july diy + business book club and giveaway

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The first time I made my own beauty products it was December and my second holiday season in Los Angeles after I’d dropped out of graduate school. The year before that, I’d made candles for holiday gifts. You can read the story about that first year in Los Angeles and how to make soy candles here. That second year I was still pretty broke. My lack of funds coupled with remembering how much fun I’d had the year before making candles for holiday gifts for all my family and friends led to a major early December craftathon during which I created custom beauty products for everyone on my list.

I’d never made body scrubs or lip balm or soap before but after a bit of research on recipes and where to get supplies I spent a week in my kitchen whipping up tons of bath and body products. Before that week, I had no idea how simple it was to create a salt and sugar scrub from things I already had in my kitchen. I was hooked on making beauty products myself because it was not only economical but also I knew exactly what was in them. When I made a scrub myself, there were no mysterious 30-letter ingredients that I couldn’t pronounce and no worrying about my sensitive skin reacting to chemicals or colorings in the products.

In the decade since I embarked on creating my own bath and body products for the first time, I’ve not only made hundreds of them but have also continued my research, perfected my recipes and taught dozens of workshops teaching other people how easy it is to create them. During my research I read lots and lots of books but my favorite is Organic Body Care Recipes: 175 Homemade Herbal Formulas for Glowing Skin & a Vibrant Self. It has recipes for everything you need to create organic beauty products for your whole body. I’m super excited to include this book in our DIY and business book club this month along with a few other titles to inspire you to make something new or build your creative business. The awesome news is that you have a chance to win some of these books!

Want a chance to win three of these books – 20 Ways to Draw a Tulip and 44 Other Fabulous Flowers: A Sketchbook for Artists, Designers, and DoodlersWeekend Knitting: 50 Unique Projects and Ideas and Organic Body Care Recipes: 175 Homemade Herbal Formulas for Glowing Skin & a Vibrant Self? All you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling us about one of your favorite handmade gifts you’ve received or given.

Leave your comment on this post by July 30th at midnight. Make sure to include your email address so we can get your address and ship you some lovely things to read.

We’ll email the winner on August 1st as well as announce it here.

1. 20 Ways to Draw a Tulip and 44 Other Fabulous Flowers: A Sketchbook for Artists, Designers, and Doodlers by Lisa Congdon

2. Weekend Knitting: 50 Unique Projects and Ideas by Melanie Falick

3. Organic Body Care Recipes: 175 Homemade Herbal Formulas for Glowing Skin & a Vibrant Self by Stephanie L. Tourles

4. Craft Inc. Business Planner Diary by Meg Mateo Ilasco

the contest is now closed.  Congrats to Martha!!


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  1. Oh, I would LOVE to get these books!! Fantastic selections! Well, the most favorite gifts I have made are a paper flower banner made out of my child’s paintings (to give to her preschool teacher) and sugar scrub for my bff (trying to use as little icky stuff as possible) Thanks for the giveaway!

  2. i have just started a blanket for my mentally handicapped sister who is obsessed with monkeys: an afghan with monkey faces

  3. One of my most favorite gifts that I’ve given is a hand sewn teddy bear that I made for my niece before she was born. It didn’t actually have eyes, because I didn’t know how to embroider them and didn’t want to use buttons for a gift that was meant for an infant. But it was one of the first things I had sewn by hand and I was super proud of it.

  4. I recently made an Alabama Chanin DIY camisole and bolero for my new daughter-in-law. It was really a labor of love and she looks so beautiful in it. I would be so happy to win the giveaway. Thank you.

  5. A few years ago I baked A TON of treats – jumbo chip cookies, hazelnut biscotti, peppermint bark dipped in chocolate – and put an assortment in mason jars. I decorated the lids and added ribbon. They were a total hit. I also make all of my own greeting cards.

    I love homemade gifts of any sort, but I’ve never received homemade bath and body stuff. That would be so lovely!!

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