Tuesday, November 19, 2013


So what is this you say???  Pile of junk?  Nope, these are just a few things out of my recycle box.  I love giving gifts in unique packaging and sometimes the easiest way is in found items from gifts, food stuffs, etc.  In the back is a package of sizzle - I have lots of this in many colors from inside gift boxes, bags and baskets.  Just pull it out and put into a plastic bag for later use. The other bag has excelsior which can actually be hard to find.  It is shaved wood and in the early 1900's it was the go-to material for packaging world wide. It became less popular when it was discovered by the USDA that it was also a good place for insects to emigrate to the US and it's usage dropped dramatically. What is in use today is safe. The other items are containers that can have a new life and be recycled.  Not only is this good for the budget but a kiss to mother earth. Note: Please be careful when using for food items, make sure the item is food safe. It's worth the time and trouble to remove those pesky labels.

Inside what was once a container for some little bowls is an adorable watch for a niece for Christmas, nestled in recycled sizzle! Just printed out the label, added the ribbon, finished.

I have to admit that I did not really want to part with this wooden box that once was a container for Trader Joe's salted caramels - really a little work of art.  Made in America out of American wood.  However it has a new life as a container of fudge, a gift for a neighbor at Thanksgiving.  I just found a vintage chocolate label (not watermarked or copyrighted), printed it out on a 8 1/2 x 11 white label and then cut around the image, added the ribbon and I was done. This is really a no-fail recipe and is reputed to be from See's, don't know about that but it is darned good.



  • 4 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 (12 ounce) packages chocolate chips
  • 1/2 lb butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 7 ounces marshmallow cream
  • 2 cups nuts


  • 1 Mix 4 1/2 cups sugar with one (1) can evaporated milk.
  • 2 Biol 7 to 8 minutes, stirring often (rolling boil).
  • 3  Mix together in a large bowl; 3 packages chocolate chips, 7 oz. jar marshmallow cream, 1/2    lb. melted butter.
  • 4  Cream butter and marshmallows together and add chocolate chips.
  • 5  Pour hot mixture over chocolate mixture.
  • 6 After chocolate has melted, add 2 cups nuts a teaspoons of vanilla, blend well, pour into buttered pans and chill in refrigerator.
  • 7 Cut into squares before firm.
I don't recall what was in this little can but it now contains some colored sanding sugar, nice little gift for seasonal  baking. Here is the recipe to make colored sugar: 

 Put a half cup of sanding sugar in a plastic storage bag. Add a drop of  pinch of powdered food coloring and shake until well combined. Once your sugar is the color you like, use or store it indefinitely. They say you can use regular food coloring as long as you only use one drop but I always use the powdered. The sugar in this can was put into a plastic bag and tied with a gingham ribbon.  


This can once contained nuts and now has some wonderful Plumeria scented bath salts. One note about making bath salts, potpourri or anything that needs to be scented.  Please use real essential oils.  They may be a little more money but the end product is wonderful and you do not get that off-putting scent of lesser products.  Here is the recipe for the bath salts:

Homemade Bath Salts Recipe

1 cup Epsom salts*
1/2 cup Kosher salt
1 quart-size, freezer-grade re-sealable plastic bag
Food coloring, powdered
Essential oils
Baking sheet
Wax paper
Container for storage
  *Find Epsom salts at your local supermarket in the health and beauty aisle.
You can purchase a variety of essential oils, like lavender or eucalyptus, at your local craft or natural food store. Or use vanilla, lemon or mint extract that might be in your kitchen!


  1. Place both salts into the plastic bag.
  2. Add a little food coloring, close the bag and shake to distribute color. Repeat this process until the desired color is achieved throughout the salt.*
  3. Add a couple drops of essential oil to the bag, seal and shake to distribute the scent. Repeat this process until the desired scent is achieved, about 5-10 drops.
  4. Spread out the salts on a wax paper-lined baking sheet and allow them to dry for 1-2 hours to reduce clumping
  5. Carefully pour the salts into the jar with a funnel, then screw the lid tightly to preserve the scent.
  6. If you are using a metal container (as I did) make sure that you put the salts in heavy plastic bag because of the corrosive nature of the salt. 

Essential Oils, craft & natural food stores
Corel Draw Link, CorelDRAW Home and Student Suite X6 - 3 Users
Sanding Sugar Link, Wilton 8 ounce White Sparkling Sugar
Powdered Food Coloring link, Wilton 601-5580 1/2-Ounce Certified-Kosher Icing Colors, Set of 12
Christmas Graphic, Esty seller chocolaterabbit
Ribbon, Michael's
8 1/2 x 11 Label link, Avery Full Sheet Shipping Labels for Copiers, 8.5 x 11 Inches, White, Box of 100 (05353)


  1. Wow! You've shown me possibilities for making our Christmas gifts this year really special but without spending lots of money. Briony-Anne and I are keen to try out more of your ideas. We are learning so much from this blog! Thank you, Grammy Joy.

  2. Miss and love you and thank you for your wonderful comment.