great gift ideas not just christmas

 

Who Needs to Spend Hundreds of Dollars at Specialty Stores? Give Loved Ones Home-made Products that Work Even Better!

The last time I went into a Bath and Body store, or even purchased bath and body products at the local grocery store, I risked spending over $100 just to keep my body clean and soft. That's a total rip-off. You could make beautiful baskets bursting with bath and body products for much cheaper.

My children love to make these things (as there's a lot of mixing involved - their favorite part). What a great gift giving idea for Yule, Christmas, Mothers day, Birthdays, etc than bath and body products you made yourself - with your own time, love and energy?  Presentation: Again you always want to be aware of the overall costs. It's east to get caught up in making the presentation as fancy and professional as possible - but there's no need for you to spend a lot of money to do it.   *Purchase baskets at a local discount store, dollar store, or close-out center. You can also purchase them on e-bay or esty.  *You can use bell or canning jars for putting creams, salts, what-have-you. These are relatively cheap. You could paint the top with a metal spray paint - just be sure to scratch the top with find sand paper first, then you could glue some lace or ribbon around the rim.  *Old oil, teas, wines, etc all have unique and pretty bottles - you can just boil them in a bit of salt-water for a good 10 minutes or so, then fill them with your own products.   Choosing The Necessary: If you're like me, then you can get pretty carried away with all the options available to you.  *Keep your gift-recipient(s) in mind. If you're making products in bulk for the whole family then you will want to shy away from specialty items, like acne creme or wrinkle preventer's.  *Try to make things in bulk. Most of these products will last a long while - so even if you're not making things in bulk for Christmas or Yule, you can make them then save for birthdays. This will help you with your shopping list - keeping things as cheap and simple as possible.   Great For the Kids: The Following recipes are simple and straight-forward. Things I've had my children help make. Some recipes out there are complicated and call for ingredients I've never heard of. This keeps things easy.  

Note about Essential/Carrier Oils: Many bath recipes ask for an oil as a binding agent. I especially enjoy Jojoba, Grape-seed or Sweet Almond, these have a vegetable oil base. You can find these in many natural foods stores or on the Internet. A great website for finding out the differences in oils see: . When it comes to essential oils, you can really run up the tab, these are what makes bath products very expensive, even though you use very little in each recipe. Choose wisely. Most of these products smell wonderful on their own.   Great Basket Ideas And Recipes:   Body Scrub -  This is a gentle way to ex-foliate and nourish your skin. When in the shower you just scoop a bit into your hands and gently rub all over your body. Then it rinses off. What I like best about this recipe is that it does not leave any kind of filmy-feeling behind.   3/4 cup Brown Sugar 1/2 cup ground oatmeal (the old fashioned kind, not instant) 1/4 cup pure honey 3/4 to 1 cup Oil of choice (enough to completely saturate the mixture without flooding it)  1/4 tsp Essential or Fragrance oil of choice (optional) Vanilla works nicely. Though this smells great on it's own.  I like to run the oatmeal gently through a grinder to turn them into a chunky powder, so the oatmeal isn't flaky but a bit more fine. Mix the brown sugar & oatmeal together, in a large bowl. Now add the honey. Drizzle the oil over the mix. Mix well. When all your mix is saturated and sinks to the bottom of the bowl and you have oil on top you're done. Add your essential oil or fragrance oil. A six or eight ounce wide-mouthed jar works nicely. Spoon mixture in.  Pretty Soaps -  This is a great project for the kids. You can find cookie cutters that are in the shapes of the moon and stars, or flowers, or angels - you can really modify it for the gift-receiver. This recipe calls for soap scraps, but I'm a little grossed out at using scraps of used soaps - so these are scraps that I've made. I purchase cheap, natural bars of soap (or make my own bars) then use a very sharp knife to slice off scraps.   scraps or bars of soap small metal cookie cutters small see-through bags, netting, or tulle for wrapping   Slice a bar of soap into thin (1/8 to 1/4 inch) layers. Position small metal cookie cutters and punch out designs. Carefully push soap out and arrange on a pretty dish in the bathroom. You can take different colored soaps and make a pretty bag of them tied with a ribbon on top. I've found that keeping a bowl of warm water on the stove, so I can dip the cutters in-between slices helps make the edges less likely to fray.  Kids Fun Soaps - What child doesn't like to play in the tub? I've even purchased expensive bath crayons that make it almost impossible to get off of the walls of the tub after the fun is done. This is

a recipe I've used with my boys and had great fun - both in the making and the playing! Now I don't suggest using these as actual soaps for the kids (especially younger ones or those with sensitive skin) but they make a great bath crayon! For the candy trays: I recommend using those that allow for a thicker piece of candy, this will allow the crayon to not break with the first usage.  Mild laundry detergent (the powdery kind) candy trays with different shapes  Food Coloring  Water (very little)  In a small bowl, mix about 2 cups of the detergent with water - slowly trickle in the water while stirring, you only want to add enough water to wet the mixture, turning it into a thick, but gooey substance (maybe up to 1/4 cup of water depending on the type of detergent you use). You can then separate the mixture into smaller bowls or, if making in bulk, then you can make several of these larger mixtures. Add a few drops of food coloring, again stirring the mixture constantly. Carefully pour mixture into candy molds. Set in a warm, dry spot for several days - until mixture dries throughly.  Note: I've also made this using small aluminum trays (like the kind you can buy for making brownies) then using a warmed very sharp knife, cut them into strips and shaped them with a warm, wet washcloth.   Milk Bath -  There is nothing more soothing and luxurious than soaking in a milk bath, your skin becomes so smooth and silky after a good soaking!   2 cups dry milk powder 1 Tbsp. dried orange or lemon peel 2 tsp. dried lavender flowers or rose petals 2 tsp. dried rosemary   Using a lemon zest-er you can scrape some of the orange peel, then set aside in a warm, dry place to dry. Or you can cut the fresh orange peel into very thin slices with an extremely sharp knife, then set aside to dry, once dry you can run gently through a grinder to leave a chunky powder. Mix all the ingredients together and pour into a clear glass bottle. Use 1/2 cup of the mixture per bath. (I've also included a small jar of rose or lavender oil to be added to the bath for extra fragrance.)  Bath Extras:   Lip Gloss -  This recipe offers an amazing taste as well as a refreshing tingle that I swear helps your lips plump up naturally.   Several (the more the better) fresh mint leaves 1 cup Water 2 tsp. Petroleum Jelly 1/8 tsp. Honey 10 mini Chocolate Chips (any brand will do) 1/8 tsp. Shortening (Crisco, or any store brand)   In a small sauce pan, gently boil some water, place the mint leaves (generally about 5-10 leaves) gently boil until the water is about 1/2 cup. Run through a strainer (you'll use the minty-water). Carefully Mix Jelly, Shortening, Honey, Chips and about 1/4 tsp of the mint water in a microwave safe bowl, mix gently. Do not put lid on! Heat in microwave at high power for 15-20 seconds, stir, then repeat until fully melted. Then pour into a small bottle(s), and freeze until solid.  

 Scent Stones -  These are fabulous and hold their scents for about a year - every time the bathroom fills with steam will release even more scent.  1-1/2 cups flour 1/4 cup salt 1/4 tsp. cornstarch 2/3 cup boiling water 1 tbs. fragrance oil Food Coloring or Gently chopped flowers Cookie Cutters or Stamps  Mix all dry ingredients. Heat water in a microwave-safe glass bowl/cup in the microwave (or on the stove, but I greatly prefer using glass rather than metal for this project). Add the oil and the color to the water. Stir water mixture into flour mixture. Mix as best you can and then knead the dough with your hands. It should look like pie or cookie dough. Roll it out about a quarter of an inch thick.  Cut into shapes or use cookie cutters. Another option, after rolling the dough flat, use a sharp knife to score into squares or any basic shape, then stamp the flat shapes. Let the dough stones dry. They get hard as rocks and will last for months.  Hand & Body Lotions -  There's not a thing nicer than having soft skin. After taking that luxurious milk bath, or scrub, complete the process with a lovely home-made body creme. These are a bit more difficult to make than soaps or candles, but so worth the effort. Once you're a bit better at making the lotions you can try this, my favorite creamy lotion recipe. 0.5 oz of Cetearyl alcohol(Ceteareth 20) 1.0 oz Stearic Acid 1.5 oz Shea Butter 0.8 oz Cocoa Butter 2.0 oz Sweet Almond Oil 0.5 oz Fractionated Coconut Oil 1.0 oz Liquid Glycerin 

1.0 oz vegetable oil

8.0 oz Aloe Vera Gel 0.16 oz Phenonup Preservative or Germabenll 0.1 to 0.25 oz of fragrance or essential oil (optional)  Makes 16 oz. of super creamy lotion.  Add the Alcohol/Ceteareth 20, Stearic Acid, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Sweet Almond Oil, Coconut Oil and Jojoba (or other oils) to either a double boiler or microwave safe cup. Melt all the waxes and oils together - I like to do this in a glass bowl with 30 sec to 1 minute increments in the microwave, try not to let it come to a boil). In a separate bowl mix the liquid glycerin and Aloe Vera gel together. Stir all ingredients well and combine the two bowls/mixing glasses. Add the Phenonip. Use a stick blender to emulsify and mix the oils, waxes and aloe Vera gel (this may take as much as 10 minutes with a stick blender, so you can let the motor rest for a minute or so at the 5 minute mark).

Note: This product will not set up until it is fully cooled. Do not pour into containers (jars are recommended) until you are certain that the lotion is fully blended and will not separate.   Crayon Candles -  This is by far the easiest candle recipe I have ever used. And with children int he house I'm always throwing away broken crayons. This is a unique way of utilizing those broken crayons.  1 empty quart carton (like the kind from milk, fabric softener or OJ) or other containers in the desired shape of your candle 1 pound paraffin wax 4-5 old crayons (same color) A double boiler (or empty coffee can and a saucepan) 1 piece of ordinary white package string (about 6 inches) A few drops of fragrance oil  NOTE: Paraffin is combustible (big surprise) so you do NOT want to have the wax heated directly over a burner, hence the double boiler...if you do not have a double boiler, then fill a pot with water, set some canning jar ring or something about 1/4 to 1/2 inches thick along the bottom of the pan, then set the empty coffee can on top of them. (You MUST raise the can off the floor of the pot or it creates a vacuum and becomes very dangerous).  If using a milk or other carton, cut off the top. Using a pencil dangle the string down the middle of the carton all the way to the bottom - to be used at the wick. Place a few drops of fragrance oil

in the bottom of the double boiler or the coffee can. Melt wax (takes about 10-15 minutes). Using a pair of tongs or scissors to dangle the string, coat the string in the paraffin (makes it burn properly) then set the pencil across the top of the container to let the string dangle down to the bottom of the carton, in the middle. Break the crayons into small pieces and add to the paraffin wax. Let melt. Pour melted wax into the container, holding the pencil to ensure the string stays in the exact middle. Let the candle set for several hours (I like to leave it over night). Then rip the carton off the candle.   To make pretty lacy-like candles. Crush several trays of ice. Fill the milk carton with the crushed ice, then pour the melted wax over the top. After about an hour of letting the candle set, tear off the carton and pour out the water. These candles burn out completely in only about 1 hour, and you can re-use the paraffin.   You can also make solid candles using bell jars, just let them set in a cool dry place for a couple of days to ensure all the wax has again hardened.  

 

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