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The Buzz About Wraps

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Homemade Beeswax Wraps

Someone asked recently in a local small business owners group if anyone knew where one could find beeswax wraps. A few people piped in with some Portland-area shops, but one person commented, "I just make them! Super easy!" Intrigued, I used the Google and it turns out, indeed! Just make them! Super easy.

Beeswax Wraps Materials
Beeswax Wraps Materials

If you're like me, you likely have a lot of random bits of fabric lying around from various sewing projects, and beeswax wraps are a delightful way to use them up. The wraps are an eco-friendly, re-usable alternative to tin foil or saran wrap. Use them in the same way you would use either of those options, by covering a plate/bowl or by placing the food directly in the wrap and closing it up. The beeswax forms a protective seal so that moisture doesn't pass through to the fabric, and the wraps adhere to the shape you mold them into when you use them. It's pretty much magic!

Some available recipes are more complicated than others, and now that I am hooked on the wraps, I plan on trying every single one. When I made the first batch of wraps, I happened to have all the ingredients and tools needed in the recipe featured on Apartment Therapy, so I went with that. Start to finish, I made four wraps in under an hour, prep and clean up included. Not too shabby!

For there recipe, all that was needed was a cookie sheet, parchment paper, a paintbrush, fabric, shearing scissors, and beeswax shavings/pellets. After cutting the fabric to the desired size, the next step was to place the parchment paper on the cookie sheet, and then the fabric on the parchment paper. Spread some beeswax evenly on the fabric (see photo), and place the whole things in your oven on the lowest setting.

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I started getting impatient so I eventually upped the temp to 200 degrees (Fahrenheit), and I kept opening the door to check on melting status, spreading around the beeswax as it turned liquid. Making two at a time, I staggered their placement in the oven by a few minutes, as the whole process was likely somewhere between 5-7mins per wrap.

Once I pulled out a wrap that was evenly coated with the wet wax, I waited just a moment or two before pulling it up by a corner (being careful not to burn myself) to let the excess wax drip off. For some of my wraps, I had almost none. Finally, I let the wrap cool completely by draping it over the back of a chair. It was ready to use almost immediately.

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My husband and I have a fair amount of food preservation paranoia, but we are both happy to report the wraps work great! Once used, they can simply be raised with soap and water and put away until used again. Beeswax wraps fans do caution against using the wraps to hold uncooked meats, as you can't exactly sanitize them, but we use them for everything else: veggies, fruits, leftovers, cheese! They store easily and last a good long stretch (8-9 months looks ike it is the upper limit, depending on use).

Such a simple way to get rid of the disposable options and move toward a more natural and re-usable option!

Pop Pop Fizz Fizz

Homemade Toilet Fresheners

Toilets are gross. That is fact. As a mom to four children - three of them boys - I feel I spend too much energy trying to find ways to keep the toilet as not-gross as possible.

Fizzy Toilet Fresheners
Fizzy Toilet Fresheners

Enter: the toilet fizzy, aka the toilet freshener. I wish there were a better term for these things because they are cute and adorable and everything toilet bowls are not. But, it seems we need to have the word toilet in the item name, so any notion of something cute or adorable basically goes down the drain (har, har).

These fizzies were super easy to make, and they work! Think of them as a bath bomb for your toilet, leaving your toilet sparkling and new with more excitement and less effort than scouring powder. WIN.

We borrowed our recipe from the ever-awesome Soap Queen, as we had most of the ingredients on-hand from a previous Brambleberry purchase. The toilet fresheners are made of the same common ingredients found in bath bombs: sodium bicarbonate, citric acid, and witch hazel. We followed their lead and used lemon and peppermint essential oils, as it seemed a mighty fine combo for a toilet, but ultimately it's up to you. This recipe is heavy on essential oils, so you probably don't want to use your very pricey options. You also want to use a combo that you are happy to let overpower your prep space for a spell. Lemon and peppermint were delightful choices, but I could see this being very effective with other citrus options such as grapefruit or orange, as well.

Also optional is the flower-y mold recommended in the recipe, as really you just need a small enough mold to fit the purpose. That said, flowers are pretty.

Fizzy Toilet Freshener Process
Fizzy Toilet Freshener Process

The process was very similar to making a bath bomb: combine citric acid and sodium bicarbonate, break up clumps, and add essential oils. Test the combined mixture to see if it's about the consistency of wet sand (it should hold its shape if you squeeze it in your hands); if it needs some moisture, spritz it with some witch hazel. Be careful not to spray on too much, or you could set the fizzy tablet a-fizzin! Ask me how I know.

Once you have the right consistency, you place the mixture into the mold and allow it to sit. We checked on our fizzies two or three hours later and they seemed good to go. Soap Queen recommended "a few hours" or overnight, as this timing may depend on your location.

My six-year-old wanted to take on the challenge of using a toilet freshener for the first time, and this was a sign to me that we needed to keep these on-hand at all times. We popped one into the toilet and the whole space filled with a nice peppermint-lemon smell; I gave it a swish after the fizzing stopped and the toilet was minty fresh new. If anything, the fizzles will inspire me to do this process on a regular basis, and will make cleaning the toilet just a touch more enjoyable than usual.