Handmade gifts are special. In a culture of instant gratification, an overabundance of “things,” and the underlying pressure to have it all, receiving a gift that shows the mark of the maker is refreshing. Not only is the gift itself appreciated, but also the notion of the time spent making the gift. Time is money, and making your own gifts is money well spent, especially when the gift is well made, useful, and unique to the recipient.
My favorite handmade gifts utilize the gifts that my garden already provides. Dried herbs and flowers can be integrated into many products that surpass the quality of what you can buy in stores. This year, I am creating handmade lip balms, clay facial masks, and lavender eye pillows for the ladies on my list. However, I will also create a “manly smelling” hand salve for the guys. These long, dry winters are hard on their skin too!
Over the next few weeks, I will post instructions on pictures on how to create each product. Follow along with me and make gifts for the special people in your life. Of course, don’t forget to make a couple extra for yourself too!
Project #1: Natural Soothing Lip Balm
We will begin with a natural, soothing lip balm that is also easy to make. It features dried calendula flower petals, which have been traditionally used to soothe skin irritation, sunburn, and inflammation. I’ve also added some Flower Carpet rose petals. However, you can use other flower petals or herbs, such as echinacea, lavender, pansies and mint. Just be sure to use either your own flowers grown without the use of chemicals or purchase organically-grown flower petals. Chemicals used on plants can transfer to the final product and be absorbed by the body. Flower Carpet roses are a great choice, since they do not require chemicals to keep performing.
NOTE: The ingredients listed below can be found at most grocery stores, craft stores, health food stores and/or online.
You will need:
- 8 tablespoons Coconut Oil
- 4 tablespoons Beeswax (shaved, chopped pieces or “pearls”)
- 2 Vitamin E capsules
- 10 drops of essential oil (I used orange oil, but you can use lemongrass, lavender, or any other favorite scent)
- A handful of dried flower petals (I used calendula and Flower Carpet rose petals)
- Small containers with lids (reuse lip balm containers or purchase small containers with lids)
- Two pots for a “double boiler” – one larger than the other (or a double boiler if you have one).
- Medicine dropper
(This recipe makes enough to fill about six lip balm containers)
Heat the oil in a double boiler (place a bowl or smaller pot on top of a larger pot of simmering water). Using a double boiler method is essential; otherwise your end product can easily burn.
Add the oil, beeswax, vitamin E (poke a hole into the capsule and drain), essential oil, and flower petals. Allow the mixture to completely melt. Strain petals or leave them in. I left them in – they look so pretty!
Use a medicine dropper to carefully transfer the hot mixture into sanitized containers, add petals with a spoon if you wish. Let fully cool and voila!
Click here to view Kristen’s post on creating soothing lavender-filled eye pillows!