I have thousands of wine corks hiding out around my home. They’re piled high in large glass vases, layered into lesser-used pots and deep baskets, and stuffed into bags in my Food Gift Love pantry. One look at my eternally replenished wine rack validates that my piles will clearly grow.
As I conduct a huge purge throughout my home this month, because January (!!!), I’m remembering all the ways wine corks complement food gifts or decorate final gift-wrap. Instead of tossing out your stacks of corks, consider one of these ways to add style to all your 2016 food gifts–the last one is my favorite.
1. Place-card markers: For your next potluck, offer to handle the place cards. Slice one-third of a cork off length-wise to create a flat base for your marker. Slice a thin sliver into the rounded side of the cork. Write the guests’ names on small pieces of thick card stock. Maybe gift something from the “Potluck Gifts” chapter of my new cookbook along with these place-card makers. When you help set the table, just stick the place cards into the sliver.
2. Key chains: Twist a loop screw into the top end of a cork. Attach a small key chain ring and your keys, or gift to someone who’s just moved into a new home.
3. Garland: Instead of ribbon or twine, a gift looks better wrapped with homemade garland. Twist wire around a cork every 4 to 5 inches along the wire, adding in organic materials like cinnamon sticks or Citrus Crisps (from my cookbook), if desired. Alternatively, slice the corks into thin disks and thread thin wire through them to form a garland. Either loosely wrap the garland around packages, or go traditional by it draping on a chandelier or shelves in your kitchen.
4. Stamps: When I make homemade cards or wrapping paper, or write special notes, I don’t search for a stamp to up my game. Instead, I carve a shape into the base of a wide cork with a super sharp knife. Press the stamp into any color ink pad and then onto your chosen canvas. Heart shapes work for lovers; exclamation points and arrows for strong emphasis; and simple trees are sweet on winter notes or gift-wrap.
5. Trivets: Instead of gifting a pot of soup or a jar of loose leaf tea with the traditional soup spoon or tea cup, respectively, encourage your gift recipient to take some time out at the table by placing the hot gift on a gifted homemade trivet. Simply gather about 75 wine corks of the same size. Glue them together, upright, into a trivet pattern using a hot glue gun. Allow it to dry before gifting, of course.
6. Anytime Decor: Fill big vases and small vases with corks and line them up on shelves or entryway tables throughout your house to express your oenophile love. Because wine love needs to be expressed, all the time.
Happy cleaning and gifting! xox
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