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Handmade for the Holidays–10 Easy Homemade Gifts

ten gifts collage

Pinterest, blogs and Facebook, oh my! The internet is awash with projects that put Martha Stewart to shame. One project after the next, and they’re all labeled “Easy!” and “Simple!”–but the honest truth is, they’re far from simple or easy. Now, I love making homemade gifts. I do it every year, for friends and family alike. But handmade gifts should make your life simpler, not more complicated! Handmade gifts should be fun to make, save you time, and save you money. They should bless the person they’re being given to, as well. Here are my criteria for what made the list:

–simple list of ingredients that are commonly available

–non-crafty types can easily make them too

–can my ten year old make this without a lot of help?

–would I use this, if I received it as a gift?

So after several years of trial and error, of throwing out as many projects as I succeeded at, here is my list of 15 Tried and True, Truly SIMPLE handmade gifts that you can make at home this year.

Handmade lotion bars are

Handmade Lucious Lotion Bars

These bars are a huge hit year after year after year. Friends ask for the recipe all the time! They leave your skin not just moisturized, but healthier than before you used them! Plus, the recipe doubles as lip balm, is good for eczema, heals damaged dry winter skin and leaves a protective barrier to seal in moisture and protect them from future damage.

Chocolate (1)

Chocolate Peppermint Lip Gloss

Treat your friends with this decadent treat for their lips! It tastes divine but even better, it leaves your lips moisturized and silky smooth.

Oulander inspired loom knit sassenach cowlLoom knit cowl

Cowls and infinity scarves are the hot fashion accessory this year–and they couldn’t be simpler to make! Snuggle up with a pretty yarn and make one for yourself–and your friends–in just a few hours. This is so easy you can do it while you watch tv or kill time.

homemade sugar scrubSugar scrub

Sugar scrubs take less than ten minutes to make and are such a treat! They make fantastic hostess gifts. You can use this recipe many ways: a relaxing lavender scrub, invigorating grapefruit, or make a holiday-themed peppermint scrub using peppermint oil. Add a cute glass jar and a ribbon and you are ready to go!


honey_lemon_cough_syrupAll Natural Honey-Lemon Cough Syrup

This syrup is easy to make, stores well, and tastes great! We love to add just a little cinnamon to ours for a little extra anti-viral kick.

DIY-lemon-coconut-lip-balmHomemade lip balm

Keep chapped lips at bay this winter with this easy homemade lip balm! This is my all-time favorite lip balm recipe–at less than a quarter per tube, it is frugal, and it really penetrates skin to heal old man winter’s damage.

hand soapFoaming hand soap

These soaps cost pennies and take seconds to make! Plus, they smell divine. They make great hostess gifts, but are also great for anyone on your list–especially busy moms. Peppermint, orange, lemon, cinnamon–the options are endless. Plus, they kill germs without harsh, toxic chemicals that tear up your hands.

anti aging makeup removerAnti-aging makeup remover

With just two or three ingredients, you can treat your friends and family to glowing, younger-looking skin. Fine lines diminish, skin becomes more even, age spots fade, redness is minimized…the list goes on and on. Even better? It removes even stubborn waterproof makeup in a jif.


peppermint cinnamon holiday body butterPeppermint Cinnamon Body Butter

This body butter smells so good you will want to eat it! It is a decadent treat for your skin, too. Make sure you keep some for yourself–you will thank me for it!



Fizzy Bath Bombs

Pamper your friends and family with these easy Fizzy Bath bombs! These double as detox bombs, pulling toxins and impurities out of their bodies while they soak their cares away!

Natural Anti-Aging Makeup Remover


anti aging makeup remover


I have always been one of the worst at removing my makeup every night. I hate the process, because it seems so time consuming. After washing you have to moisturize and protect your skin, especially those of us with sensitive skin. About nine months ago I began using a totally natural oil-based method that has totally changed my opinion on makeup removal. I have wanted to blog about my favorite natural makeup remover for a long time now, but I haven’t been sure exactly how to put this into words. Like most of the natural methods I’ve adopted over the past year, when I tell people I clean my face with oil, I get a bit of an odd reaction. And I can understand why. Cleansing your face with oil sounds like an oxymoron. You can’t cleanse anything with oil, can you?

Turns out, you actually can. Turns out oil breaks down even the most stubborn eye makeup quickly and easily.

I will start with the common objections first, the same objections I had, and then I will explain how it works. Let me just say that this is A-MAZ-ING for your skin. Seriously, you will adore how your skin feels at the end! Ditch those pricey eye creams, makeup removers and night creams. You won’t need them anymore!

  • I have oily skin. I know it sounds all kinds of wrong to use oil on any skin, especially oily skin. I am a 40 year veteran of the acne war myself. I know what that is like. But here’s a little chemistry for you: when you want to break down a substance, you look for a similar substance to do it with. Like dissolves like. Oil dissolves oil. Believe it or not, it is true! Using the right oils on your skin will actually break down the oils causing breakouts. What you will do is wipe away the yucky, grimy oil on your skin and replace it with healthy, nourishing oils instead.
  • I have sensitive skin. Me too. It’s awful, and you have to be very careful what you put on your skin or it will end up a red, blotchy mess. Here’s the good news: using the right oils will not only cleanse your skin, but do it gently, and leave behind a protective barrier to protect your skin from the day’s assault.

Here’s the skinny on how it works:

  1. Pick an oil: almond oil, olive oil, argan oil, coconut oil, avocado, or jojoba oil.
  2. Pour it into a small bottle and add 20 drops of Frankincense essential oil and 10 drops of lavender essential oil.
  3. Pull your hair back out of your face with a headband or hairclip.
  4. Pour a nickle size amount of your oil blend into your hand and rub it over your face. Let it sit for 15-30 seconds.
  5. Take a hot washcloth–as hot as you can stand it–and gently wipe off the oil and make up from your face. Rinse the cloth and repeat again, making sure to remove all of the oil.
  6. Done!

Honestly, that’s it! You can get into mixing the oils for the right ratio and all kinds of other details, but it really doesn’t need to be that complicated. I currently use almond oil with a few drops of frankincense and lavender oil added. The almond oil is amazing on my skin–leaves it very smooth and silky. The frankincense helps with aging skin issues like fine lines and brown spots. Lavender is wonderful for making the skin appear younger. I used to use coconut oil because it was what I already have on hand. I have used jojoba as well with great results. Coconut oil can be comodogenic for some people, but since I’m removing all of the oil from my face, I never experienced that issue. I know that jojoba and castor oil are both highly recommended for people prone to breakouts. (Click here to find out where I buy essential oils and why I only recommend one specific brand!)

What’s the result? Not only does your waterproof mascara, eyeliner and foundation melt right off with ease, but your skin will be left smooth, supple and glowing. Since starting, I’ve discovered that I no longer need special moisturizers or creams for my skin. The dark puffy circles under my eyes have disappeared. Several of my fine lines have started to look a little less noticeable. And my skin is smooth enough that I don’t have to wear makeup every time I go out of the house!

I don’t wear makeup every day, so I don’t use the Oil Cleansing Method daily. I probably use it 2-3 times a week, which is enough to have made a huge difference in the way my skin feels. For extra anti-aging oomph, take one drop after cleansing and apply to the corners of your eyes and other areas where you are seeing age damage.

Even better, this makes a terrific gift! I bottle it up in a pretty little bottle and share it with my friends.

Outlander Inspired Loom Knitting

Outlander inspired loom knit cowl

Are you as obsessed with the Diana Gabaldon Outlander series as I am? I’ve been reading (and re-reading) these books for close to twenty years now. I love them! It has been so much fun to watch the books come to life through the new tv series on Starz. I love watching these characters I […]

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Homemade All-Natural Gumdrops


  One of my favorite treats of the holiday season are spiced gumdrops. My grandmother used to keep a big bowl of them in her living room every year–and now my mother has carried on that tradition. Last year while we were making our holiday gifts, LittleMissSunshine asked me if we could make our own […]

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Homemade for the Holidays: Lucious Lotion Bars

Handmade lotion bars are

  Have you ever seen those fancy lotion bars at craft fairs or expensive beauty boutiques? They look so pretty and smell SO good! They promise all kinds of great benefits for your skin over the stuff you buy at the department store counter. But here’s a little secret: while they are fantastic for your […]

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All Natural Moisturizing Shaving Cream–for Pennies!

Homemade All Natural Shaving Cream

One of the easiest ways to save a little cash and make your beauty routine more natural at the same time is to make your own shaving cream. This recipe is very simple, takes only a few minutes to whip up, and leaves you with a close shave and soft, smooth legs. This doesn’t whip […]

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Ten Everyday Uses for Peppermint Oil

Ten Everyday Uses for Young Living Peppermint Essential Oil

  Peppermint, Peppermint, Oh how I love thee peppermint! Seriously, have you discovered how awesome this stuff is? We are in LOVE with peppermint around our home. It seems like every day we find a new use for Young Living Peppermint essential oil. It is our most-used oil, used several times a day around here. […]

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Fluffy, Soft Towels and Sheets with Essential Oils

fluffy towel graphic

  Is there anything more luxurious than stepping out of a hot shower on a cold morning to super soft, enveloping towels? Wrapping up all warm and cozy, with a large soft towel–that is one of the simple pleasures in life! But if you are using fabric softener to get there, then your towels aren’t […]

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Make Your Own Germ Killing Foaming Handsoap for Pennies!

hand soap

  In my Naturally Frugal Essential Oils group on Facebook, one of the most popular questions is how to make your own foaming hand soap. Y’all…if you haven’t done this yet, you NEED to! It is super-simple, costs pennies to make, and kills germs to boot! Not to mention, do you know all of the […]

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Lush, Healthy Hair with Essential Oils

No shampoo hair after three years

This week I celebrate an odd, but important, anniversary: three years of no shampoo.  No-poo, for those in the know. Odd, because really, how many people would YOU tell if you stopped using shampoo? The reaction that crosses people’s faces is usually first one of disgust, then a double take “What do you mean you […]

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