It's never too early to start planning for Christmas. Some people buy gifts all year, some wait until the last minute to go shopping, and others enjoy making their own gifts. If you're like me, you often like the idea of making gifts, but you never get around to doing it because- let's get real- once Thanksgiving hits, Christmas arrives in the blink of an eye. Whenever I think about the best or most memorable gifts I've received and actually used, they often tend to be homemade gifts. I have one friend who is especially crafty, and I still fondly dream of the sugar scrub or the room freshening spray she made me once. Homemade gifts leave a lasting impression. So why not try making one of these fun ideas!?
The holiday season can often be busy and stressful. So what could be more considerate than giving the gift of relaxation and serenity? Try this combination of lavender and mint. When wrapping the gift you can write a card that includes the healing properties of lavender and mint: "relieves stress and anxiety and improves sleep." Below I've included one idea for scents/herb combos, but feel free to experiment. For example, why not add rose petals? Or, if you want an earthier scent, why not make a palo santo scented bath salt combo?
What you'll need:
- 2 cups epsom salts.
- 1/2 cup baking soda.
- 1/4 cup sea salt (optional)
- 30 drops of lavender essential oils.
- 10 drops of peppermint essential oil.
- Dried Lavender
Mix all the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Store in an airtight jar.
As the season of dry skin and chapped lips begins, I keep lip balm close at hand. The older I get, the more I pay attention to what is in my lip balm, and I try and keep away from balms filled with chemicals and unnatural additives. Treat your friends this winter with your own batch of natural lip balm. They will certainly appreciate it!
What you'll need:
- 1 tbsp Beeswax Pastilles
- 1 tbsp Virgin Coconut Oil
- "A dash" of Organic Raw Honey
- 2 Vitamine E Capsules
- Essential Oil of Your Choosing
- Begin by melting down the beeswax in a double boiler.
- Once about half of the beeswax is no longer solid, add the coconut oil and honey
- After all the ingredients are melted and blended together, stir in the contents of 2 vitamin E capsules.
- Pour the melted ingredients into a container of your choice and let it cool
Tea Cup Candles
Looking for a gift idea that is beautiful and keeps on giving? Why not make some teacup candles for your friends? This gift is a fun one because it's two gifts in one! They get a beautiful candle to enjoy, and then once it's done, they have a teacup that they can use for all their tea and coffee drinking. This is also a fun project because it's a good excuse to poke around antique shops.
Note: the directions for this one are a bit more involved, but it's more straightforward than it may appear.
What you'll need:
- Vintage tea cups
- Eco friendly candle wax flakes (soy or beeswax) or old partially burned candles
- Essential Oil (optional)
- Wooden kabob skewer sticks
- Scotch tape
- Sharp scissors
- Double boiler
- Oven mitts and a hot plate/trivet
- Start by making wooden wick supports to lay over top of the teacups using the kabob sticks and tape. First, tape together two wooden sticks at one end then slide in a wax wick so it sits in between the two wooden sticks. Finish it off by taping the opposite ends of the sticks together. You should have two sticks taped together at both ends with a wax wick clamped into the middle.
- Position the wick into the center of the cup so the metal base around the wick is flush on the bottom of the cup.
- Repeat until all of your cups have a wooden wick support
- Fill a shallow pan or double boiler with water and put over medium to high stove heat.
- Place your bowl into the water and add the wax flakes or old candles to the bowl
- As the water and bowl begins to heat up, the wax will start to melt and become opaque/clear.
- Use two wooden skewers to stir the flakes, and as the wax starts melting you can add a scent if you like. I recommend using essential oil. Although it takes more essential oil to create a strongly scented candle, it's ultimately better for the environment and it's 100% made of out of organic materials, unlike other "candle fragrance oils"
- Using oven mitts, use one hand to lift up the bowl out of the water (once the wax has completely melted) and the other hand to wipe off water on the outside of the bowl being careful not to burn yourself
- Have a trivet ready beside your teacups and carefully pour the wax into your teacups, making sure to avoid the wooden skewers laying across the tops.
- You can always use one hand to hold the wood skewers in place.
- Fill the teacups up until about a quarter of an inch of cup is still showing.
- Immediately wash your bowl to avoid the wax drying or put back in your hot water bath if you will be melting more flakes
- Wait for the wax to cool. Once they are opaque and fully cooled off, use your scissors to trim the excess length of the wick and you're done!
- 4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup mixture of chopped nuts of your choosing: Hazelnuts, Cashews, Almonds, Walnuts
- 1/2 cup of pepitas
- 1 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cardamom (optional)
- 1/4 tsp ginger (optional)
- Pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 large egg white
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees
- Combine all the ingredients but the egg white and dried fruit in a large bowl, tossing to coat everything evenly
- Whisk the egg white in a small bowl until frothy and stir into the granola mixture, distributing it throughout
- Spread the mixture in a single layer onto a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet
- Bake for about 25 minutes, stirring about halfway through
- Once it's complete, take the granola out of the oven and let it cool completly and then mix in the dried cherries
- Then put the granola in air tight containers (e.g. ball jars), decorate and give to your friends!
Another great and thoughtful gift to make for your friends is a sugar scrub. With just 3 ingredients, it's a simple and delightful way to banish dry winter skin and hydrate at the same time.
- 1/4 cup - 1 cup coconut oil
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 10 - 15 drops of essential oil of your choice (some nice options: eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary)
- Optional: depending on what essential oil you choose, you could add dried lavender or rosemary
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
- Stir to combine.
- Store in a glass container (essential oils will damage the plastic and metals change the properties of the oils).
- Share with your friends
Article by Rajmani Sinclair
Posted on November 2, 2016