Scented Beads


Apple sauce or pumpkin pulp

cheap dime store cinnamon and other spices


Mix one part spices to 2 parts of apple sauce(or other pulp). Smells

wonderful!!! Roll into balls and let dry on a piece of recycled wax

paper. (I use the liners from cereal boxes.) When dry put in net bags

to scent drawers and closets. If you want to make beads for a

necklace let firm up for a day and then piece with a big needle or

paper clip. Wiggle beads every day until dry to make sure they are

not stuck to the needle. Then string with double button hole twist

thread or fishing line.

Hand Rolled Milk Soaps

Take some plain home made unscented soap, or inexpensive plain

unscented soap from the dime store (Ivory like stuff). Grate the soap

into a heat proof vessel. Put over a water bath and slowly add just

enough milk to form a thick cookie dough like paste. Take off the

heat and let cool enough to handle. Add scent oils (lavender is

nice). You can also add oatmeal for grit, or flowers and herbs for

color and a nice rustic look. Roll into hand formed balls, and let

dry on more recycled wax paper. You can get scent oils at the local

herb store, or order cheaply for craft projects from

A very little goes a long way, so one jar can last years for craft


Boxes and Baskets

Once you have all your projects made you need baskets and boxes.

Cover regular boxes with cloth or paper decoupage. Just glue the

scraps on. Pick a subject that reflects the person's interests like

flowers for the gardener, etc.

Baskets can be made from natural materials like vines and branches

woven together. Another type of basket can be crocheted from thin rag

scraps or double section of yarn. Check out the holiday basket

pattern at:

Holiday Basket Pattern

Gift Cards:

For Gift cards I cut the pictures part off last years Christmas

cards. Beautiful re-use!

Make It Yourself!

Few people realize that the most commonly used frugal cleaning

ingredients can be cheaply made at home. You can make your own soap

and vinegar for just pennies and have lots of science project fun

while doing so!

Four pounds of Basic Soap for cleaning, hand washing, and spraying on

your roses can be made for around two USA dollars.


Three pounds of discount shortening, OR Lard, OR butter, OR clarified

fat you saved in the freezer(cheapest)


3 cups of water or milk

Stainless steel , glass, or enamel pan NO ALUMINUM !!! (It reacts

with the lye!!!) If you can't tell one metal from another use glass

casserole dishes.

Wood spoon for stirring.

Rubber Gloves


In a well ventilated room, or out doors, CAREFULLY (!!!!!) add lye to

water, or milk in pan or glass casserole. Stir with wooden spoon or

stick. This will INSTANTLY heat up and get hot!!! Be careful not to

breath the fumes. This is why pioneer women made soap outside! Let

cool to very warm (around 100 plus degrees F).

When lye solution has cooled to warm melt fat so it just barely is

changed from solid. Mix the lye solution into the fat and stir

constantly for around ten minutes. Stir intermittently until the

soap "traces" which means firms up like a good custard and makes soft

mounds when you sort of pile it about in the pan.

You can pour it into glass or plastic molds, or boxes lined with

plastic wrap. Cover with old blankets to hold the warmth, and let sit

overnight. The next day you can cut bars and then stack them on old

newspaper for a month or so to "age" the soap. This means that all

the lye will interact with the fat making soap milder.

If you want to add scent or fancy ingredients its best to "re-batch"

the soap by grating it and adding a small amount of water. Then melt

it over a double boiler mixing well. It will resemble the soap when

you first made it (mushy), but this has the lye worked out of it and

won't burn up additives like scent, oatmeal, or herbs.

To get more ideas, check out:


To Make your own vinegar for cleaning --- not your salads --- just

boil up fruit peelings, and then strain the liquid. Pour juice in a

clean sterile jar, jug, or crock (To Sterilize:Pour boiling water in,

let sit, and then pour out water). Then add a bit of yeast or

unwashed fruit peeling to the liquid. Let it ferment with the cap off

in a warm place. Leave cap off and soon it will spoil and get a

vinegar odor. This is the vinegar organisms changing it to vinegar.

It will get sort of a glop on top called the "vinergar mother." This

is a good thing, don't worry about it. When all activity has stopped

in the vessel, strain off the "mother" and sediment and pasteurize by

bringing the liquid to just a boil and then removing from heat to


Kelly in IL