How to Do It Cheaply

Do It Cheaply – Body Spray!

Have you ever wanted a body spray in a scent that isn’t made? I have, and so have my friends! I recall searching high and low for fragrances that are only available as candles, and therefore unsuitable for the skin. Don’t worry, though. I’ve got you covered!

blog post 8 supplies
Back to front, left to right: bowl, vodka, vegetable oil, container with lid, spray bottles, water, funnel, measuring spoons, fragrance oil

Here’s What We’ll Need:

  • Vodka – (if you’re old enough to buy some) or witch hazel
    • I paid about $2.50 for the vodka, and $1 for the witch hazel at the dollar store
  • Distilled water – ($0.25/gallon at WinCo)
  • Vegetable oil – ($1 at the dollar store)
  • Fragrance oil of choice – (I chose green tea & cucumber at Michaels for $4.99)
  • Small spray bottles – ($1 for a pack of 3 – I grabbed 2 packs)

Total: $10.74 with vodka, $9.24 with witch hazel – this mixture makes about 8oz (1 cup)

We’ll also need:

  • 1 bowl
  • 1 container with a lid
  • Funnel
  • measuring spoons

If you’re not sure where to get all of your supplies, head on over to this post {link to blog post} for ideas on where to shop.

Here’s how we do it:

  1. In a bowl, slowly mix 10 tablespoons of vodka or witch hazel with 3 full droppers of your fragrance oil. If you want your scent to be lighter, don’t use as much of your fragrance oil. Just one to two droppers should suffice for lighter sprays. Don’t worry if it doesn’t seem to mix completely – you’ll need to shake the spray before each use, anyway
  2. In your container with a lid, mix ½ tablespoon of vegetable oil with 4 tablespoons of distilled water. Again, don’t worry about them mixing completely
  3. Pour vodka or witch hazel/fragrance mix into the oil/water mix, and close the lid tightly                             blog post 8 gif
  4. Let fragrance sit in a dark place for 2 weeks. Shake mixture at least once a day

    blog post 8 dark place
    It looks so lonely in here. Remember to shake it at least one a day! Give your fragrance some company!
  5. After about 2 weeks, use your funnel to pour your body spray mix into your small spray bottles

    blog post 8 finished product
    Be sure to shake it before you use it!

That’s it!

This is such a cool gift because it can be customized in any way you want! You can even combine fragrances, if you’d like to. Michael’s has a wide variety of fragrance oils that you can use. Be sure to tell your family and loved ones to shake their body spray before they use it.

What fragrance did you use for your body sprays? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!


Do It Cheaply – Bath & Body Oil!

Do It Cheaply – Bath & Body Oil!

Have you ever needed to relax after a long, stressful day? Do you hate the way your skin feels after you take a bath? Are you wondering what these two things have to do with one other? I’m talking about taking a wonderful, hot bath after a long day, but getting out of that bath with ashy skin. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – ashy skin ain’t cute. Luckily, I have a gift that is! Introducing homemade bath & body oil! The perfect gift for in or outside the tub!

blog post 7 supplies
Supplies from back to front, left to right: Extra virgin olive oil, ribbon, scissors, funnel, empty bottles, dried peppermint, dried lavender, eucalyptus oil, measuring spoon

Here’s what we’ll need:

  • empty bottles – ($1 for a pack of 3 – I grabbed two packs)
  • your oil of choice – (I recommend extra virgin olive oil – it’s highly moisturizing to the skin and has great conditioning properties. I have a giant jug that I use for a lot of things, but Wal-Mart has a 17oz bottle for $4.84. You can use whatever oil you want, however)
  • eucalyptus oil OR flowers/herbs – (I got my eucalyptus oil at Wal-Mart for $2.69, and I’ll be using lavender for $0.30/oz and peppermint for $0.25/oz)

Total: ranges from $6.84 to $10.08, depending on what you choose

We’ll also need:

  • measuring spoons
  • scissors or knife
  • ribbon
  • funnel

If you’re not sure where to get all of your supplies, give this post a read for awesome places to shop!

Here’s how we do it: steps that can be switched out will be purple

  1. Using your funnel, add 1-2 tsp of eucalyptus oil to your open bottle OR

    blog post 7 pink bottle
    1 tsp of eucalyptus oil
  2. Add 2-3 tsp of your herbs/flowers of choice – if you’re using flowers/herbs, be sure to allow the bottle to sit for a day or two to help them soak into the oil better

    1 tsp of dried peppermint                             1 tsp of dried lavender

  3. Fill the rest of the bottle with your oil of choice and close the bottle

    blog post 7 olive oil
    Both bottles filled with extra virgin olive oil
  4. Shake your bottle to mix the contentsGif - shake the bottle
  5. Cut a piece of ribbon and tie it around the mouth of the bottle. You can add another piece of ribbon for decoration, if you wish

    blog post 7 ribbon
    Ribbon tied onto both bottles
  6. Run edge of scissors or knife along the edge of the ribbon to make it curl – the more you do it, the curlier it gets!
blog post 7 curled ribbon
Look at those curls!

That’s all, folks!

This oil can be used directly on the body or it can be used as bath oil! Just add a few drops to your bath water while it’s running! As a body oil, it’s best to use the oil right after taking a bath or shower, while your skin is still damp. The oil will seal in the moisture on your skin, and the flowers/herbs aid in relaxation and they smell super nice! I highly recommend adding an item like this to a gift basket, or pairing it with a candle (the dollar store has a lot of pleasant candles for cheap). You can also pair this oil with a bath soak {link to bath soak post} for the ultimate relaxation experience!

What oil did you choose for your bath & body oil? Did you choose eucalyptus oil, herbs and flowers, or both? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Do It Cheaply – Marbled Cups!

I’ve been seeing the most adorable trend online – these marbled glass cups, mugs and plates! Everywhere I looked, I couldn’t find any available for purchase, so I looked into making a few for me and my friends. My friends love homemade items, and this is a nifty gift idea!

post 6 supplies
From back to front, left to right: bowl, rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, popsicle stick, cups, acrylic sealer, cotton pads, nail polish

Here’s what we’ll need:

  • Glass cups ($1 each at the dollar store – I bought 4, but you buy however many you need)
  • Nail polish ($1 each at DollarTree – you only need one, but I got two different colors)
  • Rubbing alcohol ($1 at the dollar store)
  • Nail polish remover ($1 at the dollar store)
  • Cotton balls or cotton pads ($1 at the dollar store)
  • Optional clear nail polish ($1 at dollar store) OR clear acrylic sealer ($4.77 at Wal-Mart)

Total: $9 without tax or options; price goes up to $10 or $13.77 without tax

We’ll also need:

  • Plastic bowl
  • Hot/warm water
  • Toothpick/paintbrush/something to swirl your nail polish (I chose popsicle sticks)
  • Surface to dry your cups on (I’m using a newspaper)

Be sure to factor the additional items into your budget if you don’t have them on hand, already. I have a blog post on awesome places to shop if you want to get your items for cheap. I will caution that you need to work quickly with steps 3 and 4. Should you wait too long, you’ll have to redo those steps, and you don’t want to waste nail polish.

A word of caution: be careful when using acrylic sealer. If you choose to go this route, I recommend using the spray in a well-ventilated room with a covering on the floor and walls. An even better option would be to go outside and use the spray there. In both cases, be sure not to get the sealer on your skin or in your eyes, and try your best not to breathe it in. If you’re able to, find a mask to cover your face when spraying this. Or use your shirt – anything to keep you from inhaling it. It’s highly toxic when inhaled, so be careful! Allow it to dry completely before handling the cup or giving it away.

Here’s how we do it: {optional steps will be in blue}

  1. Clean the surface of your cups with rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball or pad – this will disinfect the surface and help the nail polish adhere to the surface better. Allow your cups to dry before you proceed

    post 6 cleaning
    Cleaning the surface of the glass with rubbing alcohol
  2. Fill your bowl with hot/warm water. Make sure you water stays warm – be sure to replace it once it cools down. Try keeping a heating pad around your bowl to keep the water warm, or start with hot water rather than warm water.

    post 6 water
    Hot water from the faucet. Nothing fancy. The water at my apartment gets pretty hot so I didn’t run into my water cooling down. However, I do suggest a heating pad or keeping some hot water on the stove just in case you need to replace your water
  3. Work quickly! Drip your nail polish into the water one color at a time. Swirl the color with your tool of choice. You’ll need to do this for every cup.

    post 6 nail polish
    What’s kinda hard to see in this image is the film that shows up on top of the water once the nail polish is dripped in. The film is what forms the marbled appearance
  4. Work quickly! Dip your cup into the water and swirl it around. Take your cup out and allow it to dry on your surface of choice

    post 6 dipped cup
    This step may take you a few tries. It took me about two attempts to get it
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 for each cup. Should you have to change your water in between dipping cups, be sure to skim the nail polish off the top of the water before changing it

    post 6 dipped cups
    I did the light blue cup second, using a mettalic blue-green nail polish. The result looked like blue smoke rather than marble, but I think it looks pretty cool!
  6. Using your nail polish remover and cotton ball/pad, clean off any excess nail polish from the cup

    post 6 before and after blue
    Before and after being cleaned up with the nail polish remover. Some of the film gets on the cup, but it doesn’t really do anything but make the cup look a little spotty. Take your cotton pad and soak it in your nail polish remover – use that to clean up your cup
  7. Once you have the design that you want, paint over each pattern with two coats of clear nail polish OR spray each cup with a clear acrylic sealer.

    post 6 final cup 1
    Be sure that your cup is dry before you start to spray your sealer. Notice that the floor is covered. There’s also nothing around the area that I’m going to spray. The window is open, as well. Always be sure that you’re being safe when using anything like acrylic sealer – be sure you don’t inhale it and don’t let the fumes build up in your room!

Although the last step is optional, I highly recommend this step! If you choose to leave your cup as is once it dries, the wear and tear of handling and being washed will cause it to chip. Clear nail polish will greatly extend the life of the marble color, and acrylic sealer will make it water resistant.

That’s it!

You can keep this as a set or give them out to your friends! I definitely plan on giving these out, but I may create a set for myself later on. I’m planning on filling these cups with leftover Easter candy before I hand them out to my friends. Be sure to tell your friends to hand wash their cup!

How did yours turn out? What color did you use, or did you use multiple colors? What kind of glasses did you use? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

Do It Cheaply – Mini Flower Soaps!

Have you ever seen those adorable little soaps in the shape of a flower, or a star, or some other cute little shape? I have! One of my favorite gifts to make is little soaps. They’re so easy to make and they don’t require many supplies. I love to add flowers to add a touch of color, and they also add health benefits! Lavender is used in aromatherapy and aids in relaxation. Roses are often used for their conditioning effects on the skin. Both have lovely aromas and the colors are beautiful! These gifts are the perfect way to pamper yourself. And, since my friends and I all enjoy a bit of pampering, it’s a nice gift to give for such an occasion!

post 5 supplies
From back to front: baggies, measuring cup, ribbon, oil, dried roses, Ivory soap bars, silicone mold, cutting board, scissors, measuring spoons, knife

Here’s what we’ll need:

  • soap bars – I used Ivory soap bars (pack of 3 for $1.24 at Wal-Mart)
  • silicone mold – these can be found on Amazon, but I got mine at a thrift shop ($2.99)
  • optional – flowers (I chose roses – $.59/oz).
  • optional – oil (I chose an olive oil and sunflower oil blend – $1 at the dollar store)

We’ll also need:

  • microwave safe container (I’m using a large glass measuring cup)
  • knife
  • cutting board
  • measuring spoons
  • baggies
  • ribbon
  • scissors
  • something to stir with (I used a rubber spatula and a popsicle stick)

Total: $4.23 (no options or tax); prices go up to $4.82 – $5.82 with options

If you’re not sure where to get the items on this list, this blog post is a great place to get ideas on where to shop!

Here’s what we do: optional steps in blue

  1. Cut your soap bar(s) into cubes – they don’t need to be very small, but just smaller than the huge block it comes in

    post 5 soap
    This is an idea of what your soap should look like. Note that is only one bar of soap. Cut as many bars as you think you’ll need
  2. Place your cubes of soap into your microwave safe container – melt them down in 10-15 second increments in the microwave until the cubes are completely melted and/or smooth. Note: Watch your soap very carefully! If you’re having trouble melting your soap into a more liquid state, add a little bit of water to help it get smooth. I ended up having to use this method with my Ivory brand soap, but you may not have to.

    BEFORE being melted                      AFTER being melted

  3. Once melted, add 2-3 teaspoons of your flowers and stir

    post 5 flowers
    I didn’t mix it here so that you can see what it looks like on top of the soap. Be sure your soap is as smooth as possible. Pop it back in the microwave if you have to
  4. Add 1-2 tablespoons of your oil and stir

    post 5 oil
    Flowers are mixed and oil is being added
  5. Pour (or press) soap mixture into silicone mold – let it sit overnight to harden. If you want them to be extra stiff, place them in the fridge or freezer. If you have to press them into the mold, the bottoms may look kind of rugged. You can trim the soaps once they harden completely by running your knife along the edges

    post 5 mold
    Soap is pressed into the mold! I should really learn how to work neater! One bar of soap yeilds about 7 mini soaps (this is with the flowers and oil added)
  6. Once the soap has dried, turn silicone mold over and press lightly on the back of each soap mold to release it. Be careful with this step – you don’t want to break your soap

    blog post 5 soap out of mold
    They look sloppier than they really are because of the extra soap that came off the sides
  7. Place soap(s) into baggie – since mine are going to be pretty small, everyone is getting two little soaps. The size of the soaps all depends on the mold you use. I’m making two small soaps per baggie – one bag has an extra one because I made an odd number of soaps

    post 5 soap in baggie
    Two flower soaps in a plastic baggie
  8. Cut one piece of ribbon to tie the baggie shut. You can add more ribbon for decoration, if you’d like

    blog post 5 soap in baggie
    Didn’t feel the need to add an extra ribbon, this time. I cut the pieces pretty long
  9. Run edge of knife or scissors along ribbon to make it curl

    blog post 5 soap with ribbon
    For once I didn’t have to run the scissors along the ribbon a million times! Curls came out great!

That’s it!

All you’ve gotta do now is give the soap to your friends! Yay! This is a cute gift to give for any occasion, and it’s suitable for all ages!

How’d yours turn out? Did you choose to use flowers, oil, or both? What kind of flowers and/or oil did you use? Let me know how yours turned out!

Thanks for reading!

Do It Cheaply – Body Scrub!

Winter is the season of dry skin! If you’re like me, your skin can get itchy, flaky and just plain old ashy – and that’s not cute. I normally get exfoliating body scrubs, but so many of them have those little plastic beads that get into the ocean, and I can’t stand to use them – they’re horrible for the environment! I also find that a lot of them aren’t very moisturizing for my skin, and the few that are can get a bit pricey. I don’t have time to shop for super expensive body scrub, and neither do my friends! So, enter the awesome gift of homemade body scrubs! Yay!

scrub supplies
In this image: measuring cups & spoons, dried roses, raw brown sugar, empty containers, body wash, oil, ribbon, popsicle sticks and scissors

Here’s what we’ll need:

  • 1 or 2 bottles of any liquid soap ($1 at the dollar store – only buy what you think you’ll need)
  • sea salt or raw brown sugar – fine or coarse (1lbs for $1 at the dollar store)
  • small containers (pack of 10 for $1 at the dollar store)
  • optional your oil of choice (I chose a olive oil and sunflower oil blend – $1 at the dollar store)
  • optional dried flowers (I chose roses – $0.59/oz at Stay Healthy!)

Total: $4.00 (without options or tax). Total between $5 and $6.59 when you choose options

You’ll also need:

  • measuring spoons
  • measuring cups
  • ribbon
  • scissors or knife
  • something to stir your mixture

If you don’t have all of the supplies, click here for great ideas on where to shop! Be sure to factor them into your budget if you need to!

Here’s how we do it: optional steps will be in blue

  1.  Fill container with 1/8 cup of liquid soapscrub soap
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of sea salt or sugar to your container – you can add more or less sea salt/sugar depending on how rough you want your scrub to bescrub sugar
  3. optional Add 1 teaspoon of your dried flowers – you can add more or less depending on how strong you want your flower’s scentscrub flower
  4. optional Add 1 teaspoon of your oil of choice – you can add more or less depending on how moisturizing you want your scrub to bescrub oil.JPG
  5. Mix all of your ingredients together until well blendedscrub mix
  6. Cut two pieces of ribbon and tie them one of top of each other. It should look like an X or a +. Use a few pieces of tape if you’re having trouble holding them downscrub ribbon
  7. Run the edge of the scissors or knife along the ribbon to make it curl. The more you run the edge along the ribbon, the curlier it getsscrub curled ribbon

That’s it!

I love recipes like this because it’s a wonderful way to pamper yourself – on a budget! Yay! Most of my friends absolutely adore being pampered, so I thought that this was the most perfect gift for them. This is a great gift for mothers, friends, and girlfriends!

How did yours turn out? Did you use oils and flowers? What changes did you make? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Do It Cheaply – Bath Soaks!

We’ve all had stressful days. Work or school can take a toll on us, sometimes. All I wanna do is relax after a long day. And if you’re like me, you’re sore as soon as you get home to chill out. Bath soaks are Epsom salts (and sometimes sea salts are added) that are often infused with flowers, herbs, oils, and other natural goodies to help you feel all nice and mellow after a long day. Since all of my friends work very hard, I decided to give the gift of relaxation in the form of bath soaks! Yay!

bath soak supplies
In this image: Epsom salt, olive oil/sunflower oil mix, containers, food coloring, dried roses, dried lavender, ribbon, measuring spoons, Popsicle sticks, scissors

Here’s what we’ll need:

  • small containers (pack of 10 for $1 at the dollar store)
  • Epsom salt (2lbs for $1 at the dollar store)
  • dried flowers (I chose rose and lavender – rose was $0.59/oz and lavender was $.30/oz, I got them at a health store called Stay Healthy! most health stores carry bulk herbs and flowers. You can also go to Amazon for bulk herbs and flowers)
  • optional oil (I chose a sunflower oil/olive oil mixture – $1 at the dollar store)
  • optional food coloring ($3.48 at Wal-Mart)

Total: $2.89 (without options or tax), prices goes up to $3.89 – $7.78 with options

We’ll also need:

  • measuring spoons
  • ribbon
  • scissors/knife
  • something to stir the mix with (I like to use wooden popsicle sticks – $1 at the dollar store)

If you don’t have measuring spoons, ribbon or scissors, go here for great places you can shop for them!

Here’s what we do: optional steps will be in blue

  1. Put 2-3 tablespoons of Epsom salt into one of the containers

    tbsp of epsom salt
    One tablespoon of epsom salt is already in the container. I added 3 tablespoons to the container in total
  2. Add 1-2 teaspoons of dried flowers – the more flowers you add, the stronger the scent will be

    Flowers in epsom salt
    Dried flowers (lavender and rose) on top of the epsom salt. I used 1/2 tsp for each flower
  3. Add 1-2 teaspoons of your oil – more oil equals more moisture

    tsp of oil
    1 teaspoon of olive oil/sunflower oil mix
  4. Add 3 drops of food coloring to your Epsom salt – you can use fewer drops for a lighter color, or more drops for a stronger color. Remember that because Epsom salt is white, the color may seem lighter than you want

    3 drops of food coloring
    3 drops of blue food coloring in epsom salt and dried flowers
  5. Mix the ingredients together – make sure there isn’t any liquid sitting on top of the Epsom salt

    soak mixed together
    Everything all mixed together. I love this color!
  6. Cut one piece of ribbon, and tie it on the container. If you want to, you can add an extra ribbon to make it more secure, and/or make it prettier. If you’re like me, and you have trouble tying ribbon for whatever reason, use a piece of tape to keep it secure.

    ribbon on soak
    I had to use tape to keep it down – the ribbon was not working with me, at all. This is before I added the second ribbon
  7. Run the edge of the knife/scissors along the ribbon to make it curl. The more times you run the edge along the ribbon, the more it curls

    2016-03-20 03-28-50.770
    Look at the pretty ribbons! I added a second ribbon to make it look prettier 

That’s it!

All you have to do now is give them to your friends! Yay! Your loved ones will love you even more for this! I highly suggest making a small batch for yourself, as well. This is the perfect way to pamper yourself after a long day.

How did yours turn out? What flowers did you decide to use? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Do It Cheaply – Hot Chocolate Mugs

Winter is the perfect season for hot chocolate! It’s my favorite drink when I wanna curl up with a good book, or when I wanna snuggle up under a blanket and queue up an episode of Criminal Minds on Netflix, and for staying warm on cold, rainy days – hot chocolate rocks! So why not give the gift of cozy beverages to your loved ones – for cheap? I’ve got you covered!

Here’s what we’ll need:

hot chocolate supplies
Back to Front: scissors, ribbon, baggies, marshmallows, powdered milk, chocolate chips, hot chocolate, ribbon pieces, mug, measuring spoons. PLEASE NOTE: The mugs that you see in the background are the ones I got at the dollar store. The mug in this picture was a gift, and I’m using it for the purpose of this blog post
  • mugs (5 mugs) – $1 each at the dollar store ($5 total for the mugs)
  • hot chocolate (2 boxes) – $1 each at the dollar store
  • ribbon (1 spool) – $1 at the dollar store
  • plastic baggies (1 box) – $1 at the dollar store
  • powdered milk (1 bag) – $1.98 at Wal-Mart
  • optional marshmallows (1 bag) – $1 at the dollar store
  • optional chocolate chips (1 bag) – $1.57 at Smith’s Grocery (you may need to shop around a bit if you don’t have a Smith’s in your area)

We’ll also need:

  • scissors or knife
  • measuring spoons
  • optional paint or permanent marker

Your Total: $10.98 (without options or tax); prices range from $11.98 to $13.55 depending on which options you choose – tax not included!

If you don’t have scissors, knives or measuring spoons, click here for good places to shop for them! Be sure to factor them into your budget!

Here’s how we do it: (blue text indicates an optional step)

  1. Fold the baggie over the edge of the mug – make sure the baggie is completely open inside the mug – and empty two packs of the hot chocolate powder inside

    hot chocolate
    Two packets of hot chocolate (pictured above) emptied into the baggie, which sits inside the mug
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of powdered milk (you can add more or less, depending on how rich you want the hot chocolate to be)

    powdered milk
    1 tablespoon of powdered milk on top of the hot chocolate
  3. Add your toppings – 2 tablespoons of marshmallows and/or 1 tablespoon of chocolate chips

    chocolate chips
    2 tablespoons of marshmallows and 1 tablespoon of chocolate chips
  4. Once all of the mixings are in the baggie, cut a piece of ribbon and use it to tie the bag shut. Use two pieces if you wanna make it extra secure (or if you wanna make it extra pretty)

    Two pieces of ribbon, tying the baggie shut inside the mug
  5. Run the edge of your scissors or knife along the loose ends of the ribbon to make it curl – the more times your run the edge along the ribbon, the curlier it gets.

    curly ribbon
    Ribbon after it’s been curled – I ran my scissors along the ribbon two to three times
  6. Write or paint the name of your loved one on the mug – or decorate it however you’d like, and allow it to dry for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour

    write name on mug
    Wrote my name on my mug with a metallic marker

And that’s it!

All you’ve gotta do now is give the mugs to your family and friends, and watch them get all sorts of happy because, hello, free hot chocolate! All they have to do is add hot water and it’s ready to drink! Yay!

Is there a recipe for hot chocolate that you like to use? Is there anything that you would add to or change in this recipe? Let me know in the comments how yours turned out!

Thanks for reading!