Tales of a Shop Cat — Featured Post

Customized Gift Baskets

Customized Gift Baskets

With a bit of creativity, a gift basket can be designed to suit almost anyone. It’s also easy to tailor baskets to meet any budget. Allow us to help you with your gifting. Simply provide some basic information and your budget. We’ll pull together some items for you to review. Once we’ve finalized your order, we’ll create an Instagram-worthy gift basket and prepare it for local pickup, delivery, or shipping.   

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Rusty Crickett Gift Cards

Rusty Crickett Gift Cards
We offer gift cards in $25, $50, and $100 denominations, making it easy to give a thoughtful gift that fits any budget. Our gift cards are delivered via email and contain instructions for redeeming them during checkout. Delivery is free and there are no additional processing fees.

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Holiday Cookie Swap

Holiday Cookie Swap

Holiday Baking Spotlight: A COVID-Friendly Cookie Swap

If you’ve never participated in a cookie swap before, you’re missing out! Baking and sharing our favorite cookies is one of our favorite holiday traditions.

Like most things in 2020, this year’s cookie swap is going to be a bit different – but we’re not ready to give it up completely! Instead, we’ve found some fun ways to do it in a safe, socially distanced setting. Want to host your own COVID-friendly cookie swap? Here are some tips to help you plan a memorable event.

Make it Official

To make sure your swap is a success, start out by sending official invitations to all your guests. Choose a date that will give everyone plenty of time to buy their ingredients, bake their cookies, and ship or deliver them. Ask for RSVPs so everyone knows how many people they’re baking for.

Drop and Dash

If you’re hosting a party for family and friends who live in town, choose a date and a time frame to drop off the cookies at each participant’s home. To keep contact to a minimum, all deliveries should be “drop and dash.” When you arrive at someone’s home, you’ll put the package on the porch, ring the doorbell, and drive away before they open the door. To make sure the cookies stay fresh, it’s best to do this the evening before or morning of your event.

Send Off Your Swaps

If guests are spread out, you’ll need to choose a cookie recipe that’s strong enough to hold up in the mail. Package your cookies in a decorative tin or Tupperware container and bring them to your shipper of choice. Make sure you check estimated shipping times and send them out early enough so they arrive in time for the cookie party.

Create a Keepsake

Make your party even more memorable by asking each guest to provide a copy of the recipe they used and putting them together in a digital recipe book. This way, it will be easy to recreate everyone’s favorites so you can enjoy them again later in the holiday season.

Plan Your Event

On the day of the event, you’ll all log into your digital platform of choice and gather together for an hour or two of great conversation and plenty of cookie-eating. Make this even more fun by coming up with a holiday theme. Ugly holiday sweaters, fun onesies, or glitz and glam are all popular options.

To keep things festive, consider adding some games like holiday trivia or cookie-themed bingo. Create a playlist of everyone’s favorite holiday songs and maybe even consider arranging a fun holiday sing-along.

While there’s no arguing that the holidays are going to feel a lot different this year, it’s still important to stay connected with family and friends – even if you have to do it virtually. We hope these tips help you enjoy a fun, festive, and SAFE holiday season!

As you prepare to start making your favorite cookies, you may find that you need some new baking gear. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Here are a few of our favorite new arrivals.

 

 

Not sure what kind of cookies to bring you your cookie swap? Feel free to borrow one of our favorites – we promise we won’t tell!

Vanilla Cut Out Cookies

Recipe makes approximately 24 cookies (4 inch cutters) 

Cookie Recipe 
  • 6 Cups:  All Purpose Flour (spoon into the measuring cup, do not scoop with it)
  • 4 teaspoons:  Baking Powder
  • 2 Cups:  Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Cups:  Cold Unsalted Butter (cut into chunks)
  • 2 Eggs (room temp)
  • 4 teaspoons:  Vanilla Extract or Vanilla Bean Paste*will add beautiful flecks of vanilla bean to your dough- Use it if you can find it!
  • Parchment Paper (do not confuse this with Waxed Paper) 

Cookie Instructions

  • Line your cookie sheets with parchment and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Whisk together your flour and baking powder, set aside.
  • Cream together your sugar and butter for several minutes with an electric mixer.  You are looking for a light color and fluffy texture.
  • Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix to incorporate
  • On a slow speed, add your dry ingredients in 3 stages.  Scraping the bottom and side before each addition.  Mix until just incorporated.
  • Lightly sprinkle additional flour onto your flat surface.  I use a big ol’ wooden cutting board, but the kitchen table or counter top works just as well.
  • Divide your dough in half and roll out the first piece using a rolling pin also dusted in flour.  We like to use a French style rolling pin.  You are looking for your dough to be 1/4” to 3/8” thick.
  • Dip your favorite cookie cutter into flour and get cutting.  Place  your cookies on your parchment lined baking sheet and freeze 5-10 minutes if desired (this will help the cookies to better keep their shape)
  • Bake cookies in 350 degree oven for 9-13 minutes.  They should look done in the center, but not have taken on much color. 
  • Cool flat cookies completely on a wire rack or parchment paper over a towel.

Frostings Recipe 

  • 2 Cups: Confectioners Sugar (aka: Powdered Sugar)
  • ½ Cup: Softened Butter (1 stick)
  • 2 teaspoons: Vanilla Extract
  • 1-4 teaspoons: Milk
  • Food Coloring

Frosting Instructions

  • Add butter, vanilla extract and confectioners’ sugar to your mixing bowl and mix until creamy.  A hand mixer work nicely for this.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of milk and mix.  We are looking for a creamy texture that will be easy to spread.  We do not want a runny frosting.  Continue adding milk slowly until you reach your desired consistency.
  • Divide frosting into small bowls and color as you wish.  You can use standard food coloring, but investing in decorators gel coloring will result in rich and vivid colors.
  • Now it is time to decorate!  If decorating cookies with little ones, put their cookies on a rimmed cookie sheet for decorating.  That will hopefully contain most of the rouge sprinkles and colored sugars. 

Gifts for Him

Gifts for Him

We all have those guys in our lives who are impossible the shop for. You know… the ones who have everything they need and will never tell you what they want.

Every year you wrack your brain trying to come up with a great gift idea, and most times you end up just picking up a gift card at the last minute. Well, not this year! We’ve got a couple of awesome ideas that he’s sure to love. Check it out.

Premium Pocket Knife

Pocket knives always make great gifts. However, we’re not suggesting a regular knife you can pick up at Walmart. Instead, you’ll want to check out our amazing, premium-quality Santa Fe Stoneworks pocket knives. They’re made from some of the best materials on Earth – Damascus Steel and Woolly Mammoth tusk.

Damascus blades are made with a unique forging technique that makes them extremely strong and sharp. The forging method also gives them a dramatic patterned appearance that is instantly recognizable.

The handles of these knives are made from real Mammoth tusk. Yes, you read that right – they’re 15,000+ year old fossils! You’ll have trouble finding anything that’s more unique and memorable than this.

Quality Beard Care Kit

If you’re shopping for a guy with a beard, you can’t go wrong with high-quality grooming gifts. The truth is, most guys don’t bother with things like beard oil and beard balm, but once they do, they wish they had done it sooner.

Regularly using beard oil is one of the best ways to make sure your beard gets plenty of nutrients and moisture. It will make any guy’s beard look and feel great. It will also ward off the dreaded “beard dandruff” that’s caused by dry, flakey skin.

Beard balm acts in a similar manner but it also has some extra ingredients – like beeswax and mango butter. This makes it last longer, so your skin and beard stay moisturized. It’s great for guys with short beards and dry skin. Since it works as a low-hold styling agent, it’s also perfect for guys with medium to long beards, mustaches, or sideburns.

A high-quality comb is also a must-have item for bearded men. Cheap plastic combs are too rough and can damage beard hair. Those who want a more natural, full look should also have a boar’s hair bristle brush. Brushing after applying beard oil or balm will help spread it evenly throughout the beard. Beard brushes are also excellent for “training” your beard to stay in place.

Our Beard Care Kits include full-sized versions of all the products a guy needs to grow and maintain a strong and healthy beard. The products are made in small batches just outside of Houston, Texas, using all-natural ingredients. They also come in a decorative bag, making them perfect for holiday gift-giving. Check them out today!

Gifts for Her

Gifts for Her

Are you still trying to decide what to get for those special ladies in your life? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. The clock may be ticking, but The Rusty Crickett still has lots of great gift items available.

When shopping for women, you can’t go wrong with a gift that’s thoughtful, useful, and elegant. Here are a couple of ideas we’re sure she’ll love.

Sola Wood Flowers

Beautiful flowers are always a hit, but, sadly, they never last as long as we would like. Sola wood flowers are the perfect solution! These beautiful, handcrafted blooms are made from a tapioca plant root called Cassava (also known as yuca, arrowroot, or manioc). You’ll be amazed by how much they look like the real thing! Best of all, they’ll last forever.

The Penny & Rose Floral Diffuser Set comes with two Enchanted Lily sola wood flower diffusers and willow branches. When placed in the included fragrance oil, the petals turn beautiful shades of orange and yellow. The set also come with a special-edition Penny & Rose seltzer-inspired bottle to hold your flowers. When you’re done with the diffusers, you can re-use the vintage-style bottle and decorative top.

These sets come in a wide variety of signature scents, including Gram’s Cran Cobbler, Merry Mint, Linens on the Line, Roasted Maple “Mallows” and more. Each fragrance reacts with the wooden flowers differently, creating a unique experience every time.

 

Genuine Leather

Accessories made from genuine leather are also an excellent gift idea. With proper care, a high-quality leather item will last a lifetime. This means your recipient will be able to enjoy their gift for years to come.

A leather gift is incredible on its own, but if you want to be even more thoughtful, consider adding some of the items your recipient will need to take care of it. This may include:

  1. Leather cleaner – this specialty soap is made specifically for leather. It’s perfect for removing dirt, grime, and most stains.

  2. Leather conditioner – occasionally moisturizing the item with a quality conditioner will keep the leather from drying out and cracking, ensuring it looks beautiful and extending its lifespan.

  3. Protective spray – a leather-specific protective spray is a great idea, especially for items like handbags that will get a lot of use.

Now that you know the basics, it’s time to choose the perfect leather gift. We absolutely love the Kiko Cross-Over Tote! It’s made from genuine leather and has a cool geometric twist that makes it unique and eye-catching. It’s also super functional! The size makes it perfect for carrying everything you need without extra bulk. It’s also easy to organize your things, thanks to a large front pocket, exterior smartphone pocket, and two convenient interior pockets. Whether you’re going to the office or out for a night on the town, this versatile bag is the perfect accessory!