Posts Tagged ‘essential oil’

gluten-free scented playdough

last week, i was inspired by tinkerlab’s beautiful post on rainbow play dough. i used to make play doughs of all kinds frequently before our household became gluten-free in july 2010. since then, i have not made a batch of play dough because gluten-free flours are quite spendy! i’m hesitant to bring wheat flour into my kitchen for fear of contamination (i’m gluten intolerant) so i just sort of put a hold on the dough making… until now.

after the tinkerlab post, i inquired on facebook about gluten-free play dough recipes that wouldn’t break the bank, and one of my wonderful facebook followers, emily, offered up this simple recipe: (thank you, emily!)

  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tsp cream of tarter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp cooking oil
  • Food coloring, if desired (i like the wilton gel icing colors)

Mix ingredients. Cook and stir on low heat for 3 minutes or until mixture forms a ball. Cool completely before storing in a sealable plastic bag or tuperware.

so we began our experimentation with this recipe today. i plan to also try out a gluten-free play dough crock pot recipe next time, also offered by a facebooker. i doubled the recipe, and added a little sensory twist. i thought it’d be fun if each color dough had its own scent, so i broke out my essential oil stash to add into the mix.

i mixed the ingredients together (without color or scent) in a large pot until it looked like this.

then i divided the dough into five parts, one for each color we wanted to make.

then i added a bit of the food coloring to each ball and knead it in my hands to distribute the color. this temporarily put some concentrated color on my skin, but it came right off with soap. your kids can do this part, too.

because N wanted “springy eastery pastel colors” i didn’t add a lot of food coloring to the dough. when i added the color, this is also when i added the essential oils, matching color to scent.

  • pink = rose
  • yellow – lemon
  • green = eucalyptus
  • turquoise = peppermint
  • lavender = lavender (though the lavender color is a difficult one to get. ours was kind of muted gray.)


this activity really enlivened the senses of sight, smell, and touch!

i have heard that gluten-free play doughs are often gritty. this recipe was not gritty at all! in fact, the texture was quite smooth and almost like a sticky wax. the stickiness was our only complaint. i’m wondering if they will be less sticky once they are stored for a bit…? we’ll see.

play dough residue = sticky fingers

when we were finished playing (and doing lots of sniffing) for today, we stored it in a plastic sealed container for a bit. i wish i had 5 smaller canisters for it since each has a different smell, but i’m not out of butter, yogurt, fresh mozzerella, or parm yet to recycle those tubs for this purpose. so as of right now, they’re brewing their own special fragrance in that container. šŸ™‚ whooo weee!

happy rainbowy, gluten-free, squishing & smelling!


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smoochie lipbalm

about 11 years ago, for a few years, i was the proprietor of my own small business (on the side of my “real job”) making and selling natural bath products. once graduate school got underway, i had less time for the business aspect of it, so i dissolved my LLC. i’ve always retained the love of making my own natural products. it’s so fun now to pass this on to N! recently we created lipbalm – just in time for all of the puckering up people do on valentine’s day!

if we could have made it cake flavored, N probably would have been psyched, but we went with one of N’s second most favorite flavors for the lipbalm – peppermint. here’s my old recipe that we used.


  • 1 tbsp beeswax (i like the small pearls – easier to measure)
  • 5 tbsp sweet almond oil (due to nut allergies and because of its healing potential, i used coconut oil instead)
  • 1 tbsp grapeseed or jojoba oil
  • 20 drops of essential oil of choice (we used peppermint on this day, but other favorites of mine are cinnamon, lemon, lime, vanilla, ginger, tangerine… i like to mix them in fun ways. ginger-lime was the most popular lipbalm flavor i used to sell.)
  • 1 tsp honey


  • melt together oil and beeswax in double boiler just until melted. remove from heat. add honey and essential oil. stir to blend. pour into lipbalm pots and let it stand to solidify.

although we LOVED making crayon hearts for her class last year, we decided that these would make awesome valentines for N’s preschool class this year. same group of kids = different gift. N picked out some heart stickers she wanted to put on the pots.

i added the following label to the back of her homemade valentine cards so that the parents would know the ingredients in the lipbalm incase of allergies or concerns.

we packaged the lipbalm and the valentine up in cute little bags we found at michael’s (intended for lollipops.)

happy valentine’s day! MWAH!


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what’s momma making?

this entry is a departure from the purpose of this blog, which is to share ideas for ways to get artsy with your little one to inspire their own creations. my aim for this blog is to foster creativity in those little people we adore, who always have huuuge ideas and often just need a third hand (and someone to drive them to the art store) to put those ideas onto paper or clay or canvas.

but, dear readers, today i just thought i’d share a few pics of what i’ve been making lately, sans little helping hands. just for kicks.

i’m no geninne (urban outfitters is not banging down my door for me to silkscreen a pillow for them, dammit) and nor is my inspiration board nearly as cool as hers, but i take inspiration fromĀ her board and studio. here’s my own board in my own mini-studio (in our playroom/guestroom):

studio and inspiration board

and i have been collecting some fun natural objects for later use:

natural objects

despite my complete lack of sewing skillz, i made a few felt owls for new baby friends a la craft stylish:

felt owls

felt owls

as you may have seenĀ here, i made our pets into rocks:

i immortalized our cats

i immortalized our cats

i got hungry:

animal crackers (they're cookies!)

animal crackers (they're cookies!)

i added to our felted wool acorn ornament collection from last holiday season (and then i used some pom poms inside of the acorn caps when i ran outta wool balls, a la pink & green mama‘s idea)

making more felted wool & pom pom acorns

making more felted wool & pom pom acorns



i got some wooden beads and watercolored them and used my homemade wood creme to finish them off, to make little toys for N’s advent calendar:

peg people

our wooden family

our wooden family

i resurrected an old passion for making homemade bath products (i used to have a company called green athena where i sold these goods in nyc and on the web, in a former life,) and whipped up some yummers sugar scrubs for the body (raw sugar, grapeseed oil, vitamin E oil, any fav combo of essential oils. i like peppermint grapefruit and lavender rose!)



and some homemade lipbalm to go with (beeswax, jojoba oil or olive oil, honey, and essential oils. these are lemon mint!)

yip yip

yip yip

when i have a chunk of time, i loooove to watercolor… i took out this one from a few years ago as inspiration and as a reminder that the visual stimuli of this time of year is fun to capture in this medium:


happy holidays to all of you mommas, dads, kiddos, caregivers, teachers, and artists out there! i’m going to be doing more painting, knitting, and baking before the Ā year is out… and, of course, always making art with my little artist in residence. enjoy the beauty of the season!


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pimp my pine

N found these great unfinished wooden ornaments while tinkering along in michael’s holiday section, playing with treasures in the lowest bins. she brought one over to me and asked if we could bring it home. “of course, and let’s bring its friends home with us, too!” i replied. so we bought out the store. (well, they only had like 10 left, but they were 80 cents each, and with my awesome 50% off coupon they were only 40 cents each! score!)

watercoloring wooden ornaments

at home, we combined two of my most favorite media – watercolors and wood. we sat outside and painted away on the wooden baubles.

then we allowed the paint to drip dry as the ornaments hung from a tree in our backyard. the drips make really pretty effects on the ornaments, too!

watercoloring wooden ornaments

after the ornaments were dry, i concocted a natural wood creme to rub onto the wood in order to seal in the paint (and make them smell yummy, too!) my wood creme is made from melting beeswax with jojoba oil and a few drops of tea tree and lavender oils for natural antibacterial properties and heavenly scent. i think sweet orange oil would be delicious in a wood creme, too! (these ingredients things i had around the home because of my love for making natural bath and beauty products, but you can get most of them at stores likeĀ wholefoods or online bulk suppliers.)



N loved this magic potion portion of the activity! after the creme hardened in its tin, we were ready to seal the deal. i just rubbed the wood creme into the ornaments with my fingers, polishing off the excess with a soft cotton cloth. (this wood creme works great for sealing handmade wooden toys, too! stay tuned for that…)

watercoloring wooden ornaments wood creme

now these little ornaments are ready and waiting to adorn our tree and the yule trees of those near and dear to us. (yep, another surprise spoiler blog.)



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