Let me just preface this with how much I love the Foodie Penpal Swap. I received an amazing package from Emily of The Breukelen Life and I sent out my package to Ashley of Running my Way to a Full. My boyfriend Mark was laughing at how into my package I was getting. I was illustrating my labels, using my beautiful neon washi tape, and thinking of fun packaging. I had a blast putting it together. Ashley gave me some good criteria to work with, such as she is mostly healthy but has a sweet tooth, loves homemade and is training for a marathon and has lots of 1/2 marathons planned!
I tried to think of things that were local to Healdsburg (which is a lot) that combined make a total of less than $15 (not a lot). I raided my cupboards to contribute a few things, but mostly I made/shopped for the rest. I also wanted to make it seasonal and think of things that are fresh now and how to make them last for the winter.
Enter cherry vinegar. I love cherry vinegar made with balsamic. Super easy too – take beautiful ripe cherries that you would rather eat than do anything to, put them in a jar/bottle/etc mash them up, top with balsamic (even the cheap will do) let sit for a month, or to taste, and then strain out the cherries. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. I loved making the label and attaching it with the tape.
The box was layered with – the black cherry vinegar (made with local cherries), Hawaiian black lava sea salt (not local, but looked too good to pass up), Kokomo winery Verjus (made in Healdsburg of semi-ripe and unfermented grapes – think vinegar). The next layer was made up of some homemade S’mores bars and some Gaterade gummy chews (for the running!). Mark was making fun of me when I was stressing that the orange of the chews didn’t match my black, white and pink theme.. Luckily that pink tape is just see-through enough to disguise the color and still let you see the packaging. Lastly came the written element – a welcome card as well as a card describing each item.
I loved putting the whole thing together and it felt especially good to actually use some creative skills again. I probably spent the majority of the time making the labels and cards, which I loved and now am feeling hooked! This is the salt label before it was inked:
I unfortunately won’t be participating in the August swap as I am in Canada at my family summer cottage (tough life, I know), but I am SO looking forward for September! We are going apple picking so that might be a theme… Getting excited and collecting ideas!
To get my blogging mojo back, I decided to participate in a Foodie Penpal swap that I found on Annika’s blog.
Lindsay from The Lean Green Bean blog organizes the whole thing and even though there are over 1000 participants in the US and Canada, it works seamlessly. So anyway, onto what I received from the lovely Emily of The Breukelen Life:
Do you have ANY IDEA how excited I was to receive a box full of yummy goodies?! Cookies, chips, chocolate, pretzels and more! Everything in the box was local food made in the Brooklyn area, which is cool because I very rarely make it all the way out to the East Coast/New York. It was all I could do to take a picture, let alone document.
Chocolate chip cookies with oatmeal and sea salt – Enough said. They are SO GOOD!!
Spicy chocolate bar – I love chocolate and chili. This has Ancho and Chipotle in it.. basically just went right to my California heart!
Pretzels… Mmm.. Mark and I have been snacking on these while watching the Mindy Project.. perfectly crunchy with just the right amount of salt.
Quince Jam – I am so excited to try this but I am waiting until we buy a toaster. Who knew researching/buying a toaster would be such an ordeal?
McClure’s Potato chips in Spicy Pickle – This is what I am the most excited to try. I love chips probably more than anything in the world and could probably live off of them. I haven’t tried them yet as I thought it would be rude to my fellow flight sharers for me to chowing down on some crunchy snacks while they are not. Also, I now have something major (other than Mark and Newton..) to look forward to. Also is it weird for me to also be excited to eat these as my paternal grandma’s family were the McClures. My great-great-aunt or something actually wrote this book, which is kinda cool.
Lastly, the card that Emily included was right up my alley as well. Thick, textured paper, gold lining and rich, saturated color.
I love everything and can’t wait to participate in the next one! Stay tuned for what I sent and check it out on Ashley’s blog
During Blogtoberfest, many bloggers had giveaways. One of these lovely people was Miss Yarnwrap, whose giveaway I won! I got her package the other day and I was so happy! As she is in Australia and I’m here in the UK, we decided to do a mini-swap. I sent a few things and she sent me this:
It’s a sweet book of Japanese embroidery, a fabric printed with Aboriginese designs in a sparkly gold color, a fun orange printed panel, 2 crochet hooks and a magnet (not pictured). She also had a little note included that informed me that Australians have a form of Cockney rhyming slang (but clearly not Cockney) where Sydney is referred to as “steak and kidney”. Gavin thought it was quite funny and he now refers to me as that…