Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Candy Cane Shower Scrub

With Halloween already over and Thanksgiving coming up tomorrow, Christmas is right around the corner! Like I mentioned in my last post, I love to use seasonal foods in my body products. This doesn't just apply to produce, though. My latest shower scrub uses one of the holiday season's most popular treats- Candy Canes! I love this scrub. It may sound cheesy, but the warm smell of peppermint instantly puts me in the holiday spirit and brings me back to those fond Christmas memories which we all know so well. This Candy Cane Shower Scrub leaves your skin feeling silky smooth, and also makes a wonderful holiday gift- just pour into a pretty air-tight canister and tie a bow and gift tag around the top! Enjoy!


1 1/2 c granulated sugar
1/4 cup powdered candy canes (or 8 round peppermint candies)
3 tablespoons ground candy canes, for texture (not too big of pieces, or else they'll be sharp!)
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla powder OR seeds of 1 vanilla bean
1 tablespoons vegetable glycerin
2 teaspoons grapeseed oil (any light oil, like olive, will work)
30 drops grapefruit seed extract OR 1 tablespoon citric acid
2 drops peppermint extract


Combine sugar, powdered and ground candy canes, sea salt and vanilla. Stir in glycerin, oil, grapefruit seed extract (or citric acid) and peppermint extract. Add more oil if desired. Pour mixture into air-tight container. To use: briskly massage a handful of scrub into damp skin. Rinse.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cranberry Orange Shower Scrub

 Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I couldn't be more excited! I love the whole holiday season. The cooling air, the short days, fires in the fireplace, and especially the wonderful foods of the season. Not only do I like to include seasonal ingredients in my dishes, but also in my homemade body products. What a wonderful way to utilize these different ingredients and bring the magic of the holidays into different parts of your day!

Since my mom makes homemade cranberry sauce every Thanksgiving, she has bags and bags of cranberries in her fridge. So I decided to make a shower scrub using cranberries and another popular holiday fruit: Oranges. This scrub does wonders for your skin. The sugar and salt slough off dead cells and makes your skin silky smooth. Cranberries are packed with antioxidants which protect the skin, especially from harsh winter weather. Oranges also contain antioxidants as well as Vitamin C, an amazing nutrient for the skin. (Learn about Vitamin C's skin benefits here)

This scrub looks good enough to eat and will make your skin sweetly soft and radiant!


1/3 cup fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


Use a food processor and puree cranberries and water. Combine puree with sugars, orange juice, salt and vanilla. To use, massage into damp skin while in shower, then rinse. Store scrub in refrigerator in an air-tight container.

Friday, November 2, 2012

DIY Pine Cone Bird and Squirrel Feeders

Some of you may remember this fun craft from when you were a kid. It was one of my favorites. I loved going out in the chilly weather with my mom to gather pine cones, making the feeders in our cozy kitchen, and watching and identifying each bird that snacked on our creation. This is a fun project to do with or without kids. It's a great craft to kick off the fall months and they look adorable hanging in the backyard!

I hope you have as much fun making these as I did!

What You Need

5 large pine cones (Experiment with different sizes and quantities!)
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cups mixed birdseed
Wire (I used beading wire), crimp beads and pliers or strong twine
1 shallow microwave-safe dish  (I used a short, square Gladware food storage container)
1 deep dish  (I used a tall, rectangle Gladware food storage container)
Pastry brush or clean paint brush
Wax paper

Make sure the pine cones are free of dirt. Cut 5 pieces of wire or twine, about 2 1/2 to 3 feet long each. Start by taking a pine cone and wrapping the wire once or twice around the middle, and tucking in the tail to keep it from unraveling. Now, continue wrapping the wire around and toward the top of the pine cone. When you get to the top of the pine cone, wrap the same spot several times, as well as thread the loose end of the wire under and through a few already-wrapped spots, and pull tightly, to secure (sort of like sewing!) You don't need to go over-board on the wrapping, but you do want to make sure that the pine cone isn't going anywhere- squirrels have some arm muscle! Position the wire so that the pine cone hangs straight down. Repeat for each pine cone.
Step 1: Wrap Pine Cone with Wire
Prepare your work area with a tablecloth. 
Set aside a piece of wax paper in a safe place for drying.
Pour the 1 1/2 cups birdseed into the deep dish.
Pour the 3/4 cup peanut butter into the shallow microwave-safe dish. Microwave the peanut butter in 20 second intervals, stirring each time, until it becomes thin and runny.
Step 2: Prepare Your Work Area
Now the fun part! Take a pine cone, holding it by the top, and place it into the dish of melted peanut butter. Using a pastry brush or clean paint brush, 'paint' the pine cone with the peanut butter, turning it to coat it evenly. Make sure to use the brush to get into all the nooks and crannies and to coat both the tops and bottoms of the all the 'scales.' You may prefer to drizzle the peanut butter over the pine cone and then use the brush to spread it out. Whatever works for you! You'll probably need to reheat the peanut butter between each pine cone to keep it thin and easily-spreadable. Hold the pine cone by the wire over the dish and let the excess peanut butter drip off.
Step 3: Paint the Pine Cone with the Melted Peanut Butter

Now, place it into the container of birdseed and gently roll, shake and pour the seed over the pine cone to coat it thoroughly and evenly, again making sure to fill all those nooks and crannies!
Gently shake off any loose birdseed.
Step 4: Roll the Pine Cone in the Birdseed

Place the pine cone on the wax paper to dry, about 30 minutes. Repeat for all the pine cones.
Step 5: Allow the Pine Cones to Dry

Now it's time to hang your Pine Cone Bird and Squirrel Feeders!
Step 6: Hang the Pine Cones by Wrapping the Wire Around a
 Branch, Trellis or Other Support Very Securely
I used crimp beads from my jewelry supplies to hang the feeders. Hardware stores also sell a variety of crimps. Just thread a crimp onto the wire, wrap the loose end of the wire around the support (tree branch, board, etc), and thread the end of the wire back through the crimp from the top. Slide the crimp up the wires toward the support to tighten. Use pliers to squeeze the crimp closed and trim the excess wire.

If you don't have or don't want to use the crimps, simply just wrap the wire or twine around the support several times before tying and knotting the ends very securely. You may even want to hammer a nail into the support and wrap the wire or twine around it several times before knotting the ends.

Wherever you decide to hang your feeders, they must be secure, otherwise the squirrels will be running off with the pine cones (I speak from experience, much to the squirrels enjoyment!) This is why I prefer wire over twine- it's a lot stronger and not as easy for the squirrels to chew through.

This is What Happens When the Feeders Aren't Secured Tightly!
The deck in my backyard is the bird and squirrel hot-spot, so I decided to hang the feeders on the trellis that's on the deck. I hung them at different lengths for a pretty display. You can hang them however and wherever you like!! Hang them from whatever support you like: a fence, tree branch, trellis, gazebo- use your imagination! You could even attach the feeders to a wire clothes hanger that's been bent into a circle, or a small embroidery hoop, and hang the whole thing for a whimsical mobile display.
 Now sit back and enjoy watching the wildlife snack on your creations!