homemade gifts

Homemade Bath Salts

Homemade Bath Salts

If you are looking for a simple and easy gift to make for someone, you might want to make bath salts. It is one of my favorite gifts to make. Everyone seems to like them. This is a fun craft for kids to make for Mom, teachers etc. I like using essential oils, but you can use perfume, too. You can also leave them unscented, if someone is sensitive to perfumes and fragrances.

The ingredients are fairly easy to find. Epsom salts can be found at any drug store. Essential oils can be found at most craft stores. Food coloring- grocery stores. Try to find pretty jars to put them and finish with a pretty label.

Sometimes I add small amounts of dried flower petals. If you do that- just small amounts and crumbled pretty fine, so there won’t be issues with clogging drains. Here are the directions.

Homemade Bath Salts

Epsom Salts

Fragrant oils

Food coloring, optional

Flower petals, optional

Place 2 cups Epsom salts in a non-reactive bowl and add a few drops of scented oils and a few drops of food coloring, if desired. Toss to distribute, or place in a jar with a tight fitting lid or even in a plastic bag and shake mixture well. Take a whiff. If you can’t smell them, add more. You can add more coloring, too if needed. Add a few petals, broken up, for additional fragrance and for color. Place salts in a glass jar with a lid or in a plastic bag and let stand 1 week. Smell again and adjust fragrance as needed. Fragrances mature and you may find them too weak or strong. Add more oil or cologne to heighten aroma or add more salts to cut down on intensity. Keep in mind that the bath salts will be diluted a lot in a bath, so a little strong is good.

The oils are available at many craft stores and by mail. See the section on mail order in the back of the book. Choosing the fragrance you want to use can be a little trickier. Most of the florals are a safe bet, but you may want to get more creative. Citrus, herb, spice and woody fragrant oils can add a dimension to your bath salts that make them really outstanding.

To present them as a gift salts can be put in a wide-mouth jar, with a lid. Decorate with ribbon and attach a small scoop, if you like. Discount and dollar stores are a good place to find attractive jars at a reasonable price as well as garage sales and resale shops. You can also package them for individual use in lollipop bags with a card board header, like the herb packets. I like to make different fragrances and label them  (relaxing bath, earthly delights, sweet dreams, etc. I then package them in the bags and add a few to a gift basket.

Cranberry Rosemary Vinegar

Cranberry-Rosemary Vinegar

This is a favorite food gift of mine. It is so festive and it tastes good, too.

I happen to love cranberries. I buy a lot of them this time of year. They are in season, so the price is good. I buy extra, and throw a few bags in the freezer to enjoy all year long

I also preserve some by using cranberries to flavor vinegar. By adding rosemary, the end result is a great tasting vinegar that is perfect for winter salads. It is also a lovely gift.

I love to give homemade gifts. Time isn’t always on my side, though. I doubt my niece will be getting that scarf I was going to crochet for her. But I can get several bottles of this vinegar made in no time.

All you need are bottles with corks or screw top lids. If using corks, be sure they are food grade. You’ll also need cranberries, bamboo skewers, fresh rosemary and vinegar- 5% acidity. I use red wine vinegar. Other vinegar will work, too. If you use white vinegar or cider vinegar they will pick up color from the cranberries and turn a pretty reddish shade. Not as red as with the wine vinegar, but still very pretty.

Since I bring my rosemary plants inside for the winter, I have access to fresh rosemary. Your local grocery store probably has some in the produce department. You can use other herbs, if you can’t find rosemary.

Make sure the skewers will fit in the bottles. Cut them down to fit, if needed. Skewer the berries on the skewers leaving a little room on the top of the skewer. If your cranberries are really big, test to make sure they will fit the neck of the bottle. The skewers keep the berries from floating around.

Place a few sprigs of rosemary in each bottle and then add the berry- filled skewers. Pour in the vinegar, leaving a little room for the cork. Sometimes you need to add a little more vinegar the next day as some will absorb into the cranberries and the skewers. I make decorative labels and give them as gifts. Ready to use in a week.

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