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Homemade Gifts

Holidays/Parties/ Homemade Gifts/ RECIPES

Easiest Chocolate Covered Strawberries

One of my most popular posts here at New Nostalgia is How to Hull a Strawberry Using a Straw.  In that post I asked for readers to share their favorite way to eat strawberries, and I got one of the best tips for making the Easiest Chocolate Covered Strawberries from a sweet reader.

 Ilyana sent an email and told me that she makes Chocolate Covered Strawberries by melting Dove chocolates.  She said “these are the best chocolate covered strawberries I have ever tasted and friends and family agree.  They’re a fav.”

Easiest Chocolate Covered Strawberries 

(a no recipe, recipe)

1. Wash and FULLY DRY berries before dipping.

2. Bring the berries to room temperature

3. Unwrap a bag of Dove milk chocolates and place in a quart Pyrex measure cup.

4. Melt in the microwave about 10 seconds at a time, stirring each time until melted.  It melts pretty quickly and stays melted long enough to dip at least a large cookie sheet of large berries.

5. Place on wax paper covered cookie sheet then into the fridge to set.

Yum! (or in Ilyana’s words–Crazy Good!)



~Do not get even a drop of water in the chocolate or it will seize up.

~Keep the green stems on and use them to hold on to the strawberry while dipping.  The green makes for a very pretty strawberry.

~When dipping, turn the strawberry into a circle, until the entire bottom is covered.

~You can also use this recipe to dip graham crackers, bananas or pretzels.

~This would also be a great Valentines Day recipe.


I am going to make these this weekend for Easter as a family treat. We are going to go to our Saturday evening church service, which is a first for our family. We are going on Saturday to avoid Sunday morning crowds and have time to drive an hour on Sunday to be with extended family.  I thought Chocolate Covered Strawberries would be the perfect Easter treat to come home to.

Cancer Journey/ FUN/DIY/ HEALTH/ HOME/ Homemade Gifts/ Organizing

A By-The- Bed Basket –A Great Gift Idea For Someone Who Is Sick

The last two weeks I have spent lots of time in bed.  I am healing from reconstruction surgery, and due to some complications, the healing time is taking longer than I expected.

Honestly, I sure don’t mind some chill time, especially now that I am just sore, and not in pain.  I am one that loves my quiet time, and I really love my bedroom and bed, so really it is fine to have to rest a bit.

One thing that has made my time in bed enjoyable is this handy dandy basket.  I have kept everything I need close by in it.


The basket has evolved over the last 2 weeks. It started out pretty empty, put together by my thoughtful 10-year-old Avery right after my first surgery.  She gathered the things she saw all over my bed and put them in a basket all pretty.  You can see what she did in the pic below.

She put my purple binder with hospital discharge instructions in it.  My lip balm, my glasses, the TV remote, my Nook, my devotional, pain meds, body butter and a jar of pens.  She even added a little snack.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have added to it, as you can see. Between this basket, my phone,  TV, laptop, my favorite water bottle, my fuzzy blanket & this basket, I have been set!  My requests for help from my family to bring me things that I need have been minimal.


{My sweet friend polished my toes for me.  I’ve been so very spoiled!}

I’m thinking I may keep my basket around even after I’m healed. It is just handy and convenient, and I love spending time in my room and bed.

 This would also make a GREAT gift for someone who is sick or is going to have surgery or is just laid up for whatever reason.  

Here is what I keep in mine:

1. Bath & Body Works Lemon Lip Balm–my all time fav.

2. Bath & Body Works Lemon Room Spray–this smells so fresh and clean.

3. A wonderful, encouraging book by author Danea Horn called Chronic Resilience–10 Sanity-Saving Strategies for Women Coping With the Stress of Illness.  Buy this book as a gift for yourself or your friends if it applies.  It is a wonderful book.

4. Trader Joes Coconut Body Butter–another one of my all time favs.  This has been so soothing to my skin after removing tape and bandages.  I.V. fluid from surgery also makes my hands swell and feel dry, so this cream brought relief.

5. Dark Chocolate.  My sister-in-law knew I loved these Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Seeds from Trader Joes and brought them to me with some groceries last week.  Best gift!

6. Alba Hawaiian Lip Gloss–For when you want to feel a bit girly.  The smell of this takes me to the tropics, which was needed when I was in pain!

7. Magazines-a sweet friend, Kashoan from Krafty Kash left these on my porch last week.  Another great gift!

8. A notebook

9. My Scripture Devotion journible.

10. My Nook.  3 Books I have loved is  The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom, Sweeping Up Glass by Carolyn Wall, and now I am reading The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield.

11. A jar of pens, scissors, nail files, & thermometer.  Avery had to make sure her duct tape rose pen was in there.

12. My prescription meds

13. Advil/Tylenol

14. Deodorant

15. My Vita-Strips — I believe these are a key to my healing well.

Another hint is to move furniture if you need to.  I moved this little end table right up alongside my bed so I don’t have to reach.  It has flowers from my sister-in-law on it, a candle to make it cozy in here, and usually, my water bottle is on it.

Here is the water bottle I use.  Lemon is very cleansing and detoxing.  Perfect for someone who is sick.

Cheers to everyone feeling better, or at least feeling loved and comforted while they are down.


DIY/Crafts/ FUN/DIY/ HOME/ Homemade Gifts/ Homemaking

24 Best DIY Mason Jar Vases, Votives & Photo Holders

It is no secret I am a mason jar lover!  Here are some great links of vases, votives & photo holders using mason jars that I have collected at my Pinterest site.  Enjoy!

collection of mason jar pins from pinterest

Painted Mason Jars | Georgia Pellegrini

 Jars As Frames | Rikki Hibbert Photography

 Simple Daisies In A Mason Jar | RuffledBlog

Yarn Candles | Family Chic

collection of mason jar pins from pinterestz

Mason Jar Lanterns | Brown Dress With White Dots

 Vintage Votives With Lace & Twine | Annaboo’s

 Oil Preserved Photos | New Nostalgia

 Mason Jar Flower Vases | Always 

collection of mason jar pins from pinterest

Plain White Painted Jars | Gardenista

 Fabric Mason Jars | Fellow Fellow

 Mason Flower Jar/Chalk Holder | The Created Home

Mason Jar Polk Dot Lanterns | Knock Off Decor

collection of mason jar pins from pinterest

Christmas Mason Jars | Heritage Schoolhouse

Vintage Jar Hurricane | In The Fun Lane

 Table Runner Mason Jars | Perfect Country Wedding

 Spruce & Berry Filled Mason Jars | Iowa Girl Eats

collection of mason jar pins from pinterest

Chalk Paint & Sanded Mason Jars | Flea Chic

 DIY Instagram In Mason Jars | This Fashion Is Mine

 DIY Painted Mercury Jar | 17 Apart

 DIY Glitter Jars | Cake Papery

collection of mason jar pins from pinterest

Balloon Dipped Mason Jars | Brit + Co

 Tissue Paper Lanterns | The Mason Jar Addiction


mason jar pinterest board from new nostalgia

For More Awesome Mason Jar Ideas, check out my Mason Jar Pinboard


More Mason Jar Posts From New Nostalgia:
New Nostalgia: A Peek Inside Our Refrigerator & Using Mason Jars 
New Nostalgia: Easy Iced Tea Concentrate Made In A Mason Jar!
New Nostalgia: Mason Jars– Glowing Monster Jars
New Nostalgia: Mason Jar Love Affair Overload
New Nostalgia: Organizing My Pantry & Some Tips For a Efficient 
New Nostalgia: Pantry Organization #2
New Nostalgia: Homemade Gifts-Peppermint Stick Cocoa
New Nostalgia: 5 Reasons To Drink Lemon Water In The Morning
New Nostalgia: Iced Tangerine Mint Green Tea
New Nostalgia: Makes Me Happy-Wooden Clips
New Nostalgia: My Everyday Green Smoothie
New Nostalgia: Homemade Pesto
New Nostalgia: A Peak Inside Our Refrigerator + What We Ate That 
New Nostalgia: Cupcake Decorating Birthday Party


DIY/Crafts/ FUN/DIY/ HOME/ Homemade Gifts/ Homemaking

DIY Photo-Holder Magnets

It can be so fun to decorate the refrigerator with cute family photos! But something that drives me crazy is mismatched random magnets that distract from the photos and make everything look cluttered. I have a little stash of cute Washi tape so I decided to get creative and fix this problem by making some of my own refrigerator magnets. This project was so quick and easy!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Craft accessories

Here’s how I did it:

Washi tape on clothespin
1// Carefully line up the washi tape with an end of a clothespin. (I get my tape here – link

2// Snip away excess tape.

3// Remove adhesive cover from magnet and stick it to the back of the clothespin.

4// These come in strips too if you don’t want your magnet to show – I happened to have round magnets on hand so I used those.

Photo holder magnets
5//Add adorable family photos! These are my siblings-in-law and their sweet girls. Have you ever seen a cuter family?

photo holder magnets
Xo, Laurie

Laurie Cosgrove
Art & DIY Contributer

Laurie is a graphic artist and the author of Beauty Divine Design where she posts on everything from design trends and tutorials to her random daily life. She has such a way with beauty, and her taste is divine!  

Laurie also is the founder of Beauty Divine Design company which focuses on providing photographers with design templates.  Click here to visit her shop.

You can follow Beauty Divine Design here: {Facebook} {Twitter} {Pinterest}


More posts written by Laurie at New Nostalgia:

FUN/DIY/ Homemade Gifts/ RECIPES/ Sweets

Why I Love Our Babycakes Cakepop Maker!

Babycakes cake pops

Ok, so usually I am all about de-cluttering, so adding what could be considered just another kitchen appliance is a bit out of character for me, but I didn’t have much choice…and now I am quite happy about that!

We opened a few early Christmas gifts, and one sister got the other sister a ‘babycake’ cake pop maker. My first thought was, “oh my, another thing to store and have to get rid of when it just sits there unused” But I think I was wrong to so harshly judge our new appliance friend.

babycakes cake pops

If you are looking for a last minute gift idea, this might just be the thing.  All 3 of my girls were super excited to try it out (age 9, 11, and 13).  We did just that tonight, and I was very surprised at how much I love this thing!

It heats up quickly and the red light turns green when it is ready.  You add a tablespoon of batter to each hole, and in 4 minutes, you have cute little cake bites.  It comes with a great recipe book full of different cake recipes & donut hole recipes, a handy tong tool to get the hot holes out of the baker when done, a cooling tray, sticks, & an injector to make little jelly filled babycakes. I love that you don’t have to heat the oven up, which means more baking when summer comes!  I am eager to experiment with more wholesome ingredients.

Tonight we made Glazed Lemon Cakepops and Apple Cider Cinnamon Sugar donut holes.  Both were amazing.  There are directions on how to use a simple cakebox mix, but also recipes to make from scratch.  I was super impressed with the Lemon Cakepop recipe.  It called for real lemon zest, lemon juice and lemon extract.  It was so moist and delicious.  It made 24 pops, which is perfect.  I love that you feel like you are getting a decadent treat, but really it is only a bite–if you can stop at just one.  I like that it only makes a small amount, as I don’t really want these sitting around the house for too long!

apple cider cinnamon sugar donut holes

The Apple Cider Cinnamon Sugar donut holes were perfection.  Super easy to make, and right when they are done baking you toss them into a paper bag of cinnamon sugar mixture. The recipe made 36 donut holes. I am having my family over for Christmas brunch and these beauties are going to be served!  They would also make a great homemade gift for the neighbor.  We are in the middle of a winter storm here in Nebraska, so I think it would be quite fun to put on our snow boots and dig our way next door to deliver hot, homemade donut holes to our neighbors.  We just might!

You can purchase your own babycakes maker here at Amazon.  

They are also sold at Bed, Bath & Beyond & Target.

FUN/DIY/ Homemade Gifts/ RECIPES/ Sweets

Chocolate Blackberry Brandied Truffles

chocolate blackberry brandied truffles
{Don’t you love the homemade, stamped gift tag?}

I have a handful of what I call ‘heart friends.’ You know, the kind where you feel that your hearts are literally knit together and could not imagine life without.  Well, that is what I call my friend Ann.  We have known each other for years, and being her hairstylist for years has kept us getting together regularly every 5 weeks.  Thank goodness her hair takes at least 2 hours, because we always have so much to share and it takes at least this long to get caught up!

Thanks to these regular hair dates, and thanks to how very dear Ann is to me, she knows me.  She knows all my junk and loves me anyway.  We joke that our hair dates are therapy for us both.  

A form of ‘therapy’ that Ann brought this last visit was a beautiful Christmas gift of Homemade Blackberry Brandied Truffles.  Oh. My. Yum.

I cannot tell you how delicious these are.  The nuts are crunchy, the chocolate deep & creamy, a hint of blackberry.  They are amazing.

She handed them to me sheepishly knowing I usually eat pretty healthy.  I reassured her that when it comes to dessert I do it right!  I may not do it often, but you bet I’m gonna eat her homemade goodies and enjoy every, last bite.  Cancer survivors learn how to live fully, and I think eating a real dessert once in awhile fits perfectly into living fully!

The minute I bit into one of these truffles, my eyes got big, and I knew I had to share this little treasure of a recipe with you all!  Enjoy…every last bite!

Blackberry Brandied Truffles 
1/2 pound chopped bittersweet or semisweet or milk chocolate (don’t use unsweetened!) (I like the dark chocolate the best 🙂
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted real butter
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons of blackberry brandy 

COATING CHOICES:  coconut or almonds (either sliced or crushed) but definitely toasted!  Toast in the microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring every 30 seconds.  The presentation is beautiful when you use different coatings!

SURPRISE IN THE CENTER CHOICES:  nothing (great as is!) or tuck a well-drained maraschino cherry inside or a whole almond.
Melt chocolate & butter together in the microwave until hot, being careful not to scorch the chocolate.
Wisk in the egg yolks until mixture is shiny.
Stir in the brandy.  
Put in the refrigerator until cool enough to form into soft balls.
Use a teaspoon size cookie scoop, leveled off, for each truffle.  If desired, tuck in a cherry or almond & roll into a ball.  Coat the ball as desired.  Put each truffle in a miniature muffin liner or paper nut cup (can be purchased at Hobby Lobby in the cake decorating section).

Store in refrigerator.




To make orange flavored truffles, you can use Gran Marnier in place of the blackberry brandy. It is more pricey, but I just read online that you can go into your local liquor store and ask for an “airline bottle” of Gran Marnier.  The commenter said she does this all the time for recipes that call for small amounts of liquor.

FUN/DIY/ Homemade Gifts

My Homemade Gift Plans

{This is what I did today. Notice I took the easy way this year.  Pretty boxes, NOT wrapped.  The only wrapping paper I used is the “Naughty” and “Nice” packages.  I also skipped ribbon this year and just slapped a bow on.  So easy, so fast & I AM DONE!}
Want to see the rest of my tree?  Click here to see photos on Instagram.
I was not sure if I should write this post or not because the recipients of my homemade gifts read this blog!  But, I decided to go ahead and just not be too specific with who I am giving what.
Most of the gifts I bought this year were from the store.  I participated in Black Friday for the first time and I LOVED IT.  I got some of the best deals and really feel excited to give away the great, quality gifts I was able to purchase.  The gifts you see under the tree are for Grandparents, Aunts & Uncles; Cousins & to our own girls from ‘Santa.’
The three groups of gift recipients that are not under the tree and that will fall into the ‘homemade’ category are:
~My Amazing Girlfriends
~My Husbands Co-Workers
Here is what I have decided to make:
Festive Packages Full of Cookie Dough Balls
I am using these festive Chinese takeout type containers to hold freezer Ziploc bags full of frozen cookie dough balls. The idea is it lets the gift recipient choose when to bake the cookies instead of overloading them with homemade goodies.  It also gives the gift of a home that smells like freshly baked cookies!  They are bigger than the picture portrays. If it is an individual or a couple that I am giving them to, they will get just one container.  If it is a larger family they will get two.
I got the idea off this pin on Pinterest:
Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub + Homemade Lip Balm
These are two of my most favorite things and I use them almost daily, so I know some special ladies in my life will love them, too.  The Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub will come with a little card of directions that will tell them how to use it and and tip them off to a shaving technique for incredibly soft, silky legs. Click here to read more about that.


The Homemade Lip Balm is another fav of mine.  I made my first batch back in the summer, and it made a lot and has lasted a long time!  I am on my last little container, and it is just as luxurious as it was when we first made it.  I like it better than any chapstick- type lip balm I have ever used.  I will not buy store bought lip balm again!  If you have teens in your life, they would love this as a stocking stuffer.  You can add essential oils for flavor and scent, and even add a bit of color to it if you would like.  Click here for directions on how to make it!


DIY Personalized Canvas
I have made one of these for myself and for a special friend, and plan on making a few more to give away at Christmas.  I love how personalized you can make these, and since they are such a simple design, it goes with just about every type of decor.  I plan on making one that says “Be Still” & one that has some snowflakes in the background – you can get all kinds of wooden letters, fonts, & shapes at your local craft store –  and that says “Let It Snow.”  The possibilities are endless!  Click here for step- by- step instructions.

What about you?  Are you making any homemade gifts this year?  If so, please share in the comments!
My Past Homemade Gifts:
An Awesome Collection of Homemade Gifts: