clove orange, clove apple,

12 Days of Shopping: Kids Make Presents, Clove Fruit (Day 2)

Gifts Kids Can Make for Adults

I am admittedly not good at the arts and crafts thing but luckily Capability:Mom is, well…, more capable than I am so I gave her the harder half of the post:  Mod Podge.  Ok, I don’t even know exactly what Mod Podge is, let alone how to spell it.  As for my half of the post, this is Capability:Mom’s idea, too.  It’s easy enough that even I can pull this off with my kids and it makes beautiful gifts that smell wonderful and festive.  And I could use festive decorating because I am not good at that either.

My only contribution is this:  You can purchase whole cloves at an ethnic grocery store  or ethnic aisle of your supermarket to save money.  Indian or Chinese grocery stores will have whole cloves in bulk packaged in plastic bags which is less expensive just because of the utilitarian packaging alone!

My Mom Friend has her kids make gifts for Grandparents every year.  It’s a required activity that she plans out weeks ahead of time. (Note also that her house is beautifully festive as we speak!)  Her kids have grandparents who have everything so it’s nice to give them a gift that is priceless,  a homemade gift from the grandkids!

p.s. I am also a big fan of the cinnamon broom which has pleasantly scented my living room for about 30 days before giving out. I bought them at Trader’s Joes for about $4. You could combine the broom tied with ribbons with these handmade gifts for a holiday scented bonanza gift!

This is a cinnamon alter broom for $6 from Amazon. Just click on image to buy.

Some words of advice I extracted from Capability:Mom on this project:

clove orange, the 12 days of shopping, capabilitymom, pragmatic momClove Apple, Clove Clementine, the 12 days of shopping,,

  • Use small and unblemished fruit.  Lady Apples or Clementines are perfect! Lemons or limes work well too. Last year the kids and I used Kumquats together on a small dish.
  • Pin down the ribbon first, it takes up space so there is less surface area to stick.
  • Use this for a holiday decoration, as a gift, and/or later as moth repellent for your closets.
  • You can give a mix of pomander fruit for a present; a different fruit per child perhaps.
  • Add 4 drops sandalwood oil (a natural preservative) to each finished product, if you like.  Powdered Orris root is another fixative though may be harder to source.

Shopping List:

  • Fruit
  • Whole Cloves
  • Ribbon
  • Spices: ground cinnamon and orris root is one combination; ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg is another; sandalwood oil or orris root can be used as a natural preservative.   If you use small fruit like Lady Apples and/or Clementines you won’t need the perservatives.

I cribbed this article from TipNut who says, “This is an article I found in a copy of the vintage magazine The WorkBasket, 1959. It describes how to make a decorative clove apple.

Did You Ever Make A Clove Apple?
E. B. Dykes Beachy

Making A Clove Apple - Picture

If you were fortunate enough to have an old fashioned grandmother or great-grandmother, you may remember the time you were permitted to wander alone through her home. When you arrived at the linen or clothes closet, the chances are you found in the spice scented darkness, a fragrant, rough surfaced, mystifying object.

“Why, that’s a clove apple,” your grandmother told you. Then she explained to you that winter preparations always included the making of a clove apple because the clove scented sachets were used as a moth repellent.

Stronger and more modern methods are used today but clove apples have remained popular. They are found in some gift shops but the price is so high it is cheaper and more satisfying to make your own.

You need a large, round, unblemished, hard, winter apple, a bit of ribbon, a box of whole cloves, ground cinnamon and powered orris root. Tie the ribbon around the apple (as you would in wrapping a package) with the bow on top. Remove the ribbon. Put transparent tape (the width of the ribbon) around the fruit.

Begin at the blossom end of the apple. Slowly and carefully insert whole cloves one by one in the fruit as close and tight as possible. Do not hold the apple tightly or insert the cloves in a straight line or the skin will burst. Leave the space for the ribbon clear.

When the apple is covered with cloves, roll it in a mixture of equal parts of ground cinnamon and orris root, with a pinch of ground cloves, then wrap it in tissue paper. Put the clove apple away for ten days where the air can dry it out, but do not put it in a closed space. The apple will shrink and become very dry and light but will not lose its aroma. The aroma will last for months and the apples have been known to last for years–long after the clove scent is gone.

In olden days, clove apples were placed in bags of net and hung in closets. Today, the ribbon is tied around the apple and a loop left on top so it may be hung in a linen or clothes closet or any place you choose in your home.”

The 12 Days of Shopping

I will be posting The 12 Days of Shopping jointly with Capability:Mom.  Please visit her blog daily to see the other half of the post.


Dec 1: Make Your Own Gifts GRANOLA, Amazing Granola from Nigella Lawson versus Amazing Granola Bars from The Barefoot Contessa

 Dec 2: Kids Make Gifts CRAFT (ModPodge versus Clove Fruit)

 Dec 3: Personalized Gifts (Fancy Address Stampers versus Pretty Papers Giveaway)

 Dec 4:  Father-in-Law/Dad and Mother-in-Law/Mom

 Dec 5Tutors/Teachers

 Dec 6High Tech/Low Tech

 Dec 7Hostess/Gifts That Give Back

 Dec 8: Sanitation Engineers, Mail Carriers, Hairdresser, Delivery People, Babysitter, Cleaning People, Dog Walker/Dog Trainer, etc. (a.k.a. who else did I forget?) and Emily Post’s Etiquette on this subject.

 Dec 9Husband, Me (Our Own Wacko List); Capability:Mom Husband/Wife

 Dec 10:  Dog/Cat

 Dec 11: Quick Gifts from Whole Foods versus Gourmet Food Store

 Dec 12: ‘Cause I Am So Together,  Last Minute Home Made Gifts:  Cookies & Personalized Holiday Tags

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. I cannot claim credit for the tape idea (but I just used it tonight) or the sandalwood – that was your careful research! I have only made two so far and I did get my cloves at the supermarket in bags – $.99/each.

    • We have been making clove clementines (using up old clementines) and kumquats. My kids keep asking, “What’s a kimquat?” They do smell nice. I ran out of the inexpensive cloves from the Chinese market and had to buy replacements at Whole Foods … not my first choice but they were on sale at least. It has been a fun project for me and my middle child.

  2. Tanisha Gottleber

    When there is anything that a guy can do well, I say allow him to undertake it. Give him the opportunity.
    It takes a lot more than capital to swing business. You should have the A. I. D. degree to get by – Advertising, Initiative, and Dynamics.

  3. I remember doing this as a kid! I bet my six-year-old would enjoy this activity.
    maryanne recently posted…Kid Quotes: Loud and QuietMy Profile

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