Calm Jars

I recently discovered a little thing called a “calm jar.”   The idea is along the lines of a five-ball pendulum or watching waves crash along the shore – an image/movement that soothes and calms.   Like a snow globe, you shake the jar and watch the glitter settle.

It’s suggested for all ages, including as a “time out” tool for younger ones.  I personally wouldn’t use it any younger than about four, simply because in my experience younger children would make it a launching tool and smash it against the wall during a tantrum.   But my daughter, who just turned 5 last Friday, is already entranced by it.   She’ll ask for it, shake it gently, set it on the table, and for a few minutes she’s quiet watching the glitter settle.  It’s only a few minutes, but believe me, it’s a very wonderful few minutes.

Not just for kids either, I can sit and watch it and feel myself settling with the glitter.

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Ingredients:

  • Glitter
  • Boiling water
  • Glitter glue
  • Food coloring
  • Jar

I went with green glitter glue, purple glitter, and purple food coloring.   I would’ve liked to do more green and less purple, but the glitter fairies didn’t work in my favor, there was no plain green glitter and the green food coloring was too dark.   Next time!

Anyway, I used a 16 ounce jar,  about 3/4 of a 2.98 ounce bottle of green glitter glue, about a tablespoon and a half of purple glitter, and just a dash of AmericColor purple food coloring.    Put the water on to boil, then put the glue and glitter in the bottom of the jar.   Add the dot of food coloring onto a spoon so it doesn’t clump with the glitter.   Once the water’s boiling, pour it into the jar and use the spoon to mix, which will also mix in the coloring.   It’ll take awhile to stir out all the glue clumps, on mine it kept rising to the top but eventually it melted in.  When there was only a little at the top, I put the lid on and shook the jar (with oven mitts, remember you’re handling a jar with near-boiling water in it).   Don’t get discouraged, because at first it’ll look like the glitter settles within a matter of seconds.  But once it all cools, the glue and water together form a thicker liquid, and the glitter floats much longer, especially the smaller glue particles from the glitter glue tube.

I’m going to try a few variations, including using Karo syrup or glycerine in place of the glue, but overall I’m really happy with  how this turned out.  Next time I might even leave out the added glitter, I think the glitter from the glue tube gave it enough, although having two colors and sizes do make for more of a sparkling variation when it’s swirling and settling.

I did get the original recipe from the blog at untrainedhousewife.com, as well as other websites, but hers was the most detailed in explanation.   She has a lot of great DIY projects on there, check her out!

More about Sugar Scrubs

Earlier this year I had a post regarding home made sugar scrubs.  (Can be found here:  https://jewelrybygamolie.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/ok-so-its-not-jewelry-8-2/) Since then I’ve been experimenting a little with the recipes.

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I use one of the scrubs almost daily, and have almost eliminated the little bumps on my upper arms, and my scaly skin on my legs.  The honey lemon was just a little too sweet for me, so I tried eliminating most of the honey and adding more lemon.  Then as Fall came upon us, I wanted to update the vanilla for an autumn spice scent.   So here’s my updated recipes:

Lemon:

2 1/2 cups white sugar

1/2 cup oil

Juice of half a medium sized lemon

Zest of medium sized lemon

One small squirt honey

Vanilla spice:

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1 cup oil

Sprinkling of cinnamon, amount depends on your personal preference.  I started small and worked up, and although I ended up liking a lot of cinnamon in mine, if I’m making one for someone else I hold back a little

You can also add nutmeg if it’s your preference.  I found it was too heavy and overpowered the cinnamon.

Enjoy!

Ok so it’s not jewelry

But last weekend I was experimenting with sugar scrub recipes and found some that I’m absolutely in love with.  I made a vanilla brown sugar scrub, a lemon scrub, and a lemon honey scrub.  The regular lemon ended up way too oily, but the lemon honey and the vanilla brown sugar are absolutely heavenly.  The lemon is very fresh, while the vanilla one smells like fresh baked cookies.  I made myself an 8 oz jar of each, and the vanilla one is more than half gone already, with the lemon one well on its way.

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Recipes:

Lemon Honey Sugar Scrub

2 1/2 cups of white sugar

1/2 cup of oil (I use canola, no added fragrance, and it’s affordable)

4 teaspoons of lemon juice

4 tablespoons of honey

zested lemon

When I made a batch today, I put the lemon juice and zest into the oil a few hours before mixing in the sugar and honey, just to let it infuse the oil a little better.  I made a double batch and it was a little too dry, so I did end up adding some extra oil and lemon juice.  I’d recommend adding more lemon juice first and just a touch of oil if your original paste is too dry.

Vanilla brown sugar

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1 cup oil

1 tablespoon vanilla

Mix through the sugar before adding oil and vanilla to be sure there’s no lumps.   When I make this again I think I’ll add the vanilla to the oil earlier in the day to infuse it like I did with the lemon.  And since mine is almost gone, I guess I’ll be doing that soon…

On a side note, a friend of mine provides the awesome lemons off her lemon tree.  The jar in this photo is a 16 ounce jar, so when you realize that reference, you can see that these are absolutely huge lemons.  Thank you, Teri!  (And for the record, if you have more lemons and sugar than you need, mix a shot of lemon juice with a dash of sugar, then add some vodka.  Perfect after-scrub treat.  😉 )