Tag Archives: Hostess

My Favorite 3…Homemade Hostess Gifts

Summer is here and for me that means lots of opportunities to catch up with friends and family! Whether it’s gathering together for one summer birthday or holiday weekend, or simply a weekend BBQ, I find myself constantly thinking about good hostess gifts to bring.

The older I get, the more I appreciate homemade and edible gifts. While my friends and family have plenty of space for an extra item or two in their homes, I’ve come to appreciate not having ‘another thing’ to add to a shelf or cupboard (even if it’s too cute for words!). Homemade (and preferably edible) gifts are a great way to pass along a small token of appreciate to your host, but minimize the ‘stuff’ that gets added to their homes.

Not to mention, summer is a great time to get into your kitchen and enjoy some of the best flavors of the season. Below I’m sharing three simple ideas for homemade hostess gifts.

Seasonal Homemade Jam

I was fortunate to grow up with a mom who loved to make her own jam, so for my first 18 years of life I really didn’t have much awareness of Smuckers. Enter college…when I forced to fend for myself on the food front…and well, my standards dropped a bit. No really, for my entire 20s, I’d say. Now that I’m in my 30s, I’ve been reintroduced to the joy that is homemade jam and preserves. It truly is just a notch better than anything you can buy in the store, and it’s a great way to take advantage of seasonal fruit.

Fresh-Baked Homemade Bread

I know the first thing that everything thinks about when it comes to homemade bread is….yikes! yeast is scary and unchartered territory! I had the exact same thoughts, but then was introduced to No Knead Bread from Brown Eyed Baker and boy did that help breakdown my fear of how to make bread. This is an incredibly simple recipe that only takes a round or two to get the hang of it. It turns out delicious and can be wrapped up in parchment paper and seasonal ribbon for a festive touch.

Crunchy Homemade Peanut Butter

My dear friend Sarah and her husband came over to our home for dinner and in her bag of treats she gifted me an adorable jar of homemade peanut butter (I know, she has the best handwriting and presentation skills). I’ve always enjoyed natural peanut butters, and was super excited to try this one out. It was amazing, and since it went right into the refrigerator it did not separate, so no mixing was needed.

Even though the summer season can be incredibly busy, it’s a great time to pull out your pots and pans and experiment a bit in the kitchen. Plus, it’s a great way to put together a cost-effective and personalized gift for friends and family.

Happy cooking and baking!

Organizing Your Wine Collection

Wine Organization 2

Whether you are a wine connoisseur or not, it seems that when you hit your 30s, you begin acquiring a wine collection. A bottle of wine has become a standard option for housewarming presents, hostess gifts, and holiday presents. Wine tasting is a popular choice for summertime activities, including birthday celebrations and wedding weekend events—and it’s nearly impossible to come away from a tasting without a bottle or three.

Before you know it, you are acquiring more bottles than you can keep up with, and if you are like my husband and me (a couple without a dedicated storage piece for wine), your collection starts looking like this…

Wine Organization 1

For us, finding the right furnishing for our homes has taken quite a bit of time. We have not yet found the right piece to house our growing wine collection, but we have decided we want to take our time instead of making a major impulse purchase.

For us our wine bottles typically remind of us a special occasion, a certain friend, or a milestone in our life, and whenever we open a bottle (especially the good stuff), we like to take a quick moment to reminisce back on the origin of our bottle.

Typically a quick scan of the label will job our memories on the history of our bottle, but as our collection has morphed into a few zones of our house, I decided I wanted to find a way to organize the bottles and also ensure I was remembering why they were so special.

Today, we are sharing a few simple DIY options that will allow you tag your bottles.

Gift Tagging

Gift tags can be a great option for tagging your wine. My lovely fellow Triple Knot-ers gifted me these adorable gift tags, and they are the perfect option to slip over the neck of your wine bottle with a little note inside on where and from whom you received the bottle from.

Wine Organization 2

Gift tags come in all shapes and sizes, and can be incredibly cost-effective (Paper Source vs. dollar bins at Target). Feeling extra crafty? Consider using a paper punch and some jute or ribbon to make your own gift tag.

Computer Gift Log

Maybe you are less of a visual person, or you really don’t have a wine storage system that allows you to display cute gift tags. Consider purchasing simple circle stickers, which you can number and add to the bottom of your bottle. You can create a corresponding Wine Gift Log on your computer that links the bottle’s number to a brief overview of where the bottle came from.

Wine Organization 3

Wine Connoisseurs? This is a great solution for those of you who have expensive and rare bottles of wine, where you may want to track more information (i.e. the purchase price, the variety, winery and bottle year).

Wine Organization 5

Wine Label-Making

A handy label maker is another nice option when it comes to organizing your wine bottles. It’s a quick option, that you can stick right on to your bottle, and is great for those that don’t have the best handwriting.

You can be a bit more limited in what you can write (and may have to reduce the font size of your label), in order to get the label to fit on the bottom of the bottle. Another alternative is to add your label to the backside of the bottle.

Wine Organization 4

Whether your wine is going into that spare closet in the guest room, or a fancy built-in wine fridge, it’s always nice to take a moment and remember how a particular bottle joined your collection (not to mention, send a quick Thank You email or Text to the gift giver). Finding a convenient way to tag your wine bottles is a great, way to stay organized as your collection increases.

Do you have a way that you keep your wine collection organized? If so, we would love to hear your ideas.

Signature 3 (Mar 2016)

Morning After Hostess Gift

We’ve all heard the saying about not arriving to a party “empty-handed.” This is a mantra that I have adopted for all the formal and informal get-together that I attend. It goes without saying that there are plenty of ‘go-to’ options to bring for a dinner or brunch—a bottle of wine always seems to please and a bouquet of fresh flowers brighten up your host’s home, however lately, I’ve really challenged myself to think outside of the box on what I pull together for my friends and family.

This month, my husband and I joined two other couples that live in our neck of the woods for our monthly “Supper Club” dinner. While we don’t always end up eating together monthly, we love having this time to catch up with our local friends, share a meal and rotate to each other’s homes. If we’re having dinner, our events tend to go into the late hours of the evening and often include tons of dishes—both cooking and serving! We all do our part to try to lessen the load of ‘clean up’ but each couple always ends up spending extra time after everyone has gone home doing the dishes. This month, I decided that I wanted to do a “Morning After” themed hostess gift—complete with a few casual essentials to give my friends a break on the morning after their dinner party to relax in their jammies and enjoy breakfast.

After thinking a bit through what I could make the day-of and plan to have my friends eat the morning after, I settled on a batch of scones, a jar of marmalade and tea for two.

My morning started with whipping up a quick batch of scones. I’ll be honest, I often make scones from scratch but after a particularly long work week that left me with quite a little free time, I decided to use a packaged mix. The mix that I chose was an organic mix with citrus and cranberry—and it was delicious (I snuck one of my test scones as a snack). Not a scone person? Consider a delicious muffin recipe or even a seasonal breakfast bread.

Hostess Morning After 1

Next, I grabbed a jar of citrus marmalade while picking up the last-minute items that I needed to bring to Supper Club. One day I hope to learn how to make my own jams and preservers, but in the meantime, there are lots of options at your local grocery stores with interesting flavor profiles.

Hostess Morning After 2

The last component that I wanted to include was some sort of beverage. I thought hard about how to bring coffee into the equation, as I know my friends are avid coffee drinkers. Depending on your host, you could consider including Keurig coffee pouches or even a small gift card to Starbucks. In my case, I wasn’t quite sure if our friends had a Keurig and knew that there wasn’t a Starbucks completely near to their home, so I ended up having including two bags of Tazo tea, which I hope they ended up enjoying.

Hostess Morning After 3

Lastly, I put together a handwritten note thanking my hosts for having us over, and packaged the whole ensemble into an adorable brown box that I found at my local crafts store (fortunately everything fit quite well!).

Hostess Morning After 4

In all, this hostess gift took a bit more effort than just grabbing a bottle of wine, but it was quite fun to put together and my friends were so excited to have their “breakfast in a box” the next morning!

Hostess Morning After 5

We love creative hostess gifts and would love to hear your ideas on what you like to bring to your get-togethers.