Work Home and Family - Homemade Gifts Part 13 and 14: "Birthday Gifts"

So, these are "Birthday Gifts", but not the kind you usually think of.  
Our daughter had a dance competition on her birthday and she desperately wanted to bring treats for her dance line.  The dance studio doesn't allow food treats at competitions due to the mess and the possibility of someone getting an upset stomach.  She was really upset since she really wanted to bring cupcakes.  So we had to look for something else.
Well, they're dancers. 
They spend a lot of time on their feet. 
They don't wear socks with their tap shoes (they wear tights with their jazz shoes) so their shoes stink. 
They have achy and tired feet many days.
Every night our daughter has dance lessons, she comes home and soaks her feet in a basin of hot water with either foot or bath salts.  Two years ago we made peppermint foot soak for her teachers. 
She decided we needed to make some of her "No Stinky Feet" (as she calls it) foot powder and vanilla foot soak for the rest of her line to celebrate her birthday.

Corn Starch
Baking Soda
Dried Citrus Peel (we used orange since that's what we had - you can use lemon, lime, etc.)
Lemon Essential Oils (or orange, lime, etc., whatever you already have)
Optional: Yellow Food Coloring

Mix all dry ingredients together until thoroughly mixed with a ratio of 6 TBSP cornstarch to 3TBSP baking soda and 1 TSP citrus peel.  If using homemade dried citrus peel, run it through a grinder first so it's quite fine in size and texture. You want something about the size and texture of dried zest rather than actual peel.  Add 1-2 essential oil drops and mix thoroughly again.  Add food coloring if desired and mix one more time.

We tripled the batch to make 11 packets of 2 TBSP each with some leftover for us (we probably could have put 3 TBSP in each packet but 2 was plenty).  We put them in small treat bags that I had leftover from another event.  I created labels using my word processing program and free clip art on the computer.  We cut out the labels, folded over the top of the bag, and stapled it shut with the label. You could use little zipper-top plastic bags or any other container of your choosing.  A canning jar or shaker container (an empty powder container or empty spice container) work well for storing larger batches.

Cost for us: $0 since we had everything.

Your potential cost: About $15-$20 for multiple batches. The bottle of essential oils I have cost just under $8. Dried citrus peel you can make on your own or buy in the spice aisle of your grocery store for about $4 and it can be used for baking too. Cornstarch and Baking Soda are a couple of dollars each for a fairly large container at the grocery store.  A package of snack size zipper-top plastic bags can be purchased at the dollar store.  You will have plenty of the ingredients leftover to make several batches of foot powder.  If you use cornstarch and baking soda in your kitchen like I do, you will be able to use those ingredients in your kitchen too.  Essential oils have multiple uses as well. 

Citrus peel can be omitted if necessary but I find it keeps the powder from being too slippery and adds to the pleasant smell. 


Epsom Salts
Vanilla Essential Oil
Optional: Blue Food Coloring

Add a drop or two of Essential Oil to your desired amount of Epsom salts and stir until thoroughly combined.  Add more Essential Oils until you have the desired strength of smell. Do remember that the smell does get stronger a few minutes after the oil is added.  Add food coloring and mix thoroughly, until the coloring is evenly distributed. 

We have made pink peppermint foot soak, green floral foot soak, and orange colored orange scented food soak the same way.   You could really do any essential oil that you like.  The food coloring is completely optional but we like to use it for fun.  Since we don't have any allergies, it works well for us.  If I wasn't sure about allergies, I'd leave the food coloring out of both of these gifts.

We packaged these the same way as the Lemon Foot Powder, only with 3 TBSP in each packet rather than two.  I included instructions for use on the label for these along with the ingredients and the clip art.

Our Cost: $0 since we had everything on hand.

Your Potential Cost:  Around $10.  Epsom salts are pretty inexpensive - I purchased a 3lb bag at our local pharmacy for about $2.50/$3.  Don't buy these at the craft store - buy them from the pharmacy, drug store or in the pharmacy section of your big box store.  They're much cheaper! We use Epsom salts regularly so we have these on hand as part of our medicine cupboard. Essential oil for this about $8 for a bottle.  You will have be able to make a very large batch with these ingredients and the Essential Oil can be used elsewhere too.

To give these to her fellow dancers, our daughter packaged one packet of each in a small party favors container we had leftover from a shower I had thrown several years ago.  We had 12 containers and she needed 11 so it work out well for her to use them.  We'll package up the 12th one for her teacher at the end of the year.

Our first idea was to wrap them in tissue paper and tie them with curling ribbon, so that would works to. 

You could use these as favors at a shower or luncheon and place them as is in a basket for guests to take one on the way home. And I have added them as is to teacher gifts in the past when I felt like they needed something a little "extra".

What have you made this week?


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