Christmas time is not all about material goods and pricy gifts. I prefer to give and receive homemade gifts when I can since they show that you spent your time and effort in your gift selection. This year we decided to try our hand at Apple Pie Moonshine as our Christmas gifts for our local friends. I did not want to have to explain trying to package and ship these to anyone further than that. "Is there anything liquid, hazardous, or perishable?" Check, no, check. So two out of three is bad, huh? So local gifting only.
I wanted a cute look for our Apple Pie Moonshine gifts. Vanity, yes, but I also like to give presents that people like and think are attractive. So... it took me all of 5 seconds to decide that mason jars would be PERFECT for the Apple Pie Moonshine. They just seem to fit so well. I found some adorable mason jar mugs that had a raised area on the sides that just begged for a little chalkboard paint. So, they jumped into my cart and away I went. I later bought the chalkboard paint and canning lids to finish up the jars themselves. The lids are a requirement due to the nature of the Moonshine.
This was just not going to be cute and Christmas-y enough for me. So I dug around and found the perfect lid covering! I had previously bought the most beautiful traditional Santa cupcake liners. Looking at them, I realized that they would be better served as the focal point of my gifts than lost on the bottom of some old cupcake. I tried them out and viola! They fit perfectly! I picked out ribbon that matched the homemade traditional look that I had going, and while shopping another inanimate object jumped into my shopping cart! Crazy, I know, right?! This time it was the paper tags on which I wrote the ingredient list.
Now to get to a clear picture of what I was putting together...
Step 1: Supplies
All in all, my supply list is short.
Mason Jar Mugs (Regular Sized Mouth)
Regular Sized Mouth Canning Lids
Apple Pie Moonshine (or whatever contents you want)
Step 2: Putting It Together
The first step to this process is to thoroughly clean the mason jar mugs. You do not want to put yummy drinks or food into a nasty mug. Second, you have to put in whatever contents you are wanting to give away. I chose to try my hand at making a nice Apple Pie Moonshine this year.
I prepared the Apple Pie Moonshine and distributed it equally among 16 mugs. I immediately added the canning lids to them so that it would seal and keep the Moonshine good. The longest part of the process was letting the moonshine age for a couple of weeks. This did give me plenty of time to finish decorating the mugs. Even I could not procrastinate that long.
This part is super easy as long as you are not super OCP. If you have to have the cupcake liners to be perfectly aligned, you might just go crazy on this step. You can have the cupcake perfectly situated on the mug only to have it go all a kilter when you screw on the lid. I found it easiest to get it lined up as best I could quickly, start to screw on the lid, and then fix the resulting damage while the lid was loosely screwed onto the mug. Once you screw on the lid it will form the cupcake liner to the top of the mug. You can also try to fix the alignment afterwards since it is clearer on where the liner will lie.
Step 4: Adding Chalkboard Paint
Next, I started in on decorating! I was determined to paint the side of the mugs so that I could write the names of the gift recipients on their corresponding mugs. I thought if we had a Christmas party that it would have the added benefit of knowing whose mug was whose. I bought some basic chalkboard paint from the store and to my horror it simply would not adhere to the mugs!!
I went to my craft store and specifically asked the manager to point me to a chalkboard paint that worked on glass. After giving me a funny look, he led me to a multipurpose chalkboard paint that he assured me would work on glass. It was less than my favorite paint, but it did get the job done with 3 applications. I absolutely could not use a standard paint brush. It just wiped the paint right off!
I found that using a cheap sponge applicator and daubing on the paint worked. I daubed on the first coat and let it dry overnight. It was splotchy and looked bad, but I thought it would work well for giving the second coat a base on which to adhere. You do have to make sure to get out any bubbles that might form while painting. I tried to paint the second coat with a paint brush for a smoother look, but that failed and I fell back to using my sponge. After drying overnight that coat looked better but was still a bit blotchy, so I went ahead and threw on a third coat. This time I was satisfied with how it looked.
Step 5: Personalize and Multiply
All that hard work painting pays off! You can personalize your gift by writing the name of your gift recipient on their very own mason jar mug. See how easy it is to write Bob? Personalized always feels a bit more special. For it to be so easy to do is just a bonus. Now to write all 16 names...
Step 6: Labeling
Since some of our friends are on special diets and other just love to collect recipes, I decided to make cute labels that listed the ingredients used in the Apple Pie Moonshine. You can write instructions, recipes, love notes, or whatever you want on yours. I had a limited number of labels so I decided to practice by outlining a label on a regular sheet of paper. This allowed me to play with my letter size and content. Once I decided on what I wanted it to say and how it should look, I had to write 16 of them. Less is better!
Step 7: Finishing Touches
Now all that is left is to add the beautiful red ribbon and attach the labels. I simply cut a piece of ribbon to the length I desired. I used that piece of ribbon as a guide to cut the rest of the ribbons. I then took the ribbon and ran it through one of the labels I had made. I moved the label to roughly a quarter of the way down the ribbon. This allowed me to have room to wrap the ribbon around the mouth of the mug and then tie the ends into a bow. I then moved the label to where I liked on the ribbon. I thought it looked good a little behind the bow so that it was completely visible, but close enough to the bow as to not appear to be randomly floating somewhere around the mug.
Step 8: Give the Gift!
The best part of all is giving these out as gifts. Everyone always reacts well to handmade gifts (even if they only do it out of obligation) and I am sure that Apple Pie Moonshine will be a novelty that they will especially enjoy. I love to see people's faces light up as they receive a gift. This makes me really, truly believe the saying "It is better to give than to receive." So have fun gifting this Christmas season!