christmas

Last Minute Christmas Gifts: Homemade Body Butter

body butter gift under the tree, the artyologist

Is it really only one more week until Christmas?

I read a while ago that this year has kind of been like Rip Van Winkle and, for me, I would agree. While my daily routine has definitely slowed down, time seems to be rushing by, and it all feels a bit surreal. While we’ve already passed the halfway point for December, it still feels like this year has gone by so slowly. In some ways it does seem like I’m sleeping while the world continues spinning by…

Well, in case time has gotten away from you too, and you need some last minute gifts, today I am sharing a zero-waste inspired Christmas gift you can easily make in a few hours. The great thing is that it mostly uses items you might already have around the house! This is a bit different than the topics I usually discuss here, but I kind of like branching out into new topics, and this definitely fits into the “lifestyle’ category.

I don’t know where I found this recipe- I think from a zero waste blogger or Instagrammer, but you can easily find these sorts of recipes with a quick google search of “diy natural body butter”. This is just the one I make because I bought a huge pail of shea butter several years ago, and I am trying to work my way through it (slowly!).

Easy Homemade Natural Body Butter

1 part coconut oil

1 part sweet almond oil (or light olive oil)

2 parts shea butter

Optional: essential oil of your choice

I usually make this recipe with sweet almond oil, but since I used up all of my almond oil while making soap, I couldn’t find any more! Usually I would get it at the health food store, but they didn’t have any. After a bit of research it appears that light olive oil works as a substitute, and it seems to be working just as well. I would definitely recommend light, not regular oil, so there isn’t a strong olive smell.

Also, I used lavender essential oil, but you can definitely make it unscented.

I also saw several other recipes used cocoa butter instead of shea, so you could probably try that too. Basically the most important part is that you need to have equal parts oil to butter.

Heat your oils and butter in a double boiler until it is completely melted, then place in the refrigerator to cool. I forgot to take any photos of this process, but it is pretty straightforward. Once it has solidified (several hours depending on how much you have made), then take it out and immediately whip with a blender until it is white and fluffy. It’s like magic how quickly it beats up! Then add some essential oils, 4-5 drops, if desired and mix in completely.

I am sure there is a shelf life on homemade body butters (probably a few months?) but to be honest I haven’t had any problems with it going rancid. I keep mine in my nightstand drawer, and I have had this last batch for probably 9 months, and I’ve never had any bacteria growth or funky smells or anything. This is a very moisturizing (albeit greasy) body butter, perfect for winter dryness; I use it on my feet, or as a lip balm.

Once you’ve whipped up the butter, then you are ready to decant it into jars.

I have been collecting these face lotion jars for the past few years, because I hate throwing things out, and I was sure I could find a use for them, even if for just organizing/storage. However a few months ago, I thought of an even better use- to repurpose as gifts (a zero waste win!). I used nail polish remover to take the labels off, and then sterilized the jars by running them through the dishwasher and heating the lids with boiling water.

They worked perfectly to hold about 3 tbsp of body butter- the perfect amount to try it out, without having to commit to using for the next few years! Any small jar would work great, maybe a small spice jar? Or a tiny canning jar?

I also decided to include the recipe in with the gift. I purchased this recipe card printable in the spring from local-ish artist Jenni Haikonen, as it’s so nice to give people recipes written on a pretty card, rather than any old paper, isn’t it?

I wrapped the gift up in some brown paper bags I have had for years, tied them with some recycled ribbons and twine (I always save ribbons and string whenever I get a package etc. in order to reuse them) and added some homemade Victorian Christmas tags. And there you have a lovely little gift for friends, coworkers or anyone else you want to give a gift to this season!

Well, I hope you enjoy making this recipe, if you decide to, and also hope that you have a very Merry Christmas season!

Minimalist Christmas

berry and branch christmas bouquet

There are only 8 days left until Christmas!

Does it seem like December has been going by quickly? It definitely doesn’t feel like it’s the middle of December already…

I decorated early for Christmas this year. Well, early for me, at least. For some people, “early” would mean the beginning of November. For some, it would be any time before December. For me, it means I decorated the last weekend of November. Usually I wait to decorate until the first weekend of December, but this year I was gone that weekend… so November it was!

white berries and branch bouquets in milk glass and miniature evergreens

I don’t have much room to display things and decorate in this apartment, so I went for a very minimal Christmas decor this year. I already tend towards natural, minimal holiday decor for all seasons, so I focused on natural and simple elements to decorate with. I kind of want my decor to look like it was gathered while on a walk in the woods; which a bunch of it actually was! I added evergreen bouquets, berry and branch bouquets, a garland, pinecones tucked in amongst pictures, and fairy lights to create that cozy Christmas feel in my apartment. I wasn’t able to pull out my vintage ornament collection this year, since I just don’t have any place to display them because of the way this apartment is set up.

I did pick up a few new items (the perils of working at a decorating store!) but they are items I am going to be glad to use for years to come. The red berries really added a nice pop of colour to my branch bouquet. I tried the bouquet without the red berries, and it was just a little too boring. Also you may recall, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, that I used this vase (which is actually a candle holder) last year with an evergreen bouquet in it. Well, that was a mistake. I lined the vase with a bag, then filled it with sand and was able to keep the branches watered and alive for several weeks with that. However, in January, when I went to empty it out…when I pulled out the bag, all of the silver paint came off the glass too! I was left with a clear glass vase, that looked quite terrible. Fortunately I do have some old silver glass paint I bought years ago for a project, and was able to repaint it over the summer. Thus- this year was a branch bouquet that didn’t involve any water!

miniature house in a glass cloche

I also found this tiny sparkly wreath and fell in love with it (even though it’s not “natural” in any way) so that one had to come home with me too. And, the little cloche, which I picked up a few months ago (I do have a weakness for cloches…) originally had a miniature crown under the glass, but I got it with the express idea of making a little house to display under for winter. I like that I can use it for all seasons, so it’s been quite versatile that way.

I’ve really been trying to cut down on my spending and collecting, and have been on a total minimalism kick lately. I’m nowhere near as minimalist as some people are- I still love my decorations and books and pictures and “stuff”, but I’ve really been thinking about how much decor I want to own and store, especially because I’ve moved so many times in the past couple of years (and moving is hard, when you own lots of stuff!). I’ve decided that I will only have two boxes of seasonal decor…and deciding this in the past few weeks has actually helped me a lot of avoid some really cute holiday decor impulse buys!

I would still like to find a nativity, but I haven’t found one yet that I really like. I’ve been looking in the thrift stores for the past several years hoping that someone will have decided to part with a nice, simple ceramic one like my mom has…but so far I haven’t found anything. Oh well, one day I will find a set!

wooden christmas garland

wooden slice christmas garland

I wasn’t sure at first how I was going to decorate my place for Christmas, since I don’t have a buffet, or mantle or anything like that to decorate and briefly debated whether I should decorate at all, but I’m so glad I decided to dig my boxes out and put a bit of festive decor up, because it certainly brightened things up and added some lovely holiday cheer. I honestly don’t love living in this apartment, but decorating and making things look nice can make such a big difference to the atmosphere of your home, don’t you think?

Do you like to decorate for holidays? Are you a minimalist when it comes to decor, or do you like to go all out? And what is your favourite Christmas decoration?

cloche filled with pinecones and fairy lights

evergreen christmas bouquet

Christmas Around the Corner

When I was a child, there was a house around the corner from us, that always decorated their house and yard with enough Christmas lights that they could have charged admission and given tours. One year my family was talking about how Christmas was “just around the corner” as we were passing by that house, and so we instantly dubbed it the “Christmas Around the Corner” house. Now, whenever we see a brightly decorated property we say to each other, “there’s Christmas around the corner!” 

I do love decorating for the season, (or basically every season!) so I admire and enjoy how much effort some people go to with their decorations- I certainly don’t go to those lengths myself! This year, however, is my first year working at a decorating store during the Christmas season, and so I get to go all out and “decorate for Christmas” pretty much every shift. Needless to say, it’s been a lot of fun!

I never decorate until December (on whichever weekend is the first of the month) and this year I got my decorations up on December 3rd. It just seems too early to me, to start decorating in November. To be honest, I’m always switching things around, and so I would get bored with the Christmas stuff if I had it up for two whole months. Also, considering that we always have a real tree, and this year I have real evergreen boughs, it would be pretty dried up if we put it up too soon! 

I was planning on investing in some nice faux evergreens this year, but didn’t see any that I liked, and so I actually ended up getting real boughs from my parents place. I love them so much that (until they one day move away and no longer have wooded areas for me to pillage) I will continue to do that every year! I don’t do a tree at my place, since I spend Christmas at my parent’s house, so in lieu of a tree, I did an evergreen and branch bouquet and hung some of my vintage ornaments on it. 

The main crux of my decorating involves my vintage ornament collection- this year my sister and I found six boxes of vintage ornaments at the thrift store- we couldn’t grab them fast enough! We also hung some of the vintage ornaments in the fig tree, which looks very pretty in real life, but didn’t really show up well in the pictures, so you’ll just have to believe me 🙂 I also got these new reproduction mercury glass ornaments this year at the store I work at- I absolutely LOVE mercury glass and I love how they paired with the pink vintage ornaments. This tray looks very “millennial” doesn’t it? (Millennial pink anyone?)

This wood burned garland by Kluane National Workshop is also new this year. I picked it up at a craft fair, but if you’d like to check them out, they have a shop right here.

Well, this is a fairly heavy picture post, but I guess I’m making up for all the posts I haven’t written this past month 🙂 

When do you put up your Christmas decor and what are some of your Christmas decorating traditions? 

As an extra bonus- here is the mantle I did at my parent’s place. It turned out very pretty with the fairy lights, greenery and nativity, so I couldn’t leave it out!

A Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year to You

nativity, the artyologist

Well, here we are only a few days away from Christmas now. . . I can’t believe how quickly 2017 has gone by! I’m going to be taking a bit of break this week to spend time with friends and family, although I do have a New Year’s post planned for next Friday. Today I thought I’d just share some pictures of my Christmas decorating. This was the first year decorating in my own new home, and I had a lot of fun with it. I love collecting ornaments, especially vintage ones, so I enjoyed being able to finally display them all in my new place. (And my nativity, which I made in kindergarden, and is still going strong! 😉 haha)

Anyways, as this is my second to last post for this year, I would like to say thank-you so much to everyone who has been following along this year! All of your comments and support for my blog have been wonderful and have made this hobby entirely worth it. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas season as we celebrate the birth of our Saviour!

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.”

Isaiah 9:6-7 

bookshelf-decorations, the artyologist

ornaments-over-window, the artyologist

wreath, the artyologist

china-cabinet-decor, the artyologist

peacock, the artyologist

top-of-bookshelf, the artyologist

branches-and-ornaments, the artyologist

ornaments-over-window-closeup, the artyologist

presents, the-artyologist

side-table-decor, the artyologist