I found a post recently about how to make your own air fresheners (to view that blog, click this link: Delightful Country Cookin' ). I love scented things, and I like to set out candles around the house to make it smell good (although I don't burn them very often). The idea of creating my own scented gels to set out around the house intrigued me. Plus, it seemed like a really easy project! It's been a long and trying week, so I felt the need today to do something fun and creative for a rainy day. So I ventured out into the deluge and picked up everything I would need to make my scented gels:
Two boxes of Knox gelatine (4 packets per box)-$1.25 per box at Walmart
Heat-proof jars-I used Ball 4 oz. decorative jars-$7.47 for a box of 12 at Walmart
Scented oil for candles-I chose two scents-$2.99 per bottle at Hobby Lobby
Food coloring of my choice-it's most likely in your pantry already!
2 cups of water, divided
2 TBSP salt
Perhaps I should note that this is the first time I've used gelatin like this. I've made Jell-O before, but it's not quite the same experience.
I have a lot on my mind right now, and I guess I wasn't concentrating quite as much as I should have been. I read the instructions and wrote them down for me to take to the kitchen, and read them again as I gathered my supplies. The instructions go like this:
Add a few drops of food coloring to each jar, then add as much scented oil as you would like. The more oil you add, the stronger the smell will be.
I got through this step. Then things went awry. Terribly awry.
The next step:
Bring one cup of water to a boil, then add four packets (one box) of your gelatin. Stir until completely dissolved (which, according to the gelatin box, should be about five minutes).
I promptly added one cup of water to my sauce pan and dumped in two packets of gelatin before I realized my mistake. Boil the water before adding gelatin, stupid!
I sighed and dumped my gooey water out, glad that I had purchased an additional box of gelatin.
So, I started again. I boiled one cup of water, then grabbed two packets of gelatin at the same time and ripped off the top to pour the contents into the pan. Except that one packet fell out of my hand. And into the boiling water. And the packet was covered by the sticky granules of the other packet that was still in my hand. I grabbed a fork out of the drawer and attempted to fish out the quickly-hardening, gooey, sticky paper packet and managed to get everything sticky. Who knew that pulverized animal bones would be like playing with tacky glue?? Doing my best Marge Simpson annoyed grunt, I finally succeeded in fishing out the packet, but there was no saving it, and I had to throw it away. Thankful that I had purchased two boxes of gelatin, I dumped three of the four remaining packets into the pot, and tried to stir it with a whisk. It was like a giant lump of goo, and it seemed like no matter how much I stirred, it didn't break up the lumps. I don't know, maybe it's supposed to act like this. I let it go for a few minutes, and it came to a frothy boil, and after about five minutes or so, the clumps of gelatin finally broke up and dissolved. Onto the next step.
Add another cup of water to the pot, and your salt. Stir until the salt is dissolved.
I left the pot to sit for a moment as I poured in the water and measured out the salt. I went back to stir the pot again, and the gelatin had formed a crust along the bottom of the pan! Grrrr! I stirred and whisked as though my life depended on it. I finally scraped the crust off of the bottom of the pot, and it began to dissolve, finally. I was relieved.
After the salt was dissolved (and by the way, watch the pot carefully after the last two additions--it wanted to bubble over once it heated back up), the next step is this:
Quickly pour the liquid into your glass containers. Stir them with a plastic or disposable spoon to mix the scented oil and food coloring. Then let sit overnight to solidify.
I poured the liquid evenly into my jars with the help of a canning funnel. I was able to fill four 4 oz. Ball jars with the liquid. Obviously, this recipe makes 16 oz. of liquid, so you can get one really big jar, two pint jars, or four 4 oz. jars. You can adjust the recipe accordingly to fit your needs.
I would say that if everything had gone smoothly from the start, it would have been a relatively short project. It was still a fun learning experience, and a welcome distraction. I think this is something that you could do with kids, if they want to experiment with scented oils and learn about using gelatin.
It's really easy for me to become distracted. It seems like I'm always thinking of a million things at once that I either need to do, need to keep track of, or need to remember for later. And it has been a tough week. It's a good reminder to me to keep my focus on God and not things in this world: “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock."--Isaiah 26:3-4. That's my challenge--keeping my focus on the everlasting Rock.