Sunday, 8 December 2013

Handmade gifts: Mulled Wine Spice Kit

I’m afraid I won’t have any photos of our Christmas decorations for you this year. The halls aren’t decked, the tree won’t be put up...but the stockings are being packed into a nice big suitcase, because this year we are spending Christmas with my mother and grandmother in America!

Every year I bake Christmas cookies for friends and neighbours, but because we are leaving soon, I don’t have the time to devote to baking lots and lots and lots of goodies. So in addition to the chutneys and jams I made during the autumn, I’m making mulled wine kits:

This is a super-speedy gift that still has the touch of handmade care. Some sugar cubes, cloves, allspice berries, star anise, a slice of dried orange, a few gratings of nutmeg, a cinnamon stick and half a vanilla pod are all tucked into a little muslin bag and hung on a bottle of red wine.

I bought some muslin bags from ebay, but you can find them in supermarkets, cookware shops or even make your own from muslin fabric. The bottle is adorned with the spice bag and a gift tag, with the instructions written on the back:

Pour the wine into a saucepan, add the spice bag
and simmer for 30 minutes.
Happy Christmas!

I added one of my little crocheted Christmas trees to the gift tag for an extra special touch. I’m giving a bottle to our house sitter, as part of a gift bag for Bunny’s teacher, some bottles for wine-loving friends...

Dried oranges are simple to make. Slice one orange very thinly, place on a baking sheet and sprinkle liberally with icing sugar/powdered sugar, about a tablespoon or so per slice.

Bake in a 100◦C/200◦F oven for 2-½ to 3 hours, until dried and deep orange.

I have a tried-and-true Christmas cookie recipe that I will share soon; I can’t make it through a Christmas season without baking at least one thing! These will be for the postman, the bin men and others who work year round helping us in our daily lives.

I will be taking a few treasured ornaments to the States, and speaking of ornaments, let me show you the sweet toadstool that I received from Carol of Tales from Spring Cottage as part of Ladybird Diaries Decoration Swap:

A pretty little house, and there is some pretty stitching on the back as well

Thank you Carol!

Although I’m a bit sad not to be unwrapping all of our tissue-covered ornaments and stringing fairy lights throughout the house, I am over the moon to be taking Bunny and Little Flower to see their grandma and great-grandma for a super-special Christmas! (And, my crafty friends, I will be packing a full suitcase into an empty one, because I want extra space to fill with goodies I will find at JoAnne Fabrics, various craft stores...I wonder what Martha Stewart has added to her craft range since last I visited? Hmmm...)

Now I must get back to packing and making more last-minute gifts, and I’d better test out one of those spice bags to make sure I have the recipe just right...

Chrissie x


  1. Have fun on your holidays!
    The little crocheted tree looks lovely on the bottle!

    Sarah x

  2. Have a safe trip! Hope you aren't going anywhere too cold!

  3. Aww the toadstool decoration is sooooooooooo cute. Have a wonderful time happy travels and Merry Christmas
    Clare x

  4. Thank you Chrissie I'm glad you like the toadstool. Enjoy your Christmas holiday and safe travels. I don't think I said think you for my gift. so here it is - Thank you.

  5. Mulled wine kits with your Xmas tree gift tag...brilliant idea. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas with your family. X

  6. Such a fabulous idea lovely Chrissie! you really are a clever thing.
    How exciting about your trip ..... not long now!
    Such a cute little toadstool.
    love jooles xxx

  7. What super gifts, and what a super Christmas you'll have! :) x

  8. Always a good idea to test something before you send it...Lol! These mulled wine kits are fab and as you say very quick to put together. I love the crocheted gift tag too. The little toadstool fairy house is just gorgeous. Enjoy your holiday.

  9. Oohh sounds an exciting Christmas for you all - how lovely to be visiting your family in the States!
    The mulled wine kits are a perfect handmade present, I'm sure they will be enjoyed - thank you for sharing how to make them.
    Have a wonderful Christmas Chrissie!
    Gill xx

  10. If only I'd waited a day before trying to dry some orange slices - I put them in a too hot oven and left them in for too long. Guess what happened?! The house smelt nice though! Sounds like you are going to have a great adventure this Christmas - enjoy x Jane

  11. So much to say, so, sorry, a list!
    1. Lovely lovely swapsies Christmas decorations - from you and from Carol, you are both so creative.
    2. Hope that you have a wonderful time going home for Christmas and doing lots of catching up and shopping - new MS ranges at JCPenny for you to check out! Let me know what it is like (please!!!!!)
    3. So lovely, kind and generous of you to think of your neighbours and other people with your gifts of mulled wine makings and cookies.
    4. Happy Christmas xx

  12. What a fun swap! Your mulled wine gifts are so thoughtful. And hooray on your trip over here to the US. I bet your Mother, Grandmother, family and friends are so excited to spend time with you this Holiday Season.

  13. The mulled wine kits are a great much better than just a bottle of wine............I may use your idea........if you don't mind that is!

    1. Of course I don't mind! That's why I blogged about it - to share my ideas and help anyone who might be stuck with a last-minute gift idea! Enjoy, and do let me know if you try it! Cxxx

  14. This is a really lovely idea and I might just have to use it for a few friends, thank you!! I really hope that all the packing goes well, I am sure the kids are super excited to see their Granny and great Granny. Thanks for the tip on the orange, I haven't done it like this before, so looking forward to trying it, I bet the house smells wonderful afterwards. xoxo

  15. HI Chrissie
    Your little mulled wine bags are such a lovely idea and thank you for your instructions on how to dry orange slices. I really enjoyed reading your post today, so many clever ideas .
    How exciting to be going away for Christmas, what a lovely treat for everybody.
    Happy Holidays !
    Kate x

  16. Chrissie you have lots of fun and laughter with your lovely family - love the recipe thanks so much. What a wonderful little decoration, so sweet and cute, I love it. A fab post as always Chrissie, big hugs to you

  17. If they have Hobby Lobby where you're going, you have to pay a visit. It's my main crafty jam these days. :) I love your recipe, this looks wonderful. And the little house is so sweet, what a nice swap!

  18. Great ideas for gift giving ... wishing you a wonderful Christmas with your extended family ... Bee xx

  19. Anonymous8:14 pm GMT

    Thanks for the mulled wine kit recipe, I'd been thinking about making something like this so this is perfect. hope you have a great trip and get to fill your suitcases with lots of goodies!

  20. Great idea. It sounds like a fabulous break and we will all miss you but look forward to your photos and things to share. Jo x

  21. Anonymous8:28 pm GMT

    Wishing you a wonderful festive season - have fun on your travels and many thanks for being a part of my blogging journey, I really appreciate your support. Emma x

  22. I think its a great idea having a mulled wine kit as a christmas present. Hope you have a fab christmas in the US. I'm sure it will be special being with family there.

  23. What a fab idea, thanks for sharing it with us. In case I don't get another chance to pop in here before you leave, have a safe & happy trip and wishing you & yours a very merry and blessed Christmas. Look forward or catching up when you get back. Love & hugs, Gilly xx

  24. I will definitely be making some of these, thank you for sharing such a great idea. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas in America... how exciting! Julie x

  25. What a fabulous gift, Have a safe joyful trip.

  26. What a fab idea for a gift, yours looks so lovely with the Christmas tree! Thanks for sharing.

  27. Thank thank you for sharing this idea! I love it and think it would make perfect neighbour gifts. I really like your little swap ornament too, so pretty and I am so glad you enjoying taking part.
    Marianne x

  28. Oooh,you're going to the US for Christmas? How wonderfully exciting! Have a fabulous time. I really love your mulled wine kits - so simple and yet very effective. I made some sachets last year but it never occurred to me to attach one to a bottle of red wine, that is an excellent idea. x

  29. Just popping in quickly to wish you well on your journey - what a wonderful trip to be taking with all that catching up at the other side - enjoy every minute of it with your lovely family! Love your little exchange gift - it's gorgeous, and your recipe, thank you!
    Travel safely, hugs, Joy xo

  30. Wishing you a wonderful trip to America and a very happy time with your family! How exciting! Love your mulled wine kit, such a great present idea. The little toadstool is such a cute swap gift! Safe travels, Chrissie and Merry Christmas!
    Helen x

  31. How lovely that you are spending Christmas in American with your mother and grandmother. I wish you a very happy and safe trip. The mulled wine kit will make such a great gift!

  32. Perfect gift! And I love the crochet Christmas tree. It finishes it off beautifully. Hope you will have a lovely time with your family!
    Anna x

  33. I love mulled wine! What a clever idea. Thank you for sharing. I love the little toadstool too xx

  34. Oh I hope you have a lovely Christmas, and those are brilliant gift ideas....I think I will be pinning this post so I don't forget it :D x