I love, LOVE getting a brand new set of dishtowels, tea towels or napkins. Its the little things-and my little thing is clean, bright, starchy brand new towels or napkins. I have several family members that feel the same way, and a cozy kitchen basket with new towels and maybe a couple of cookie cutters and little sweet measuring spoons would be adorable. Here is how you can make it special:
First of all, find a nice big seasonal cookie tin leftover from a previous year, or a neat basket--anything that is shallow but roomy and would make a cute base for your project. I have several baskets I got from the thrift store. Sometimes they even give them away because they get a lot of these. Take advantage and be creative! Next, if you can sew, you can buy a yard of white cotton and sew some napkins/tea towels or you can buy them premade. The difference is a few dollars and if your trying to save money-do it yourself is always the better deal.
Now, you can give these plain, or you can decorate. Take an apple or a pear and cut it in half lengthwise. Dab dry with a cotton cloth or paper towel. Make sure to make it as dry as possible so it does not interfere with your paint-yeah! Paint! Acrylic paint is very affordable (a dollar a tube or less) and is permanent. Choose a color and paint the surface of the cut pear/apple. Choose a darker version of the base color and paint the lower edge of the pear/apple to give the illusion of shadow, and stamp straight down and firmly into the corner of the towel. Lift straight up so as not to smudge and you should have a really nice fruit print. You can go in after it is dry with black and pain small black seeds-then, when the paint is completely dry (give them a good 24 hours to be safe) lay an old dishcloth over your painting and iron to help set the paint. If you are doing napkins, you can also do this to plain white place mats to match.
Okay, so you have your napkins/towels and they are adorable. You have your cute basket or tin and its a matter of putting them together-here's where we can make this really special:
Make a simple yeast roll recipe and half it. One half stays plain while ground fennel seeds or poppy seeds are added and mixed with the other half. Roll all dough into long, narrow strips, like snakes. Take one plain and one flavored "snake" and twist together into strands, then make rings.
When they are baked, use your bread "rings" for napkin rings on your fancy new napkins, or you can wrap your bread rings in one of the tea towels and tuck the others around the package. CUTE!
Add a festive bow and a silk poinsettia blossom and you have a really sweet and yummy gift.