Exploring the Versatility of Charcuterie Boards: Five Elegant Applications

Traditionally viewed as a platform for the presentation of meats, cheeses, olives, and fruits, charcuterie boards possess a versatility that extends far beyond conventional expectations. In this blog post, we delve into five applications that elevate the utility of these decorative boards, presenting creative avenues that add considerable value to your lifestyle.

1. Table Centerpiece Elegance:

   Position a charcuterie board as an ideal centerpiece for your social gatherings, providing a refined foundation for candles, flower vases, tealights, or thematic decorations. The possibilities are virtually limitless.

2. Popcorn Presentation:

   Transform movie night into a culinary event by fashioning a popcorn board. Arrange popcorn, flavorings, toppings, and snack pairings in an artful and festive manner.

3. Beverage Display:

   Employ charcuterie boards of various sizes to elegantly showcase beverage options at your gatherings. This not only adds a creative touch to drink presentation but also safeguards your tables from unsightly water rings.

4. Tea Time Sophistication:

   Elevate your tea parties by utilizing a decorative board to organize tea bags, honey, cream, sugar, and the essential teapot. This imparts a special and distinctive flair to your tea-time social affairs.

5. Versatile Snack Ensemble:

   The quintessential snack board—whether featuring charcuterie, nuts, cheeses, fruits, or sweet treats—elevates your event to the status of town talk.

How will you incorporate a charcuterie board into your next event? The options span from butter boards to dip boards, centerpieces to desserts. Unleash your creativity!

Should you find yourself in need of a quality charcuterie board for your entertaining needs, we invite you to check out our Etsy store and acquire yours today.

View the video of the sample boards here:

Mastering the Art of Personalized Gift Baskets:

A Step-by-Step Guide with Creative Ideas and DIY Inspiration

Visit Erickson Designs Etsy store to purchase the gift items seen here.

Crafting the perfect gift basket for someone special in your life is all about personal touches. Consider their style - how do they decorate? What colors resonate with them? Are they into tea or coffee, or perhaps they enjoy the cozy glow of candles? Answering these questions will guide you in curating a thoughtful selection for your customized gift basket.

For instance, let's dive into an example. I've opted for a handmade coil crochet basket as the foundation for my gift basket, and I'm tossing in a mason jar with a handpainted lid, tea bags, a delightful chocolate bar, a charming tea towel, a heart shaped trinket dish, and hand-painted butter paddle.

Now, let's talk about the art of arranging these goodies to make your gift basket truly pop. Grab some tissue paper, shreds, a gift tag (maybe a watercolor-painted one), and a bit of ribbon – these will be your tools for creating a unique and beautiful display. Don't worry if it takes a few tries to nail the arrangement. I'll share some photos of how I've jazzed up my gift basket to give you some inspiration.

The next decision is a fun one – do you want to keep the contents a mystery by wrapping the basket, or do you want them to peek at the treasures right away? It's entirely up to you.

And because I'm all about sharing the love, I've thrown in a video demonstrating how I put together my gift basket, along with handy links to where I snagged the fantastic items featured in it. Let's make gifting an art!

Our Etsy shop is always full of new and unique gifts that would be a wonderful addition to any gift basket.

View the how-to video here:


Thursday • November 23 • Happy Thanksgiving

Movie Night

A movie night out or a movie night in, this gift basket is sure to please anyone from a dating couple, teenagers to a family of four or more! There are several ways to accomplish this fun gift.

Movie Night In: Purchase a popcorn bowl, gourmet popcorn, movie sized boxes of candy and include a gift card for a rental or movie purchase. For gourmet popcorn from a family run business visit Dell Cove Spices. Include a personalized popcorn bowl like the one above from EarthlyChic.

Movie Night Out: Package a theater gift card, restaurant gift card and some candy together in a cute little bag or box! Perfect for the one the go family or couple.

Stop by tomorrow to see what's in store for day four!

Mug Love: Mug Cakes As Gifts

I am in love with coffee mugs! Okay, not as much as I am in love with my hubby. I love handmade mugs, ones with eye catching designs or ones that remind me of places I have been. Mugs I was given as gifts and others that I have just always had. I have also been known to share my love of mugs with those around me. I think they make perfect gifts and all the better when they contain a cake mix intended to be baked in that very mug.

Everyone uses mugs, from soup to coffee or tea. They are part of everyday life. I have never been in a kitchen, office, apartment, or dorm room that didn't have a mug! This makes the idea of mugs as a gift perfect for almost anyone! You can make them gluten free, sugar free and low-fat, if needed. They are cost effective and simple to put together.

I rely on mug cakes when I want a one-serving sweet dessert with no left-overs. So, why not make it into a simple gift idea that works for almost anyone. In this weeks tutorial I will outline the supplies and steps needed to complete this wonderful gift idea.

• Microwave safe mug of choice
• A mini wooden spoon or wire whisk (optional)
• Clear/patterned cellophane treat bag
• Ribbon/twine/string
• Scissors & hole punch
• Recipe ingredients (listed below)
• Color printer (For FREE gift tag download as seen below click on the recipe name)

Step One: Purchase the perfect mug for the recipient (You can purchase some beautiful hand-painted mugs on Etsy, one of my favorite shops is www.etsy.com/shop/MaryElizabethArts, her mugs are microwave safe and I love her designs. I don't own any of her mugs yet, but I am certain they would be a good purchase.)

Step Two: Combine the dry ingredients only in a bowl, mix well and place in the cellophane bag. Here are a few recipes:

Chocolate Crazy Cake in a Mug (CLICK for download)
(This recipe does not call for eggs, milk or butter.)

(Combine these ingredients in the cellophane bag)
5 Tablespoons flour (all-purpose)
4 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cocoa (unsweetened)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Dash of salt

(These ingredients are on the FREE download)
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons vegetable oil (or canola)
4 1/2 Tablespoons water

Spray the inside of the mug with non-stick cooking spray. Put the cake mix in the mug, mix well. After mixing well, make 3 depressions in dry ingredients. Pour vinegar in one depression, vanilla in the other and the vegetable oil in third depression. Pour water over top. Mix well until smooth using a fork.  Place in microwave and cook on high for 1-2 minutes, uncovered. Check with toothpick to make sure it comes out clean. Be sure not to over cook.

Chocolate Chip Mug Cake (CLICK for download)
(Combine these ingredients in the cellophane bag)
• 4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 2 Tablespoons brown sugar (lightly packed)
• 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 2 Tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips

(These ingredients are on the FREE download)
• 3 Tablespoons low fat milk
• 1/8 teaspoon vanilla
• 1/2 Tablespoon vegetable oil

Spray inside of mug with non-stick cooking spray. Then, put cake mix in the mug.  Stir in wet ingredients. Use an 8 oz. mug and it should just reach the top when finished cooking. Mix with a small, sturdy whisk until a smooth batter forms and no lumps remain.
Stir in the chocolate chips. Cook in microwave for about 1 minute. Let cool a few minutes before eating.

Step three: Close the cellophane bag with your choice of ribbon, twine or string. (I have put some tissue paper in the bottom of my mug to make it look full.)

Step four: Print and trim the mug cake tag, punch a hole in the top, attach to the mug with ribbon, string or twine. Also tie the mini wooden spoon or whisk the the handle of the mug.

That's all it takes, 4 easy steps and your Mug Love gift is ready for the recipient.

Visit my Etsy store www.bethannerickson.etsy.com to find other ideas for Mother's Day.

Bonus Idea:
Mugs can be used to hold more than just mini cakes! Fill your cellophane treat bag with anything from their favorite tea, instant soup & crackers, candy or hot chocolate mix. Then make your own gift tag on the blank tag included in the free download and your personalized gift is ready to go!

Coming Next Week: A Review on my cold brew coffee filter, using if for coffee and tea!

The Art of Mason Jar Gifts

Happy Wednesday! This week I want to share with you how to create your own mason jar gift basket! Gift giving is an art and to give the perfect gift you must think about the person you are giving it to and what they might enjoy. What could be more perfect than filling a mason jar with gifts chosen just for that person.

In the following tutorial I will give you a few ideas on how to create a mason jar gift basket. But the sky is the limit, well actually the size of the mason jar would be the limit, have fun and think outside the box, or should I say jar.

Step One: Purchase your mason jar in any size you would like to fill. Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and Wal-Mart, among many other stores, are good places to find these. If you are like me you already have dozens around your house.

Step Two: Visit www.bethannerickson.etsy.com to purchase a pre-designed mason jar wrap. The wraps are instant downloads that you print at home and then wrap around the outside of the mason jar to help set the tone of your gift.

Step Three: Trim the print to the correct size, tape one end to your mason jar and wrap around until it meets the other end and tape together to hold in place. (At the time of writing this tutorial our mason jar wraps did not fit around the quart size jars, we have now added a 14 inch file to all the listings on Etsy, but you will need a printer that can print on larger paper than 8.5x11 to be able to use them.)

Step Four: Fill your mason jar with the appropriate gifts for the recipient.

Examples :

Pedicure Kit: Nail polish (1-3 bottles), nail clippers, nail file, toe separators and any other nail care items you think they might enjoy.

Shaving Kit (Men): Small bottle of shaving cream, new razor and blades, small bottle of aftershave and any other useful shaving items.

Movie Night (Men and Women): Candy, popcorn, popcorn seasoning shaker, gift card to purchase a new movie.

Coffee Lover (Cold Brew Set): Cold brew Mason jar kit (Can be purchased at www.etsy.com/shop/CoffeeSockCo. A special thanks goes out to CoffeeShock Co. for offering to send me a ColdBrew filter to try out. As soon as I receive it I will post a blog about how it works and pictures of a completed Coffee Lover Gift Set.), coarse ground coffee, mini bottles of coffee syrups or simple syrups. (There are various recipes online for making your own simple syrup coffee flavors. They are also sold on Etsy.)

Tea Lover: Nut bag Tea Filter (for sun tea), Loose leaf tea, tea bags, instructions for making sun tea (www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/sun_tea), honey sticks (Can be purchased on Etsy or other local retailers.)

Date Night: movie tickets, restaurant gift card, pre-Movie date activities (search online and write them on colorful pieces of paper).

Artist: Mini Colored Pencils, mini sketch pad, small tubes of watercolor paints, watercolor pencils, watercolor brushes

There are so many more ideas; I could go on and on. I am sure you can come up with your own unique ideas. The key to the art of giving: It’s all about the recipient! Who are they? What are their hobbies? What do they enjoy? Focus on them and your gift will turn out perfect.

Thank you so much for reading our tutorial and don't forget to sign up to receive the blog in your inbox each week and we will send your a discount code good at our Etsy shop. Visit www.bethericksondesigns.com//beth-ann-erickson-designs to sign up!


Another wonderful use for mason jars to save money for special trips and/or purchases as shown in the example here of our Road Trip Fund Jar.

Coming Next Week: Mug Love: Mug Cakes as Gifts & more (WITH A FREE DOWNLOAD).