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Get invited back next summer with a DIY gift for your July 4th host

Posted by Melissa Massello  June 29, 2013 10:04 AM

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Photo: Melissa Massello/Shoestring Magazine

A July 4th holiday invitation to a friend or colleague's vacation home is probably one of the best — and most coveted — of all weekend getaways in New England, and it's important to be a good houseguest so you get invited back. (And don't lose a friendship).

Show your hosts your gratitude with this thoughtfully prepared basket of handmade items, including some homemade cranberry cordial (perfect for the Cape) and red, white & blue "Scandinavian Love Spoons," pulled together in an inexpensive nautical themed basket — along with a handwritten thank-you note.

Last summer, we had the pleasure of being invited to a friend's family home in Harwichport for the entire week of 4th of July. In addition to bringing wine, beer, groceries, and offering to chip in for any other needs for the week — with dollars or sweat — I wanted to make sure our friend's mom knew exactly how grateful we were for not only the invitation to share their home with them, but their holiday, too.

Since we were going to the shore, I grabbed a small, square, woven grass tote from IKEA and lined it with some nautical-inspired tea towels from The Christmas Tree Shop. Instantly customized gift basket!

DIY summer host gift
DIY summer host gift

To fill it, I took an extra bottle of homemade cranberry cordial I had made over the winter and dressed it up with a tag handwritten with my recipe for a non-traditional Cape Codder. I put the bottle it in the basket along with some paper umbrellas (because everyone knows that nothing says "I'm on vacation" like an umbrella in your drink) and got to work on the piece de resistance: Scandinavian Love Spoons.

cranberry_windowsill2
DIY summer host gift

Remembering them from childhood (growing up with a Norwegian-Polish mom in a Swedish Lutheran church congregation), I was immediately drawn to some beautiful Welsh Love Spoons on Pinterest — but the associated blog was written in another language and didn't offer any instructions. No worries, I could totally figure it out, right? Right.

DIY summer host gift
DIY summer host gift

I melted some white chocolate in the microwave and laid out some red plastic spoons on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, grabbing some silver French Dragees (also known as silver non-pareils or silver sugar pearls) and some Stars & Stripes sprinkles and went to work.

Despite what Pinterest (and this Welsh chocolate love spoon tutorial) tell you, it's not easy to pour chocolate into a spoon without making an enormous mess, so I decided to use two — one to scoop out the melted chocolate and one to receive, quickly wiping off any excess before placing on my parchment lined sheet to cool. Then decorate while the chocolate is still soft, but be sure not to press too hard or your little silver pearls or sugar stars will disappear into the chocolate like quicksand.

DIY summer host gift

When the spoons were fully cooled, I wrapped each one individually in small cellophane treat bags (in case they melted a little in the hot car) and tied them with coordinating grosgrain ribbon (from Michael's), then placed them in a small royal blue aluminum pail (from the $1 aisle at Target) and tucked them into the gift basket. The last thing to do before wrapping the entire thing in cellophane was the thank-you note. And thankful we were!

Happy 4th of July again to the Cole Family, and to everyone out there reading Boston.com. As my Grampa used to say:

"Be good, be safe, but don't forget to have fun!"

DIY summer host gift

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the Authors

Melissa Massello is a newspaper journalist turned startup junkie and lifelong Bostonian who prides herself on her do-it-yourself attitude. From making her prom dress out More »
Tara Bellucci is a Boston-based writer that lives for fonts, food, and flea market finds. Whether decorating jars of her homemade jam for The Boston More »

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