This book is a rare find: it combines gorgeous photography with crafts so simple even I could make them.
Itís subtitled Practical Inspirations for Natural Gifts, Country Crafts and Decorative Displays, and it is both practical and inspiring. Even if youíve never given gifts from the garden or been any good at crafts, this book will give you ideas. Anyone can grow herbs (or, if itís too late for that, buy them at the supermarket), and most people can make a few stitches or glue dried leaves to a picture frame.
Most of the 40 projects can be summed up very simply. For example:
Stitch a hardy sachet from ticking, then fill it with aromatic herbs to make a tough mat on which to stand hot pots. When you put a pan on it, the heat will release the herbs' rich fragrance. (p. 84)
Now, I never would have thought of that Ė and I have about a pound of homegrown mint drying in the spare room.
A bonus is that many of these items will be inexpensive to mail as gifts -- dried plants are some of the lightest materials you can find. Better stick to mailing them within your own country, though. It wouldnít do to have a package containing unlabeled, homegrown leaves opened by customs.
Others, involving live plants or clay flowerpots, will have to be delivered by hand Ė or kept for yourself. Either way, itís worth checking out.
Herbcrafts: Practical Inspirations for Natural Gifts, Country Crafts and Decorative Displays, by Tessa Evelegh with photographs by Polly Wreford, is published by Anness Publishing and available from Amazon (ISBN 1 85967 343 0).
Jane Wangersky is the author of In Small Packages: Gifts You Can Mail at Canada's Lowest Postal Rates. Visit her blog for more ideas on saving money mailing gifts.