DIY: Garden party hostess gifts

By Julia Dilworth, 24 hours Vancouver


There are few things more unfashionable than showing up to a summer garden party empty-handed.

Wine and flowers are popular gift choices for the hostess — however, Toronto-based frugal living expert Amrita Singh takes thoughtful one step further with three homemade gift ideas that are unique, practical and fabulously budget-friendly.

Once the word gets out, you’ll have to start making these in bulk.

1. Lemonade kit


1 cup of sugar

7 lemons

Pour sugar into a resealable bag and place it at the bottom of the pitcher. Next, stack seven lemons on top (Singh recommends medium-sized lemons!) Embellish with cute straws, a wooden spoon, strainer and a summer-themed tea towel.

2. One-ingredient candles

Glass/ceramic candle holder

Vegetable shortening

100% cotton twine

Small nuts or washers

Spoon vegetable shortening into a glass measuring cup. Melt on medium heat (microwave/stove top). Cut a piece of string twice the height of candle holder. Tie a nut/washer on one end and put weighted side of the wick into candle holder. Pour melted shortening into candle holder, then centre the wick and wrap the excess around a pencil. Rest it on top of candle holder to keep wick in place as shortening cools. Fridge will speed this up.

When the shortening is solid, snip the wick and you’re done! Pro tip: Add 5-10 drops of lemon essential oil before pouring in the shortening to transform your candle into a “mosquito-battling machine!” says Singh. Note: Don’t leave these candles outside too long in the hot sunshine, or they’ll melt.

3. Green thumb scrub

1/3 cup cane/raw sugar

1/2 to 2/3 cup of dish washing liquid soap

“Dirt busting for a gardener’s hands!” Singh recommends mixing ingredients to a body scrub consistency (don’t try to dissolve the sugar, this is your scrubbing power). Pour scrub into a glass jar and accessorize with a nail brush and stir sticks.

Tip: Free printable recipe cards for projects available at


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