Friday, October 25, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... the Barclay-Nichols's household. (Don't hit me!) It's might seem like Christmas is a huge 61 days away, but when you're a crafter, you have to start early! I don't think it's helpful for me to start posting recipes on December 1st because you need time to try out these products, see how the fragrances play with the ingredients, see if your containers work well, and so on. You need time to see if the products are actually good - anyone remember the "herbal shampoo" recipe I posted a few months ago? - and you need time to make they don't separate or become ruined in some way.

If I can share one thing with you, it's this: Please please please do not make whatever it is that you want to make for the first time and think you're going to give it away. Bath and body products need time to morph and change and you need time to see if the product is successful! I've shown you examples of how fragrances can change the colour of a product from the browning of vanilla to the pinking of my favourite lemon fragrances.

Related posts:
Give it time
Surfactants and fragrance oils - clarity
Surfactants and fragrance oils - viscosity

For every recipe you've never tried before, please try a small batch. I'm talking maybe 100 to 200 grams, no more than that. This gives you a chance to see if the recipe actually works without using a lot of your precious supplies.

Related post: Is it a good recipe?

Let's take a look at a few of my favourite projects for Christmas gift giving!

If you've never made anything, I suggest something lovely like bath salts. They're easy to make and everyone loves them! It really is as simple as adding some colour and fragrance to Epsom salts or fine sea salts!

As a note, they are very lovely with flowers or leaves in them, but think about the person bathing with the product. Do you really want to sit in a bath filled with dead foliage? Add just enough to look really nice, but not huge amounts. A tablespoon is probably enough.

Related recipes:
Bath salts with Natrasorb bath
Creating foaming bath salts

Also consider fizzing bath bombs. They are so lovely, and you'll astonish your friends and family when you tell them you made them!

Some people find bath bombs really hard to make and others have nothing but success with them. If you live in a high humidity area, you might set off the fizz as you make them, so check the weather forecast in your area before starting. I've found making bath cupcakes works well for me because I can cover the tops with this lovely royal icing and hide any imperfections with the cupcake liners.

Related recipes:
Back to basics: Bath bombs
Fizzing bath bomb cupcakes

And consider melt & pour soap! It's so much fun to make, and it looks adorable!

Related recipes:
Quite a long post with links on melt & pour soap
Stamping technique with melt & pour soap
More stamping with melt & pour soap
Melt & pour cupcakes (with SCI icing)

Beeswax sushi candles are my favourite, and they're really easy to make!

Related recipe: More beeswax sushi candles

Consider making a really cute kit with bath bombs and/or bath salts, some soap, and a beeswax candle as a relaxation kit!

To you experienced crafters, what suggestions can you make for Christmas presents? What are your favourite recipes for gift giving? What tips and tricks do you have for making things for the first time? 


Ingrid said...

Hi Susan,

My family and friends start hinting in the summer that they want more of my 'Ultimate Milk Bath' for Christmas, and the more I can make for them, the merrier their Christmas will be, lol
I have to say it is my favourite as well and I could never live without this stuff through our lovely Canadian winters. (ha!)

Here's the recipe for anyone that would like to try it. I have to warn you, I spend a small fortune each year buying the ingredients in bulk because the postage from the US to Canada is a real killjoy.
But buying in bulk once a year does save quite a bit of money.

Recipe: Ultimate Milk Bath

1 1/2 cups Natrasorb bath (Saffire Blue)
3 ounces FCO
1/3 ounce Lavender EO
Mix well and set aside.

1 cup Full Fat Goat Milk Powder (Lotioncrafter)
1 cup Full Fat Buttermilk Powder (Bulkfood Barn)
1 1/4 cup Organic Full Fat Coconut Milk Powder (Wilderness Family)
3/4 cup Epson Salts
3/4 cup Dead Sea Mineral Salts (fine)
1/3 cup baking soda.
Mix well, add Natrasorb mixture and mix thoroughly.
(I use my Kitchenaid mixer with the wide paddle attachment and it takes about 5 minutes to make.
Recipe makes 2 - one quart mason jars full.

Put about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of mixture into bath and soak for 20 minutes. This stuff has totally cured my, and many others, winter dry skin. I use the lavender EO because the scent is so relaxing.
You can use any fragrance you prefer. I have also just finished making 20 quarts of the milk bath using many different oils other than the FCO. We are having a real love affair with Oat Oil right now, but if you use a heavier oil like this in the milk bath recipe, you should increase the amount of Natrasorb Bath to 1 3/4 cups. As well, I always use 1 1/2 ounce of FCO and 1 1/2 ounce of the other oils. I find that 3 ounces of any other oil will not be properly absorbed by the Natrasorb Bath.
I guess you could call this a 'Blooming Milk Bath' as the oils are totally dispersed in the bath water and don't float on the surface thanks to the Natrasorb. No bathtub ring either.

Thanks for the other suggestions, Susan. I am seriously eyeing those Beeswax Sushi Candles!!

Cheers, Ingrid

Ingrid said...

Hi again Susan and All,

I forgot to mention that my Ultimate Bath Milk recipe is the only recipe where I use measurements and not weights.

It's easy to google the conversion chart for the ounce and cup measurements to grams for those not familiar with the imperial measurements. Sorry, but this old lady was schooled in imperial and not metric. Habits die hard.

Cheers, Ingrid

Marjo said...

Roomsprays are easy and nice to give :)
As well as lipbalms
and whipped bodybutters
All same (christmas) fragrance- for instance

I am celebrating my first year of lotionmaking this christmas!
Over 140 times fail and victory!

I myself will be making the tried and proven
Cationic Moisturizer (thank you susan!)
sprayable hairconditioner (another thank you!)
and dryskin resque serum
Plus showerfizzies just for fun!