Showing posts with label Holiday Gift Ideas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holiday Gift Ideas. Show all posts

December 11, 2023

Give the Gift of Essential Oils {Giveaway}

As much as I like the smells of the holidays (baking, evergreen, citrus) I prefer natural scents to perfume-y candles and air fresheners.  I use eco-friendly cleaners in my home, so I am drawn to products made from all-natural ingredients.

I keep an assortment of essential oils on hand to use in everything from personal skin care to massage to cleaning.  When Puritan's Pride, an online provider of supplements, vitamins, natural beauty products, healthy snacks and more, contacted me about trying out some of their essential oil products, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to create some all-natural, handmade gifts for the holidays.
Aromatherapy is a way to manage stress during this often-stressful season, so I was delighted to try their aromatherapy products.  I was sent a bottle of their Wonder Oil (an amazing citrus-y fusion of oils, herbs and fruits for the body, including Olive, Sunflower Seed, Wheat Germ, Sweet Almond, Sesame and Jojoba Oils, a ScentBall plug-in aromatherapy diffuser, and three 100% essential oils in lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus.
Puritan's Pride began over 40 years ago, with the mission of making the finest quality nutritional supplements available at the best value to their customers. Today, the company remains true to its original commitment and serves millions of loyal customers. Puritan’s Pride manufactures thousands of  vitamins, minerals, herbs and other nutritional supplements in their state-of-the art facilities located throughout the U.S. As part of the company’s commitment to quality, Puritan’s Pride only uses ingredients from suppliers worldwide that meet their Quality Assurance Standards, as well as Good Manufacturing Practices food quality standards.
I love all three of these scents, and thought that used alone or combined could make a wonderful gift set for a teacher, friend, or neighbor.
Packaged in a decorated clementine box, this gift basket is both inexpensive and easy to make, and is a handmade, thoughtful gesture.

You just need a few plain or fancy jars to put the items in, as well as a spray bottle for the room spray.  Here are the recipes I created.

  • baking soda
  • 100% essential oils (I used peppermint, eucalyptus and tea tree oil, which I had on hand)
  • Parmesan cheese jar, or just save the cap from a plastic Parmesan container and screw it onto a mason jar (it works!)
Fill your jar halfway with baking soda, then add 5 drops of each essential oil to the jar.  Cover the top and shake well.
Fill the rest of the way with baking soda and shake again to combine.  Add a pretty label, as well as an instruction one on the back that says something like "sprinkle on your carpet, wait 5 minutes, and vacuum as usual."

  • 1/4 cup Wonder Oil (a blend of olive oil and other great-smelling essential oils) or plain Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 5 drops of eucalyptus oil
Combine all ingredients in a glass jar.
Cover and shake well.  
Add a pretty label as well as instructions to "Shake well.  Pour one tablespoon onto a clean, soft cloth and wipe onto wood.  Buff with a dry cloth. Repeat process monthly."

  • Distilled water
  • Lavender essential oil for soothing spray and peppermint and eucalyptus for refreshing spray
Add enough distilled water to fill your spray bottle halfway.  Add 8 drops of essential oil into the water, then top with more distilled water.  Shake well and include instructions for user to shake well before use.
The addition of a diffuser into this gift basket is a really nice touch.  The ScentBall diffuser plugs into the wall and comes with reusable pads that you add 5 drops of essential oil onto.
It plugs into an outlet and gently warms the pad, releasing a subtle, pleasant scent.  I have mine in our bathroom, where it works to mask unappealing odors without the chemical cloud that typical air fresheners use.

I packaged all these home care items in a clementine box that I had decoupaged with scrapbooking paper, and added a scrub brush and a cloth diaper (for cleaning, they make the best reusable rags).
Tuck in a few evergreen branches, some pine cones and tie on a pretty ribbon, and you have a lovely seasonal gift that will make the recipient's home smell fresh and clean.
Puritan's Pride has so many other delightful essential oils to choose from, as well as other products to create a holistically healthy lifestyle.

You can learn more about Puritan's Pride via the Puritan's Pride Facebook page as well on Twitter @PuritansPride.

One lucky reader will win an assortment of aromatherapy products from Puritan's Pride.  Please enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received sample products from Puritan's Pride for review purposes.  All opinions are my own.

December 18, 2023

A Timeless Gift: Handmade Silhouette Art Tutorial

I'm drawn to old-fashioned things, like vintage photos and fabrics, so naturally I love the look of silhouettes. Once a way for families to inexpensively render images of loved ones on their walls, silhouettes became passe with the invention of the camera. But they're still charming, especially when updated with contemporary papers.
And the best part? They're cheap and easy to make. This project cost me under $5, and I was able to make 6 of them.

  • Wooden boards or plaques ($1 at most craft stores)
  • Decorative paper of your choice for the background
  • Black paper (get the best quality you can find)
  • X-Acto knife or Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Decoupage medium/sealer, varnish or Mod Podge
  • Brush
  • Digital Camera and printer
  • Coordinating ribbon
  • Stapler
Step 1
Paint your wooden plaque whatever color you want. I chose black to go with the silhouette, and I painted 3 coats around the edges of the plaque. There's no need to paint the center, since it will be covered with paper, but be sure to paint a little onto the top since the paper will not go exactly to the edge.
Step 2
Photograph your subject in profile. A good trick for kids is to set them in front of the TV with something new to watch. Make sure the background is lighter than their face (like near a window) so the profile is easy to trace and cut out.
You'll need to resize your photo in a photo editing program (like Photoshop or Elements, or even Paint). My wood plaque was 5" wide, so I needed to change the width of the photo to about 4.75".
Step 3
Carefully cut out the profile of the photo with an X-acto knife or sharp scissors and lay it on a piece of black paper.
I used the white side up so that it was a little easier to trace.
Trace with a freshly-sharpened white pencil (regular pencil will work fine too).Then cut it out very carefully with an X-acto knife or scissors. Just take your time around the facial features, since one little slip and suddenly the subject doesn't look like themselves. Flip over the cut out silhouette and use that side for the artwork, since it won't have any stray pencil marks on it.
Step 4
Flip the (dry) wood board face down on the back side of your scrapbook paper and trace around the raised oval (the one on the front of the plaque) with a pencil. You'll need to shimmy your pencil under the edge so it's flush with the central oval.
Then cut out the oval.
Step 5
Get out your decoupage medium or Mod Podge and paint the surface of the wood plaque with it. Carefully lay your oval piece of paper on the wood (you will still have time to shimmy it into place while it's still wet), then paint a layer of the medium over the paper.
Step 6
Next, lay your silhouette down on the still-wet plaque. You have some time to move it around if you get it off-center. Then paint another layer of medium over the silhouette. Smooth out any large bubbles.
Allow to dry for at least 4 hours, or follow the instructions on the decoupage medium bottle.
Step 7
Attach a hanger on the back. You could use a traditional picture hanger, but I decided to be cute and thrifty by stapling a coordinating ribbon to the back. Just fold it into a loop
and staple into the wood.If you wanted to finish off the back in a really professional way, you could cut out a piece of felt to cover the oval on the back. Not only would it look nice, but it would be softer against the walls.

Hang and enjoy!
I made some just to put in frames too, which are even easier to do. This one will grace my husband's office.
The others were given as gifts to the grandparents, and of course I kept one for our home. I'm intending to make ones of myself, my husband and maybe Oscar our cat to hang with my son's. I'm so pleased with how they turned out, and like the touch of old-fashioned comfort that they give to our home.

December 16, 2023

Great Finds and Buys at Marshalls & TJ Maxx

As many of us are on tight budgets this year, it's hard to stretch your money to get a little something for everyone on your list. I for one have a huge family, both counting mine and my husband's. It's overwhelming trying to think of things to buy or that I can make (or have time to make) for everyone. I'll bet that, like me, there are times you wish that you could just give someone a pomegranate or orange, like they used to do in Victorian times. I for one would appreciate the sentiment in that gesture, but I'm not so sure about some others in my family.

I do enjoy checking out TJ Maxx and Marshalls, since you never know what you might find. I was on the hunt for items to put in some breakfast-themed gift baskets that I was making for friends and family. On a recent trip to TJ Maxx, I found all kinds of gourmet teas, coffees and chocolates that were 70% off what you'd pay in a department store or boutique. As tempting as it is to hit the dollar store for stuff to fill a gift basket, to me the items you find there are just that: dollar store items (I'm not fooling anyone with those cheap teas). At least at Marshalls and TJ Maxx, you can be frugal and no one will know!

I ended up adding a coffee press to one of the baskets (also at half off of retail price), and to cushion the baskets' contents, picked up some dish towels that were a great bargain. There were 6 super absorbant towels that ended up costing less than $2 per towel. I made and bagged my own homemade pancake mix and cocoa mix and packaged it all up in a red mixing bowl (which were 3 for $10 at Marshalls). I added a felted potholder for a handmade touch.

I do confess to buying some blueberry syrup and some whisks at the local grocery store, since they were great bargains, and also the cute little bags to put the pancake/cocoa mixes in were from the craft store. But truly, if you haven't already, you need to visit for little odds and ends, like stocking stuffers and hostess gifts. Their Bath and Body section alone would make any gift recipient happy. And don't get me started on their holiday decorations, which are of such high quality! I bought a wreath there last year which was really inexpensive but looks so fancy.

If you're still searching for that last minute gift, don't forget about Marshalls and TJ Maxx. Most areas have a store nearby, and you can find something for everyone at great prices.

December 12, 2023

Handmade Holiday: Hostess Gift

'Tis the season for holiday parties and visits to friends and family, both near and far. It's not my nature to show up empty-handed at someone's holly-decked door, so I like to bring a little hostess gift to express my gratitude for the person's company and festivities. We have our first holiday party tomorrow evening, so I thought I'd bring my friend Kate and her family some homemade goodness.
I put together a little brown bag of kitchen goodies, including a hand-printed tea towel from Flying Rhymes, a great little shop with Scandanavian-inspired wares. Here are a few other examples of the printed tea towels. Quite charming!
I also embellished a jar of local jam with some scrapbooking paper and jute. All you need to do is cut a square a bit larger than the jar's lid,

fold it in half to make a triangle,

and fold in half again,

and yet again, so that it's folded into eighths.

Then you want to round the outer edge with scissors, forming a pie-shaped wedge.

Then you cut a few scallops or zigzags along the rounded edge. It's a little like those snowflakes you used to make as a kid, which would be equally nice on top of a jar of jam.
You just need to tie it on the top of the lid, which is easier said than done. It helps to have a second pair of hands to hold the paper in place.

I wish I could take credit for all of the hand-making here, but sadly, the only thing I had time to make was the jar of herbal tea, which was organically grown in my garden. It's a blend of peppermint and lemon balm, which I packaged in a recycled baby food jar.
The final touch was a flame-blackened spreader from Jonathan's Wild Cherry Wooden Spoons, a shop that I highly recommend for any handmade holiday gifts. The flame-blackened wood items are nice because they don't get "fuzzy" when they're wet, which wood naturally does.
I took a ride out to Jonathan's studio today and got to see where the spoons are made and shipped. I swooned over spoons, and all of the other wonderful items. I bought some Christmas gifts, and also a ladle for myself. I know I'll be headed out there to buy some more things very soon.

The final touch was a scrapbook paper flower to embellish the brown bag. I just made three more of the paper jar-toppers and punched two holes in the centers of them, then threaded some yarn through to secure them to the bag's handle. It's a step beyond the traditional red and green. I took a cue from the colors of the tea towel.
So that's it! I hope Kate likes it. It seems a little more interesting than a bottle of wine.

November 26, 2023

Just a Quick Note

Lily from Sorrelli Jewelry let me know that they are offering 20% off of all of their full-priced jewelry starting this Friday and ending on Monday, December 1st. So if you were coveting something sparkly that you saw during my Sorrelli giveaway, now's the chance to snatch it up!

November 2, 2023

Crocheted with Spontaneity

Wouldn't these earrings be great for a special someone's Christmas stocking? Check out this new online shop, called Spontaneity (which also offers free shipping). It was referred to me by the Indie-queen, Amy Purple of purplepinkandorange, who is THE authority on handmade and independent retailers. I love the idea of crocheted opens up so many possibilities in my mind for my own knits!
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