Did you know this originated from the Shakespeare poem Double, Double, Toil and Trouble......or that it was 'Double' and not 'Bubble'? Who knew? I thought that was interesting.......anyhoo......I digress.....let's talk about homemade gift-making!
I always make a few handmade gifts during the holidays. I occasionally like to pamper myself with some nice little spa-type lotion or potion so I thought that this might make a great gift idea. It is really dry and windy in the winter, here in Colorado and I love to try new lip moisturizers and face creams. Skin care products are not usually known for their natural ingredients (Have you ever tried to figure out the ingredients on the back of a bottle of moisturizer? I can't even pronounce some of the names much less figure out what they are.) The skin is the body's largest organ and first defense against the elements so I love to find my own DIY homemade recipes that I know have natural ingredients and feel so wholesome to put on. This is just a ploy to give me the perfect excuse to visit one of favorite places:
This is Rebecca's Apothecary in Boulder, Colorado. It is my go-to for home-made beauty care products and remedies. Not only are they stocked with everything you can imagine but the people who work there are very knowledgeable about their products and the properties of each one. They are armed with all kinds of recipes and will be happy to carefully explain how to make each and every one and walk you through the store to help find all the ingredients. They even offer classes on lotions, soap making and many more. I have no affiliation with this store, I just simply LOVE it! (and you can tell that the people that work there love it too!)
I walked in the door (You can see the front door at the top right of the picture.) and I turned around and took this shot. These clear jars line the walls, each containing different ingredients (for instance Himalayan sea salts, citric acids, and beeswax etc.). It is overwhelming in the best possible way (the potential for so many fantastical concoctions!). I find it a good idea to do a little homework before heading in so that I have a recipe or an idea that I can shop for and ask questions about. Since I wanted to make something that reflected the holidays, I found one of the many recipes that Rebecca's has online: Cookies and Cream Lip Balm. Doesn't that sound inviting?
Before we get started, I would be remiss if I did not walk you around the store a little because it is such a cool place and I have to share my enthusiasm! I wish you could smell these dried roses. Spectacular!
Tables full of bath salts. Relaxing just looking at these (if you are not in the DIY mood, there are plenty of ready-made products too, as you can see here). There are salves, lotions, oils and potions for everything you can think of.
Rows and rows of these jars! Aren't they spectacular. I could spend some serious time in this place.
Essential oils, anyone? Every scent you can imagine. See the fridge in the left corner of the picture? It is filled with all kinds of other oils (for example, Jojoba, Macadamia Oil, and so much more!)
Ever seen one of these before? It is called a smudge stick. You light the tip and blow it out to get it smoking then blow the smoke around to rid a place or person of negative energy and bring in good energy. The herbs gathered each have a type of significance and there are very specific methods of how to move the smoke. I believe this practice originated from the Native American culture. I think it represents the process of something in its physical form being converted into something in a spiritual form (smoke that then disperses into the air.) It can be used to clear the energy when moving into a new house, to ward off illness or depression, or even to clear the bad mojo after an argument. Definitely not for the "woo-woo" challenged but if you are open to it, I think it would be interesting to try or even give as a gift (How about a nice way to start a fresh new year or for someone who has recently purchased a new home?). I just think it's gorgeous and it smells delish. Who couldn't use a little good juju, anyway?
......and then there are these. Pre-made themed gift bags. This one is the spa delight bag with bath salt, an aromatherapy candle, and a Himalayan bath salt crystal to dissolve in your bath, all wrapped in this pretty bag and sitting atop of some delicious smelling dried flowers/herbs.....sigh.....O.K, back to the mission at hand....Cookies and Cream Lip Balm making:
You will want to get all your ingredients set up ahead of time. Once you get rolling, you will want to have everything close by since the balm hardens rather quickly once you remove it from the heat. Rebecca's has an online shop (and it is really fun to peruse) but all these products can be purchased online so feel free to shop around. Sometimes things can be purchased in bulk for less (for instance, when making bath fizzies, I find it is cheaper to buy citric acid online in bulk than a small amount at a local store).
Let's gather up those ingredients. I modified mine slightly from the original recipe. I omitted the Macadamia Nut Oil and the Vitamin E. The reason I omitted the Macadamia Oil is that is was pricey and less stable for storage. The Jojoba oil can be stored in a cool dry area indefinitely so I could use it again to make something else at my leisure without the worry of it going rancid. I was told by the store clerk that the Macadamia oil does make the lip balm a bit more creamy but it came out perfectly without it. I just added 4 tablespoons of the Jojoba (instead of 2 Jojoba and 2 Macadamia). The vitamin E was optional and would probably be a great addition but was also not necessary so I chose instead to go for the sparkle. I bought the Mica to add a little holiday pizazz (Mica is a natural tint you can add to your beauty products for some color or sparkle.) The lip balm containers cost 49 cents each and the recipe makes 12 to 15 tubes.
These pipettes are optional. The store clerk recommended having it to top off the lip balm tube after you initially pour the balm in because the mixture has a tendency to sink. The pipette gives it a nice rounded top.
I cut the pipette right about here. The reason is that this mixture dries incredibly fast and less area to travel means less chance to dry. Also, the end of the pipette is pinched and it will easily dry and get all gummed up there.
I set up the tubes on a plate covered with some foil to catch any waxy drips that did not make it into the tubes.
Next, get your double boiler all set up. I just get a sauce pan, fill it with some water, and then put a bowl that fits on top without falling in. Mix all the ingredients with the exception of the essential oils and the Mica Powder which will be added at the end. First, I added the Jojoba Oil.
Next comes the Beeswax Pearls.
Now, time for the cocoa butter. This smells soooooooo good. I believe you can even use this to make chocolate.
See my fancy double boiler set up?
It melts really quickly and easily. It is at this point that I removed it from the heat and added the essential oils (8 drops of the cocoa and 15 drops of the vanilla).
Aren't the bottles even cute?
Now the trick when adding the Mica and essential oils is to whisk and pour immediately as the oil and Mica tend to sink to the bottom. I just added a little pinch of the Mica, maybe 1/4 tsp. It flies all over the place when you open the package so be careful. I transferred the mixture to a glass pyrex measuring cup to make the pouring easier. You can see how quickly it hardens.
After you fill the tubes the mixture will sink, so this is where your pipette comes in handy!
I took the pyrex and microwaved it to melt the hardened portion and used the pipette to squeeze the excess on the top of the tubes to give them a nice rounded top. Let them harden for about an hour and then pop the cap on ( Don't forget to wipe the excess off the outside of the tube). It is very simple and quick. They are made from all natural organic ingredients and smell (and taste) great!
These would be great as stocking stuffers, teacher presents, gifts for your favorite bus driver, or delightful party favors! (For instance, a cookie exchange party!)
Viola, there you have it! Hope you enjoyed the post and have some fun making your own gifts this holiday!