Thursday, March 1, 2012

Homemade Chapstick - a.k.a "Mamma's Mintstick"

Get yourself some beeswax because this is one recipe you do NOT want to skip out on!!

Since we moved to a state where it actually gets cold in the winter, our family's desert skin and lips have been extra thirsty! So I did what I usually do and looked for a way to make my own natural version (just like with the laundry detergent, remember?!)

Well, once I picked up a few essential supplies, I realized it is actually super easy to make your own lip balm. I have a couple books that I love to reference. (Gorgeously Green, Back to Basics, Grow Your Own Drugs). Once you've got a specific formula, you can tweak your oils and flavors to your taste. We love that minty taste of the Burt's Bees stuff, so we used Peppermint essential oil in ours. I even made some with lavender essential oil! YUM!

Mamma's Mintstick ingredients:

This recipe will fill 8-9 lip balm tubes!

1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil

2 Tablespoons Sweet Almond Oil

1 Tablespoon & 1 teaspoon Beeswax

10 drops Peppermint essential oil

  1. Coarsely chop or grated your beeswax (vegans may use Carnauba Wax as an alternative), and place it in a small pot or glass pyrex measuring cup with your butters and carrier oils in the top of a double boiler, and melt gently over heated water. Make sure that the water does not boil over into your oil mixture, 1 -2” of water in the bottom of your pot is enough.
  2. Once that your beeswax mixture has melted, remove from burner, and add your essential oils. The essential oils will begin to dissipate with the scent, add more as needed.
  3. Immediately pour the hot mixture into lip balm containers. If the mixture cools too rapidly while you are pouring, then heat the mixture back up over the double boiler.
  4. Allow to cool completely (I usually wait overnight) before placing the caps onto your lip balm containers.
I bought these little plastic containers at Wal-Mart. I think they are for storing beads!!! But they work well as lip balm tins too. I also ordered some white chap stick tubes from Ebay which worked great! Even with this small recipe, you get such a high yield of product, that you can give them away as gifts and still have tons for your family! Everyone got a tube for Christmas and I still have a stash set aside for last minute gifts!

Also, I buy y sweet almond oil and coconut oil here. I have found this to be the best deal on prices for organic versions. You could easily switch out your sweet almond oil for sunflower oil or olive oil, but olive oil is a bit more greasy. I buy a block of beeswax from Mountain Rose Herbs, but you could get some form your local beekeeper! Also, Mountain Rose Herbs sells pellets of beeswax which is MUCH easier to measure as you do not have to grate it, you can simply measure it out like sugar!

My Kitchen Table Project: Refinishing a wood table from Craigslist!

For Italians (and humankind, I''m sure) the kitchen table is where EVERYTHING happens! Since my hubby and I got married we have had two kitchen tables - both of which were hand me downs from my parents. And boy were we grateful to get them! But they were never what we would have picked for our own home. We could eat on 'em - so it fit the bill!

When I finally got fed up with my current hand-me-down table being too big for our tiny eating area, I HAD to do something! S0 I did a little Craigslist shopping (after a LOT of online, dreaming) and found a steal of a deal! There was a SOLID WOOD table and five chairs. We swept it up for $85 and were thrilled to start working on it. Well, at least that's my side of the story.

If you asked my husband he was not so enthusiastic. He used words like "disgusting" and hideous" to describe the table - and the job I signed him up for! I decided I was going to channel the strength of my Italian Nonne before me and just get her done myself!!! I didn't need ANY help from ANYone! That is, until my sander died...

Then one day hubby comes home from Home Depot with a very cool palm sander and a not so cool receipt:( "I got the whole table for that price!!!" I screamed! .....I mean, said lovingly...

Then he was miraculously super excited to use his new power tool and started sanding. I didn't even have to ask him!!! I was pretty excited that I didn't have to do the hard part! But the KIDS DID!!!

So after a good sanding down to the bare wood - we picked out our stain and went to town.
Since by this point, PINTEREST had taken over my life, I had gotten a pretty good idea of some tables I wanted to copy. A sucker for Pottery Barn, I fell in love with the casual rustic flair that this table had:

One day, I will eventually get wood colored chairs, and get rid of these spindle ones ( I secretly HATE them) but for now I stained them to match. Also, the bench I already had from a previous Craigslist purchase!!! So I just stained it to match! Now it looks like a set. Since it was FREEZING out, I stained the entire thing in my living room! I used water based polyurethane to avoid the strong smells.
And after looking at it, I wanted the white legs to be a little more aged. But I was afraid of crossing the fine line between dirty and rustic. SO I employed the help of my artistic friend and had her teach me some faux glazing! IT was a blast and I learned A LOT about how to get it looking rustic.
I feel we did a pretty good job achieving my personal goal! And my husband ended up liking it too!! (one day, if its EVER clean - I will take a better pic and post it!)

Most of all - it was a FAMILY project that we all remember every time we gather around the kitchen table. Whether we're eating or doing homework, we are constantly reminded that we did this together! Now, we are no professionals, but we are excited to tackle more projects like this in the future! We learned so much of what to do and what NOT to do just on this table. Which is fine with us because our mistakes will likely be covered up by the ABUSE this thing will get from my five bambini!

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