Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"Hand" Made Gifts: Moisturizing Bee Balm

Winter time gives you dry hands. Working in a preschool gives you dry hands because you wash them every 30 seconds. I saw this recipe on This Chick Cooks, gave it my own twist, and violá! Gifts for my coworkers: Done.

I got the cute little jars at JoAnn Fabrics, on sale for 2 dollars each. I had all the ingredients (odd, I know... who has a big chunk of beeswax sitting in their craft basket? Me, apparently).

Here's a how-to:
  • 2 cups light olive oil (I used regular olive oil, and it made the balm green-ish yellow. I'm fine with that, but white would have been prettier.)
  • 1.5 cups chopped or grated beeswax (available from Amazon too, but I like to support independent companies). Use white for white balm, and yellow for a golden balm.
  • 15 - 20 drops essential oil (I used lavender and orange, but there are so many options)
  • Optional: If you want a nice rosy tint, you could add a drop or two of pink or peach gel food coloring. Only do this if you use light olive oil and white beeswax.
  • Optional: a cup of herbs like rosemary, mint, lavender or chamomile.
1) Put a pot of water on the stove to boil, with just enough water to come up half way on a small pot when placed inside. This smaller pot should be big enough to easily hold about 4 cups of liquid.

2) Start to chop or grate your beeswax. Don't worry about ruining your grater, with a little work the wax will melt off with boiling water. I recommend grating it into a metal or glass bowl, as plastic reacts strangely and static-y with the grated wax.

3) When your water is boiling, add your olive oil to the small pot. If you are using herbs, add them now. Let heat for 15 minutes. Be sure the water isn't boiling over the edges of the oil pot. After 15 minutes, strain out herbs.

4) After 15 minutes (or when you've grated enough beeswax), add the beeswax to the small pot. It will melt very quickly. Stir.

5) Add essential oils and coloring as desired.

6) Test the thickness of the balm by dipping a spoon into the pot and scooping up a little of the mixture. Quickly remove and set on a paper towel. It should solidify in a few minutes. If it's too liquid for your taste, add more wax. If it's too solid, add more olive oil. 

7) Remove from heat and pour into containers. I recommend using a funnel for this.

8) Pour the pot of boiling water over your grater, spoons, and other utensils that are now caked in the balm. You might consider doing this outside over pavement or grass, as to prevent sink clogging.

9) Allow the containers to sit out for several hours, or until the balm is solid. 

Tip: If you make more than your containers will fit, you can pour it into a small jar. This jar can later be reheated using the same double-boiler method, and the melted balm can be poured into new or empty containers.

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