Sunday, December 9, 2012

Free Printable - Only an Aunt Quote

I made this printable quote for my closest aunt for Christmas this year. She is truly is like a second mother to us; so much so she is the Godmother to my son.
I won't put too many words in this post but I did want to mention I created a new tab (page) with all the free printable pieces I made. Be sure to check it out here. 
I produced this as a 5x7 image in many different colors. I had a really hard time deciding which I liked the best, so I just kept going with the colors. Please feel free to download, print and use this piece for personal use. I love offering free ideas and cheap gifts to everyone but hate when I stumble upon someone making money off it.

To download the image:
  • leave me a comment :) (not required but I really do love to know what you think)
  • right click on the color image you want and select open in a new window or tab
  • on the full size image, right click again and select save as
  • save it to a place on your computer where you can easily find it
  • send it to your favorite photo developer, find a frame and you can cross another Christmas gift off your list.

Which is your favorite? I still have not picked the one I will be printing for my aunt. Any suggestions?


Saturday, December 8, 2012

DIY Eucalyptus Yoga Mat Cleaner/Freshener - Easy Gifts Ideas on a Budget (Part 6)

I decided, at the last minute, to add this Eucalyptus yoga mash freshener for my sister and sister-in-law's spa basket. I know it isn't a perfect fit with bath salts etc., but if you have ever had a smelly yoga mat before, you might appreciate this. Both my sister's love yoga and I thought this might be well liked. Plus, it took no effort and I had all the ingredients on hand... both are great things when making gifts!

In case you are new to this series, here is my running list of spa related items I making (and sharing with you):
If you have not heard of Yoga Mat cleaners/fresheners, well all they really are is a spray that has antibacterial qualities(since eucalyptus is antibacterial) that freshen and clean your yoga mat. You simple give you mat a spritz and wipe it down. You can use other essential oils that are also antibacterial for this recipe; I have hear lavender is antibacterial as well, but I really wanted to use eucalyptus for this one. 

I have seen these little spray bottle being sold for around $10 at a local yoga studio. I am not sure the ingredients in those ones, but mine cost my around $0.50 to make and I know they don't have any chemicals. Perfect!

Materials Needed:

  • 6 tablespoons Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon Distilled Water
  • 20-30 drops Eucalyptus essential oil (or lavender)
  • Small spray bottle (My bottle was in a travel pack of 3 from the Dollar store)
Note: If you want to do a large batch of this,  you can use the recipe as 3 parts vinegar to 1 part water and add essential oil to your personal preference.
Mix the vinegar and essential oil together in the little spray bottle. Add the distilled water and you are done!
To clean your mat:
  1. Spray the cleaner liberally over the surface of your mat.
  2. Wipe with a damp cloth or sponge.
  3. When the cleaner has been removed, 'buff' the mat with a soft dry cloth.
  4. Repeat on the other side.
  5. Allow your mat to air dry.

Has anyone ever used a yoga mat spray like this before? Have you ever made your own?

Merry Christmas everyone.

Friday, December 7, 2012

DIY Lavender Linen Water - Easy Gifts on a Budget (Part 5)

Sorry for the delay in posting this recipe. I have been kind of frazzled the past week or so. I thought I was completely under control with my 80% home made gift goal until I realized we are in December.

I knew what I was making everyone but had I finished them, no! So that is where I have been. So, my posts might come a few at a time or there might be days in between. But I will get everything posted!

Here is where I am with my spa DIY gift. In case you are new to this series, here is my running list of spa related items I making (and sharing with you):
I love Lavender linen water. I have used it in my iron, sprayed it on my sheets and towels to freshen them, added it to laundry and used it as air freshener. This is the first time I have made it myself and I am a little shocked at how stores charge what they do for this.

Materials Needed:

  • 2 cups Distilled water (I read this prevents mold from growing)
  • 20-30 drops of Lavender essential oil (or what ever scent you want)
  • 3 tablespoons of Vodka (I know you all let out a little scream for using vodka but it helps the oil mix with water. Just use your cheapest vodka for this)
  • Spray bottle or jar 
I don't really drink, so, I had to send my husband a note while he was at work to ask which bottle to use. I had his really pricey one out about to use it when he responded. I made 5 of these so 3 tablespoons times 5 would have added up :) Good thing he checked his email.

This recipe for Lavender scented linen water was really easy. Some sites will say to mix it all together and you are done.

Here is what one trick I learned that you need to know when making this yourself...mix the vodka and essential oil together before you add the distilled water! This will prevent oil bubbles floating throughout your linen water. So add the vodka to your spray bottle, add your essential oil, swish it around and add your water.

It is really that easy! I didn't even feel it was necessary to share the making of photos.
The grand total is hard to estimate. The bottle cost me $1 at the Dollar store, a huge bottle of distilled water cost $1 and the oil was around $20 but I have used it for all my spa items and still have over half left. So I think $1.50 is a reasonable guesstimate (shockingly, that word did not come up as spelled is now a word :) ).

How are you Christmas gifts coming along?


Thursday, November 22, 2012

DIY Scented Effusion Oil - Easy Gifts on a Budget (Part 4)

I have had and loved my Lampe Berger for many years(although I always spell it wrong and put a 't' at the end..even on my label). In fact, I love it so much I have two of them. One is pretty and sits on my shelf as decoration (I do use it) and the other is plain but get used very frequently. Both have different scents in them so I don't have to change the scents.
If you have not heard of a Lampe Berger, perhaps you know it as a fragrance lamp, effusion lamp or catalytic lamp. It doesn't matter what yours is called, if you have used one you know it is the best way to clean smells out of your house. In fact the reason I purchased my first one was that someone burnt something in my previous house so badly it was filled with smoke. We were about to put our house on the market to sell it, so I had to find a way to remove the smell and fast. After a lot of research and glowing reviews for them, I purchased my first Lampe Berger.

Well now everyone in my family now has one and I thought I might be able to add this to my Christmas spa baskets. In case you are new to this series, here is my running list of spa related items I making (and sharing with you):
I found a few different recipes to make your own oils for a very reasonable price and ended up using this one from Christy's Thrifty Decorating. Lampe Berger oils are very pricey and a small bottle will run around $25. Note that Lampe Berger states you should only use their oils within their candles. Similar to my wax cubes I posted, it is up to you if you are willing to void a warranty to save money by making your own scents.

So to go along with my spa basket, I made a few different scents for the oils. I made a Lavender (of course), a Fir scent to burn during Christmas time and an Orange scent. I am a huge fan of anything scented orange but I don't find it really strong enough in this recipe. I did love the Fir version.


  • 16 oz or 473ml of Isopropyl alcohol (91% or higher)
  • 1 tablespoon Essential oil
  • 1 tablespoon distilled water


Remove 2 tablespoons of alcohol from the jar.You can purchase this from Walmart, drug stores, etc for usually under $2.

If you are making a few of these, save the alcohol and you can make a small batch with all the 2tbsp. This is to make room in the bottle for the 2 tablespoons of liquid you will be adding. So if there is a lot of room at the top of the bottle, you don't have to do this.

Add 1 tablespoon of distilled water and 1 tablespoon of the essential oil scent you want the the bottle of Isopropyl alcohol.

That is it! It really is that easy.

If you want to decorate the bottle, remember to be careful about covering over the warning labels. I decided to cover mine but I did not secure it so it can easily be removed after it is given as a gift.

I added this to my growing stash of home made spa items.
The spa gift items are starting to really look nice. I worried it would not be enough, do you know what I mean...I just hoped it wouldn't look like a few items thrown into a basket. But I am really feeling happy with this theme and loving the cost!

Up next, Lavender linen water!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

DIY Scented Wax Cubes - Easy Gifts on a Budget (Part 3)

I have had two posts discussing my wickless candle heater over the past few months. The first was how I removed the bright green wax from my carpet when it spilled and second was how to make wax cubes from my favorite candle. I don't have a true Scentsy but I love it none the less.
As you know I am making lavender themed spa baskets for all the women in my life and I thought I would try to make lavender scented wax cubes to go along with it. Here is my running list of spa related items I making (and sharing with you):

  • Lavender bath salt ($2) DONE
  • Lavender sugar scrub ($2.50) DONE
  • Lavender scented wickless candle pucks ($0.50) 
  • Spa towel ($7)
  • Lavender scented Catalytic Lamp oil (you know like Lampe Berget oil) ($2.50)
  • Lavender linen water ($1.50)
  • Lavender reed diffuser (Not done yet so I don't have an approximate cost)
I knew I could make scented wax cubes from old candles, so I though I could probably make them from unscented, white candles along with some essential oils. I was pleasantly surprised at how well this worked and how cheap it was! Plus, I have read that most of the scented candles out there are pretty bad for you (with the exception of Scentsy products) and these are scented with only essential oils.


  • Candle in a glass jar
  • Essential oil (I used lavender but you can use what ever scent you like)
  • Ice cube tray or old wax cube container


I will start off by saying you need to be very cautious when doing this. I do not know if these candles are meant to be put into boiling just be careful and use safety precautions. I did not have any problems with cracking glass, but just keep a close eye on it.

I boiled a pot of water and carefully placed my prayer candle into the water, being careful not to get water into the wax. To be honest with you, I think a fatter shorter candle in a glass container would work a million times better than this tall skinny version. But this is what I had on hand so it is what I used.
 Once the wax starts to melt it turned opaque.
 Carefully pour the wax into either an ice cube tray or into an old scented wax cube container.
Then add approximately 6 drops of essential oil to each section of the container. You can use what ever scent you like and as many drops as you like. I found this to be enough for my nose...but it is all up to you.

You will see in the photo below that the essential oil sits in the middle of the wax when it is dropped in. I used a toothpick to stir it around so it was distributed within each wax cube. This is not critical because once you melt the wax in the warmer, it will all mix together.
Let it harden for a few hours or overnight in the container. Once hardened, pop the wax cubes out of the container and wrap the cubes as you would like. I wanted mine to match my bath salts and sugar scrub, so I wrapped them in clear cellophane and tied them up with raffia along with a brown paper tag and some lavender.

 Cute huh!
 The wax would have cost me $0.50 since I was able to get over 2 sets with the one candle.
See how my basket is starting to come together?
I had to test it out on my own before I gave it away, so I melted two cubes and they worked great! the smell traveled really nicely throughout my house.
The possibilities are endless with this! If you have a favorite scent, go out and buy a small 50ml jar of essential oil, and you can make so much with it. I have a 100ml jar of lavender and I have made gifts for four people (and lots of items for each) and I have barely put a dent in the jar!

Please note that I have read that using non-Scentsy wax in a Scentsy burner will void its warranty.

Up next, the oil for my Lampe Berger! I was at a store yesterday and they wanted $24 for a refill where mine cost me $2.50 to make! So excited to share this one.

Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving for many of you, I though I would share this one more time because I love it so much. (see here for the original post and instructions to download it) I am Thankful for...

For all my friends and family in the United States, have a great Thanksgiving and eat a little turkey for me!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

DIY Sugar Scrub - Easy Gifts on a Budget (Part 2)

As I mentioned in the last post, I am working towards making 80% of all my Christmas gifts this year. I am well on my way and enjoying every second of it!

Here is my list of spa related items I making (and sharing with you):
  • Lavender bath salt ($2) DONE
  • Lavender sugar scrub ($2.50)
  • Lavender scented wickless candle pucks ($0.50) 
  • Spa towel ($7)
  • Lavender scented Catalytic Lamp oil (you know like Lampe Berget oil) ($2.50)
  • Lavender linen water ($1.50)
  • Lavender reed diffuser (Not done yet do I don't have an approximate cost)
To continue with the spa basket gift idea, I made a wonderful Lavender scented sugar scrub. It was a little more work (took maybe 1 minute more) and cost a smidge more than the bath salts, but this stuff is amazing! I have always purchased the sugar scrub from Bath and Body Works but have you looked at the ingredients on those things? It has more chemicals in it than I am happy to admit I put on my body. So for all of you looking for a great DIY frugal gift or for those of you avoiding artificial bath and body products, this will be a great post for you!


  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 10-20 drops essential oil (or however many you feel gives you a nice scent) I used Lavender Essential Oil but you can use any essential oil scent you like
  • Dried lavender liberated from your mother's garden ( this is completely optional)
  • Jar with a tight fitting lid


Add the 3 cups of sugar into a mixing bowl. I used plain old white sugar but if you want to use coarse or brown sugar, both would work great too. 

Slowly add the 1 cup plus 2 tbsp of olive oil to the sugar. Carefully mix with a spoon until well blended. I used the cheapest olive oil I could find, so we got a light yellow ting to the scrub. If you prefer a more neutral color you can spend more and get a coconut oil or a lighter colored olive oil. I was being frugal and decided to go this way. Some people add a drop of food coloring but to be honest with you I wouldn't do it. I see how food coloring stains my counters and hands when I use it so why add it to something you are putting on your body. Your call though.

Slowly add the essential oils. I used approximately 20 drops but my olive oil had a stronger smell. So start with 10 drops and see if you like the scent. If you want a stronger smell, add a few more drops of essential oil at a time.

Since I am doing a lavender themed spa basket, I added some dried lavender petals/flowers to the mix.
I then transferred the mixture to a tight sealing container.

NOTE: If you would like your mix to be a little coarser for tougher skin or the men in your life, you can add some Epson salt. However, if you want it a little softer for more sensitive skin, you can add a bit more oil. 
To decorate the container, I added a band of brown paper secured with double sided tape.
I made a label with a paper punch I had, added a few sprigs of lavender and tied it all together with some raffia.
It was really that simple! Since I made extra for myself, I have been using this for the past week and my hands and legs have never felt so nice. My mother in law was over when I made my last batch, so I gave her some and she has been using it on her face. Not sure I am willing to try that but she loves it!

Have any of you ever made your own sugar scrub? Have you tried it on your face?

What do you think? Anyone else thinking of making a spa gift package now that you have one place to get easy and frugal methods of making them?

Have a great week!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

DIY Lavender Bath Salt - Easy Gifts on a Budget

So I am officially into my Christmas countdown! I realize most of you are getting ready for Thanksgiving, but I have been working on reaching my goal of an 80% homemade Christmas for some time.

I apologize for the minimal posts lately, but I have been trying to get most of my gifts finished before I start posting.

I have decided for all the women I give gifts for, I was going to create a spa themed basket. I plan to make the following for each person:
  • Lavender bath salt ($2)
  • Lavender sugar scrub ($2.50)
  • Spa towel ($7)
  • Lavender scented Catalytic Lamp oil (you know like Lampe Berget oil) ($2.50)
  • Lavender linen water ($1.50)
  • Lavender reed diffuser (Not done yet do I don't have an approximate cost)

I have made almost all of these items and provided the approximate costs to create them. Obviously you can make them for less or more depending on the products you buy. If you reuse jars you have on hand, you will save $1 on all the costs. It adds up!

I plan to purchase a few accessories (i.e. cozy socks, sponges, etc) to add to all the baskets.

I will start by sharing the easiest gift to make, Lavender Bath Salts. This smells amazing! I have always used Epson Salts for my bath but never thought that it was this easy to make them scented. I will never buy full price bath salts again!


  • 1 1/8 cup Epson Salt
  • 24 drops of Lavender Essential Oils (you can use any essential oil scent you like)
  • Dried lavender liberated from your mother's garden (Shhh don't tell her)
  • Container that seals tight

This is the essential oil that I used and loved!


Start by adding 1 1/8 cup of Epson salt to a bowl. If you are wondering why my salt looks like more than 1 1/8 cup, it is because I quadrupled the recipe.
Add 24 drops of essential oil to the Epson Salt
Stir, stir, stir. Once the oil was mixed into the Epson Salt, I added a handful of dried lavender flowers. You don't have to do this, I just thought it was a nice touch.
Transfer the scented salt to your container. I thought it was funny that for the first container I actually used a funnel. You can easily just spoon it into the container without having to use a funnel.
 Seal the containers and decorate them as you like.
I used a strip of brown paper, raffia and a few lavender sprigs to dress my containers up.
Using double sided tape, I stuck the brown paper to the container.
Wrapped some raffia around it. It would also look nice with some Christmas ribbon or twine.
 I added a tag identifying what was in the jar and a little extra lavender and I was finished.
I figure this probably cost $2 total to make. I think the most expensive item for this was the container which I got at the Dollar Store for $1. The huge jug of Epson salt was $7 at Costco and the large bottle Lavender oil was $20 but I have used next to nothing from either of them so I think I used probably $0.50 of these materials.

I will share the Lavender Sugar Scrub very soon.
Remember, you can use any scent you like. I have done this with orange (my favorite scent) and also have a great recipe for all those athletes out there. I will share the runner's scrub and soak soon.

Wouldn't this make an amazing gift for everyone attending a wedding? The hall would smell great and you have a reasonably priced but beautiful gift for everyone. You could easily make hundreds of these in an afternoon!

What do you think? Anyone else working towards making almost all their Christmas gifts this year?



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