11 December 2012

DIY Christmas and Body Scrub Recipe

Making Christmas gifts: the aftermath
The picture above illustrates the chaos that is my kitchen table. We're supposed to send off the gifts for the in-laws this evening with J's sister, who is spending Christmas with them, and in my usual fashion, I had procrastinated. Partly this is because they can be difficult to buy for: they already have everything they need and most of what they want, and J. and I don't have lots of money. While I'm sure my father-in-law would be thrilled with a newer, fancier telescope (he's an amateur astronomer, among other things), we simply can't afford one. Same with his mum and her harp-playing. I could have tracked down some harp music, but there aren't any really good music shops in our town, so I'd probably have to go on an adventure in downtown Vancouver, and I haven't been in the mood for that sort of thing lately. It's a 2-3 hour bus and Skytrain rain, depending on the destination, and it is cold and wet outdoors (I'm not a wuss, I just don't want pneumonia this winter).

Anyway, searching for Christmas gift ideas led me, as usual, to making things. It's more interesting, and honestly, less stressful than running around the mall. And it can be more affordable. In this case, yes (although since I had to buy ingredients to make face cream and lip balm, I spent a little more than planned, but now I have supplies to choose from for making lotions and lip balms). As you can see from the above picture, I made a lot of lip balm. Lip balm for everyone!

I'd show off pictures of some of the completed things I made, but I already wrapped them (they don't read this blog, to my knowledge, so there'd be no problem with surprises). I made a table runner, turned a piece of an inkle band into a bookmark, made a couple of hair ornaments (ribbon work is way harder than it looks, btw), and then the lip balm and face cream, which will become gifts for more than just my mum-in-law and sisters-in-law. My mum gets some, and so do my cousins and grandmother (probably). This was mostly in the last couple of days, and I even managed to fit in a very long walk around town to get ingredients that has, for some reason, left me hobbling around the apartment like I have arthritis. I'm probably too young for that, since I'm not even thirty yet (and no, I don't have juvenile arthritis or early-onset arthritis or whatever it's called), so I think it's just a pulled muscle somewhere in my thigh that makes it feel like my hip is 80, even though the rest of me isn't. I'm blaming it on the long walk in the cold and wet. There was lots of rain, and it's been hovering around 5 C this week, which isn't so bad. Unless you're soaking wet.

The DIY Christmas gifts haven't stopped there: I have a ukulele strap planned, as well as a couple other random things. We'll see where it goes. I think I prefer this version of Christmas craziness to the rummaging through the bookstore trying to find something that the recipient will enjoy and not be offended by.

Last week I experimented a little with making a sugar scrub, with the thought of making more, also as gifts. I quickly learnt that I prefer salt scrubs. They're less sticky, and made on the same principles.
Brown sugar scrub
This is a vanilla and brown sugar scrub. It works, but I recommend using it in the shower, rather than in the bath, like I did.

Vanilla Brown Sugar Body Scrub
2 cups brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar, but golden brown sugar would also work)
oil (I used olive this time, but would recommend almond or coconut--they're a little more moisturising and I prefer the scents of those to that of olive oil in a body product)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Scoop the brown sugar into a bowl. Drizzle some oil in and mix sugar and oil together with a spoon, adding oil until the scrub reaches the desired consistency. Add the vanilla and mix well. Put in a jar with a decent seal. Use a body scrub, preferably in the shower, for easier clean-up.

You can alter the dimensions of the recipe pretty easily, since it's "add oil until you're happy with it" and then tossing in some vanilla extract. If you had vanilla essential oil or fragrance oil, you could use that and use less of it (if you use fragrance oil, make sure it's one that's okay to use topically).

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