|This spa cloth took me about 6 hours, like the kitchen dish cloths|
Over the summer, I've been perusing sites, checking books at the library, making up my list (and checking it twice) and generally being in the thought process part of planning for Christmas gifts.
Today I wanted to show you some of the inspirations for my gifts-to-make list (and keeping fingers and toes crossed that no one on my list will figure out who is getting what).
The spa cloths. Yesterday, I was asked if a spa cloth was the same as a washcloth. Yes! But doesn't "spa cloth" sound so much more, um, gift-like? So, if anyone on my list receives a washcloth from me, it's not that I think you need bathing, but more along the lines of pampering. Also, as either a knitted or crocheted cloth, it has more texture than a terry cloth, better for exfoliating and invigorating the skin.
The tabs on my lap top are filled with pages that have images of what has inspired me. Here's the spa cloth inspiration:
Looks really, really lovely, right? 4 spa cloths and 3 bars of
So, here's one of my finished spa cloths (and they're not all ecru, I bought some colored yarn, too):
I knit the cloth following these directions: from ravelry.com, the pattern by Anne Mancine. It's a waffle knit pattern.
I used a worsted weight cotton yarn (sugar n cream by Lily), in Ecru, on size 7 needles. I amended the pattern for worsted weight, size 7 needles to casting on 41 stitches, and after knitting rows 1-4, repeating that pattern for 13 repeats -- total of 14 sets of the 4 rows of the body of the pattern. The finished size is 10 inches by 10 inches. (I first knitted this following the creators directions for casting on 44 stitches. It was looking too wide/big for a knitted spa cloth, hence my sightly smaller version.)
Other than that, the pattern knitted up perfectly. I measured after 13 repeats, and it was perfectly-sized for finishing off with the repeat of rows 1 & 2, then seed stitch edging.
Although there are more rows and stitches to knit than the dish cloth, it knits slightly faster, due to a couple rows in the pattern being quick to knit (almost all K or all P for a row).
Aside from being slightly larger than a dish cloth, it's also slightly stretchier, which I think is more appropriate for a bath/spa cloth.
The cost of one spa cloth is under a dollar, with yarn bought on sale, using slightly less than 2 ounces of yarn.
This soap looks like cold process soap. But I will do a melt and pour soap, something that looks like this:
Like I said, I will do a melt and pour soap base. I'll be making goat's milk, honey-almond-oat, skin-soothing bars. I'll use a goat's milk base, along with ground oats, camomile tea, sweet almond fragrance oil, vitamin E oil, and honey. I'll combine several different recipes to get the skin-soothing product that I'm after. Instead of buying a mold for the bars, I'll pour the melted soap into a cardboard box, lined with waxed paper. Then I'll cut the soap slab into bars. Melt and pour soap doesn't require the long curing phase that cold-process soap needs. So, I can take my time accumulating the ingredients.
Which brings me to this -- these gifts would not at all be frugal if I just tooled on down to the craft supply shop and paid full-price on every ingredient. I'm using coupons and sales to accumulate all of the ingredients, one by one. And that's why it's been so important for me to begin the Christmas planning so early. So, I can take my time accumulating the ingredients, as well as time for the actual crafting. I've got a 40% off coupon to Michael's right now, and will get the soap base this week. A 2-lb block of soap base will yield about 8 bars, if poured into a small-ish snack cracker box, then cut. (Looks like we'll have to eat a box of Dollar Tree snack crackers -- oh, the sacrifices!) I'll check out their fragrance oils at the same time. but if I can't get that at Michael's, I've found something on Amazon that is a good price.
I expect my hand-crafted soap to cost about $1 per bar
In addition to the spa cloths and soaps, I'm planning to make soothing bath soaks, whose finished product will look something like these:
I'll use the large-size, empty tea bags (available through Amazon, at about 6 cents per bag, bought in 100 pack), and fill with a rose petal, milk and colloidal oat blend. I've been drying and saving rose petals all summer. Colloidal oatmeal is simply oats ground to a fine powder -- I can do that in my spice grinder. And I'll use either powdered goat's milk (in the powdered milk section of the grocery store, or in bulk from a natural foods store) or ordinary cow's milk powder. By putting this into steeping bags, the tub doesn't get so messy (as opposed to a jar of tub tea/soak). The Amazon bags are biodegradable/compostable, as they are simply paper tea bags.
The cost per filled, individual bath soak bag should be around 30 to 40 cents, depending on extras that I decide to add, like rose fragrance oil, and if I splurge for the goats milk.
These are all small gifts, no liquids, and easily shipped. They make great girlfriend gifts, teacher's gifts, daughter/mom/sister gifts, stocking stuffers, as well as bridal shower favors. And I can make all of the items, fairly frugally.
In addition to these spa items, any one of them could be supplemented with a loofa or bath brush from Dollar Tree, hand-crafted bath bombs/truffles, or this nice crochet bath scrubber:
Anyways, this is my start on the spa collection for Christmas gifts this year.