DIY Bath Salts (part two): Know your ingredients

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Last week, I showed you how easy it is it make your own bath salts. As with any recipe, they are not set in stone. You can certainly customize these recipes just as you would food recipes. However, as with the food you eat, it is important to know which ingredients are good for you and which are not. That’s what this Monday’s post is all about.

There are three main ingredients in most of the DIY bath salt recipes you will find online; salt, essential oil, and the carrier for the essential oils (usually another oil). Some of these recipes will add baking soda but I have found it isn’t absolutely necessary. However, it does provide some health benefits in its own right! Let’s start with the salts.

There are four kinds of salt that are most beneficial for bath salts. The easiest to find is, of course, Epsom salt. Anyone who has played sports or been active knows that Epsom salts are incredibly helpful in soothing sore muscles. It also helps when you’re sore from a bad fall…not that I have any personal experience with that part at all…. I’m lying, I fall on my face frequently. But Epsom salt (and really all salts listed here) are a great source of magnesium. Epsom salt is actually composed of tiny crystals of magnesium and sulfate, making it very different from your run of the mill, regular table salt. Our bodies need magnesium for a number of reasons, one of which is that it helps our bodies produce serotonin. Serotonin is that fun little chemical in our brain that helps make us happy. Low levels of serotonin can be a key indicator of depression in humans.

Magnesium also helps relax us and reduces irritability. This is something that can come in handy for us females during certain periods of time. *winknudge* Another huge benefit of magnesium is that it helps eliminate toxins from your body. Soaking in this will allow your body to expel toxins through your skin, which helps to keeps us healthy and happy. Some people even believe that soaking in magnesium sulfate can help purge your aura of negativity. For some other ways that Epsom salts can benefit you, please see this article over at Natural Living Ideas.

The other salts I mentioned earlier also contain magnesium, so some of the benefits are the same. Himalayan Pink sea salt also has antibacterial and antiseptic properties which makes it really soothing and beneficial for skin problems like eczema, acne, and psoriasis. Also, it’s natural coloring makes it popular for bath salts since you don’t need to use artificial coloring then. Only downside there is that it only comes in pink. Dead Sea Salt is one of the most natural bath salt ingredients you’ll find. These salts are extracted directly from the Dead Sea and undergo very little (if any, in some cases) processing. This one, however, is a little more difficult to come by and can cost more. The biggest difference between Epsom and sea salts is the composition: while Epsom salts are purely magnesium sulfate, sea salts are mineral rich. They contain important minerals like calcium, copper, iodine, iron, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, and zinc. These minerals are all natural and things that our bodies need to be healthy. Our lifestyles in today’s society tend to be deficient in a lot of these minerals so this is a lovely way to replenish them to our bodies.

A fourth salt that can be used is standard kosher salt. This works great to mix with the Epsom salts. This way you get the benefits of the magnesium sulfate from the Epsom salt and the minerals of the sea salts.

The other important ingredient is what is called a carrier or base oil. This is what you will add the drops of your essential oil to in order for it to mix with the water of your bath. I personally like to use oils because of the benefits to skin but you can also use things like castile soap or shampoo. I’m going to focus on the oils that I have used in the past. One reason I like these is because you can mix the essential oils with these and use them as moisturizers instead of mixing with the salts. Some of my favorites are apricot kernel seed oil, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, vitamin E, and grapeseed oil. You can also use green tea seed, olive, jojoba, sesame, and hemp seed. All of these oils are great for moisturizing skin but most of them also have antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-aging properties.

As I posted in last week’s post, if you are using a base oil like sesame or sweet almond, make sure that the person using it is not allergic to it. DIY bath salts are super easy and inexpensive gifts for showers and holidays but you don’t want your gift to make your friend or family member to break out in hives or, ya know, go into anaphylactic shock.

Basically, these things are easy to make as long as you know and respect the ingredients. Some wonderful resources to look through if you want to research your own can be found here and here.

 

~Scribe Sarah~


DIY Bath Salts (Part One)

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It’s been a long, hard day and all you want to do is soak in a hot bath, maybe with a book or some soothing music. Adding aromatherapy to this scenario will take your relaxing bath to a whole new level. Some people use incense or Scentsy wax. But there is a little something that anyone can whip up quite quickly that will make that bath not only soothing but also beneficial to your health as well. Add a little bath salt.

There are a bunch of different recipes that you can use to make a simple, scented bath salt. I’m including the one that I use more frequently. This recipe is simple and all the ingredients are easy to obtain. Most items can be found at a grocery store and things like the essential oils can be found at stores like The Vitamin Shoppe. Be aware that essential oils need to be understood and used with care. I did a lot of research about how to use essential oils safely and the chemistry involving how these oils interact with your body.

There are many types of salts that can be used in bath salt recipes but Epsom salts are usually the easiest to find. Next week, you can read about the different types of both salts and carrier oils that can be used in the making of bath salts. A carrier oil is a seed or vegetable oil used to dilute the essential oils before they are applied to skin. If you try to put straight essential oil into your bath water, you’ll notice that your skin will start to burn and irritate. This is because oil and water do not mix so the essential oils tend to float on top of the water. Then you get into the bath and the oils are attracted to the lipids in your body, causing irritation (usually made worse by the heat of the water). You should never add essential oils directly to the bath water, always make sure you are diluting them with either a carrier oil, salt or both.

The recipe I use most uses both a carrier oil and salt. I like this recipe because Epsom salts are not only easy to find but it also helps sooth sore and achy muscles. This is especially nice after a hard workout or if you’ve taken a fall. You will need the following items:

  • 1 cup Epsom Salt
  • 1 cup Kosher Salt
  • ½ cup Baking Soda
  • 2 tbsp carrier oil of your choice
  • Essential oils (whichever scents you want)
  • A large bowl
  • A small bowl
  • A whisk
  • A rimmed baking sheet
  • Aluminum foil
  • Mason jars

To begin, combine one cup of the Epsom salt, one cup of the kosher salt, and a half cup of the baking soda into the large bowl and mix together.

Once you have those things mixed well, place off to the side and in a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of your carrier oil. For the batch I made today, I used sweet almond oil. Be aware that if you plan to make a gift of these, check with the person about potential allergies! You don’t want to give someone who is allergic to almonds a bath salt that is made with almond oil.

Next, add 20 drops of your essential oil to the carrier oil. You can mix different scents if you like. I used eucalyptus, lavender, and spearmint for a relaxing and head-clearing bath salt. Stir the essential oils into the carrier oil. At this point, if you want to add a color to your salts, you can do so by adding a drop or two of food coloring to the carrier oil and mixing it in. You do not have to do this. Take your large bowl with your mixed salts and add the now mixed carrier & essential oils. Mix thoroughly with the whisk. (Make sure the dishes you are using for this either get cleaned really well or use dishes that are not used for food items).

Once the carrier oil is thoroughly mixed into the salts, spread some aluminum foil onto the baking sheet and then spread the salts out onto the foil. Let sit for about 15 minutes. This allows the salts and the oils to dry out a bit and bond together. Then you can carefully pull up the corners of the foil and use this to pour your salts into your Mason jars for storage. I like to use Ball Mason jars because they have measurements on the side. 1 cup of the finished salts equals one bath.

     

I hope you enjoy this recipe and there are a number of other recipes and tips to try from the internet as well. One can be found here along with a number of other fun DIY items (the focus of the webpage is for brides but some of the items can be for every day use also).

~Scribe Sarah~

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Using Molds and Texture Sheets

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Its Wednesday again, and after constant storms and rain, the yard is starting to get green again. I am back home after three days at a local event, and working hard on new stock for my upcoming show.

When I am working with clay, two of the most invaluable tools at my disposal are molds and texture sheets. There are some things you simply can’t make on your own, or would take too long, and these are very handy for that. Texture sheets allow you to change the appearance of the polymer clay’s surface. The photos below are pieces I have made with the help of texture sheets and a pastry mold.

They can be plastic, silicone, metal or ceramic. The flexibility of silicone or plastic can be easier to work with, as the clay typically releases quickly from the imprint you make of it. You can buy pre-made sheets and molds, or create your own. I do both. There are some great two part silicone kits that will let you imprint texture or design into them. You can recreate the texture of leather, linen, scales, or even a raised pattern on a rock or a piece of pottery. GF Art Store has great sheets and cutters.

A mold good for polymer clay are mostly from silicone or a soft plastic. a hard mold will not release the clay. I have seen some instructions for baking in heat resistant molds, but I generally change up the piece I am molding enough that the flexible variety are best for my work. From molding pastry shells, dog bones, feathers, shells, or frames for a piece, and even molding doll parts, there are thousands of molds to inspire you. I have found several excellent shops on Etsy with great pre-made silicone molds. The Mold Studio is one.

Another is Sweet Treat Collections. They also carry baking supplies and cutters. If you make any projects with molds or texture sheets, please link to them. I would love to see what everyone comes up with!


Polymer Clay Tools

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Happy Wednesday! This is Kim, with Fantastical Menagerie. I wanted to share some of the resources I use to find tools to work with my polymer clay. A lot of us start with the basic tools that can be found at most craft stores such as Michaels or Hobby Lobby. Sometimes you need a more specific tool than what can be found there. In my years of working with clay, I have found some great alternatives for sculpting tools and texture tools.

AmCreatures on Etsy has some nice hand designed tools. They are based in Canada. Their tools are mostly directed at sculpting dolls and faces for puppets, but work well for polymer clay. Some are for sculpting scales, eyes, and tiny detail work. Their prices are very reasonable for custom tools.

If you find that kneading clay fills you with dread, this next tool has great reviews, is simple to use, and does it in seconds. Its called the NeverKnead. Its an expensive investment, but works based on pressure. Instead of spending a great deal of time and pain with clay, try this!

If you need sharper straight blades for your clay, especially for cutting canes, Creative Canes Etsy shop sells tissue blades, which are medical grade and extremely sharp. Flexible enough for cutting curved shapes as well. The shop also offers different polymer clay finished cane projects.

Pottery114U sells pottery clay stamps that help with imprinting texture into your polymer clay. They are inexpensive, durable, and versatile.

When searching on your own, include searches for cake decorating, pottery, and other crafts, since tools may work for other mediums.

 


Displaying your jewelry designs

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Good morning all. This is Kim with Fantastical Menagerie. My summer season has started with a great bang, and for those of you who also make jewelry, I’m sure you think about how best to display the unique pieces you craft. Whether it is at home or at a show, it can be tricky to come up with ways that show your pieces to their best advantage, and let others know how unique your things are. I’ve found some excellent craftsmen on Etsy that make some excellent displays, ship, and are happy to customize them.

WhatWeMade is based in Arizona, and has some unique designs. Their necklace bust is gorgeous, wooden, and striking with any silver pieces you have.

DalesWoodandMore has a lovely wall unit that would be great for personal collections, or hanging on grid for a nice table display.

If you want to go more metal, BlackIronIndustrial has some unique shelving and bar selections.

I also love this wonderful travel case from Canoa Naturals

It is versatile and pretty. If looking to make your own display, there are a number of tutorials out there to make it a snap for any crafty person!


 


DIY Laundry Supplies

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I don’t normally post “life hacks” types of crafts, but I’ve been looking into more of this stuff to suit my family allergy needs and I figure I shouldn’t just hoard it all to myself. 😉 So today I’m gonna give you the info you need in order to make your own laundry detergent and an anti-static wool ball.

 

Washing Detergent

  • Borax
  • Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (NOT baking soda)
  • 5.5oz Fels-Naptha Soap (you can also just about any bar soap really, but this one is made specifically for laundry)
  • water
  • 5 gallon bucket
  • Hand Grater (Yes, like the one for cheese)
  • Essential Oils (Optional; only used to add a scent to the clothes)
  • 5 Gallon Bucket (for liquid detergent only)

Once you have you ingredients gathered you have 2 options. Powdered or Liquid. The first step for both requires you to grate the Fels-Naptha Soap bar. A normal house hold grater will do just fine. Then for powered detergent simply multiply this out depending on how much you want to make:

1 cup Washing Soda

1 cup Borax

½ cup – 1 cup grated bar soap

That’s it! Use maybe a ¼ cup per full load. You’ll likely adjust to suit your needs after a few experiment loads.

If you prefer liquid soap, you’ll need to perform a few extra steps. First, take your grated soap and add it to a pot with 4 cups of hot water.  Put it on the stove on medium-high, and stir until completely melted – about 10 minutes. Take that 5 gallon bucket and fill it half way with water, then pour in your liquid soap. Stir in 1 cup of borax & 1 cup of washing soda into the bucket. If you want to make it scented, now is the time to add your essential oil. You’ll need ½ – 1 oz total depending on how strong you want the scent to be. Stir that in as well to combine. Now, fill up the bucket with warm water all the way to the top – and stir again.  If you don’t have a utensil long enough to reach the bottom, just put on a pair of rubber dish gloves beforehand. SNap the lid on the bucket and let it sit for at least 24 hours so it can gel up.

Once it’s done, you’ll likely notice it’s got clumps, or if you made it while it’s humid out it may still be pretty thin. This is normal/fine and you should still use it like normal. If you really want it to have that store bought consistency instead of being lumpy though, you can take an immersion blender to it to smooth everything out. Disperse it into other containers (empty detergent or milk gallons for example) and voila. You’re no longer beholden to the detergent industry.

Anti-Static Ball

I know we’ve all heard the aluminum foil ball thing, but this one will leave your laundry smell nice instead.

  • 100% Wool yarn would into a ball
  • Essential Oil

Make sure your ball of wool is tightly wound and wash it until it becomes felted. Then add a few drops of essential oil to the ball, letting it set before using. It will not need to be rewashed (bar anything happening to it), just add more essential oil again if the smell fades. Simply it toss it in when you are drying your clothes and bam. No more static. 🙂 If you really need that dryer sheet feel you can soak the wool ball in fabric softener instead, but the wool is key to help get rid of static.


DIY Mermaid Crown

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My sister is expecting her second child within the next few weeks (aka not soon enough if you ask her) and has been nesting. She’s constantly fiddling with the baby’s room and fussing over it being “not ready” with her latest obsession (since the room actually is ready and has been for some time) being the decorations in the room. Since she lives by the beach doing a beach/mermaid theme appealed to her and she’s been bombarding me with every mermaid print/decoration she’s fallen in love with for the last 2 weeks.

Basically you have her to thank for today’s topic, lol.

Now this wouldn’t work well with a new born outside of a photo shoot of course, but she loves the idea  of using found shells from the beach near her home to make one. Personally I’d like a more tiara styled one, but that’s the beauty with this type of thing, once you know the basics, you can easily adjust it to suit your needs. 🙂


No One Steals Alone Cookie Jar

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So we’ve all done it. Swiped a few fresh baked cookies from the jar when your friend/family walked away. Rookie mistake of course on their part as they could lose all their baked treats this way. It happened to me so I suppose that’s Karma for ya. Well this one artist has designed a cookie lock bx that will require an assistant for you to get in to.

Crafted by Thijs Sondag and his friend Gustav, this cookie box requires at least 2 sets of hands to open. Now if it were me, this is where I’d use my many younger siblings to swipe cookies for me so I could truthfully admit I’d not touched the box all day. You could of course use this for hiding things from those without built in teams of scapegoats  assistants, but if you make it out of wood it probably wouldn’t keep a determined thief from simply breaking it open. Still, if you’d like to make your own, the creative duo has kindly shared the plans online. You can also watch the full video of the box here if the lovely gif loop just doesn’t do it for ya. 😉


DIY Unique Yarn Storage

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Hey there, Hackers! Tis your intrepid ScribeSarah, back with some tips on how to keep your crafting space clear and organized. Now, even little ol’ anal-retentive me gets her home a little messy with all her little projects but there are ways you can get that chaos organized, even if it doesn’t always look like it. While I tend to be a bit of a jack of all trades in the craft arena, for today’s exercise, I thought we would focus on ways to keep your yarn both accessible and stowed so that it’s not taking over your home.

There are quick and easy ways to store your yarns and threads, most of which you can find at your local Container Store (a place I am not allowed to go unsupervised because I will buy all the things). However, if you’re looking for something a little less ordinary (and costly), there are a bunch of things out there that you can use or re-purpose for these needs.

For yarn that isn’t being used currently (or for that yarn you found you just couldn’t leave the craft store without despite not having a specific project you bought it for), you could use old wicker/weaved baskets. My grandmother had a ton of these just hiding in her cupboards and when she passed away, rather than donate them to the Goodwill, I kept and re-purposed them. Some I use for small balls of yarn (leftovers from projects past) and some I use to keep finished projects. These can be decorative and left out by a chair or sofa or can be standard square that fits in a closet or on a shelf easily.

Another thing that gives your not-being-used yarn a happy and somewhatImage result for vintage suitcase retro home is to put those old suitcases to work. Vintage suitcases are a beautiful way to store these items that still look neat and classy. They fit in closets, under beds or sofas, but still show off a little glamor when pulled out for use. They can also be stacked decoratively in a corner or on a shelf (e.g. hat boxes, etc). You can line old suitcases with any fabric you like too, so the inside as well as the outside has a special sort of flare.

If you like assembling items, this next item is for you. Simple pegboard and hooks are a fabulous way to store your yarn while still keeping it readily accessible and easy to use. You can customize size, shape, even color quite easily and load as many or as few skeins onto a board as you see fit. You can also create many small boards to mount along the wall of your craft room in a funky design or pattern. The sky’s the limit with this option and it works best if you have a dedicated craft area or room.  For an easy-to-follow tutorial, check out Dwell Beautiful’s step-by-step instructions here.

Coffee cans are a fun, decorative way to store yarn you are currently using on projects. They come in various sizes and, depending on how much coffee you consume, you may have a restoring supply. You can paint or decoupage the outside of each can, simply slice a small hole in the lid of the can, then place the ball or skein in the can and thread the end through the lid. Glue guns, glitter, rhinestones, shelf lining paper and yarn itself are also fun ways to decorate the outsides of the cans. Not only does this give you storage, it is also an inexpensive yarn holder. But if you don’t want tons of coffee cans just sitting around your space, you can also mount them on the wall (without the lids).

Image result for coffee can yarn

And finally, we come to milk crates. These may be a little harder to come by but they give you a great way to create your own yarn shelves. They are stackable, come in different colors and can be used in small and large spaces equally as well. Got a lot of yarn? Just keep stacking on the crates until you have a place for it all. For this idea, I recommend using an anchor of sorts when stacking against a wall; the higher you stack the crates, the more likely it is that the whole thing could topple over. You will also want to lash the crates together as well to make your yarn storage sturdier.

Image result for milk crate yarn storage

These are just a few ways to take items you may have either laying around the house or are easy and inexpensive to acquire and use them to organize your space. But don’t stop there. Look around you. You never know when inspiration will strike. That random item that’s just collecting dust in the corner may be the next great organizational tool in your crafting adventures.

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DIY Vinyl Art for Bags & Purses

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I’m not a big purse person, never have been, and I don’t care to have decorated ones as a result. The idea of customizing one though? Sign me up!

This idea comes from the folks at StudioDIY, and is all about making a custom donut image for your round purse, but if they’re not your thing, I don’t see why you can’t apply these methods there to any purse/bag you like! You’ll want to visit the DIY page to make sure you understand the process to tweak it to your needs, but here’s the quick run down of supplies required for this project.

It involves lots of spray adhesive to get everything together, so you’ll want to make sure you’re in a well ventilated space or outdoors so fumes don’t become over powering. I’m not sure if this would work on fabric, but I think it would since it’s mostly the adhesive keeping things in place. So if you’ll excuse me, I have a blank to tote to customize.