For the past several years, we have been wanting to make the switch to a nearly all handmade Christmas. We felt like we had gotten lost in the commercialism of the holidays and had gotten far away from the true meaning. Last year we made some of the greatest strides in adjusting to the new mindset that we were wanting to embrace. Though I was very unprepared for how quickly Christmas would change for us with Dad's very rapid battle with cancer and death during the holidays, the changes we had already made definitely helped us through an incredibly difficult time. This year, we are planning on going full speed ahead with our plans of changing our mindset of the holidays.
One of the greatest ways of doing that in my opinion is to return to the days of homemade, made with the heart gifts.
I had anticipating doing this project last year, but as you can imagine...time took a different meaning to us! I was determined to do it this year! I have a tentative list of projects I want to complete and I'm already working towards getting as many as possible done as early as I can. Last weekend I marked the first round of this project off my list and I was WAY more than pleased with the results!
Lip Balm. I've always want to make it. Even as a teenager I wanted to do it, but never did. While I was shopping for the bottles and packaging for my pure vanilla extract, I came across a page in the catalog of the company I purchased my bottles from Mountain Rose Herbs that talked about that very project. I put it aside to do later, but I was a bit hesitant because some of the ingredients were quite expensive. I wanted a simple YET effective version. Gretchen---a great friend and a cousin through Kevin---had posted a link last year on her blog about the version she had made. Looking back through, I decided that her recipe was MUCH more along the lines of what I could handle budget wise.
It was a success! Not only did I enjoy making it, there was no stress involved! I absolutely have fallen in love with the end result. I purchased high quality, organic or natural ingredients. I wanted to make sure that the end product would be the best possible. Not only did I want to make sure that it was "giftable", I wanted to make sure that it would be a product I would love! LOVE----oh yes! Every member of our family has begged for their own. I know like mine better than the pomegranate Burts Bees I was addicted to. Peyton's lips were so chapped they were bleeding. Within 48 hours, he was completely healed. Enough said.
- Gather all your ingredients and needed supplies. I used a Pyrex measuring cup and the microwave since I don't have a double broiler. I purchased the tubes and the majority of my ingredients from Mountain Rose Herbs and was VERY pleased with all aspects! This recipe will make approximately 24-25 tubes. I used a medicine syringe to fill the tubes and it worked like a charm!
- Recipe: 4 Tablespoons cosmetic/food grade Beeswax pellets, 4 Tablespoons coconut oil (I bought mine at Beachy's Amish Bulk Foods), 4 Tablespoons grapeseed oil and your fragrance of choice. I used about 9 drops of tangerine essential oil. Though it doesn't really flavor the balm, it smells wonderful. My next batch will be peppermint.
- Measure your beeswax out in your Pyrex cup. In microwave, melt the pellets. The key is to only heat for about 30 seconds each time and stir. It took about 5 times for mine to completely melt. DO NOT heat more than 30 seconds at a time.
- Once melted, add your coconut oil. My coconut oil is now in solid state because the house is definitely colder than 76 degrees. In warmer months, I could simply stir it in at this point. Because it was solid, I had to repeat the same procedure as above. It only took one 30 second burst in the microwave.
- Add your grapeseed oil until well mixed and everything is fully melted.
- Add your essential oils.
- At this point, you are ready to pour into your tubes. The syringe method worked PERFECTLY for me. Some tips I learned: if you get towards the end of filling your tubes and the wax is beginning to harden in your syringe...microwave it for just a few seconds to keep the syringe warm! I also kept a bowl of VERY hot water close by to sit my Pyrex and syringe in to give me a bit longer to fill the tubes. I was distracted with the kids so I wasn't able to fill as quickly as I needed and the heated water/microwaved syringe worked like a charm!!!!
- As your tubes begin to harden, the liquid will shrink a bit. Just use your syringe to add a bit more!
- You are done! THAT easy!
For us girls and for gift giving, I wanted to be a bit more "creative". Most people just use a sticker made from a return address label or something similar. I liked that idea and started designing my labels to print when I thought about ALL OF THOSE STACKS of scrapbooking paper I have. I got out my paper cutter and played around with a few strips until I got the size I wanted. Then I went through and found my favorites and cut out enough to cover all of my remaining tubes (that the boys hadn't STOLEN!!!...LOL). I ran each piece of scrap paper through my Xyron sticker machine and carefully wrapped them around the tubes. I'm sure a bit of double sided tape would have also worked.
The end result:
I can hardly wait to get started on another batch (or two or three...it was so much fun). Aside from the tubes, the original supplies I purchased will make MANY batches!