Post Christmas Self Care

“What I like doing best is Nothing.”

“How do you do Nothing,” asked Pooh after he had wondered for a long time.

“Well, it’s when people call out at you just as you’re going off to do it, ‘What are you going to do, Christopher Robin?’ and you say, ‘Oh, Nothing,’ and then you go and do it.

It means just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”

“Oh!” said Pooh.”

-A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh


 

I hope you had a Merry Christmas! While I was rather homesick to be back on the East Coast with family, I managed to stay quite busy with lots of fun here with my husband and cousin. And I’m sure we are all still recovering from the Christmas hustle and bustle.

Which is why this blog post is about 4 simple ways to do nothing in Winnie-the-Pooh fashion. Post Christmas self-care is how I like to think of it. Our culture has come to recognize and even appreciate the importance of self-care; setting aside a little time now and then to recharge, restore and rest. Work, social obligations and tidy homes are a lot to keep up with, especially around the holidays when expectations seem to double. When you pour out all of your energy and time on others, it is vital for the mind and soul to find some rest. Otherwise motivation and energy drain quickly. 

 


He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10


 

However, I tend to find myself filling self-care time with actual chores in disguise. It’s far too easy to let my quiet times fill with tasks that do not allow me to quiet my mind and rest. This is the overachiever coming out and recently I have learned I need to be more strict with this character trait. So I made a list in my journal of favorite calming activities to choose from when I truly need a few minutes of down time. These are the things that help me quiet my heart and shift my focus from daily worries. With a full-time job or little ones to care for, you might only find ten minutes in the evening once in a while but it will be well worth it for your mind and soul. 

 


“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” – Exodus 33:14 


 

As Maria from The Sound of Music would say, “these are a few of my favorite things.”

  • Bubble bath with candles. This might seem cliche’ but it never fails to help me relax. With no distractions such as cell phones, I find it leads me to clear my mind, pray and release worries to Jesus. And now that I’m obsessed with essential oils, I always add 6 drops of Lavender oil to the water. Lavender is calming but it also helps your body release toxins! And an extra drop or two of Tea Tree or Frankincense oil is wonderful for your skin. 
  • Hot cup of tea and a book. I love Teavana for my loose leaf teas and right now they are having their major annual sale. But a basic Peppermint tea bag from Celestial Seasonings will always be my favorite. And right now I’m reading The Perfume Collector: a novel by Kathleen Tessaro on my nook.
  • Coloring and listening to worship music. This is quite the trend right now but I have to explain that my sisters and I have been coloring for years together before it was the popular thing to do. Actually, we never really stopped coloring since childhood. Before it was an “acceptable adult activity”, all we used were Disney Princess and Strawberry Shortcake coloring books. No matter how old we are or far away we move, coloring together while we chat is a pleasant pass time. And now that it is a trend, we have so many more intricate coloring books to pick from! If you didn’t get one for Christmas, you can print a free sheet from a huge list of options another great blogger compiled here.
  • Cutting up a Magazine! My absolute favorite magazine is Daphne’s Diary, a charming UK magazine full of short articles on vintage markets, unique crafters, yummy recipes and actual pop out crafts projects you can do in a minute as well as pretty stickers you can tear from the spine. And it always has a coloring page to boot! My Mom bought me the Christmas edition a few years ago and I’ve been in love with it ever since. It’s on the pricey side for a magazine but it’s entirely worth it for the quality paper and cut out crafts and stickers. The editor is brilliant and creative. I think I’d love to have her as a friend. You can subscribe in the link above or find it in Michael’s Craft Store, Joann’s Fabric or Barnes and Noble. 

 

I hope you enjoy trying something from this list or are encouraged to make your own self-care compilation. Find time to rest and be refreshed so that you can in turn better give of yourself to others. 

With love

 

Last Minute Gifts for Stockings

Two days till Christmas! I couldn’t be more excited for the holiday and the gifts I made for family and friends. Rollerball recipes are the easiest essential oil craft. And they make perfect stocking stuffers! I recently got in a few new oils from Young Living and could not wait to put them to use.

All you will need are essential oil rollerballs, you can pick them up at your nearest health food store or on Amazon where I bought a bunch for a great deal. I love having extra on hand. You can find them here, 24 blue glass rollerballs for $12.99 and free shipping. A pipette oil dropper really makes measuring easier. The essential oil bottle lid opener is necessary to get the roller caps on and off. You can get both, plus cute labels here for $5.99.


Sleep Well Blend:

  • Fill the rollerball bottle 2/3 full of a carrier oil, I chose almond oil.
  • Add 8 drops each of Lavender essential oil and Cedarwood essential oil.
  • Apply to writs, temples, neck and feet.

Make sure there is till plenty of room left from the top, about a quarter inch. The space is needed when you install the roller cap again. I sort of forgot about that myself, oops! Because otherwise, if you fill it to the top and try put the roller cap on, there won’t be room and this might happen:

This next one I created is my new favorite.


Healthy Skin Blend:

  • Fill Rollerball bottle 2/3 full of coconut oil
  • Add 4 drops of Frankincense essential oil and 4 drops Lavender oil
  • 3 drops of Tea Tree oil, 3 drops of Rosemary oil and 3 drops of Lemongrass oil
  • Apply to cheeks and forehead. 

To install the roller, push the rollerball in as far as you can. Then place the cap on and with a little extra strength, twist cap on until it closes. The roller will snap in all the way.

And there you have it! Rollerballs are a great way to keep essential oil blends with you during the day or when you travel and are also thoughtful gifts.

5 Minute Christmas Gift

This is the simplest and cutest Christmas gift idea I have and it never fails to make someone I love, happy.


Materials ($6 or less for multiple pairs!):

  • Miniature Christmas Ornaments – any craft store carries them, I buy mine from Hobby Lobby when they’re on sale: $1.34 mini Christmas ornaments
  • Fishhook Ear-wire – again you can get a package at Hobby Lobby, but I like to buy mine in wholesale from Fire Mountain Gems and Beads for $4.76 for a pack of 5 sterling silver pairs
  • Earnuts – plastic backings for earrings are worth it


Tools:


Instructions:

  1. Gently open the loop on the ear-wire with pliers
  2. Add the Christmas charm of your choice
  3. Now close the loop again with the pliers
  4. Add the earring backs


I like to put mine on these cute earring cards, it makes them look so official and easy to wrap. Or you can even grab some card stock or an actual Christmas card and poke holes in them for the same result.

I hope you enjoyed this quick gift idea. After all, there’s only 3 days till Christmas!

DIY Flannelette Pillowcase

Here is the first of a few easy do it yourself Christmas gifts I have been making for family and friends. I bought a couple of adorable flannelette prints on Black Friday at Joann’s fabric for a fantastic price to make into winter pillowcases. I loved this warm flannelette pillowcase with penguins so much I made an extra one for myself!

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Be sure to pre-wash all of your fabrics before sewing. Otherwise you run the risk of the finished product shrinking in the wash later on.

img_0575Instructions:

  1. I measured a standard size case first which was 19.5 inches wide by 27 inches long.
  2. Fold your fabric in half and mark the width and length. I added on 2 inches for extra seam allowance for the width (21.5 inches) and five inches extra for the length (32 inches) in order to be able to create the extra reinforced edge.
  3. With flannelette folded in half, cut your fabric, 21.55 inches wide x 32 inches long.img_0576
  4. Now prepare to sew the wide edges. You’ll pin and hem back twice in order to create that wide reinforced edge. First pin back 1 inch on each wide end.
  5. Sew the edges. I used a zig-zag stitch on my machine to further prevent fraying. The zig-zag will not be visible later.
  6. Next pin back each wide edge you just sewed again by 4 inches.
  7. Sew the edges down with a straight stitch.img_0578
  8. With right sides together, stitch the long edges together 1 inch deep. I stitched the edges down a second time with a zig-zag stitch to add extra reinforcement from fraying.
  9. Finished edges should look like this. Turn right side out and you’re done!

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I think I want to make an entire sheet set out of flannelette sometime. The pillowcases were simple and turned out amazing!

 

Homemade Lip Balm: 4 Ingredients 

I can hardly believe Christmas is just two weekends away! Each year the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas seems to become shorter. Perhaps that’s because I keep adding new homemade gifts to try out. Fortunately this years DIY presents are fairly simple to make, it’s just collecting the materials that took me a little while.

My first Christmas gift project are homemade chap-sticks with essential oils. Just 4 ingredients! I did not realize what a big batch this one little recipe makes (about 12 tubes), so I have a lot of extra on hand. If you want to make more than one scent, cut the mixture in half before adding your oils.

What you will need:

  • Coconut oil
  • Bees wax (my mother in law gave me bees wax from her own bees in Virginia and I love it!)
  • Vitamin E oil (or liquid capsules)
  • Essential oil (I made one batch with peppermint and the other with lavender)
  • Chap-stick tubes (I got a package of 25 from Amazon for $5.50 with free shipping, that’s 0.22 cents a tube! – Lip Balm Empty Container Tubes, Translucent)

 

Recipe:

  • Add 1/4 cup of coconut oil, 2 tablespoons of bees wax and 6 drops of vitamin E oil into a glass bowl.
  • Melt ingredients over a double boiler (fill a pot with a few inches of water and bring to a boil, place glass bowl over top and make sure there’s at least an inch between the bottom of the bowl and the water).
  • Once the contents are entirely melted remove from stove. Add 20 drops of essential oils. This recipe yields 12 lip balm tubes. If you want two separate scents from one batch then divide the melted ingredients in half before adding 10 drops of essential oils to each portion.
  • Use a pipette (plastic dropper as shown in the first picture bellow) to fill the chap-stick tubes.
  • Fill each tube gradually, in thirds or fourths, letting the liquid set a little in between. I found from the first batch that if you fill the tube right away, when the liquid sets, you are more likely to have cracks on the surface. Letting it set in increments should help avoid this.
  • The wax will set fairly quickly so you may need to reheat the mixture over the boiling pot once or twice as you go.

 

Let the lip balms set and now they are ready for your own cute labels. These make great stocking stuffers!

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Stay tuned for more DIY Christmas gifts ideas next week!

Christmas Glitter Bottle DIY

It has been a busy few weeks since Thanksgiving. But I LOVE this time of year! Making presents and wrapping beautiful packages for friends and family are probably some of my favorite things to do. My Gramma would shower us in presents and we knew it took her all year preparing as she hunted down all the amazing sales at Belk’s with her coupons. Gramma put so much thought into each persons gift even though she had eleven grandchildren to spoil, three kids and their spouses to boot. From the bitty baby and doll house kit to the leather jacket and bead tools, I knew each present from her growing up was an expression of her deep love and desire to feed my interests. I believe that’s where my strong love for Christmas came from. I aspire to be like my Gramma Arlene Jane Porter. To love on people with gifts and thoughtfulness.

So I have plenty of Christmas crafts coming up and you better believe a few of them include Essential oils and ways to use recycled bottles! But before those are ready for your viewing pleasure, here’s a little craft I did the other night that I’ve always wanted to try.

Glitter Bottles! Or often called Galaxy Jars or Sensory Bottles. They are a trending children’s craft that is soothing and calming to watch as it’s shaken up and the glitter swirls slowly and settles again. Which is why they are often recommended for children with autism as a calming object. My Pinterest feed was overflowing with these a little while back and they looked like a lot of fun! Ideal for a kids craft if you are looking for an indoor activity on a cold winter day. And the materials are inexpensive. I picked up a few packages of Christmas bobbles and charms at Hobby Lobby when I was buying wrapping paper. The glitter and odds and ends are under $3 a pack and Christmas items are 50% off so it was a steal!

What you will need:

  1. Glitter Glue
  2. Warm water
  3. Dish or hand soap
  4. Glitter and charms
  5. Bottle (if you read my last post you’ll see how this was a perfect project to use a upcycled glass bottle! Voss water bottles are fantastic for these projects)
  6. Super glue
  7. Long wooden stick or skewer (optional but I found it helpful)
  8. Food coloring (also optional but if you want the liquid opaque you’ll need it)

Instructions:

  • I used two 375 ml glass Voss water bottles for this craft and filled each with 1/4 cup glitter glue, 2 table spoons of dish or hand soap and the rest with warm water.
  • Screw on the cap and shake it up real good! The glitter glue may have stuck a little to the bottom so use a long skewer to scrape and stir it in well until it completely dissolves.
  • Add your choice of glitter and charms and two to three drops of food coloring.
  • Top off water to the edge to remove any soapy bubbles. Super glue the lid and enjoy!

Stay tune in the next week for simple DIY Christmas gifts!