The holidays often become incredibly hectic and funds dwindle slowly down. These are the times when a backup plan is needed. I’ve brought together some of the best DIY gifts I’ve come across or made and they are all easy. Rosemary Mint Shaving Cream: My husband is a big big fan of homemade and organic shaving cream because it’s much easier on his skin and living in a dry climate it doesn’t dry out his skin like other store bought creams do. As a plus these last forever. 1/3 cup shea butter 1/3 cup virgin coconut oil 1/4 cup jojoba or sweet almond oil 10 drops rosemary essential oil 3-5 drops peppermint essential oil In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the shea butter and coconut oil, stirring until just melted. Remove from the heat and transfer to a heat-safe bowl. Add in the jojoba oil and the essential oils. Stir to mix. Place the bowl in the refrigerator and chill until solid. Remove from the refrigerator and whip using a hand beater or a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Spoon into a jar. Lid and keep in a cool, dry place. Homemade Organic Vanilla Extract: This is something that I start about four months before Christmas although you don’t have to. All it takes is some decent Vodka and vanilla beans. Here’s an excerpt from my blog: “Using a cutting board, cut the beans lengthwise so that they are opened but not cut all the way through. As if you were dissecting them. I scrape out a little of the pulp so that it doesn’t build up too much in the bottle but you can also just leave it all there. A matter of preference. Add to your clean and empty wine bottle. Then add in the vodka. After the bottle is corked shake vigorously so that the beans and the pulp are circulated through the vodka. For the first week do this twice a day. Once in the morning and once at night. Place the bottle in a cool dark place, mine is in my pantry so that I don’t forget to shake it. After the first week and for the next three weeks shake at least once a day. For the second month a couple times a week will do. Months three and four you can do it once a week.” The extract will fill 4-6 ounce bottles and costs around $15 to make and turns out to be about $3.60 for each bottle. The women in your life will love this. If it hasn’t brewed for 4 months just put a tag on the bottle saying “Don’t use until-DATE” Supersized Sheet Music: This works well for your spouse or family member who is into music or recently got married. Take your favorite song’s sheet music and go onto Staple’s website and order an engineering print that only costs $1.79-$7.79 depending on size. It’s a great low cost high impact gift. Porcelain Ornaments: The internet is chalk full of porcelain and salt dough ornament tutorials but salt dough doesn’t stand up to humidity whatsoever so homemade porcelain is a great alternative. -2 cups corn starch, 2 cups of Elmer’s Glue, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons baby oil, 1 tablespoon of white acrylic paint, 1 tablespoon cold cream -Mix all ingredients, except the cold cream, together in a large microwavable bowl. Use a hand mixer if you like. Mix until mixture is completely smooth. Cook the porcelain mixture in the microwave for three minutes on high. Stop the microwave every minute and mix the porcelain completely with a wooden spoon. For the last minute, observe to make sure the dough isn’t overcooking. Remove from microwave and let cool only until you can handle it without burning. You need the dough very hot while kneading. 1. Grease a counter with 1 tablespoon of the cold cream. Knead the hot porcelain for 5-7 minutes. 2. After kneading, roll the dough into a large coil. Wrap with plastic wrap, making sure no air can get in. Place in a large ziploc bag. Refrigerate for 24 hours before using. 3. Roll out dough as if it were pie crust until it is 1/8 inch thick, and very even (Thin dough will result in a curled ornament. Uneven cookies will look terrible). 4. When finished rolling out dough, lift it off surface and then place back down. This will make pulling the cut ornaments off the surface easier. If dough starts adhering to the counter, you can spread cold creme onto the surface. If dough becomes too sticky, sprinkle surface with corn starch. 5. Cut with cookie cutter and emboss with chosen design. Place cut pieces on cookie sheets. Punch out top hole for string. 6. Let sit 24-48 hours and then seal with two coats of waterproof sealer. Let completely dry before wrapping. Ornaments will be very sturdy when dry. Lemon Peppermint Foot Scrub: Also a great present for any female on your gift list this year. In past years I’ve done a whole “spa” gift basket for my mom and mother-in-law and they were huge hits. You can whip up a huge batch of this and parse it out to everyone! Just remember to dress up the jars! -1 cup coarse sea salt, 1/2 cup sweet almond oil, 2 tsp lemon zest (zest from 1 lemon), 8 drops peppermint essential oil (makes 8 oz) Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and store in a clean 8oz jar. Notes on Storage: Make sure to store in a clean jar with a tight fitting lid. Because this scrub has no preservatives I recommend using it within a couple of weeks or keeping it in the refrigerator. Using a clean spoon instead of hands to scoop out scrub is also more sanitary. Foil Artwork: Make some fantastic art work by tracing over a coloring book page with glue, covering it with foil and then sponging on and wiping off shoe polish. This can be a zero cost project depending on whether you have shoe polish hanging around. Just do it on a cheap canvas from a craft store and you’re set! Chandelier Redo: This is actually something I’m incredibly passionate about. Offer to spruce up a relative’s dining room fixture with a little paint and crystals. For this chandelier I primed and painted it silver and then bought some crystal from craft stores and online to really spruce it up. It was recently sold and used in a proposal in Pennsylvania which you can read about over on my blog. Cranberry Infused Vodka: This is amazing cheap gift. It’s basically cranberries and vodka and that’s it! Poke holes in the cranberries so they can release their flavor and add a tablespoon of sugar and then pour in the vodka. The amount of cranberries is totally up to you, the more you add the more flavor will infuse into the vodka!