It’s a DIY Christmas: Homemade presents give a heartwarming, personal touch
by Sally Litchfield
MDJ Features Editor
December 05, 2012 12:55 AM | 4162 views | 2 2 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Michelle Goodman stands with some of the homemade presents she has made for the upcoming holidays, including granola, purple basil vinegar and tarragon vinegar. <br>Staff/Emily Barnes
Michelle Goodman stands with some of the homemade presents she has made for the upcoming holidays, including granola, purple basil vinegar and tarragon vinegar.
Staff/Emily Barnes
Goodman’s homemade presents.
Goodman’s homemade presents.
Trying to find the perfect gift? Michelle Goodman of Marietta takes commercialism out of Christmas by sharing easy gift ideas that you make. She suggests homemade herbal vinegars, granola and Limóncello.

“I think giving something I’ve made rather than bought is a more personal gift,” said Goodman, who is a full service event planner and floral designer.

She and her husband, Will, a landscape architect, own Oakton House and Gardens, the oldest continuously occupied residence in Marietta. Oakton, built in 1838, is located at 581 Kennesaw Ave. Visit www.oaktonhouse

“When you give something you make you have had to use your own labor for it so it seems more personal to give to friends who pretty much have everything and don’t need anything else. The older we get it seems to be more and more people like this that we know,” said Goodman who moved to Marietta from Buckhead after marrying. The Goodmans have three grown children, Katie, Claire and Will.

“Giving a gift you make keeps the season real instead of so artificial,” Goodman said.

Herbal Vinegars

Purchase decorative bottles. (Goodman recommends Cost Plus World Market for a wide selection.)

Pack bottle with fresh herb of choice such as tarragon, basil, rosemary, cranberry, or mint.

Heat white vinegar until almost boiling and pour it over herbs. Let herbs steep. After several weeks, strain out herbs and then rebottle with a fresh sprig of the herb.


Lemon peel from 2 pounds lemons

4 Cups Vodka

3 Cups Sugar

3 Cups Water

Steep the lemon peel in vodka in a large bowl for 1 week at room temperature. (No nipping in between.)

Stir sugar and water in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Cool and then add to vodka mix and stir. Strain the liquid into bottles and seal. Chill for 1 month.


4 Cups regular oatmeal

2 Cups bran

1 Cup sunflower seeds

1 Cup pumpkin seeds

1 Cup sesame seeds

1 Cup natural almonds (either sliced or slivered)

1 Cup wheat germ

Mix all the ingredients in large bowl.

Then add the following to dry ingredients and mix:

¼ Cup safflower oil

¼ Cup honey

Spread granola mixture on baking sheet. Bake in preheated 275-degree oven for 20-25 minutes.

Add dried fruit to granola after baking, if desired.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Elizabeth Lunsford
December 05, 2012
Love the ideas and the pictures - thanks, Sally, for writing about Michelle and Oakton
Whitlock Dawg
December 05, 2012
Great ideas! And this is just a few examples of the many creative talents of the Goodmans...they are Marietta treasures.
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides