Spa Gift Basket
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Spa Gift Basket

Pamper your friends with the luxury of a spa retreat at home.

Bath Basket

Bath Basket
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Complete the gift with a washcloth
or a big fluffy bath towel.

Long soaks in warm, herb-infused waters can relax tense muscles and relieve stress. So treat the people on your gift list to the pleasures of fragrant herbal bath products with bath tea bags, herbal hair rinse, and green-tea body wash. Make the oversize tea bags from interfacing and fill them with herbs to steep in the bathwater. For your friends who prefer showers, mix green tea with unscented body wash for an invigorating cleanser. An herbal hair rinse to use after shampoo leaves hair smelling fresh and fragrant. Present this at-home spa in a wire basket. Tuck in the hair rinse, tea bags, and body wash, and stitch a bath glove from a pair of washcloths to complete the gift.

Bath Tea Bag
Bath Tea Bag
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Add a little oatmeal to each
mixture for its skin-softening
effects.

Herbal mixes: Shop for dried herbs at health-food stores. Don't use crushed herbs intended for cooking; they'll leak out of the tea bag material.

Stimulating: equal amounts of rosemary leaves, marjoram leaves, peppermint leaves, lavender flowers, and chamomile flowers

Relaxing: equal amounts of lavender flowers, basil, thyme, sage leaves, and rosemary leaves

What You Need:

  • 1 yard of 22-inch-wide medium-weight nonwoven interfacing (not fusible-adhesive material)
  • Cotton string
  • Paper tags (from an office supply shop, or make your own from heavy paper)
  • Herbs (see instructions)
  • Oatmeal (optional)
  • Double-sided adhesive tape

Instructions:

1. For each bag, cut a 10 x 16 1/2 inch piece of interfacing. Stitch the long edges together, using a 1/4-inch seam. Press the tube so that the seam falls in the center of one side (this will be the wrong side). Press the seam allowances to one side.

2. To make the bottom pleat, fold the tube in half, right sides facing, and press; fold each half again 1 inch away from the center fold, creasing in the opposite direction so the open ends of the tube meet. (The seam will now be on the inside.) Using a paper funnel, fill each side of the bag with about 1/4 cup of the desired herb mixture.

3. Align the edges at each end of the tube and fold the corners to the center, making a point. Fold the points down, then fold one point over the other. Staple a loop of string over the folded points.

4. Staple a paper tag to the top of the loop and attach a piece of double-sided adhesive tape to the back of the tag. (Don't remove the backing on the side of the tape facing you.) On the tag, write the ingredients in the herbal mix and include instructions for using the tea bag: Hang the bag over the faucet by the loop. If necessary to keep the tea bag in place while water runs through it, peel off the back of the double-sided tape and press it to the faucet. After bathing, rub the tea bag over your skin for extra soothing benefits.

Bath Mitt and Body Wash

What You Need:
Step 6
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This handmade gift is a snap to
make.

  • Scrap paper
  • 2 terry cloth washcloths
  • Water-soluble marker
  • 1/4-inch-wide elastic
  • 1/4-inch-wide double-fold bias tape
  • Thread to match washcloths

Instructions:

1. To make a pattern, trace around your hand and wrist on the scrap paper, spreading your fingers slightly. Add 1/4 to 1/2 inch all around the hand and add at least 1 inch on each side of the wrist. Cut out the pattern. 2. Place the pattern on one washcloth, positioning it so the wrist edge falls at the cloth's trimmed edge. Trace around the pattern with a water-soluble marker. Repeat for the remaining washcloth. 3. Cut two pieces of elastic 1/2-inch shorter than the wrist width. Stitch one piece of elastic to each washcloth at the wrist (in the cloth's trim area). The elastic should extend 1/4-inch beyond the traced wrist lines. 4. From the bias tape, cut an 8-inch length. Stitch the long open edges together, then fold to make a loop. 5. Pin the washcloths together with the elastic aligned and facing out. Sandwich the bias-tape loop between the cloths, with the raw edges at the seam. Stitch around the traced lines, being sure to catch the bias tape loop. 6. Cut out the glove 1/2-inch beyond the stitching line. Zigzag stitch around the cut edges. Turn the glove inside out. Add a felt leaf at the wrist, if desired.

What You Need:

  • Loose green tea
  • Unscented body wash (such as Neutrogena Rainbath)

Instructions:

1. Brew one 8-ounce cup of green tea, letting it steep until it is full strength. Pour the tea and leaves into a blender and blend well. Pour the mixture through a sieve to strain out most of the leaves.

2. Add the mixture to the body wash by teaspoonfuls until you like the color.

Herbal Hair Rinse What You Need:

  • Distilled water
  • Decorative plastic bottle
  • For blondes: 1/4 cup of dried chamomile (or 1/2 cup of chopped fresh)
  • 1/4 cup of dried lemon peel (or 1/2 cup of chopped fresh)
  • For brunettes: 1/4 cup of dried rosemary (or 1/2 cup of chopped fresh)
  • 1/4 cup of dried parsley leaves (or 1/2 cup of chopped fresh)

Instructions:

1. Bring 4 cups of distilled water to a boil, then add the desired mixture of herbs and allow to steep for 20 minutes.

2. Strain the mixture into a decorative, shatterproof bottle. Keep refrigerated and use within one week.

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