Homemade Gift Ideas

By Coach Mel

I don’t know about you but I am a first class gift purchasing avoider. Particularly during the holidays. I love to give gifts but I feel the negative effects of the pressure to do so - to be creative, to be thoughtful, to not be cheap... and all at the same time! It is overwhelming. #firstworldproblems, I know. 

Perhaps some of you have the same problem and so I bring to you a couple of ideas. 

A few years back my mother told me “you’re getting a little old for homemade gifts.” While I thought this was a bit unappreciative of her I concurred that perhaps my attempts at beading for the family using leftover beads and twine from my childhood was a bit juvenile and I could perhaps step up the game. I would not, however, agree to homemade being a box only a certain age category could fit into. So, last year was my first attempt at a made-gift again: 

“Lip Shit.” A wonderfully titled, beautifully executed, useful gift. What does everyone use but thinks is so expensive to buy? Lip Balm. It is easy to make, inexpensive to make, and lasts… in fact I just applied a swipe of last year’s batch. Now, why wouldn’t you want your gift recipients to keep you in mind every time they moisten their lips? 

Candles! Another astronomically priced item to buy but fun and easy to make… You can put them in the classy looking and the very trendy mason jar. Or any other vessel you like that can be near a flame. You can scent the candle however you want. Now, why wouldn’t you want to be the source of light in people’s rooms? 

Homemade gifts are not just economically friendly, but they also put that much more meaning into the gift and they can also make a fun family or friend weekend. Grab your favorite partner who wants their name on that card too and spend time with them making some gifts rather than stressing in the mall. Any opportunity I get to not smell like a Cinnabon at the end of the day is an opportunity well taken. 

I procured all my materials at the Portland Homestead Supply in Sellwood. You can get everything down to the essential oils you will need to scent your items, as well as ideas for other homemade gifts, such as soaps, canned goods, cheeses (yes, you can really make your own!), and pickles! If you want to spend a little more than just a tin of lip balm you can make them one and gift it along with the supplies to make their own!

http://www.homesteadsupplyco.com

PEPPERMINT LIP BALM RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

2 T beeswax beads

2 T shea butter

2 T coconut oil

20-40 drops peppermint essential oil

Double boiler

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Melt beeswax, shea butter and coconut oil in a double boiler or small glass bowl over a small pot of boiling water, stirring constantly until melted.
  2. Remove pan from heat but keep over the still-hot water to keep the mixture melted.
  3. Add essential oils to your preference. I just added peppermint in this recipe. I recommend adding a few drops at a time and testing a tiny amount on your arm to make sure the scent is to your liking.
  4. Once you’ve added the essential oils, use the pipette or a dropper to fill the lip balm tubes. This must be done quickly since the mixture will start to harden as soon as it is removed from the heat.
  5. Let tubes sit at room temperature for several hours until cooled and completely hardened before capping them.

NOTES
Use an extra teaspoon or two of beeswax if you prefer a thicker and longer-lasting lip balm or slightly less if you prefer a smoother and softer lip balm. Since there are no water based ingredients, you can re-melt and add more of each ingredient during the melting process until you get the exact texture you want. When experimenting, I’ve put a few drops of the melted mixture onto a piece of parchment paper and let harden in the fridge so I could test it before putting the mixture into tubes/tins. (This makes 12-14 tubes or tins.)

SOY CANDLE RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

Soy wax: 1lb makes 20fl oz of candle

Cotton braid wick

Wick tabs: Small metal tabs that hold wick in place

Glue dots: To affix wick tab to container bottom

Essential oils: 1/2oz/1lb wax (whichever scent you like!) 

Containers: I like mason jars

Wick bar: Something to hold wick in place when pouring wax

Double boiler: For melting wax (or use two pots)

Thermometer: To know when wax is ready to go!

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Melt wax: Use your double boiler, place wax in melting pot, and do not let wax get above 185 degrees F. 
  2. Prepare wick: Feed wick through hole in the round metal tab and affix to the bottom of the container with glue gun or glue dot. Place wick bar across the top of the container and secure wick to it so it stays in place. 
  3. Add essential oil once wax is melted. Stir to mix. 
  4. Pour wax. Remove pot from double boiler and slowly pour into container. 
  5. Leave candle to cool.