Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Knitting Contrisstmas Day 17: Last Minute Giftables

I can hear your knitting needles clacking, your crochet hook zipping, your sewing machine humming and know that we're getting down to it! With that in mind, can I share some thoughts to maybe fill a stocking, stuff a package or just soothe your own frazzled self?

The easiest gift in the world................ and one you'd better make for YOU if nothing else! Salt Glow, shown above------- delightful! Very basic and easily found ingredients, many you will probably have on hand. Just a handful or so applied to wet skin in the shower will make you baby soft, and moisturized as well. As a giftable, everyone loves it and will appreciate you this winter when their skin needs a perk.

The Bare Bones Glow:

2 cups table salt (el cheapo is great)
2 cups Epsom salt (you can definitely go with just straight table salt but it is not as "fluffy")
Oil (yes, olive oil or plain oil will work for the bare bones version)
fragrance oil----- vanilla, peppermint or almond extract if that is all you have on hand

Mix the salts and add enough oil, stirring as you go to make it 'wet' without being soupy. Add oil as you go to avoid having to add more salt. If you have the 'good' fragrance oil, it takes less. Extracts can require up to 3 tablespoons. And of course, you don't have to fragrance at all if you don't want to. You can also add food coloring if you want a colored Glow, I like it natural but it is up to you.

Spoon the salt without packing too hard into a container. Mason jars as above, or other canisters work well. Place a sheet of plastic wrap over the mouth of the container (can be removed when the jar goes to the shower). You can dress it up with a square of your choice of fabric over the plastic wrap and then place the ring of the jar over this and tighten.

Add a label that identifies the Glow and make a note that the user should remember that it might make the tub a wee bit slick, depending on the material in the shower.

An excellent choice for the oil in the Glow recipe is Neutroge*na Body Oil. A nice weight oil with a lovely fragrance.

Over the Top Glow:

the salts are the same unless you want to substitute fancy schmancy salts----but for the oil use Almond Oil. Fragrance with a lovely essential oil found in specialty shops or groceries.

If all fails, you can enjoy a lavish shower and emerge, smooth, soft and with less stress. One hopes anyway!

Lip Balm Bliss

All the parts assembled and ready to go. If you don't have lip balm tubes on hand, or can't find them locally, most craft stores carry little tins that are also very nice balm containers. I found the tubes (in black and white) as well as a lip balm base that is easy, inexpensive and very nice at Le Melange. You basically microwave the chunks of balm until it is liquid, stir in flavorings and pour into the containers. This required a bit of thought......

Check it out, a cardboard box with holes punched in! The tubes sit up nice and straight and are much more easily filled. I tried using a pipette but quickly found that it made me crazy so I switched to a 1/4 cup measure with a fairly fine little pouring spout on the side. As the balm cooled it stuck to the little pouring 'edge' and had to be quickly wiped down. Fill half-way and let settle a minute then fill almost to the top. For those that aren't completely pretty on the top, when completely set, you can twist up the balm a tiny bit and cut off the nasty bit with a sharp knife.

I flavored with Rum Raisin, Maraschino Cherry, and Passion Fruit. They smell and taste really great---- and soft lips to boot!

I ran off sets of labels using standard address labels from the office store to note the flavor of the balm.

Obviously, if you used little tins, you wouldn't have to worry about the careful pouring!

No, the next idea isn't that an adorable dog would be a great holiday gift, although it definitely would! Nope........... look closely at my sweet little girl dog Hana. She has discovered one of my projects and decided it would be fun to get into!

I get really cranky when faced with the prices of "shred', or the pretty filler that goes in gift baskets and bags. It can be quite spendy for a small package and gifts can eat a lot of it! I buy pretty tissue paper on sale and bring it home to the office. There I empty out my paper shredder and run the sheets of tissue through it. In the blink of an eye you have mountains of very pretty filler for any project! I purchase several coordinating colors and patterns so that when it is mixed together you get a very nice end product. Then I just dump out the shredder into a garbage bag until I need it. Note: Do not put it where your nosy pet can get into it. While is is loads of fun for them, cheap entertainment in fact, the clean up is not especially fun.

How about some luscious hand made soaps to go with that Salt Glow?

Easier than you might think! Above are the soap offerings-- bee and heart molds scented with lavender, peppermint, and a 'relaxing' blend of essential oils. I had some of the 'good stuff' from Le Melange as well as some of the craft store brand soap block meltables on sale and found everywhere. I have to say that the craft store brand worked just as well as the spendier stuff! It is a bit softer and doesn't last quite as long. I suspect that the quantity of shea butter in the soap is less in the inexpensive brand but both have a nice lather and are very nice.

Experimenting with regular food coloring and the craft store brand of soap. Once melted I poured the opaque soap into a mini loaf pan, scented with peppermint and dropped on regular red food coloring. When the molds were cooled and sliced into little guest bars it looked very much like a pretty peppermint!

Above, "better" soap meltables out of the microwave, scented with lemon verbena and dyed with a concentrated yellow dye chip. Pour, cool, pop out (easier said than done) and voila, gorgeous and giftable!

Who says there isn't time to make a really nice and very much appreciated hand made gift for the holidays?????

Needless to say, your kitchen will smell GREAT! Even Prince thinks it might be nice to have a bath!


tandemsandy said...

wow love the salt glow recipe and can't wait to try it to put into D.D's stockings thankyou. tandemsandy

yoel said...

OMG! I'm so impressed by your industrious hand-making of gifts! It all looks delish. I've been extremely good all year, in case you have any leftovers, santa-woman!

Melissa Morgan-Oakes said...

You know...if I had some time I would so indulge my little old self with a whole bunch of that stuff!!!