Homemade Gifts or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Bath Bombs

So,  I’ve been doing a lot of my Christmas shopping lately and as I’ve been wandering through throngs of people (seriously, don’t you people have jobs or families to go to?) and sifting through shelves of all the useless shit that’s piled up in the big box stores of this city and I’ve come to a realization that some of you little fruitcakes might have already had:  Christmas gift shopping sucks.  I know what you’re thinking: “But, Oh Crafty One, it’s only November, it can’t be that bad!”  But it is… it’s worse.  I like to spend most of my Christmas holidays not wanting to hang myself from the rafters with a piece of tack-licious tinsel garland, so I stay out of stores by getting all my gifts early.  However, I think I might be giving away too many of my secrets because it seems the masses have figured out my ploy and followed me, Pied-Piper-style, to Walmart and beyond.
So, what is a Crafty Bitch to do when you want to please your friendly-wendlies and loved ones and not kill your fellow shoppers in the process?  Why, you just whip together some hassle-free treats, stick on a gift tag, and call it a day.

One of the most underrated treasures in the world is homemade gifts.  Think about all the absolute crap you’ve gotten in your lifetime and how much it actually meant to you.  If I could take all the shitty teddy bears I’ve gotten in my life and get them together, I wouldn’t have a teddy bear picnic, I’d have a teddy bear bonfire.  I don’t know about you, but I’m at a point in my life where I don’t need any more junk, and so are most of my friends, so why should I be throwing away tons of my hard-earned money at the mall finding that perfect something  when my pal-ios probably already have two of them, or they never wanted it in the first place.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the most valuable thing you can give someone is your time, so why not put together a few time-filled goodies.

Bath Bombs
These are super easy to make and I love them because when you throw them in the drink with ya it’s like soaking in a big glass of champagne.

They’re also awesome  because you can lie and tell people they took you all day and they’ll believe you (Remember: The best relationships are built on a foundation of lies).

Ingredients:
1 cup baking soda:
I say sodium bicarbonate because it helps me remember baking soda, not powder.  Also, it makes me sound like  a fancy scientist: “Hmm, yes, I need some sodium bicarbonate for cleaning my flatware… AND MY DEATH RAY”.  You can get this anywhere, I like Bulk Barn because it’s cheapy-cheapy and I can pick up  a shit load of candy while I’m at it.

1/2 cup of citric acid:
… or as I like to call it– Waldo, because it can be pretty hard to find.  Here’s a few little tricks to finding it though that I didn’t really think of when I went out a-lookin’: Know what it looks like:
(I put a tiny wind-up Santa next to it to give you an idea of how big it should be.  Then I realized that tiny Santa’s aren’t exactly a universal measurement, but fuck it, I’m not taking the photo again.)

Secondly, you’ll probably be asked what citric acid used for just so they’ll know what section of the store to find it in.  The answer is- It should be everywhere, but it’s usually nowhere.  It can be used in small amounts as an additive to jams and jellies so it could be found in the canning section of Walmart, it’s also used to ripen cheese so it might be in your local health food or cooking supply stores, also, you can use it to cut heroine so you might try asking your local drug dealer.  Just joking, smack is whack.  Anyway, I thought I could just go out and ask some nice helpful salespeople and someone would have an idea.  However, most people looked at me like I was trying to build a bomb.  Which I was… a bath bomb!  (Just FYI, it’s probably not a good idea to use that one to said suspicious salespeople.)  After 2 Walmart`s, 4 Shopper’s Drug Marts, 2 Dominions (brawl with rude customer service lady thrown in for free), and 1 Sobey’s,  I had a stroke of genius that involved calling around before heading out.  Of course the first place I called was a wine making supply store that had tons of the stuff.  So, I’d look there first.  If you’re okay to wait, I’d recommend checking out Ebay or the Brewery Lane’s online store, Clickabrew, which is the store I got mine from.

2 teaspoons of cornstarch
Easy enough.

4 teaspoons of grapeseed oil
If you don’t know what grapeseed oil is it’s because it’s been camouflaged next to the olive oil at the grocery store for all these years.

A few drops of food colouring
I use neon food colouring because I’m wild and craaaaazy.

A few drops of fragrance
You can get these at Michael`s or any place with soap making supplies.  I’m not usually one who heeds all the warnings but I’ve heard that you must use soap fragrance as candle scent can irritate you body when added to a bath and I always abide by such disclaimers when my hoo-ha is involved ;).

Extras
There are a few extras you can add to your bath bombs, such as vitamin E oil, but really you’d just be spending money to gild the lily.  Some people add sugar, sprinkles, or candies, but apparently these peoples’ mothers didn’t teach them about the pitfalls of women’s health (Thanks, Ma!).

Instructions (Make sure you pay attention, it’s real tricky)
1.  Mix wet ingredients in a cup (this batch is grapefruit flavoured, in case you were wondering).

2.  Mix dry ingrediants in a bowl.

3.  Add contents of cup to bowl.

4.  Smoosh.   Throughout your smooshing process you will need to add more oil, just keep going until you get a sticky-ish consistency– enough so when you shape it it doesn’t fall apart.  Don’t worry if you go a bit overboard, as long as you don’t turn it into bath bomb-slop you can even it out with more baking soda.  P.S.  You will love how your hands feel after this– soft like buttah.

BAM! you got your mixture.  Use anything you want as a mold- ice cube trays, chocolate molds, plastic Christmas ornaments, it’s all good.
I like the little bubble  containers you get from gumball machines.  Pack it hard (that’s what she said) then extract from your mold.  Again, if they are a little powdery or oily just let them sit for a while to harden up.

Don’t be afraid to mix and match colours, some of my favorites are pink and green melon scented, and white vanilla paired with orange tangerine to make cream-sicle.

Put them in baggies, throw some straw or ribbon on it, and give them to all your smelly friends 🙂 .

Oh, and for all my homies reading this right now:  Guess what prezzie you’re getting!  And for all my friends that don’t like baths:  aw well, maybe you’ll get something next year.

Song of the Day:

Advertisements

Pumpkin Carving Magic: All You Need is Bibbidi, Bobbidi, and Booze

So, I was creepily scouring peoples’ Facebook pictures the other day and I realized that sooo many people were getting out in the world and doing fun, autumny things.  Quite a few people were visiting farms and picking their own pumpkins and what not and while my outdoorsy-ness really does only extend to watching my man rake the leaves from the safety of our deck, I got super jealous that I wasn’t a part of all of these corn maze-ing, pumpkin-picking, hay bale-ing good times.  So, while I was at the liquor store I figured I’d take a short jaunt over to Sobey’s and pluck myself up a nice ripe pumpy and have a little carve-fest date with my dearest.  While he’s all about date night, he knows his place– he leaves the crafting business up to me.  So he played a marvelous game of Call of Duty, and plied me with praise and alcohol (don’t tell me that’s not love), while I whipped up a Halloween wonder in the form of Cinderella’s carriage.

Step one:
Punch a hole in that sucker.  Most Jack-o’-Lanterns have their access holes on top around the stem, but I put one in the back so my wee carriage will look sleek.  So many people have asked me how I managed to carve it without putting a hole in it.  I said: Magic.  That’s not me being clever, that is me being saucy.

Step 2:
Scoop out your pumpkin.  A lot of people call the “stuff” pulp.  However, if you look in the trusty Bitchionary you’ll see it’s actually called “punkin guts”. This part is tedious.  so I recommend cracking open a cold one to help you get through it.  Sigh.

Step 3:
Next I decided to have a door and some windows installed. You don’t have to print off the MS Paint blueprints I’ve attached to the bottom of the page,  I assume you know how to draw an oval.  But I do recommend making a little paper stencil for yourself first so your shapes don’t look wonky and mismatched.

 

If you want to be a fancy pants you can add a tiny working door on your carriage.  Just take the oval you cut out for your doorway, chop it in half and  use some wire (or unbent paperclips if you’re going to be resourceful about it) and make teeny tiny hinges.  Shape one paper clip like a “U” and drive it into the pumpkin wall, then use a second paper clip and thread it trough your first one, then drive it’s prongs into the door.  Give the prongs a little twisty-twisty business so they’ll hold in place, and ba-blam! You got yourself a door. If Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater ever comes looking to buy a house for his missus, I’ve got myself a new gig.


Step 4:
Take your little creation into the back yard and and give a good coating of silver metallic spray paint.  I got mine at Michael’s, or as I like to call it, my happy place.   It cost me about 5 bucks and it dries in a nanosecond which is extremely convenient if you’re impatient like me, however it’s extremely inconvenient if you’re the poor little caterpillar that got a thick coating of silver paint in my garden.  I’ve really got my fingers crossed that he’ll turn into a beautiful, silver butterfly instead of the more probable fate of a beautiful, silver caterpillar-corpse.

Step 5:
The last step is really just adding all your fixin’s.  I made some swirls with plain old Elmer’s craft glue and sprinkled on some glitter.  I used Sterling and Crystal Fine from the Martha Stewart 24 vial glitter multi-pack.  You can use any old sparkles you’ve got lying around the house, I just consider myself a bit of a glitter snob.

I also added some wooden horses that I had crafted up for a Christmas project.  If you want to try your hand and painting them you can get them for about a buck-fiddy each at Michael’s (mmm, happy happy happy).   Although the carriage looks swell without them.  Again, I added some Christmas ribbon but it’s not necessary if you don’t want to be at it.

Lastly I found some wire lying around the house and I wrapped it around a beer bottle a couple times to make curly wheels and just jammed their little pointy ends into the pumpkin to keep them fixed in place.  Glue on some fake moss (or real moss if you’re the type of person who likes to go foraging for your craft supplies).

There, now your ready to go to the ball.  Or kegger, whatever you’re into, really.

Blueprints:

Song of the Day: