Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Garnishing Grape Jelly for Giving

I love to give gifts of food. Every step from the planning, growing or buying making and packaging is sheer joy for me. Once when I made many food gifts, I wanted to make them extra special by adding a label. Not especially computer savy (I've come quite far), I decided to work in mediums that were virtually foolproof. Card stock and pigment ink stamps. The twist is in the "stamps". I gather the fresh vegetables, fruits or herbs, used in the recipe to print a label of my own design.

Once I finished the grape jelly I knew I wanted to stamp labels with grape leaves. Since the beetles are having their fill of the leaves they won't be around too much longer so I got to work right away. Herbs make really pretty prints, too. It's worth printing up a few pages while they are around, basil or sage for pesto, mint or verbena for syrups. You get the idea.

For fine detail, you want to stamp the back of the leaf and then lay it on the paper you are stamping. Over the top of the leaf, lay a sheet of paper. Something from the copy or printer paper from the recycling bin is all you need. Once you've set the paper over the top, firmly rub the leaf without allowing it to shift. Carefully pull the paper and leaf off and you're done. Pigment inks have the best colors but can take a bit of time to dry so be careful of smudges. Remember this when reusing your "rubbing sheet", as well.

Fruits and veggies make fun stamps and kids can even help. Rolling an ear of corn across the ink and then the page is a crowning glory for corn relish. I have plans for a blueberry-jalapeno jam so I stamped a few sheets with slices of jalapenos in blue ink. I know. Clever, right?

The last step for me is to turn to my trusty alphabet rubber stamps. If you have beautiful handwriting, as many of my friends do, you can avoid this tedious step. For a type "A", it's a perfect method, no ugly letters and crooked is cool.

Technically, this is called botanical printing.

I just consider it a garnish.

The finishing touch placed upon a gift for someone you care for.

1 comment:

Georgine said...

You triple threat! Thanks for this GREAT idea. You are really utilizing the time your kids are at school. Me? I watch Martha (and the first couple of shows this season haven't been worth watching). I have a skirt for myself half made, does that count? What other fun stuff have you been doing? I know you certainly aren't calling me :). In my net post, you'll find out why I haven't been calling anyone. Except Mike. He listens to me complain and commiserates with me.