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Making Gifts and Creating Light on Black Friday

On this day, known to some as "Buy Nothing Day" and to most as Black Friday a lot of people go shopping, and a lot of people talk about the people going shopping and the places that force our friends and family to work the night or day of Thanksgiving.

This year, in my best form of counter energy to the consumer feeding frenzy and surrounding drama I stayed home from work and made do-it-yourself gifts for friends and family

I love the holidays. I'm a practicing Buddhist so often times I get asked the question on whether or not I celebrate Christmas. To which I generally reply "of course." The festival of light to enlighten the darkness of winter is the most Buddhist of times.

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The true spirit of these times around the solstice is gratitude, appreciation and the expression of that by giving more of yourself to others.

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 In other words it is a time to practice hope, loving kindness and creativity.

Summer 2013 979This year my gifts are the fruits of my labor both tilling the ground, recycling and kitchen handiness.

Do-it-Yourself fruity vinegars are a super easy way to make the salad afficianado happy. If you have a freezer start in summer by gathering raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and or blueberries. If you know how to make vinegar – more power to you. I don't so I used the stock pile of white wine vinegar I had on hand leftover from other projects and events.

 Three steps. First, add fruit and/or herbs to jar. Second, pour inwhite wine or champagne vinegar. Three, let sit for 2 weeks then strain and pour into a washed and recycled vinegar or other bottle-like container.

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Infused simple syrup is also a great gift with a long shelf life and can be used by anyone not allergic to cane sugar.

Two steps. First, melt sugar in water.

Second, steep your favorite herb or spice in the sugar water and pour into recycled container of your choice. Then you are done leaving a delicious flavor for cocktails or mocktails.

My other projects today was spiced rum satsumas.

For the alcoholic fruit you need canning jars, fruit, sugar, and a fruit of your choice.  Small citrus such as the satsuma do not need to sit in the alcohol as long to acquire the flavor – and since I started this project with less than a month until the big day I went with oranges.  Other fruits are suggested a 2 to 3 month waiting period once canned.

Just put your fruit in the jar, pour sugar over them and then cover with alcohol.  Last but not least screw the lid on and place the canning jar into a boiling hot water bath for 5 minutes.  The canned boozy fruit will last forever. 

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This is my assortmant from last year – bourban cherries, ginny olives, rum satsumas, and bacon vodka onions.  For those who do not imbibe I made pickled balsamic figs and apple cider and rosemary pickled apples.

With the exception of the satsumas and frozen raspberries which I purchased earlier this week – not a single item was purchased for my projects today. It was either gifted, scavenged/foraged, recycled, or something that my household acquired for some reason but did not purchase.

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Make the most of this holiday season and create for those you care about.  Your intention will bring light to dark places and happiness for your own heart (not to mention using recycled and foraged objects is better for the environment and your pocket.)  Win-win for everyone involved.





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