Homemade Bath Balls, Soap Balls and Heating Pads

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By Lois Breneman, Heart to Heart Newsletter, jhbreneman@juno.com

Fragrant Soap Balls

Ivory Snow Flakes
Perfume or scented oil
Food coloring

Moisten soap flakes with water to the consistency of very stiff dough. Divide into several bowls if making a large quantity, so you can make a variety of scents and colors. Shape about 2 tablespoons of mixture into balls. Place on wax paper to harden for several days, turning each day. Wrap in colorful cellophane and tie with a ribbon to give as gifts. Arrange in a small box or in a small basket lined with colorful tissue paper.

Bath Balls

2 cups finely ground sea salt 
1 tsp. Vitamin E oil
½ cup baking soda
2 eggs
½ cup cornstarch
25 drops fragrance oil
2 Tbsp. light oil

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Mix all ingredients together. Using a teaspoon of the dough, gently roll it into a 1 inch ball. Continue this method, placing balls on an ungreased cookie sheet. If desired, you can decorate balls with whole cloves or rose buds. Bake the bath balls for about 10 minutes until they are lightly browned – do not over bake. Allow the balls to cool completely. To use: Drop 1 or 2 bath balls into a warm bath and allow to dissolve. Note: If you give these bath balls as a gift, be sure to list all the ingredients in case of allergies, as well as instructions on how to use.


Heating Pad Or Foot Warmer

This is great to warm cold feet when going to bed or to sooth tight neck muscles. ½ yard cotton flannel 4 cups uncooked white rice 1 Tbsp. whole cloves Cut the flannel into a 14”x18” rectangle. Fold with right sides together, so the rectangle measures 7”x18”. Sew around edges, leaving an opening for turning. Fill with rice and cloves. Hand sew the opening shut. For gift-giving, include instructions: To use as a heating pad, microwave for 1-2 minutes in High.


photo by: themeparkmo


  1. Kathleen says

    It seems that as we get older it is harder to find gifts that we haven’t already gotten or have already bought for ourselves. This year to simplify I am giving homemade cookies, candies and applesauce that I made and canned this summer. Everyone seems to enjoy a bag of cookies and goodies to enjoy through New Years.

  2. Anonymous says

    For the peanut butter suet, be sure to use all-natural peanut butter and real suet (beef fat) which you can get from the butcher.

  3. reality_girl_o4 says

    I am new to the newsletter and the blogging. I love all the tips the readers have to share. I would like to share what I did for my family for Christmas this year.
    My husband is the only one working right now and our finances are very low. I decided to make all of the women homemade braclettes for Christmas and then for the men, I bought cheap dollar baskets at the dollar store and then put inside them things they could eat while watching a movie or football game. I also got each of the men a little gift card of 5.00 for a movie rental. It was a really cute gift and went over well. Also for the ladies I found teacup sets and put in some peppermint tea along with some other teas, then also included some hot coco packets as well. Then I added a poem that I wrote and a couple of candy canes. I wrapped all of these in some baggies that you can find in a craft store with some pretty ribbon. It was a really nice Christmas and I was pleased that I did not spend a lot of money on gifts that I new could or would be broken with a few hours or days. It was a very nice feeling to know that I took the time to make these gifts and that they did come from my heart.

    Thanks for sharing all of your other ideas and I will use them for other gift giving ideas, such as birthdays, friendship, and thank yous. I would also hope that you could use mine in this matter as well. I hope each of you had a wonderful Christmas and May God Bless you in the New Year.

    Lesa Laney-Thrasher

  4. Darlene Isley says

    You might consider using cracked corn instead of rice in the heating pads. I like corn much better as it doesn’t get that musty smell from rice that has collected moisture after being heated. It smells just like freshly popped corn! And I believe that it keeps the heat much longer. Cracked corn is readily available at a feed store and sometimes at a pet store. It is also much less expensive! You can get a 50 pound sack of corn for around $10.00…enough to make everyone in the family a set. I made all of my family a set of different sizes for Christmas, from hand warmers to long back warmers. Easy , fun, and CHEAP! but so appreciated!

  5. rose says

    those long back warmers would be great anytime of the year if someone has hurt their back ..
    thanks for the ideas .. 😀

  6. Grandma says

    Don’t get me wrong here those bath baskets look wonderful and they have usually put a lot of thought into them and they should be appreciated by the recipient.
    I am so allergic to the scents that even when wrapped they cause me major headaches. If I touch them I get itchy and if I smell them I am knocked out for a couple of days. Just barely managing to get my Christmas stuff done.
    I get them each year no matter the hints I give to please not include them for this family.
    I get them out of the house as quickly as I can and it usually to the food bank and I say give them to someone you think would like them.
    Also another thing, I hate baths. we have lived in this house for 13 years and I have used the tub maybe 3 times.
    I am just glad we don’t have major company with the giver included as I would have to open the gift and say thanks all the time trying to get time to take some pain meds.
    What I would prefer is if they went and got a few cat toys and wrapped these for me and my husband. We have 3 cats and they love toys. Right now my new kitten is tearing up the kleenex from a box that cost .90 so I am not jumping up to take it away from him. It was half empty.
    All I am saying is maybe something a bit different would be better.
    One year a friend of mine they are a retired couple got a set of spices most of which she didn’t even know what they were for. She has cooked the same things for years and then suddenly she is feeling inadequate because she thinks she has to change her diet to accomodate the new spices. She gave them to the food bank hoping someone would be able to use them.
    If it isn’t for an office party think about what the person does and is and try to fit that into the gift idea.
    Even just a card and an invitation for a cup of coffee at the coffee shop or your house would be more appreciated than something that is going to cause illness or stress.

  7. Grizzly Bear Mom says

    I’m a 51 year old single with no kids. Homemade goodies are awesome, because if I bake I have to eat a tray of brownies. A mix of anything non mint would be awesome!

    Like grandma, scents like peppermint, hand lotions, nail polish and remover, that hand clearn they post at restaurant entracnes, you name it irritates my muscus membranes and gives me post nasal drip, and upper respitory infections. I can’t even if basil because it is a mint. Please check before distributing scented items.

  8. Carolyn Bundenthal says

    Sugestion for Grandma and Grisly Bear Mom When having a conversation with your friends about Christmas, Tell them you saw something on Internet about people that were Physically bothered in one way or another because of alergies when given a gift with a scent or what may cause a rash. Suggest the giver give their gift to the persons favorite charity in their name. This will save you from all your frustration. Merry Christmas

    • Grandma says

      Carolyn, I have tried in so many ways to stop them wasting their money on gifts like this for me.
      Some of these people know we don’t visit them anymore in the winter because of the scents in their homes.
      We visit in the summer when we can sit outside.
      But each year we get a new scent with the attachment saying this one is new and is all natural and supposed to be organic and environmentally friendly.
      Every year I get sick and Don has an asthma attack.
      Finally got through to my DIL she gave us a box of teas and it was wonderful. We would actually prefer pictures of our grandchildren and their parents but the tea was a step in the right direction.

  9. Grandma says

    OK I said no to the scented things so I figured I should make an alternative list for us folks who are picky not by choice but by allergies, limited space and less mobility.

    if the person has a pet get a pet toy we can play with our friend with.
    cats, little balls, a stick with a toy at the end so we can have him chase it when we are sort of sore and tired and she wants to play.
    rawhide chews the correct size for the dog.
    cat and dog treats lots of people can afford the food but the treats are not in the cards.

    If you know someone who dearly loves having your children visit give them a card with 2 dates on it that they can call you ahead of time and take your children for the day or a few hours. to make it extra special pack a fun type picnic lunch so nobody has to do much in the way of work.

    Before the lights and trees are gone from the mall and town offer to take someone out window shopping and light looking. No money is allowed to be spent except for refreshments. Just a day out with nothing to do is always welcome even if you have no extra money. It costs nothing to look and it is more fun to look with someone than by yourself.

    Note paper is a nice gift with stamps and all included. But I can’t write anymore because of my hands turning into claws so that is another don’t go there gift for me. So if you want to do this make sure the person writes letters a lot.

    If your friend is older make a baking or cooking day. Cookies are always nice to recieve but if you do the baking at their house she also gets the smells of baking from her younger days. She has fresh baked cookies to offer friends who drop in and she has your company for the day as well.
    Cooking day she can tell you how to do the cooking and then leave it there with her in the freezer so you know she will be eating properly. Lots of people as they get older live on cereal because they don’t have any desire to cook for 1. As she heats the meals she will have the memory of you being there doing the cooking and talking all the time.
    As you may have noticed most of my suggestions are more for company than a gift but most of us have what we need and to get more stuff is not really always welcome. Company does not need to find a space on a shelf and is so much more welcome.

  10. Barbs says

    I have had 2 back surgeries and my last one died! I was just about ready to go out and buy another one for $45! Think I will give this a try lkand let you know! If noot ear the rice! Or perhapes corn. Thanks!

  11. Carina says


    I like all your “tips and trix”. But now I must make my self serten.

    When you use the term 250 degrees, is it in Fahrenheit? I guess it is, but I’m not sure. It will be a very big difference if I use “my” degrees.

    250 degrees Celsius is 482 degrees Fahrenheit. And that is way much hotter than 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

    • says

      Since we are in the States we always use Fahrenheit and only once in awhile will put the Celsius in parenthesis after the Fahrenheit temp.

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