12.12.2012

the $1 hostess gift










you must know by now that i'm quite frugal.  that is a lot different from being cheap though.
in my eyes frugal is careful and cheap is stingy.

i'd like to think that the gift i'm giving this year to my neighbors is a nice gift.
it takes a little time but the end result is quite lovely.








who wouldn't love a freshly baked loaf of bread?

wrapped in a 50 cent ikea tea towel makes it the perfect holiday hostess gift.
coming in at a whopping $1 you could even add a jar of jam or a bottle of wine.

and if you don't bake you could purchase an artisan loaf of bread from your favorite bakery and wrap it in a tea towel and it is still a brilliant but affordable gift.

anyway that's what i'm doing this year.
what about you?  


ps - oh my gosh, thank you all for your wonderful tips and advice and general commiserating about having the blues this time of year.  just writing about it made me feel better.
as i always say, this blog is nothing without you.
much love,

janet

42 comments:

  1. Perfect hostess gift . . . Perfect gift, anytime!

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  2. Good Morning! I would love to give and recieve this as a gift. I really believe that the best gifts to give are the ones that come from our heart and hands. No amount of money can top that. I was going to attempt homemade peanut brittle but I love the idea of a loaf of bread. It would go lovely with the blueberry jam from my parent's farm that I normally give.
    Happy Holidays!


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  3. Janet, I love your blog. Keep up the good work...you're a beauty!

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  4. I love that gift! original, useful/delish and beautiful presentation. Also the fact that you're giving your neighbors a gift is so thoughtful. I must have missed you previous post about the blues. I'll go catch up now

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  5. I have your recipe for bread printed out but haven't made it yet. I've had a crushingly busy couple of months at work, much overtime and then what little free time has been spent with family. But I am on vacation from work beginning next week for two glorious stay-at-home weeks...and I plan to be baking me some bread. MAYBE friends and neighbors will get some :-)

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  6. Lovely idea! (wish I lived near Ikea)
    xo

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  7. Right, that's it, you're invited to dinner!
    Fab idea. I usually wrap a bottle of wine in a vintage tea towel and offer to help with the washing up. xxx

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  8. Oh Janet you're a girl after my own heart.
    Lovely presentation, simple and made with love.
    Your gift is perfection!

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  9. This is a charming present for neighbors and one I would be delighted to receive.

    A thing we frugal types should consider when seeking the good deals, however, is where these deals are sourced.

    Where, for example, did the 1 dollar tea towel come from? Does Ikea get its tea towels from an Indian sweat shop with children working in unspeakable conditions? Perhaps they don't. But low prices such as this should beg the question, how good a deal is a 1 dollar tea towel really?

    KRW in Savannah

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    1. Correction: 50 cent tea towel.

      KRW in Savannah

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    2. well it was made in the usa.

      http://www.disinfo.com/2011/04/united-states-becomes-swedens-third-world-outsourcing-destination/

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    3. According to the Los Angeles Times article,"IKEA's U.S. FACTORY CHURNS OUT UNHAPPY WORKERS," Danville, Virginia is Sweden's third-world sweatshop.

      According to the LA Times business reporter:

      IKEA takes advantage of the destruction to the U.S. economy caused by outsourcing jobs by outsourcing their own jobs to the U.S.

      Global competition has motivated all manner of companies to seek out low-cost sources of production, said Ellen Ruppel Shell, the author of the book "CHEAP: THE HIGH COST OF DISCOUNT CULTURE." Ikea is no exception. What's different, she said, is that the company has done such a good job of burnishing its own corporate image.

      IKEA shoppers will want to know the story behind the low IKEA prices.

      "LOOK! IKEA HAS MADE THE U.S. ITS THIRD-WORLD SWEATSHOP!"
      http://current.com/community/93145290_look-ikea-has-made-the-u-s-its-third-world-sweatshop.htm

      KRW

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    4. What is your problem. Contact Ikea directly, not just random people. While I am sure you are well meaning, you are directing your issues at the wrong person.

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    5. It appears that thanks to Janet's posting of the article, "United States Becomes Third World Outsourcing Destination," the Los Angeles Times article "Ikea's U.S. Factory Churns Out Unhappy Workers," which contains further information, came up.

      As a result, concerned Gardener's Cottage comment readers who might not have known about Ikea's worker abuse, now know, and can act on that information by writing the company, sending a letter to their newspaper, boycotting the company, telling their friends and colleagues, etc.

      Sharing important information about issues that come up in blog posts (Ikea in this case) with many readers is one of the best things about reading blog comments.

      Thanks to Janet and KRW for providing the information about Ikea worker abuse to Gardener's Cottage readers. Perhaps if enough Gardener's Cottage readers act on this information, conditions will improve for abused Ikea workers in Danville, Virginia.

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    6. I agree, KO.
      Reading those articles might lead to a different approach towards "bargains". Finding bargains and ridiculously low prices don't make me feel good any longer, but paying a fair price – that does feel good.

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  10. Beautiful gift, beautifully presented. I tried making this bread last night from your earlier post and it didn't rise. The flavor is nice but it's very hard to chew. I used active yeast. Should I have proofed it or should I have used instant yeast? Also, it's always been my understanding that 80 degrees is optimal for dough to rise. Obviously I'm not going to sleep in an 80 degree house. Could I leave the dough in a barely warm oven? I'd appreciate any suggestions you might have. (BTW, love your blog.)

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    1. i use trader joes perfect rise yeast but i would think that any quick rise yeast would work. my house is very cold during the winter and i've not had a problem with the bread rising. the trick to the whole thing is the long rise time (15+ hours).

      i would try again with a different yeast. baking is always an experiment.:)

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    2. I'm going to try again using a quick rise instead of regular yeast, warm water instead of cold from the fridge (really, what was I thinking there) and a longer rise time. After spending $4 on a similar loaf last night I'm determined to get this right. Do you suppose fresh herbs could be added? Thanks for your reply.

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    3. really, don't get discouraged. i love that you are going to keep on trying! yes, herbs can be added although i have not done so. if you google it i'm sure you'll find the correct ratio to add.

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  11. Janet,
    When my husband and I gave up all our credit cards and starting reversing our debt in 2001 we bought a 1973 mobile home for cash. We refurbished it top to bottom and moved into a trailer park in a tiny farm community. Living in a trailer park can be quite frightening, especially when you come from a huge city and apartment living. It is even stranger than you could believe. I had no friends, nor did I want any trailer friends, so we stuck to ourselves most of the time. We literally were the odd men out. One day while I was in the yard gardening, I met a woman who appeared to not be like the other people my husband and I encountered in the park. She walked up to me and we struck up a conversation. A few months later we were established friends. One dreary day I came home to find a beautiful basket full of warm bread and cookies. Inside was a note, it said she was glad to find a person with the same beliefs as she, and please enjoy the bread and cookies. 12 years later she is still one of my most beloved friends. The point I am trying to make is this. Even in the strangest of places, homemade gifts are always well received.
    You are very sweet indeed.
    Ps.I loved that trailer house, we made it look like a cottage.
    Brandi

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    1. sweet that you are still friends all these years later.:)

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  12. That is the best present. I'd love it if you came round to our place with a freshly cooked loaf of bread. I'd provide the cheese!

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  13. That beats a $100.00 gift ANY day.

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  14. This is the PERFECT thing for those that have everything! It's thoughtful and made with love and won't end up in the candle cupboard. Love this more than you know!

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  15. That is such a lovely idea. I wish I did bake bread, but I have never conquered it. I have found a shop on Etsy, handmade soaps by DeShawn Marie, that are vegan and come in a variety of scents. They arrive gaily wrapped and ready to give. I have gotten them in the past for stocking stuffers and think they make lovely holiday hostess gifts.

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  16. Excellent. It would make my heart melt.

    xo jane

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  17. I completely agree that frugal and cheap are not the same. The amount of money spent might be the same, but the outcome is totally different! I love your hostess gift.

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  18. It's a very nice present. I'd be thrilled:).

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  19. I'm not frugal but I might try...love the gift, I always bake for others as pressies x

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  20. Home baked gifts from the heart are priceless. You know how to rock frugality and give things that "priceless" tag.
    pve

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  21. The best gifts are homemade. Your presentation is supreme! Can I be on your gift list!

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  22. Janet,

    What a lovely gift! Nothing like fresh homemade bread, and I like the towel idea too!

    My girlfriend and I have been making homemade Almond Roca (way better than the store bought stuff) every Christmas for the last 30+ years. (yes, it has butter) :/ Half a dozen or so of my neighbors get some and all love it and look forward to it so much they would probably be mad at me if I stopped. I used to be able to get away with one batch but now it has grown to two.

    Linda
    xo

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  23. Love your gift idea! And here's a little something for you...hope it lifts your spirits! http://chiccoastalliving.blogspot.com/2011/06/island-elegance-ralph-laurens-jamaican.html

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  24. Janet, I am a new vegan and have some questions? Could you help me with them?
    marsha.kern@yahoo.com

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  25. The perfect gift. I would be ever so happy. Funny thing is I go to Ikea every year and buy those same kitchen towels, wrap four or five of them with raffia and give them to my friends as xmas gifts...and keep a few for myself. They're a staple in my kitchen.

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  26. I made bread this weekend using your recipe. Wow, is was easy and I cannot wait to share it with friends and family.

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  27. This is so funny! I just read this post today (Jan. 9th) and had to laugh. I gave my neighbour this exact gift. Same recipe, same t towel from Ikea - wrapped up with twine. Great minds think alike I guess. :)

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kindness is never out of style.