In an effort to limit my contribution to consumerism this Christmas, I'm making quite a few gifts. I have to admit, I had a lot of fun on the weekend listening to holiday music, inhaling the scent of cinnamon sticks and orange peels simmering on the stove, and getting crafty. It felt like I was a kid again! These gifts were made with joy. And a little dancing, if I'm being totally honest.
1. Lavender-scented bath salts.
All you need here is epsom salts, lavender essential oil, dried lavender buds, and a mason jar. I found the vintage kind at a local antique market for a steal, but the new kind work just as well. I had dried a bouquet of lavender picked from the fields in Niagara-on-the-Lake this summer, so the buds were perfect for this (I plan on making lavender sachets with the rest).
Fill the jars half full will salts, add some buds and 5 drops of oil. Shake around. Fill the rest of the way; repeat. Tie up with some cord and a little kraft card and it makes a really pretty pampering gift for a friend.
2. Rosemary-infused olive oil.
The rosemary from my summer patio was used up in this project, I'm proud to say. I mixed the rosemary leaves in a pot of EVOO and simmered on low heat for an hour or so - heat must be kept very low, as high heat and olive oil are a no-no. After removing from the burner, I let it sit for a couple of days with an airtight lid. In the meantime, I washed off the labels from the oil bottles and let dry thoroughly. You must be sure no water is left in the bottles, so that mold won't rear its ugly head once the rosemary goes in.
I then strained the loose rosemary leaves before pouring the oil back into the bottles, and then stuck a sprig or two of the fragrant herb inside the bottle, to continue the infusion process. A little jute wrap and I've got a gift for the amateur chefs I know.
3. Mason jar terrarium.
Aren't the tiny succulents and air plants that are everywhere these days adorable? And so easy to care for - so they make a great gift for office mates who may or may not have a green thumb. These terrariums are so easy to make - add rocks, sand, moss and air plants and voila - a mini zen garden for the desk. If you want to add succulents, add a bit of soil as well. Keep the lid off most of the time - these kinds of plants will need air. If you want a closed-lid variety, choose a tropical plant that thrives in moisture.
4. Mason jar natural holiday fragrance.
This is really easy and smells soooooo good!! Throw cinnamon sticks, cloves, dried orange slices and tips of fir or cedar into a mason jar with instructions to empty into a pot, add water and simmer. If you don't have some of these things, you could always use a few drops of essential oils in the same scent. I love this gift - I give one or two to myself each season!
There you have it - four easy handmade gifts, with all-natural, eco-friendly materials, and each under $10. Who else is with me on making gifts this year?