Friday, November 9, 2012

Consumable Gifts (Countdown to Christmas): Soothing Peppermint Foot and Body Cream

So, my husband is an electrical contractor.  That means that he works outside no matter what the weather all year round and he has to wear steel toed boots to work all the time (he works  on construction sites).  This also means that his feet, after working in the construction field most of his life, look like they've been through World War III. 

So, I decided it was high time, seeing as how the cost of the foot cream I usually use on my husband's feet is now about 11.00 for a small tube *twitch*, that I get off my duffer and make a lotion to put on his feet.   And, I figured, it could do double duty as a Christmas gift, which is definitely a good thing :).

Lately money has been tight because work has been tight, so  I decided a couple of weeks ago that home made gifts were where it was at this year.  I started thinking of things to make and thought immediately about consumable gifts.  You know, gifts you'd USE instead of just throwing into a drawer or putting on top of a dresser to look pretty.  I don't know about the rest of the world, but one thing that moving hammered home to me was that I had too much crap.  And so, I downsized and re-organized when I moved so that I wouldn't be so overwhelmed with just stuff taking up space.  So, the last thing I wanted to do was to gift something that would just take up space and put more clutter into someone else's life.
That's when the idea for this series on consumable gifts for the blog hit me.  I figure that I'm not alone out there in wanting to gift things that make sense, have a purpose and can just out and out be USED by those you gift them to.  So, from now until Christmas time since you'll want time to make these things (well I hope you will anyway *laugh*), I'm going to post up ideas to make for Christmas gifts.  Some of them will be old, some new, nothing borrowed (nope not this time...this time it'll be all me ;) and hmmm...I don't have plans for anything blue yet, but we'll see how it goes.

So, here's the first installment in the consumable gifts collection.  A lotion to put on tired and cracked feet, hands and on your body as needed (if you want to use this on your face I'd go with 3 drops of oil and then add to tolerance as I think it might be a bit harsh on the face with the amount called for in the recipe). 

If you don't have comfrey oil and calendula oil and you don't want to make them and/or don't want to buy the herbs, don't fret.  Just use olive oil in their place, but be aware that the moisturizing and healing powers of the lotion will be diminished.  The rest of the oils (jojoba and the like) should be able to be found at the local mega-mart (I can find them at my local Fred Meyer in the organic section). If you have problems finding one of them just hit your local health food store and you should be able to fill in the gaps in your oils there.

Here's a quick list of ingredients and why I used them.

Sweet Almond Oil and Apricot Kernel Oil are all just excellent moisturizers that will help to replenish lost moisture in the skin.

Jojoba oil isn't the cheapest oil in creation, but it's nice to have in your arsenal.  It's actually a natural wax that will help to seal in moisture, thus why it is used a lot in skin care products.  It is a great oil to have around your house as it can be used to seal moisture into the skin (like here) or you could use it to seal moisture into your wood furniture.  Got to love a multi-tasker.

Coconut Oil.  What isn't to love in coconut oil?  It will help to cleanse the skin since it has antiseptic properties (as well as give the lotion a long shelf life as it helps to kill bacteria), it will help to tighten the pores as it has astringent properties and it is anti-viral so it helps to kill bad germs that you come in contact with.  It helps to moisturize as well.  It really is a super powered oil and is a great thing to add to skin care.  I don't use it in anything that I put on my son due to a coconut allergy, but since this stuff is going on my husband's feet...let's just say I'm not overly worried about it.

Comfrey has healing properties and helps to regenerate skin, so I put it in there to help heal up the cracks on my husband's heals.  If you don't have cracked or rough skin...I'd just omit it and use some other oil in it's place (even just plain olive oil), honestly, as I'm not sure it'll do you much good.

Calendula is an excellent moisturizing herb and I use calendula infused oil all the time, so I definitely put some of that into the lotion.

Lavender oil acts as a preservative as it's excellent at killing bacteria (and hey, it's calming and smells good), so don't omit that.

Peppermint oil helps, through aroma therapy, to energize the mind and will help to clarify your thoughts (I got this from an aroma therapy book a while back, so no I don't consider myself an expert on that *laugh*).  I like it because it has a cooling effect so it feels great on tired hands and feet.  And, hey, it'll smell like Christmas, so double bonus ;).

Soothing Peppermint Foot and Body Cream
  • 1 TBS Sweet Almond Oil
  • 1 TBS Jojoba Oil
  • 2 TBS Apricot Kernel Oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (solid state, not tightly packed)
  • 1/4 cup comfrey oil
  • 1/4 cup calendula oil
  • 3 TBS beeswax beads
  • 5 drops lavender oil
  • 5 to 10 drops peppermint oil (I used 10 since mine will be going on the feet, but use your own judgement there)

Place all oils (with the exception of peppermint and lavender oils) and beeswax in a double boiler or a microwave safe glass container (I use my 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup for this stuff).  If using a double boiler heat mixture over medium high heat until the beeswax and oils are all melted and incorporated.  If using the microwave, microwave mixture on high for 1 minute and then in 10 second increments after that until the beeswax beads are melted and the mixture just looks like oil.

Add essential oils and mix well.  Now here's the odd part.  Let the mixture cool to room temperature in your pan and/or in your microwaveable container (I actually stuck mine in the freezer to speed up the process, but I'm not big on patience).

When cooled it's going to look like a pretty solid state lotion bar (it shouldn't be THAT hard when you push down on it, though *laugh*), but don't fear.  Just take your favorite electric hand mixer and whip the mixture until it is a thick lotion consistency (it took me like literally 10 seconds to get to that point at most).

Scoop into containers that are easily scooped out of (I used 1/4 pint mason jars).  If you want to put this stuff into a lotion squeeze container or something I'd reduce the amount of beeswax by 1 TBS in the recipe and then add it back in a little at  a time (it might take you a bit with having to heat and reset it) until the mix is the right consistency for you. 

Place decorative labels on top of your jars (just Google "free canning jar templates" and you'll find all kinds of cool stuff you can download and print off and then hit for sticker paper if you want to cut out self-adhering labels) and tie something decorative around them if you wish and voila you have a really cool "wow" factor!  
 I got three 1/4 pint mason jars of lotion out of this recipe, but you may get more. 

Always include an ingredient list with your lotions and other things, however, as you never know what allergies one might have.  For instance, someone who is type A allergic to nuts would not want a lotion with sweet almond oil in it.  Dig?

Discard when lotion starts to smell rancid (I'm not sure of the lifespan of the cream...probably six months to a year, due to the addition of oils like almond oil that go rancid.


Disclaimer:  I do not work for the FDA, have never been evaluated by the FDA and wouldn't know where to start if I wanted to be.  I am not an herbalist, a naturpath or anything else.  I'm merely a woman who gets a kick out of working with herbs and oils.  The above recipe is not meant to cure or treat any disease.  Make at your own risk.

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