For the CWB household, this year was the year of the homemade gift. Loren and I exchanged homemade gifts for our anniversary, and I also decided that I wanted to do a Crafty Christmas. It would not only save me a few bucks, it would also push me to learn a few new tricks for making things at home. My thought was to do a sort of “Spa Gift Set” for the ladies in my life: a sugar or salt scrub, some sort of lotion, cream, or salve, and maybe a lip balm. I wasn’t sure what I’d end up with. And for the men, I planned do some culinary gifts.
Homemade Gift Ideas
I scoured the internet for simple homemade gift ideas, but I also had a few great eBooks fall right into my lap with this year’s Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle. (Here’s one of them.) Today I’m going to share a How-To for one of the gifts I’ve made, and my overly ambitious goal is to do some extra blogging this week and next to get all of my ideas out to you before Christmas. That way you can have ideas for those last few people on your list! Crossing my fingers that I can do it! I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!
Homemade Culinary Gifts
For the culinary gifts, I had one success and one failure. I started in the kitchen with a garlic herb salt that I shared with you a while back. And boy oh boy did that turn out great! I’ve already gone through 3 jars of it in my house since I shared that recipe, and I’ve actually already given a few as well. All rave reviews so far! But then there was the other gift I was planning to go along with it. Infused olive oil. That project was a total fail. I was so proud of myself, thinking that if I did them far in advance, they’d be perfectly infused by the holidays. I made 10 bottles with various combinations of fresh herbs and tucked them away to do their magic. Last week I pulled them out and at least half of them were cloudy with mold! It was so sad. I’m hoping that I can crack the code on this and share what I learn with you after Christmas, but this was a big disappointment — and a big waste of olive oil. I guess we live and we learn!
I ended up making a homemade paleo(-ish) peppermint bark instead, and I’ll share that recipe with you on Friday. Not exactly a “culinary gift” but it’s edible and quite delicious, so I think we’re good here. For now, here’s a picture of it.
Homemade Salt Scrub
I always love using a good salt scrub. Sugar works too, but there’s something refreshing to me about that ocean-like feeling of using a salt scrub in the warm shower, especially in the winter when going to the ocean is the farthest thing from my mind. The oil used in scrubs like this also provides an added layer of moisture for our skin, a nice touch when we’re in dry, heated indoor environments all day.
Using that book I linked above, (here it is again) along with the tons of available recipes and suggestions online for how to make a homemade salt scrub, I ended up with a combination of ingredients that I liked best. I wanted something that smelled good, but also served a purpose, specifically for achy feet: pain relief — hence the addition of the Aches and Pains oil.
Because I was making gifts, I made a big batch and ended up with just over 10 small-ish jars of foot scrub (jars that I’d estimate hold 6-7 oz each). Feel free to shrink or grow the recipe to fit your needs.
As a side note, I got these cute little jars for $1 each at Target, and the tops have a black chalkboard sticker on them. I wrote “Foot Scrub” on them with chalk — super cute!
Peppermint Salt Scrub/Foot Scrub
- 2 cups pink salt (I used this)
- 1 cup Epsom salt (got mine at Walgreens, but Morton is a good one)
- 3/4 cup grape seed oil (I used this one) – can use olive oil or almond oil too
- the contents of 3 peppermint tea bags (I used this)
- 15 drops peppermint essential oil (I used this)
- 15 drops aches and pains essential oil (I used Wyndemere brand. This one has similar ingredients)
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- Mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl so that they’re well incorporated
- Add the grape seed oil and essential oils
- Stir together until the mixture is homogenous
- Jar and label your scrub
I chose to infuse my scrubs with peppermint oil for two reasons. One, because it’s an invigorating aroma that wakes you up and excites the senses in a morning shower. Two, because I associate peppermint with the Christmas season. There are tons of other great combinations you could use to make a salt scrub/foot scrub that appeals to you if peppermint isn’t your thing. Basically any essential oil should work, but here are a few fun combinations:
- Lemon essential oil + fresh lemon zest
- Lavender essential oil + dried chamomile and/or lavender
- Rose geranium essential oil + dried hibiscus
Up next, I’ll share the two other body care gifts I made — a lotion bar and a hand salve. The lotion bar recipe was pretty big, so I ended up tweaking what was left of it and making the hand salve. Not exactly the best way to share a recipe, but that’s what I did, and it turned out great, so that’s how I’ll share it. : ) I hope you guys are excited about all of these homemade gifts! I know I am.
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