb) Onions – finely chopped (do not use the peel/skin)
  • 1kg ( 2lb 3oz) Firm, ripe tomatoes – finely chopped
  • 300g (10 ½ oz) Sultanas
  • 450ml (16 fl oz) Vinegar
  • 350g Brown Sugar
  • 1tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1tsp Cinnamon
  • 1tsp Nutmeg
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Method

christmas chutney tomato apple diy home made gift gifts thrifty sustainability making relish make

  1. Put all of the ingredients apart from the sultanas, sugar, salt and pepper into a large, heavy-based saucepan – there is no need to add cooking oil. Bring the ingredients to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for 30 mins, stirring occasionally until the mixture is thicker
  2. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in the sugar, sultanas, salt and pepper
  3. Put saucepan back on a low heat, increase heat to bring the mixture back to a simmer and simmer for a further 30 mins – 2hrs until the mixture is very thick
  4. Remove saucepan from heat and spoon, whilst still warm, into the sterilised jars. Seal the jars and add your own labels – you can add a square of clingfilm across the top of the chutney before you screw on the lid if you wish to help it to keep longer

Storing the chutney

The chutney will mature and the flavours will deepen if you can leave it sealed in the jar for a month or two before opening and enjoying. You can leave the chutney, sealed in its jar, for a year or two in a cool dark store cupboard – it will still be safe to eat. Once opened, keep refrigerated and the chutney will be fine to eat for a good few months… if it lasts that long!

How to thicken runny chutney

Making chutney is not an exact science and sometimes it can take ages to thicken. The runnyness is due to how much liquid was in the fruit that you used and there is nothing you can do other than wait it out.

As you simmer your mixture, the liquid from the fruit evaporating is what makes the chutney thicker, so keep it simmering and eventually it will thicken.

If you would like to speed up the process, transfer your mixture to a couple of wide-based pans – an increased surface area of the mixture will allow for more evaporation.

christmas chutney yummy tomato apple diy home made gift gifts thrifty sustainability making relishDecorating your jars of yummy chutney

There are lots of ways to make the label that you put on your chutney special…

  • You could personalise each jar by writing the name of the recipient
  • You could draw a picture of the ingredients on the label
  • You could write serving suggestions, such as: Great with Sausages, Cheese and in Christmas Sandwiches!
  • You could add the date that the chutney was made
  • You could add stickers, glitter, whatever… get creative!


If you’re a complete chutney nut, you can, of course, keep the whole batch for yourself and scoff the lot! Enjoy!

If you would like to receive Thrifty Sustainability updates by email when a new article is added, please subscribe here:


 

diy gift christmas idea glass jar decorate decoration embelish embelishment design present pebeo paste 3d creative project

Make it: DIY Gift Ideas – 3D embellished glass jars

Making & DIY

Getting into a thrifty mindset, it is a great idea to make and prepare DIY Gifts all year round so that you have a little stockpile of beautifully home-made, special presents – ready to give to your loved ones, family and friends. Making your own gifts can also save you a small fortune at Christmas. Have you ever received a DIY gift? How did it make you feel?

If you get swept up in the commercialism of Christmas and of gift-giving, it’s easy to believe that the more you spend on a present, the more the recipient will feel loved. The truth is that the more thought and time you put into a present, the more the recipient will KNOW that they are loved and that you consider them worth the effort, of making something especially for them. With this DIY gift idea you can put even more thought into the design by personalising the jar with the name of the person that you are giving it to.

diy gift christmas idea glass jar decorate decoration embelish embelishment design present pebeo gold relief paste creamYou will need:

First off you will need clean, dry, glass jars. You can shop around kitchen stores or supermarkets during the sales to find cheaper mason and storage jars, or you can save even more money by recycling your empty coffee jars or by using any glass object that you care to decorate, such as wine glasses or recycled jam jars.

You will also need a tube of 3D paste – For this example ‘Pebeo glass & metal paint relief paste outliner‘ has been used as they have a very effective metallic gold paste, which is fitting if you are considering making Christmas presents. If you shop around online using sites like Amazon and Ebay, you can find a tube for about £3 – a small tube will last you for a lot of projects, as a little goes a long way.

 

How to make 3D embellished glass jars:

This is the easy and fun bit! Hold your jar steadily in one hand and use the tube of relief paste to carefully doodle and swirl your design onto the glass. You don’t have to be a great artist here, less is more so here are some suggestions:

  • the recipient’s name
  • a simple heart shape
  • easy to draw geometric shapes like squares and rectangles – dotted around the jar
  • a spiral
  • a sunshine or stars
  • an outline of a spoon and the word sugar / coffee / tea
  • the word sweets / biscuits / treats
  • an outline of a cat or dog or the word miaow or woof
  • an outline of a leaf or tree

diy gift christmas idea glass jar decorate decoration embelish embelishment design present pebeo paste 3d creative projectJust use your imagination when drawing out your design and remember, that it is the thought that counts with this DIY gift, and whatever you create it will be wonderful for the recipient, because you made it for them.
Once you’ve added your design to the jar, you must now leave the jar to dry in a safe, out of the way, dry place for at least half a day, to ensure that your design sets solid.

Once dry you will notice that you can run your fingers over the design and it has created a 3D effect on the jar. It looks really interesting and as is pretty durable too, so your design will endure a few knocks and bumps and last for years.

If you want to get really creative, why not take things further by experimenting with glass paints too!

The finished jars are beautiful as they are and you can always fill them for an extra surprise.

Here are a few ideas of what you could pop inside:

  • Sweets
  • Biscuits
  • Small party-favour toys and games
  • tubes of glitter / googly eyes / beads / sequins and other crafting items
  • a rolled up message on a piece of coloured paper, that you have written especially for them
  • a rolled up tie or pair of colourful socks
  • Small make-up items and bottles of nail varnish
  • tea bags / coffee / sugar
  • Dried fruit / nuts
  • herbs and spices
  • a candle

You could fill your jar with anything you like, or leave it looking empty and elegant, it’s totally up to you as it’s your creative project. You can’t go wrong and your DIY gift will make someone’s day because you have made it for them yourself!

Enjoy… and if you have any design tips or ideas for filling the jars – let us know in the comments below – thank you!
If you would like to receive Thrifty Sustainability updates by email when a new article is added, please subscribe here:


 

how to make sloe gin sloes blackthorn home brew diy gifts alcohol bottle present home made sloe gin

Make it: Sloe Gin

Making & DIY, Thrifty

Making Sloe Gin is one of the most rewarding pastimes in September/October.

how to make sloe gin sloes blackthorn home brew diy gifts alcohol bottle present home made sloe gin

Freshly picked sloes

Scroll down for a delicious sloe gin recipe. If you are lucky, and there is an early crop of Sloes, you will have time to make lots of little gift-sized bottles of home-made sloe gin, to give away to friends and family at Christmas… Won’t you be popular this year!

Giving home-made DIY gifts is a great way for you to save money and over the years the savings will add up. Your friends and family will appreciate something that has been made for them by you, everyone who receives something will feel special, and worth your time and effort, and that is a gift in itself.

Of course there is always the option of getting your Grinch on and keeping the lot for yourself.. no one would blame you, as Sloe Gin is purply-red, bottled bliss. One sip spreads a lovely warming glow through your chest, which makes it the perfect accompaniment to cosy winter nights snuggled up on the sofa.

sloe berries berry how to make sloe gin sloes blackthorn home brew diy gifts alcohol bottle present home made sloe gin liqour

Sloe berries – fruit of the Blackthorn

Where to find Sloes

Sloes are the berries of the blackthorn bush, sloes grow in hedgerows all over the UK as a shrub or small tree.

The autumn fruits appear blue at first then they have a slightly cloudy sheen, then turn shiny black. Ready to pick in September/October.

It is best to pick sloes after the first frost, but if you can’t wait that long and there has been an early crop of sloes, simply pop them in the freezer for a few hours before you make your gin.

Just a little warning, don’t try to eat the sloes when you pick them, the fruits are very sharp and tart and not at all tasty. Best to make gin out of them.

 

 

How to make Sloe Gin

Ingredients:

  • Sloes
  • Sugar (granulated white sugar or caster sugar is best)
  • Gin (shop around to find supermarket cheapest deals or own brand)

Before you start you will need a large, sterilised bottle, jar or demijohn – something that can be sealed (even if you seal it with clingfilm). You could even use the bottles that the gin came in.

how to make sloe gin sloes blackthorn home brew diy gifts alcohol bottle present home made sloe gin liqour

Sloe berries – ready to be washed and pricked!

Preparing the Sloes

Once you have picked your Sloes, wash them to remove any dirt, then place in a bowl. Now comes the fun part… prick small holes in each Sloe. You can do this by daintily taking each sloe and piercing its skin with a sewing needle… or you can get a fork and stab up a bowl of them in a hit and miss, let’s get this done stylee. Either way will work. The idea is that by piercing the skin, the juices will be able to flow into the gin and make a much richer tasting and more beautifully coloured drink.

Making the Gin

  1. Fill a third of your jar, bottle or demijohn with your freshly-pricked sloes
  2. Add sugar, it will fill the gaps between the sloes, up to about the level of the top of the sloes
  3. Pour in Gin to cover the sloes and sugar, up to the top of your bottle, glass or demijohn – If you like, you can add complimentary flavours at this point, such as a cinnamon stick or a few drops of almond or vanilla essence
  4. Seal the jar, bottle or demijohn and give your brew a few swishes to shake the mixture and start the process
  5. Place your Sloe gin in a dark, cool cupboard and give it a few swishes every day for two or three weeks and then you can leave it to stand. The mixture will continue to deepen in colour and flavour and you can leave it for three or four months
  6. After the process is complete your mixture will be a beautiful, rich, purply-red colour. Pour this liquid through a sieve (or a square of muslin) into a measuring jug, and from the jug pour into sterilised screw-cap bottles and seal up, they are now ready to give as gifts. Or… pour the sloe gin into a glass and have some immediately… yum yum!

Once sealed in screw-cap bottles the slow gin will keep for years.. but good luck with that, most will be gone by the new year!

Make use of the leftovers

If you don’t want to waste the gin and sugar soaked sloes that are left over at the end of the process… try eating a couple.. or pour vodka or sherry over them, this time don’t add any sugar, seal up the bottle and swish the mix occasionally over a couple of weeks to make a cheeky sloe vodka or sloe sherry –

how to make sloe gin sloes home brew diy gifts alcohol bottle present home made sloe gin

You can give small bottles of sloe gin as gifts

it won’t have as rich a colour as your first batch of sloe gin, but it’s a great way of adding value to a cheap bottle of vodka or sherry.

Experiment & get creative

You can experiment with the amount of sugar you use each year and with different types of alcohol if you are not a gin fan, there is no set rule when making sloe gin and there are plenty of different recipes out there if you fancy doing a little research.

Get creative if you are making little bottles of sloe gin as gifts, maybe tie a ribbon around the neck or decorate the label with glitter, or perhaps tie a parcel label around the neck and write ‘Drink Me’ on it.

Enjoy, drink responsibly and get used to being incredibly popular – this will tend to happen if you give bottles of home-made alcohol as gifts!
If you would like to receive Thrifty Sustainability updates by email when a new article is added, please subscribe here:


 

thrifty sustainability make Pizza do it yourself DIY pizza toppings save money on takeaway food cheap

Make it: Home made pizza

Cheap Food / on a Budget, Making & DIY

Let’s face it, pizza is the food of the Gods and you’re thinking… no way can I make a pizza that tastes as sublime as my usual take-away favourite. Well, not only can you make your own perfect, divine, exquisitely delicious pizza, but you’ll have the added satisfaction of knowing that you’ve saved yourself a tenner (this recipe only costs £1.50 – £3 per pizza) and you can be as picky as you like with the toppings.

thrifty sustainability make Pizza do it yourself DIY pizza toppings save money on takeaway food cheap

Save at least £10 – every time you make your own pizza from scratch

If you are interested in healthy eating, making your own pizza allows you to have total control over the ingredients, perhaps use whole-wheat organic flour instead of plain white flour, use gluten-free flour if you are a celiac and choose toppings which are in-line with your dietary requirements. If you are vegan, use vegan cheese or just a tomato sauce based topping and forget the cheese. Further topping suggestions below.

If you are interested in thrifty living because you are trying to clear a debt or save money, this could be an excellent opportunity to do just that. Every time you crave a takeaway pizza, take the time to make your own and put the £10 that you save in a ‘pizza savings’ jar and after 10 home-made pizzas you’ll have £100 to put towards paying off debts or to put into a savings account.

Yes it’s more effort to make it yourself.. but yes, it’s so worth it! Give it a try and have fun with it. If you have children, this can be a fun, messy and creative family activity!

If making your own pizza seems daunting, or a bit complicated, just give it a go, stick with it and after a couple of times you’ll get used to it and… you’ll get to love it.

Simple pizza base ingredients

  • 375g Plain white flour
  • 1 tablespoon of caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 7g of dried active baking yeast (you can buy these in a box of 8 x 7g sachets to save further pennies)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 225ml (8fl oz) of warm water

How to make the simple pizza base

1) put all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix until you get a dough
2) knead and stretch the dough for a minute or so
3) spread or roll out the dough into a pizza shape on a large pizza pan or baking sheet (avoid a sticking pizza base later by sprinkling a little flour onto the baking tray first)
4) add your pizza topping (details below)
5) put your pizza in a pre-heated oven at 190 degrees or Gas mark 5 and bake for 20-25 mins

If you want to mix it up a bit when you make your base, you can swap whole-wheat flour for the plain flour, you can add herbs such as oregano to the dough and you can get a real take-away pizza style if you roll your dough out for an extra few centimetres and put chopped up mozzarella around the rim and then pull the dough back over the mozzarella to form a stuffed crust. Yum.

Pizza sauce

If you’re in a hurry, you don’t need to make pizza sauce, you can just squeeze tomato purée onto your pizza base and spread it all over before adding your toppings.

But, if you want something a little tastier, here is a really great recipe:

Pizza sauce ingredients:

  • ½ tin tomatoes (or equivalent finely chopped fresh tomatoes)
  • small onion finely chopped
  • thrifty sustainability make Pizza do it yourself DIY pizza square toppings save money on takeaway food cheap

    Get creative! – who says a pizza has to be round

    2 garlic bulbs finely chopped

  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • tomato purée to thicken

How to make the pizza sauce:

1) Fry the onions and garlic until soft
2) Add the tomatoes, sugar and herbs
3) Heat through and simmer for 10 mins to thicken, or add tomato purée to thicken
4) Spread it all over the pizza base

Pizza Topping ideas…

  • mozzarella and spinach or rocket or fresh basil is delicious and simple
  • chopped onions, mushrooms and peppers with grated cheddar cheese and… yes… tinned anchovies!
  • cheddar, mozzarella and red Leicester cheese
  • tinned pineapple pieces with chopped up ham and cheddar cheese
  • mozzarella and pepperoni
  • slices of cooked sausage with red onion chutney and cheddar cheese
  • goats’ cheese with red onion chutney

Be creative with the toppings, this is your chance to put your own stamp on things.. make a pattern, write your name, make a smiley face, or create your own weird concoctions and flavours. No-one said a pizza had to be round..

Have a think about what other favourite takeaway meals you could make for yourself and save yourself a small fortune!

Enjoy!

Have you got a great pizza topping idea or recipe to share? Let everyone know in the comments section below…

If you would like to receive Thrifty Sustainability updates by email when a new article is added, please subscribe here: