The Best Gifts are Homemade; Here are 5 Baskets You’ll Love

Homemade Gifts are the Best Gifts

Or at least that’s what they say. Years ago, I was part of a group who got together starting in August every year to begin making our homemade Christmas presents. We made photo albums, wreaths, decorated candles, and smocked baby dresses to name a few of our projects. (I know I am dating myself!)

Judging by the response of those who received the gifts, I think it is true that homemade gifts are the best. And what a joy it was to give them! Question. Do the gifts have to be made completely from scratch? I would say no. There’s nothing new under the sun. Adding our own special touch to something purchased or designing a coffee mug for that special co-worker are just a few of the ways we can offer something homemade as a gift. CoziNest is here to help with that.

Gift Baskets Designed by You, Assembled by Us

Carol and I have searched the landscape, both vintage and new, and are now gathering the most unique gifts you can buy! We offer our local clients personal delivery and for those not so local, we are happy to ship. Here are five gift examples you can send to a friend or family member.

gift basket


Mix It Up Gift Basket

The above gift includes a mixing bowl, no-bake plain ol’ cheesecake mix, a relaxing tea blend for brewing and a wooden spoon. It sells for only $23. We can add mugs, tea cup and saucer or most any other suggestion. We have a complete line of easy food mixes. These make a perfect gift, a great addition to your weekly menu or an easy take along to a party. Here are a few of our new mixes:

  • No Bake Plain ol’ Cheesecake
  • No Bake Key Lime Cheesecake
  • No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake
  • Fruit Cobbler
  • No Bake Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake
  • Mini Pecan Pie Muffin Mix
  • Dill-illicious Spinach Dip
  • Zesty Crab Dip
  • Warm Artichoke-Spinach Dip
  • Guacamole Dip Spices
  • Louisiana Gumbo
  • Red Beans & Rice
  • Cajun Jambalaya
  • Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Soup
  • Chili Seasoning
  • Cranberry Pasta Salad
  • Mediterranean Pasta Salad


An angel for a gift

I believe in angels

Start your gift basket with a piece of original art by Carol Zeien. Send this to someone extra special. This beautiful angel is painted on what we like to call “Sallywood”. Wood scrapped and left behind by Hurricane Sally. Good things can come out of destruction! Just like those incredible first responders who work tirelessly on our behalf; what better way to say thank you?

your cup of tea

Could this little set be your cup of tea?

Good morning to you! What a sweet way to have your breakfast tea! This Grosvenor 3-pc Tea Set includes our popular Relax tea leaves, perfect for a friend who loves pretty and dainty things. A little vintage mixed with a soothing tea blend you’re sure to love. This little bargain is only $28. All of our teas are blended here in the south, straight from the Appalachian Mountains.

homemade pumpkin painting

Pumpkins Anyone?

Start a bride’s gift with pretty Fall pillows and an afghan. Add a painting by Carol and a pair of tea mugs for that first cozy evening after the honeymoon. We can put it all together for you and deliver it locally! Shipping is available.

mug of tea

Need a little solace?

Sip our Solace Tea and feel your body relax. It might not completely take all your troubles away, but this homemade blend will help you breathe. The Coventry Mug and .50 oz blend of Solace Tea Leaves sells for only $12.

So, what do you think? Are homemade gifts the best gifts?

Be sure to enter our contest!

Head over to Instagram and upload a picture of someone opening a gift. Caption it with your idea for a unique gift basket with hashtag #ohmygiftbasket. Basket valued at $100. Winner announced on September 23. Rules are listed here.

Great Gifts for Flower Girls – A Tea Set fit for a Princess

Great Gifts for Flower Girls

The stateliness of this Noritake Porcelain Tea Set is a gift worthy of a princess. Tea sets make great gifts for flower girls. Pack up these 6 place settings with a selection of teas, sugar cubes and a “save-the-date” for high tea with the bride. Your flower girl will glory in the grandeur of a tea party with real china, pretty napkins, cupcakes and one-on-one time with you. Begin a sweet tradition for future generations of flower girls. Before this young lady drops petals down the aisle for you, set aside at least 30 minutes to have tea with her. Gift her the tea set you serve her with so that someday she passes this honor down to her own flower girl.

Finding Tea Sets and Greater Gifts

This dainty tea set is a generous gift, but what she will remember more than china, is that she had tea with the bride. Noritake Cups and Saucers Find vintage tea sets in antique malls, thrift stores and online boutiques. Even if you can only find a few pieces, 4 place settings are better than odds and ends. The tea set and time with the bride are great gifts for flower girls. great gifts for flower girls Should you have more than one flower girl, may we suggest giving each girl a cup and saucer, tea bags, sugar cubes and a set of pretty napkins.

This item has sold.

A Blithesome Backyard Wedding with 4 Shamrocks and 3 Leprechauns

I’m so excited to share with you this months’ inspirational wedding idea. How about a backyard wedding with 4 shamrocks and 3 leprechauns? Before you start counting shamrocks and leprechauns in this post, I added those numbers because they equal the lucky number 7. You can have as many or as few at your wedding as you want. 😉

While you may not be dreaming of a snow covered lawn on your big day, I had to share this cute just-married garland idea for a fun couples’ photo. This lucky-in-love wedding day highlights fresh shades of green, horseshoes, rainbows and pots of gold.


Backyard Wedding with Shamrocks and Leprechauns

A Backyard Wedding

Begin the festivities with a game of horseshoes set up on a side lawn for guests to play. Add a Guinness bar and your guests will be happy for hours while your photographer snaps family photos.

In case of rain, how about a back-up plan that includes emerald green velvet chairs indoors. If you can’t find them, how about making slipcovers for your folding chairs? Or tie velvet ribbon around the aisle seat of each row?

Add a Little Vintage to the Theme

The bouquet pictured above is gorgeous, but what caught my eye in this photo is the chair! I know you may be thinking, “but it’s all rusty!” I know! It’s the perfect touch of rustic for an outdoor Irish wedding. What would tickle my funny bone even more, would be to shop ahead of time for different chairs and paint them all the same soft green hue! Then, sand them a bit here and there to create your own “loved and worn” look.

And wouldn’t it be buckets of fun to add a pot of clover and fresh flowers to the rows of chairs as you walk down the aisle? The small ones pictured above are from Happy Blog and are to be used as wedding favors. But larger, gold pots placed beside each row would be fun, too!

Backyard Wedding Game

Another fun idea is to play a game at the reception fashioned after the Christmas Elf. Instead of an elf, you would, of course, use leprechauns that get into all sorts of mischief in your backyard.

Have a scavenger hunt where guests search for items or clues related to the happy couple. Each item is discovered where a leprechaun is mischievously hiding the item. Choose items that might be a little embarrassing for the bride or groom or something that reveals something no one knows about them.

Prizes will, of course, be found at the end of the rainbow. Click on the image below to see how to make these darling little pots of gold.

pot of gold dessert


Oh! Oh! Instead of rose petals dropped down the aisle, how about gold coins?  Yes, this wedding theme excites me! And, I’m not Irish! Although, I have been accused of living the life of Riley. So how would you decorate a St. Patty’s Day wedding venue? Whatever you do, be sure not to get pinched! Wear something green.


Hymns for Him-Just as I Am

Do you ever doubt your faith? The hymn, “Just as I Am” was written by Charlotte Elliott after a night of spiritual struggle. I’ve been here several times in my Christian walk, but never thought to do what Charlotte did. In the morning after her tumultuous night, she sat down to write all the things she was absolutely certain of in her faith. She made a list of sorts of all she knew about her own salvation.  The poem, “Just as I Am” was the result.

“Hymns for Him” is a series of prayers for the newlywed bride to pray for her husband. See other prayers like, How Great Thou Art, The Lord’s Prayer, and Be Thou My Vision.

Just as I Am

Just as I am—without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee—
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am—and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot—
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.


Just as I am—though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without—
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am—poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find—
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am—Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe—
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am—Thy love unknown
Hath broken every barrier down;
Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone—
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am—of that free love
The breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,
Here for a season, then above—
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Just as I Am

The Lord God is Indeed God

I’m reminded of the verse Deuteronomy 7:9:

Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps His covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes His unfailing love on those who love Him and obey His commands.

Amazingly, He does this for each of us, just as we are, if we believe and call out to Him. Billy Graham knew this. This song became the signature hymn at the close of his crusades. Many people have been moved to repentance through the words of this song. So how does this song relate to a newly wed bride as she prays for her husband? I can suggest this:

Prayer for Newlywed Husband

O Lord, my God,  just as I am, I come to You. I thank you for the blood you shed for both me and {insert your husband’s name}. Thank you for calling us into Your kingdom. You are the Lamb of God! We come to You.

Lord, we will not wait to rid our soul of even one dark blot. Your blood is powerful, O Lamb of God.  Cleanse us both of any spot that separates us from Your goodness.

Struggles Come and Go

You know the struggles we have, Lord. There are fears in our soul and fears in our world. There are conflicts every day. We come to You, for we know that Your burden is light. Thank you for sharing the load.  Thank You for blessing our marriage. Keep us safe. Give us strength for temptation and enough love for You to choose righteousness. You became our lamb of sacrifice. We come to you with any doubt and trust in You to see us through.

Just as we are, Lord. We bring You the blindness and weakness of our faith. Show us the way to spiritual sight. Heal our mind. Help us not to entertain thoughts that pull us away, but to always come to You.

You Keep Your Promises

You are faithful, O Lamb of God! I believe in Your promises to receive, welcome, pardon, cleanse and relieve. All the worry. All the angst. Are we good enough? Have we confessed it all? Is this sin to much to forgive? You receive us into Your arms. We are welcome to empty our weary souls into Your hands. You pardon our offenses. And oh, Lord, the relief we feel when it’s all at Your feet. You handle it all in Your time, in Your will and in Your way.

It is Your Love, O Lord, that breaks every barrier between us. Your love brings us into Your perfect peace. It is Your love, that makes us Yours. We can do nothing to earn Your Love. He has done all the work. Paid the price. O Lamb, we worship You.

Father, we have a breath of life here on earth. Let us come to You to experience the breadth, heighth, width and depth of Your love. We know that there is so much more to learn of You. Lord, we come. We come.

Be assured dear bride, that He hears and receives every sigh, every yearning. Go to Him.

10 Ways to Enjoy World Kindness Day

November 13, 2019 is World Kindness Day

I will be just returning from the Holy Land on this sweet day in November. As I think ahead to this post, knowing I will have the dust of sacred footsteps in my suitcase; I can’t imagine a more precious act of kindness than what our Lord did for us.

In honor of His sacrifice, I have a challenge for those who practice random acts of kindness. Christians are known as the bride of Christ, as someday we will join the marriage supper of the Lamb. So as part of that bride, I challenge each of you to do something special this week for a bride you do not know.

Here’s an example:

This Chapel of Love story will melt your heart. These nurses organized the sweetest wedding. I wish I could have attended just to see everyone’s face.

world kindness day

Weddings are the happiest time of our life and the most stressful. My precious daughter walks the aisle in January 2020 and I can’t imagine adding the heartbreak of this story, or any like it, to the planning of the big day. However, as this bride said, “But God!” HE IS BIGGER!

While I’m not suggesting you go to the extreme of what these nurses did (but hey, it would be awesome) here are a few suggestions to make the day of a random bride or someone in her party a little better. You’ll feel pretty good afterward, too.

Random Acts of Kindness for the Bridal Party

  1. Contact a wedding venue and ask if there is something simple a bride wanted but couldn’t afford and offer to pay for it anonymously.
  2. Search for local engagement announcements and send a gift, signing the card as a raktivist. (Random Act of Kindness Activist)
  3. Ask your favorite hair stylist if she/he can recommend a bride for a free hair appointment.woman with scarf
  4. Give a manicure or pedicure to the mother of the bride. (This is not a hint! 😉 )
  5. Prepare a meal for a family who is a week away from the wedding.
  6. Purchase pocket squares or handkerchiefs for the groomsmen of a wedding being held at your church.
  7. Leave a basket of flip flops or slippers for bridesmaids on the day of the wedding.
  8. If you know a hostess giving a shower for the bride or groom, offer to help clean up after the shower.
  9. Offer a floral arrangement to the mother of the groom for the rehearsal dinner.Floral random act of kindness
  10. Drop off a few packs of thank-you cards on the bride-to-be’s porch.

These are just a few examples. I’m sure you have even more great ideas for World Kindness Day. If someone has recently been kind to you, please share in the comments below. And, if you have ideas to share with others for more random acts of kindness this week, please share them on my Facebook page.

Praying someone shows you extreme kindness today.

National Pizza Month for the Happy Couple


Tell me. What could be better than a romantic lunch of pizza and a glass of wine? Answer: A happy couple celebrating their engagement with a view of the sea on a cool October day! Here are a few recipes to take your favorite pie into National Pizza Month.

Fall Pizza Recipes for You and Your Honey

This scrumptious recipe was discovered at Strawberry Blondie Kitchen. Apples, bacon and caramelized onions!

October – National Pizza Month must include Pumpkin!

Pumpkin Pizza

Love Lola has a delightful Fall Pizza recipe that, of course, includes pumpkin. She loves it so much her family has it more than once a week. If your kiddos like pumpkin, this would be a special tradition to start on Halloween night. A little pumpkin before they carry their little pumpkins trick or treating.

fall pizza recipe with figs

I must admit that as a child I hated figs. But my oh my! The combination of figs, prosciutto and fresh mozzarella that Rachael adds over at Spache the Spatula is one of the most unique flavors ever! Then the drizzle of Balsamic takes it to a whole new level!

Ok, so maybe you are more of a traditionalist with your pie. I’ve got you!

October National Pizza Month

So, I thought I would “wrap things up” with this scary little pizza…. get it? Mummy pizza… wrapped up? I crack me up.

Tipbuzz will have you in stitches. They’ve added little bandaids of pepperoni and a monstrous amount of cheese. And … oh! oh! oh!….wouldn’t it be a scream if you proposed with the ring falling out of this little mummy’s mouth? I kill me!

Your love will preserve this month as one of their favorites of the year with all of this attention to their comfort. And no matter what your favorite is, share it while enjoying a gorgeous view, a glass of Chianti and the laughter of your beloved.

Chianti with wine

Happy National Pizza Month Everyone!