Dress up your door

Yarn Wreath Tutorial.

Crumb Cake

Who would've thought?

Coconut Sugar Scrub

A simple, yet luxurious gift. Don't forget to make one for yourself!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Under Wraps

I love wrapping presents.  Tying big bows of ribbon, making them all coordinated; it’s one of my favourite things about Christmas.

I had a great idea for my gift wrap this year, however my Slice machine decided not to cooperate.  I’m now awaiting an upgrade card from the manufacturer (which also means there won’t be any gift tags in my Etsy store until it’s fixed) and had to come up with another way to wrap my gifts.

My original idea included using kraft paper, so I decided to keep the kraft paper and do something simple.  Sometimes simple is better.



Brown paper packages tied up with string.


How do you wrap- with fancy bows? gift bags or boxes?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

DIY Christmas gift- Coconut/Peppermint Sugar scrub


I love giving homemade gifts.  Last year I gave some cookies in a jar and they were a big hit.  While watching Steven and Chris on CBC, they had a segment by The Frugalista  on coconut oil (she has a great website by the way).  Her sugar scrub stuck out in my mind and I knew I had found this years gift in a jar.

There are many recipes out there, but I followed Frugalista’s using coconut oil.  Here’s what you need:




1) Containers:

I found these sugar jars at my local dollar store. They were perfect because they had a lid and a little spoon!  If you can’t find a suitable sugar jar, I’d recommend a mason canning jar.  I think it’s important to have a wide mouth jar; if you don’t have a little spoon to scoop the scrub out, the recipient has to dig their fingers in the jar…much more difficult if the jar is narrow. I washed and dried the jars, and I removed the “sugar” sticker on them because I wanted to make my own labels.


2) Cocount oil:

I found organic extra virgin coconut oil at a local health food store.  This jar was $12.99 and was enough for the 6 jars I made.  You could likely substitute the coconut oil for olive oil if you wanted to.  I love the smell of coconut oil and it has very good moisturizing  properties, so I knew I really wanted to use it.


3) Scented oil:

This is the peppermint oil I use for my beeswax lip balm so I didn’t have to buy anymore.  You could use any essential oil you like, just make sure you’re not using baking extracts! {although since the recipe is just sugar and coconut oil, it would be completely edible…a little snack for the shower? ;) }

3) White sugar


C’mon, I don’t need to take a picture of white sugar, do I?




That’s it for ingredients!

Coconut oil is quite stable, meaning it can melt and then return to a solid form without any major consequences.  My apartment is a balmy 26 degrees Celsius year round, so I had to keep my oil in the fridge, otherwise it would turn to liquid.  Since the Frugalista measures her oil in solid form, I was convinced I had to have the oil solid.  I’m going to tell you to throw this out the window.  You have to melt the oil to mix it with the sugar anyhow.  The 1/4 cup of coconut oil that’s recommended in the recipe didn’t give me the consistency I was looking for.  So don’t worry if your oil at room temperature is a mix between solid and liquid, or all liquid. 

In a bowl you’re going to mix 1 cup white sugar with your coconut oil.  I will recommend you start with the 1/4 cup melted coconut oil that’s recommended, but I kept adding until I liked the consistency.  I wanted it to be a wet mixture; with 1/4 cup of oil, I found  the sugar to just be clumpy.  I ended up with close to 1/2 cup of oil, but mix it until you like it.  Add your essential oils; I never measure how many drops, I go by smell.


Now comes the crafty part…making the jars look pretty!


Labels are up first. 

I could have easily left the sugar labels that came with the jar, but I wanted something a little more festive.  You could design your own, or you could use holiday address labels.  Here’s a link to some holiday label templates from Avery. 

I decided to use the labels in my Stampin UP digital design free download, that I got a few weeks ago.  I chose the little snowman label.  I added the words “peppermint sugar scrub” and resized it to fit the space on my jar.

I printed them in colour and cut them out.   Since the scrub is most likely going to be used in the shower, I wanted to protect the label from water damage…which would make the ink run and get…well…yucky.

If you have a laminator, this is the time to use it!  If you’re like me, you resort to plan B and use shipping tape.

Sandwich the label in between shipping tape, and now it’s protected! Trim the edges and adhere to your jar.  I used double sided tape I use for making cards, it’s strong and sticky!


I wanted to dress up the jar a bit more, so I added one of my rhinestone snowflake gift tags and added some red and white baker’s twine to the lid of the jar.


Sugar Scrub

How cute are they!!!??

I’ve gifted one already and it was a big hit!  I also had some scrub left over and used it myself.  It smells amazing and left my skin so soft and smooth.  A quick and easy gift, easily made in big batches and quite cost effective! 


If you make some, take a picture and post it on my Facebook page!  Tell me what oil you used too!


Happy gifting!!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Homemade gifts- Cookies in a Jar

If you’re looking for some ideas for homemade gifts, check out my post from last year on Cowboy cookies in a jar- a great gift to give, and easy to put together!

Happy Gifting!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Postal Leap of Faith

     This is the time of year, where as an online business owner, I hold my breath every time I put a package in the post box.  I find myself saying a little prayer to the mail gods to deliver my customer’s order with speed and efficiency.  I pray to the Customs gods, that if they must pull the package, that they wrap it with the same care I did (I know…) and put it back in the mail system as quickly as possible.

As a Canadian Etsy seller, the majority of my customers are located in the US.  The estimated timeframe for letter-mail delivery to the US is 4-6 business days.  Most of the time, these time frames are upheld.  However, especially around this time of year, mail volumes go up, and turn around times may get longer.

I’ve done my due diligence and make sure my profile as my location as London, Ontario; I put notices in my announcements, the message that is sent when the order is  placed, in my acknowledgement email to the customer, and again in the shipping notice email. I ship all orders the next business day upon confirmed payment (unless otherwise stated). 

All my customers have been phenomenal.  If they don’t realize when they order that their cards are coming from Canada, they realize it when they send me a message and are always understanding. I recently received some feedback from a US customer that there was room for improvement with shipping; the customer, although very happy with her order, and stated she would purchase again, seemed to express disappointment that her tags took 1 week to arrive.  

1 week?! That’s fantastic!

At first I was confused, and a bit taken a back.  When I looked at the order and shipping dates, a little light bulb went off.  I think I understand her comment better now, but I think there are some things customers should keep in mind when they place an international order.


Here is some information about our Canadian Postal system that my international customers may not be aware of:

  •  Post boxes have cut off times.  Here in London, a major city with a postal processing plant, post box pick ups are scheduled for 10am
    • Some locations may also have an evening clear out of 5pm, typically these are post boxes that are in front of a postal outlet, or a mall. 
    • This means, if you put mail in the post box after 10am, it will not get picked up until the next business day.


  • We do not have Saturday mail service.   Our letter carriers work Monday-Friday. That means, if I put a letter in the post box, on Friday, and after 10am, it is not picked up until Monday morning. 
    • The customer I previously mentioned placed her order Friday afternoon; therefore when I put it in the post box on Saturday morning, it wasn’t picked up until Monday morning.  She received her order 5 days later, which is within the estimated turn around time for US lettermail.  She may not realize that we don’t have Saturday mail service, and thus she expected her order to arrive earlier than it did.


  • Customs can inspect the packages at random.  By law, I need to include a CN22 customs declaration when sending printed matter with a value under $500.  This means, each order has a customs form that I fill out.  Customs has the right to inspect these packages, which can delay the delivery times.  I have absolutely no control over what they inspect, or how long they hold on to it.


  • It’s all really a gamble.  I’ve had orders get to Australia faster than they get to the U.S.  I have no idea why, or how; aside from putting an “airmail” sticker and increased postage, the orders that are sent to the Australia are packed the same as the orders to the US.


This is a very busy time of year for mail; I know everyone is excited to receive gifts and purchases in the mail.  I feel very helpless when things don’t arrive when expected, and I will do everything I possibly can to ensure an order is in the mail as soon as possible.

I want to thank all my wonderful customers, who have had orders delayed due to customs inspections or other mail delays for their understanding.

I ask that the next time you make a purchase from a small business owner, that you take into account the location, where’s it’s coming from and where it needs to go.  Plan ahead if you can, and if the timing isn’t going to work out, ask if you can upgrade shipping, or consider something else.


Happy Shopping!


Picture source: Copyright © 2011 Joy Khoriaty - All Rights Reserved

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