Friday Favorites: DIY Holiday Gifts!

Hi everyone! I am so excited about this holiday season—something about 2013 just feels better than ever! While I’ve got some time off during Thanksgiving break, I figured I’d get a headstart on DIY gifts for all of my family and friends. Homemade gifts, to me, just feel more heartfelt and thoughtful. I’ve already shared one of my gift ideas, gingerbread body scrub, but I came across some more ideas this week and wanted to share them!

Friday Favorites: DIY Holiday Gifts

1. Instant Mocha Mix Favors
I love these adorable mocha mixes. They’re suggested as wedding favors, but I think they’d be great for any occasion! They are easy to make and would be adorable little gifts for anyone on your list. You could even whip up a big batch of these and tie them on to wrapped presents as a special bonus!

2. Candy-Cane Marshmallows
A few years ago, my mother made some homemade peppermint marshmallows that were very similar to these—they were to die for! Homemade marshmallows tend to not be stiff like processed ones can be, and they are just so fluffy and heavenly. These would be wonderful packaged nicely with a tube of the instant mocha mix tied on!

3. Holiday Joy Plate
This is another cheap and easy idea that would make a very thoughtful gift. Personalize a holiday-themed plate for one of your loved ones and pile it high with cookies! When they reach the end of the treats, they’ll be excited to see their very own keepsake. I can’t wait to make this one!

What other DIY gift ideas do you have in store?

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Gingerbread Body Scrub

The holidays have really crept up on me this year. With Thanksgiving in just over a week, I realized I need to get started on gifts! I came across this gingerbread scrub and wanted to share it!

homemade gingerbread body scrub to soften dry winter skin.

This scrub will make a lovely gift for any lady on your list this year! Lay a simple piece of fabric over the top of the jar and tie it up with a holiday ribbon and a spoon—voila! It’ll be a great, useful, and easy present for your friends and family, but keep a little for yourself! The sugar helps scrub away dead skin and the coconut oil moisturizes dry winter skin. Bonus! It smells like freshly baked gingerbread cookies and will keep you in the holiday spirit.

This scrub is so easy and takes just minutes to throw together. Here’s what you’ll need:
2 cups of brown sugar
1 cup oil of your choice, I used coconut oil
2 tbsp ground ginger
2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

Just mix all the ingredients together! Adjust them as needed–if the mixture is too wet, add more sugar; if it’s too dry, add a little more oil! Then just store in an air-tight container and gift to your friends!

DIY gingerbread body scrub

What are some homemade gift ideas you’ve got planned for this year? I’d love to hear them!

Polka Dotted Planter

I’ve got a confession to make—I’m a horrible mother. Plant mother, that is. I certainly did not inherit a green thumb from my own mother. I’ve never succeeded in owning a plant and I’ve even killed cacti with my horrible caretaking.

But one day at Home Depot, I decided to buy a simple terra cotta pot and give it a makeover to house a pretty plant, one that I am determined to help survive. So I grabbed a few acrylic paints from the craft store and got to work.

Quick and easy polka dotted planter

Now, since I’m such a bad plant parent and don’t know much about taking care of them, I’m not sure how well these paints will work in the long run…but for now, they look pretty wonderful!

This project was incredibly simple. I purchased a terra cotta planter, two small bottles of acrylic paint, and a pack of foam brushes and found a new pencil with eraser lying.

Polka Dotted Planter process photosDSC_0157

Lay out a newspaper or paper towels to protect your work surface.
Tape off the upper rim of the planter, if desired.
Using a foam brush, paint the base color on your planter. Let dry about 15 minutes and paint second coat.
Once both base coats are dry, remove the tape from upper rim. Using a clean and dry foam brush, paint the accent color around the upper rim and let dry. Apply a second coat if needed.

For the polka dots, dip a new pencil eraser in the accent color paint.
(You may need to try a few practice dots on the newspaper or work surface. It helps to dunk the eraser in paint and do one dot on the paper to get rid of excess paint.)
Apply the paint from the eraser to the base of the pot. You can choose to apply the dots in a random or an organized pattern, like the one I did.
Give the pot plenty of time to dry before placing a plant in it.
(I’d give it at least a day to make sure the paint is really fully dried.

Polka dotted planter

And voila! It’s super easy, really adorable, and would make a great gift! Or if you plan on keeping it around like I am, it makes a lovely centerpiece to liven up a table or desk. You can customize it to match any and every color scheme you want!

Pumpkin Spice Lip Scrub

I’m loving scrubs lately and couldn’t resist making this one I came across on the Cat & Bot Blog last week. Around this time of year, the weather starts to change and it can wreak havoc on your skin and body. This sugar scrub will help exfoliate those dry lips and reveal soft, smooth, moisturized lips. Have I mentioned yet that its pumpkin spice flavored too? This scrub is delicious enough to eat and is made of wholesome ingredients you probably already have lying around. Give it a try!

Pumpkin Spice Lip Scrub -- easy, delicious, and just four simple ingredients

It’s incredibly simple. All you’ll need is:
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. honey
1 ½ tbsp. white granulated sugar
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
(you can adjust these ingredients as needed to get the consistency you want)

Pumpkin Spice Lip Scrub -- just four ingredients to soft, smooth lips

Once you’ve got all the ingredients gathered, simply combine them in a small bowl and stir. Store it in a small container and it should be good in the fridge for two weeks.

What are some other scrub flavors you like? I’m excited to try some more!

Vanilla Brown Sugar Body Scrub

bodyscrubheader2

I recently got engaged and naturally, my left hand has been the center of attention. Since everyone I know is asking to see my ring, I’ve been trying to make sure my hands and nails are in perfect condition.

This vanilla and brown sugar hand and body scrub does just that. It smells heavenly and leaves my skin feeling wonderfully soft. The best part is it’s quick and easy to make and it’s made of simple ingredients you most likely already have! And since it’s made of simple, natural ingredients, it is gentle enough for sensitive skin and can be used for hands or body.

It also makes a wonderful present. Throw some in a jar, tie it up with some pretty ribbon, and you’ve got a great gift your friends will love!

(See the recipe below!)

bodyscrub

Here’s what you’ll need:
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2-3/4 cups olive oil (or oil of your choice!)
1-2 tsp of vanilla extract (according to your preferences)

Mix the white sugar and brown sugar until well combined. Then slowly add oil, stirring until you get the consistency you want. Continue mixing until well combined and add vanilla extract.

And there you go! Wasn’t that simple?!