Fun Stuff

Here are some recipes for clays and various fun items especially appropriate for kids, skin care concoctions, and a lot of other interesting stuff.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Food Stuff ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Home-Made Marshmallows

Method #1

In an electric mixer bowl, put and let stand one hour to soften the gelatin:

3 T gelatin powder
1/2 c cold water

Prepare a small jellyroll pan (8" x 10"; it has sides; not a plain cookie sheet) by dusting it with cornstarch. Set aside.

After about 30 minutes, prepare the following syrup.

2 c sugar
3/4 c light Karo (corn) syrup
1/2 c water
1/4 t salt

Place in heavy saucepan over low heat and stir until dissolved. When it starts to boil, put on the lid for 3 minutes. The steam will help the any crystals which have formed on the side of the pan re-dissolve and slide down into the syrup.

Uncover. Continue to cook until thermometer reaches 240 to 244. Don't overcook; marshmallows will be tough.

Remove syrup from heat and slowly pour over the gelatin, beating constantly.

When all the syrup is incorporated, use an electric mixer and beat for 15 more minutes. (Transfer mixture to the mixer bowl.)

When the mixture is quite thick but still warm, mix in:

2 T vanilla (not 2 teaspoons! 2 tablespoons!)

Pour out onto the prepared pan. Dry for 12 hours. Cut with scissors; dusting the blades with cornstarch helps.

Store in tightly-covered container.

Method #2

Line a 13x9" pan with waxed paper and lightly spray with Pam.

1/2 c cold water
2 enveloped unflavored gelatine
1/2 sugar
1 c light Karo syrup
1 1/2 t vanilla
confectioner's sugar

Pour water into 2-quart saucepan and sprinkle on the gelatine. Let the gelatine soften for 5 minutes.

Put on low heat and stir until gelatine dissolves, about 3 minutes. Add sugar and syrup. Stir constantly until sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Pour into large bowl of electric mixer. Beat on high until mixture becomes thick and then a soft marshmallow consistency, about 5 minutes.

Pour into prepared pan. Spray a spatula lightly with Pam and use it to smooth top of marshmallows. Let stand uncovered for 8-10 hours.

Dust a cutting board heavily with confectioner's sugar and turn out marshmallows on it. Carefully peel off waxed paper.

Spray metal (not plastic) cookie cutters lightly with Pam and cut shapes from the marshmallows. Dust top and bottom with more confectioner's sugar. If desired, decorate with frosting. See below.

Store in tightly-covered container.

Decorator's Frosting

Using a #3 tip on your pastry bag, pipe decorations on the marshmallows, if desired. Let icing set before storage. Place waxed paper between layers of marshmallows.

1 1/2 c confectioner's sugar
1 lg eggwhite
1/8 t cream of tartar (in spice section)

Mix together and then beat on high speed for 8 minutes.

Divide frosting into bowls equal to the number of colors you want. Dye with liquid or dry food coloring. Keep bowls of colors you're not using covered with a damp paper towel to keep icing from drying out.

Candy Sponge

This is somewhat like marshmallows, and kids love to watch it bubble.

Grease a 8x8" baking pan and set aside.

Mix:

1 c sugar
1 c dark Karo syrup
1 T white vinegar

Combine ingredients in large saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Cover pan for 1 minute to allow steam to wash down sugar crystals from side of pan. If you prefer, wipe down sides of pan with wet paintbrush (new!).

Insert candy thermometer. Cook without stirring until syrup reaches 300 degrees (hard crack stage: when dropped into very cold water, syrup separates into hard, brittle threads). Remove from heat.

Add:

1 T baking soda

Pour into pan. No need to spread. Candy will bubble and spread itself. Cool in pan in rack.

Break into pieces when cool. Store 2-3 weeks, tightly covered, with sheets of eaxed paper between layers.

Gum Drops

Please see the
file elsewhere.

Butter

There have to be kids who don't know how butter is made! Here's how.

Into a jar with a tight-fitting lid, pour:

8 oz. heavy whipping cream (1 c)

Cover tightly. Shake until butter forms; a couple of ice cubes can be helpful in speeding things up.

Pour off the buttermilk (liquid). Drink; make into a great creamy salad dressing; or make buttermilk biscuits or pancakes.

Remove butter from jar. Work salt into butter if desired. About 1/4 t is pretty good. Squeeze until all the liquid is gone.

Chill and enjoy on buttermilk biscuits!

As almost anyone who has ever whipped cream knows, butter also can be made with an electric mixer by unsuspecting souls who are not watching what they are doing when attempting to whip cream!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Clay Stuff ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Silly Putty

Mix well:

1/4 c white glue (Elmer's)
1/4 c liquid starch
few drops of food coloring (starch may already be colored)

Drain excess water. Knead well to squeeze out last of the water. Store air-tight.

Sand-Cast Hand Prints

Mix:

1 1/2 c sand
6 - 8 T of white glue

Add glue until mixture is like thick mud. Shape in a "paving stone" shape and have the child put his hand or footprint on it.

Coat top and sides with white glue. When dry, turn over and paint the bottom.

Makes a fine paperweight for doting grandparents. Of course, pet paws are also welcomed.

Doughs and Clays

Glue Dough

Put equal parts of white flour, cornstarch, and white glue in a bowl. (1/4 c of each will give you a lump of dough about the size of a tennis ball.)

Mix, squeezing and kneading, until it is well-blended. If necessary, add more glue; or flour + cornstarch. Only a little at a time, though.

If you want colors, add the coloring to the glue before you add the dry ingredients.

Store in a zipper bag. Does not need to be cured in the oven.

May roll (use waxed paper), model, etc.

Bread and Glue Dough #1

Tear 4 slices of crustless white bread into small pieces.

Add:

4 T white glue
4 drops lemon juice
4 drops gylcerin (buy this at the drug store)

Mix and then knead until smooth and no longer sticky.

Store in the refrigerator, air-tight. Freezes.

For color, add acrylic paint to finished clay and knead.

To use: roll out, model, etc. Don't dawdle, as it hardens quickly. Small things will dry overnight. Larger things require a day or two.

The interesting thing about this mixture is the shiny finish when dried. Especially good for Christmas tree ornaments.

Bread and Glue Dough #2

This is a less-exalted version.

R ear 4 slices of crustless white bread into small pieces. Pour a little white glue to make a gooey mess. Knead to distribute the glue. This one's messy; so messy, in fact, that kids may be frustrated by it because it sticks to the fingers adamantly.

Best to use for modeling, as for shaping individual flower petals.

Cornstarch and Baking Soda Clay

Use cornstarch, baking soda and cold water in an 8:4:5 proportion. Examples:

1/2 c cornstarch, 1/4 c baking soda, and 2 1/2 c water; or
1 c cornstarch, 1/2 c baking soda, and 1/2 c + 2 T water

Mix soda and cornstarch in saucepan; add water and stir until smooth.

Boil 1 minute, stirring. It will begin to look like mashed potatoes.

Turn out onto a plate to cool. Cover with a damp cloth.

Roll out, shape, etc. Let dry. Paint with watercolors, acrylic paint, etc.

If making ornaments, insert wire loop while clay is still wet.

Seal outside with glossy varnish. I've even used clear nail polish. If you want to end up with a white color, I suggest you pain with white paint, as the clay can yellow over time.

Salt and Flour Clay

Mix:

2 c salt
1 c flour
1 t alum
1 2/3 c water

Combine all and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until very thick.

May be draped over objects to be covered. Cure 1 - 2 hours in an 200 oven.

To model or roll out, increase flour to 2 c and cure 2 - 3 hours in the oven. It's a good idea to prick solid pieces.

Alum is for hardening the clay; buy it at the drug store if you can't find it in the spice aisle of your supermarket.

Play Clay #1

This clay has a long shelf-life if stored air-tight. It's therefore very useful for teachers.

In a saucepan, combine:

2 c flour
1 c salt
4 T cream of tartar

Mix together:

2 t vegetable oil 2 c boiling water food coloring (if desired, use 1 package of unsweetened Kool-Aid)

Pour over dry contents and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until a lump of clay forms. This takes 1 - 2 minutes, usually.

Because this clay has oil in it, you can't paint it. The other clays can be painted.

Play Clay #2

In a saucepan, combine:

3 c flour
1/2 c salt
1 T alum
2 packages unsweetened Kool-Aid

Mix together:

3 T vegetable oil
2 c boiling water

Pour over dry contents and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until a lump of clay forms. This takes 1 - 2 minutes, usually.

Because this clay has oil in it, you can't paint it. The other clays can be painted.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Sticky Stuff ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Glues and Pastes

The Original Paste

The grandmama of pastes is flour and water (this is what pasta is, yes?). Take some flour and add water until you get the consistency you want. You probably have discovered this paste empirically when you left a breadboard to dry after making
bread or a pan in which you cooked pasta and didn't get it all out before it dried; so you know this paste is tenacious!

Cornstarch Glue

Make a paste of:

1/2 c cornstarch
3/4 c cold water

Bring 6 c water to the boil.

Add cornstarch mixture to the water. Stir until a translucent mixture forms. Cool to room temperature and store in glass or plastic containers.

To use, brush on.

Clear-Drying Glue

In a saucepan, place the followings:

1 c sugar
1 c flour
1 T alum
1 quart water

Cook until the mixture clears.

Store in glass or plastic jars.

To use: brush on.

Envelope Glue

See the a following recipe for making stickers.

Home-Made Stickers

This glue mix also makes the kind of glue found on envelopes. If you make your own stationery, try this for the envelopes!

Cut pictures from magazines; glossy paper stock is best.

Mix and let stand for 10 minutes:

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 T cold water

After 10 minutes, add:

3 T very hot water
1/2 t corn syrup

Stir until dissolved.

To use: Brush on the backs of the pictures. Let dry. Lick 'em and stick 'em!

Papier Maché

Translated roughly, this means paper that has been chewed/masticated. Nice, huh?

Tear newspapers into strips about 1" wide. Or cut; your choice.

Put the strips to soak in a thick version of the original flour-and-water paste, above (or something fancier; you can find some recipes for a fancier glue on the Internet). Lay the strips over the form to be covered, such as a balloon, paper bag stuffed with paper, or a chicken wire shape.

Make sure all the form is covered; put the strips this way and that, too, to increase stability. Dry.

May be painted when dry. The finished project is surprisingly strong, but don't plan on making chairs for people out of it!

If you tear the newspaper up into little pieces (or shred the strips with your hands) and make the glue a little thicker, you can use the papier maché as clay. Knead and squish it about until the newspaper gives up and becomes one lump.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Smearing Stuff ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Fingerpaints

Cooked Fingerpaint

Mix:

1/2 c cornstarch
about 1 T cold water (may need more)

Stirring constantly, add:

1 quart boiling water

Cook until clear. Remove from the heat and continue stirring. An electric mixer would be helpful here.

Add:

1/2 c talcum power 1/2 c soap flakes (Ivory)

Beat a lot more. May need to use the blender or food processor to remove all lumps. Or press through a sieve.

Cool. Add color; acrylic paint is a good choice.

Store air-tight in refrigerator, up to 6 months.

Quick Fingerpaint

Mix:

1 c soap flakes (such as Ivory)
1/2 c water
tempra paint powder or food coloring

With a whisk or electric mixer, whip soap and water until thick and smooth. Add color.

This paint works best on slick paper.

Starch Fingerpaint

This one's really easy and also works best on slick paper. Mix some color into liquid starch.

Bathtub Fingerpaint

No paper needed! This one is great bathtub fun. Sides of that tub are just dying to become a canvas! Then fill the tub with water and wash both the kid and the tub.

To a healthy squirt of aerosol shave cream, add some dried (or paste) tempra paint. Moosh it around a bit; it's ok if it deflates. It will be just as messy!

Caution: Shaving cream is irritating to the eyes, so watch little ones.

Note for all fingerpaints:
In addition to smearing it, you also can run textured things on; or through it (sponges; combs, hair picks, hair combs, notched credit cards that come in the mail unsolicited, hair picks sandwiched in pieces of cardboard - - as for
marbelized paper).

Making Face Paint

1 t cornstarch 1/2 t water 1/2 t cold cream 2 drops food coloring Mix ingredients well then use different food coloring colors to make different colors.

Good to use in the bathtub!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Bubble Stuff ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Quick Bubble Soap

A quick version is to mix liquid dishwashing detergent with just enough water to thin it a tad. You know what bubble-blowing soap is like.

Better Bubble Soap

Longer-lasting bubble soap - - and soap that makes larger bubbles possible - - contains glycerin. Age your bubble soap for one day in an open container to make the bubbles bigger and stronger.

Mix:

1 c liquid dishwashing detergent
1 c glycerin
3 c water

Pour into plastic bottles. Use purchased bubble-blowing wands. Sometimes party stores have these wands sold separately from the soap.

To keep the bottle of bubble soap from tipping over (ok, to help prevent it's happening right away!), cut a hole the size of the bottle in a margarine tub. Place the tub opening-down and slip the bottle into the hole.

For large bubbles, twist coathangers into loops; use a cakepan, piepan, or something wide and shallow to hold the bubble soap.

Another recipe:

2/3 c liquid dishwashing detergent
1 T glycerin
Add water to make one gallon.

Other Bubble Soap Blowing Utensils

Cut ends out of two cans (make sure the sharp edges are folded back) and put them together, end-to-end. Tape them at the seam to make a long cylinder.

A single drinking straw can be used in the same way.

Use two plastic drinking straws and string them together (like beads). Leave about 12" extra string. Hold the straws together as a handle, and use the loop of string to dip in the soap.

Slinky toy.

Bent wire hangers, as mentioned above.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Dye Stuff ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Homemade Dye for Easter Eggs

Method #1

In a deep bowl or coffee mug (so egg can be covered easily) and for each color, mix:

1/2 c boiling water
1 T vinegar (white)
20 drops color (or as desired)

Use hot eggs and leave in until desired color is obtained. Turn eggs frequently if you want the color to be uniform all over the egg. Drain on paper towel and let dry 10 minutes. Or, take the empty egg cartons (cardboard or foam) and cut the bottoms from each place where the egg rested. This method is better, I think, than drying the eggs lying on paper because you'll only have a little "ring" that is messed up rather than one big blob on one side of the egg.

Method #2

In a deep bowl or coffee mug (so egg can be covered easily) and for each color, mix:

3/4 c boiling water
1 T vinegar (white)
1/4 t food color

Use a spoon (one for each color) to lift eggs in a out of the dye. Dry, as above.

Method #3

You can substitute homemade vegetable dyes for liquid food coloring. In general, use 2-4 c of the dye ingredient. For onion skins (red or yellow onions), use 6 c.

Place the dye ingredient in a non-aluminum pot with 1 quart of water. Add 2 T white vinegar as a mordant (or 1 t dry alum; get this in the spice section of the grocery store). Bring liquid to a simmer.

Add eggs and simmer gently for 20 minutes or more (maybe as much as several hours!) in order to get the color you want.

Dye ingredients and colors you might expect:

Beets - bright pink to beige
Red cabbage - blue (pale to royal); chop coarsely
Coffee & tea - mocha to brown
Cranberries - pale pink
Turmeric - orange
Yellow onion skins - beige to golden
Red onion skins - pale blue
Yellow onion skins + black peppercorns - beige to mauve

Marbled Eggs

Add 1 t vegetable oil to bowl of dye before adding egg. Don't stir egg around. Just dip it in and directly out. For this, one of those little wire "dippers" that touches the egg only around one "ring" of the shell works well because the disruption to the color is minimized.

Macaroni Necklaces

Long a favorite with kids, macaroni necklaces are a staple of kindergarten classes and Vacation Bible Schools. Don't be concerned that the pasta will disintegrate; it's not cooked, and it won't be in contact with the liquid that long.

Put food coloring or tempra paint into a shallow bowl of water. Put in the macaroni to dye it; don't leave it more than a minute or so.

Let dry on waxed paper. Then string on yarn. For a "needle," put a piece of scotch tape around end of yarn and cut through it for a nice clean "point."

I strongly suggest you not let the kids sling around the food coloring/paint!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Magic Stuff ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Magic Garden

Place in a low dish:

a lump of coal

Mix:

6 T salt
6 T laundry bluing
6 T water
1 T ammonia

Pour mixture slowly over coal. Drop food coloring with an eyedropper all over the coal.

Place in a draft-free location. You should see some "action" overnight. When the coal is fully "grown," protect the garden by inverting a clear glass dish on it.

It is not very easy to find coal these days. Use a blotter-type paper, instead. Cut two shapes and make a slice in each one from edge to center so you can slip the slots into one another and make the figure stand upright. A Christmas tree shape would be ideal.

Note: I made these with real coal when I was a girl!

Invisible Ink

Write with lemon juice on plain white paper. Milk is ok, too, but lemon juice is more reliable. Let dry.

To make ink appear, iron paper or place it on a naked light bulb until the message appears. The secret message also can be brought out with an open flame, but I don't recommend this! [ Light bulb is certainly a funny word, isn't it?]

Magic Pictures

I used to sit for hours and make these. To get a really striking effect, all crayoning must be done very thickly.

In a random fashion, put blops of color on different areas of a piece of white paper. For the full effect, areas of color should be no smaller than an inch in diameter and no larger than 2". Press hard! Cover the entire sheet.

Now over-color with black (or another dark color). Press really hard!

With a toothpick or some other tool (I liked a mechanical pencil without the lead extended), draw, scraping away the black layer to reveal the kaleidoscopic colors underneath.

Magic Writing

A similar idea is the dye-resist technique. Write on the egg first with a crayon (white is best) to do a dye-resist method: the dye will not adhere to the waxed places. After the egg is dry, remove the wax by gently heating the resist places over a candle flame (not too close or you'll get soot on the egg) and rubbing off the wax with a paper towel.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Bath Stuff ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Making Bubble Bath

Method #1

Mix baby shampoo and water in 1 : 2 ratio.

Method #2

Mix mild dishwashing soap or liquid handsoap and water in 1 : 2 ratio.

Method #3

Grate bar of mild soap (Ivory, Dove) and mix with 4 c very warm water. Stir now and then until the soap has liquified.

Add 2 T glycerin and mix well. Optional: Drops of essential oils for scent.

Making Foaming Hot Chocolate and Cinnamon Milk Bath Mix

Mix:

2 T olive oil (or corn oil, baby oil, etc.)
3 T dry mix (below)
1/2 c water

Heat to a boil. Add immediately to the tub as it fills with hot bathwater.

Dry mix: 1 c instant nonfat dry milk
1 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 c baking soda
2 T cornstarch
2 T cream of tartar
2 T ground cinnamon

Combine and store covered. Keeps up to 6 months.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Skin Stuff ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Softener and Exfoliator for Dry Skin

Here's a grandmother's-type regimen for soft hands: mix table salt (or granulated sugar, but salt is more effective) with some cooking or olive oil; or baby oil, if you like the fragrance. Mayonnaise (real, not Miracle Whip!) works, too, so if you're on a business trip save the mayo packet that came with your sandwich.

Massage it into your hands, all around, over the cuticles, etc. Take two minutes to do this; if you're going to skimp on time, don't bother.

After you've finished, wash your hands well. They should be as soft as a baby's bottom! Or, you can go to a salon and pay $15 for someone else to do this to you!

Make sure your hands aren't slippery if you're not going straight to bed!

Making a Facial Scrub

Start with 1/3 to 1/2 c oatmeal. (You can use cornmeal, but oatmeal is more gentle.) Mix just enough plain yogurt to make a paste. Don't scrub too vigorously! Rinse off with warm water.

Making a Honey Facial Mask

Break up an eggwhite with a fork. Add 1 T honey, 1 t glycerin, and enough flour to form a paste (start with 1/4 cup). Spread on face; don't forget your throat! Leave on 10 minues and rinse off with warm water.

Glycerin is available at pharmacies. While you're at it, make some bubble soap! (See recipes above.)

Making a Foot Mask

2 large cucumbers (skin on), pureed
2 T lemon juice
2 T olive oil (or some other cooking oil)

Mix and heat in microwave until warmish (about 1 minute). Pour into two plastic gallon zipper bags and mush around a little to spread. Put one on each foot, smushing around to some more to rub mask into feet. Wait 10 minutes and wash off. Exfoliates and softens.

Making Skin Lotion

There are a lot of sites on the Web, so I'm not going to put in my two cents' worth! This one has a lot of info on it, as well as recipes. (Drag out the glycerin!)

Here's another.

Making Lip Balm

3 t (use 2 T for more gloss) grated beeswax (unbleached)
5 t (use 8 t for more gloss) unflavored "carrier" oil
6-7 drops of "essential oil"
5 chocolate chips (optional; for flavor) 1 t honey (optional; for flavor)
lipstick (optional; for color; add until the color you want)

Melt beeswax in the oil over low heat (or use a double boiler), stirring to mix. (You can also try the microwave, melting with 10 seconds at a time.) May use one or a combination to equal 6-7 drops. If you are using the chocolate, add the chips at this point. If you are using chocolate you probably don't want to use any scented essential oils (though strawberry, orange, or raspberry oils might be good!).

Remove from heat. Add optional honey and scented oil. Mix well. Should not be lumpy. Add optional lipstick and mix well.

Pour into containers. Don't move them for at least 20 minutes so balm can cool and set up. Put lids on the containers.

Essential oils can be bought at craft/bath stores that have supplies for making soaps, lotions, etc. Sometimes health-food stores have these, too. (I don't know why they are called "essential oils.") The "carrier oil" is to "carry" the scents. Try something like jojoba or sunflower (or even castor oil). Check your pharmacy first (it will be cheaper), then look in the specialty stores. And don't forget to look on the Web!

Making Solid Perfume

These were all the rage when I was a teen. The ingredients and procedures are very similar to making lip balm.

2 T grated beeswax (unbleached)
2 T carrier oil (see lip balm, above)
2 T -distilled- water
1 - 2 t scented oil, mix and match as you prefer (or essential oil, if you prefer)

Melt beeswax in the oil, as above. Blend well. Cool a little and then add the scent(s).

Pour into containers (wide-mouth ones are good because you can stick your finger inside to scoop up a little perfume). Let cool completely and set up (about 20 minutes).

Warm Pack

See the file elsewhere on my site.

Cold Pack

See the file elsewhere on my site.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Aromatic Stuff ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Dried Apples Slices

These are great for wreaths, Christmas ornaments, potpourri, etc.

Mix:

3 c lemon juice
12 t salt

Slice apples 1/4" thick and remove seeds. Soak in lemon mix for 15 minutes, turning once.

Remove slices from lemon mix. Pat dry with paper towels.

Place a double layer of cheesecloth (look in the cooking utensils/jelly-making sections of your grocery store) on a rack and place the rack on a cookie sheet. Place apple slices on rack.

Place in cold oven and turn it on to 150. With door ajar, bake 4 1/2 hours.

Allow to cool before storing.

Spicy Air Freshener

Method #1

Mix 1 cup of chilled applesauce, 1/2 cup of ground cloves, 1/2 cup of ground cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of nutmeg. Yes, half-cups. That's 4 oz. of each.

Mix and form a dough. Roll out to 1/4" thick. Cut into shapes; try a gingerbread person/house for the Christmas season, hearts for Valentines, etc. If you like, cut shapes freehand.

Make a hole for hanging. Use an icepick, toothpick, straw, etc.

Lay on waxed paper to dry. Complete drying may take up to 48 hours. Be patient!

Insert ribbon or string through hole and hang. Make them fancy with dried flowers and other decorations (use a glue gun), if you like. These make great Christmas ornaments. Tie one to a package for a "double present."

Method #2

A less complicated dough is made with 10 T applesauce and 5 oz. ground cinnamon. Obviously, this makes much less than the above recipe.

Simmering Pot Pourri Mixes

Mix #1: Country Spice

1 c cinnamon sticks, broken (to equal 1 cup)
1 c whole allspice
1 c dried orange peel
1 c bay leaves, broken (to equal 1 cup)
1 c coriander leaves (fresh)
1 c mint leaves (fresh) 1/2 c whole cloves
1/2 c star anise
1/2 pine needles (fresh - - they should -not- be dried/brown)
1/2 c rosemary leaves (fresh)
1/2 c orris root granules
10 drops cinnamon "essential oil" (or as desired)
5 drops orange "essential oil" (or as desired)

If you can't find orris root locally, check the Web. You may have more luck with the essential oils; check at a candle shop or bath store. There may also we an "aromatherapy" store near you.

In small glass container, mix cinnamon and orange oils with orris root (it will absorb them). Set aside.

In large glass container, combine rest. Use metal spoon, not wood. Or mix with hands (wearing rubber gloves is recommended).

Add orris mixture and mix well.

Store in sealed glass container until you're ready to use some.

To use: place 1/3 c dry mix in saucepan with 4 c water. Simmer uncovered. Add water as necessary so the pan doesn't boil dry.

Notes: (1) For a stronger scent, double the amount of dry mixture and combine with only 6 c water. (2) Simmered mixture can be refrigerated, sealed, for reuse. (3) Put unused orris root in a glass jar, as bugs like it!

Mix #2: Christmas Spice

Triple a piece of cheesecloth to make a 12" square. Tie up in it:

1 stick cinnamon
peel of one orange (fresh or dried) or peels of 2 tangerines
2 whole nutmegs
1 sprig fresh cedar (not dried/brown)

Place in saucepan of boiling water. Boil 2 minutes. Reduce heat to simmer.

Mix #3: Unkillable Rock Pot Pourri

glass bowl or box (nice-looking, as it will be sitting out on a table/whatever)
small pebbles (quartz, sea glass, river pebbles, etc.) to fill bowl nearly to the top

Drip on a few drops of essential oil(s) of your choice. It will evaporate slowly. No need to simmer, refrigerate, etc.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Miscellaneous Stuff ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Fire-Retardant Mix for Halloween Costumes

Carefully mix:

7 oz. borax power
3 oz. borax liquid
2 quarts hot water

Mix until solution clears. If it jells, reheat it.

Dip the dry costume into the liquid. Let excess drip out. Press with iron.

Slime

Mix:

1 cup of white school glue
10 drops of food coloring (adjust as desired)
1 cup water

In another bowl, mix:

1 1/3 c warm water
4 t Borax laundry powder

Pour the glue mixture into the warm water mixture and swirl it. Lucky you! Slime!

Store airtight. Lasts about 5 months.

Soap, Home Remedies, and Other Such Stuff

This site has a lot of recipes for soaps, cosmetics, herbal remedies, cleaning solutions, etc. Lots of fascinating stuff!

Making Bound Books

This site has a pretty good description of how to take a child's story and make a bound book (with a hard cover!) out of it.

I still have the ones my boys made - - written and illustrated by them.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Have I taken you back to childhood? It was a trip down memory lane for me as I typed these out!

If you have any "recipes" you'd like to share, please e-mail me, and I'll add them (with full credit to you, of course).


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marbeth@marthabeth.com