Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Smelly Gifts, The DIY Way

I had an elaborate plan for three consecutive gift guides for this holiday season, with an environmentally-friendly spin. Unfortunately, I got drowned in the Ayala Moriel holiday rush before I was able to post any of them. Now we are just a little over a week away so it’s time to improvise and get creative in order to make it to the bottom of the to-do list.

How about some crafty and fun holiday activities and gifts, some of which you can make yourself, others will inspire and encourage others to be creative. With the days shortening and the temperatures dropping, we are spending much more time at home. Better get those creative juices going instead of turning into couch potatoes, right?
I’m even going to try to convince you that these gifts are less time-consuming than shopping around endlessly.

Inspire a young family member to delve into the art of natural perfumery with this introductory and simple Perfumery Kit from Elmer’s science kits (available via It includes 5 different blends – 5 single notes (apple, jasmine, heliotrope, lily, and one which is plainly peppermint). These are not natural essences by any means (even if the labeling may imply so, by having the Latin name of each plan in the short ingredient list)). However, they are all based in sunflower oil. The package comes with the 5 essences, 5 empty plastic vials and 5 plastic pipettes. It will fascinate any youngster who is interested in science or perfume, or both. Recommended for ages 8 and up, and requires adult supervision.

For the grown-up obsessed with the world of aromatic, Nature’s Gift offers many different kinds of aromatherapy and natural perfumery kits, for the amateur perfumer (i.e.: Perfumer’s Kit One) or the fragrance connoisseur (i.e.: Wood Lovers Sampler Kit; Chai Spice Kit).

I’ve been really enjoying making greeting cards with Tamya using the Paper Fashions kits by Klutz Press and than of course there is the fancy edition which might be more appropriate for this time of the year. These designs can be glued to a blank greeting card. I've also found really colourful ones at Essence du Papier (available at Sears in Canada). If you want to make those even fancier, dab a drop of perfume to the inner spine or corner of the card, or a simple blend of festive, wintery essential oils, for example:

2 drops Allspice Essential Oil
1 drop Cinnamon Essential Oil
2 drops Balsam Fir Essential Oil
1 drops Rosemary Essential Oil
4 Juniper Essential Oil
5 drops Bitter Orange Essential Oil
4 drops Pine Essential Oil

A fine way to dress up any paper – and in particular hand-made paper embedded with botanicals is to immerse it with essences. Cut the paper to the desired size. If you have a scented sachet, place the sachet in a Ziploc bag along with the paper. If you start now, they will be ready for December 25th with a subtle pleasing aroma. Another way of scenting them is to pour an essential oil blend (i.e.: the one above, or even something simpler, such as some rose oil or vetiver oil alone) and place those on a cotton ball. Just make sure the essential oils don’t come into direct contact with the paper, as that would stain the paper.

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