The Smell of Success: Or Crafty Ways to Save Money

This week in Craft Corner I was going to write about gilding as I've recently discovered how much fun it is after buying a huge vat of size (gilding glue). Unfortunately it has been superseded by my love of all things thrifty. As a rule crafting in most of its forms is not known to be particularly cheap. I mean all you have to do is look at how much a ball of wool costs or the price per metre of even the most mundane fabric. So when you uncover a 'make' that means more cash in your purse then you grab hold with both hands and refuse to let go like a lion with a choice bit of zebra.

It all started when I needed to re-purchase my favourite room diffuser oil. As I live in a charming granite cottage in deepest Cornwall anything that takes away the pervading smell of damp is a bonus. I knew it was getting low as my cats were wandering around with pomanders under their noses like eighteenth-century fops. But I hit a snag. I could go into town to buy some more but as I'm not particularly enjoying such trips due to Covid the only other option is to order online and that means a hefty delivery charge making an expensive item offensively expensive. So I decided to make some myself. It was tragically easy.

Bay Leaf and Rosemary oils

I had a quick gander online for the carrier to use for my essential oils and discovered that sweet almond oil hit the brief. I could also buy it online by the litre for less than a tenner, which is what I had been paying for a small bottle of diffuser oil. I then chose my essential oils (Bay Leaf and Rosemary) based on the diffuser oil I already use and ordered them from Nikura ( There are so many places you can buy oils from but I spent a bit of time looking at reviews and also gauging how much I wanted to spend. I used about 15 drops of each with enough sweet almond oil to fill my diffuser jar and that was it.

Diffuser oil next to mosaic

But then I got to thinking....face cream

The beauty industry likes to make us believe that moisturiser gently stirred by a mongoose called Grahame and filled with the flowers unicorns weave into their tails on a base of hydroflavinbleh will keep us at age 18 forever, but frankly I'm a little bit sceptical. Don't get me wrong, I need some cream to try and soften the elephant hide that is my skin and something to give it a chance of reaching the dizzing heights of glowing ( I think I must have bypassed dewy). My mantra is more like: does it make my skin feel nice?; does it soak into my skin quickly?; and does it smell nice? - that's it. I don't believe cream that costs £50 a tub is any better than stuff that costs £7. Alongside the name it's the smell and the texture you pay for. I'd used good quality but inexpensive creams in the past but they don't smell of much and so I'd opted for one that had a wonderful aroma but cost £15 a pot. After my foray into creating diffuser oil, what about using essential oils to make a face cream?

After a quick gander online it is clear you can add these oils to a base cream and so I did...just like that. I had a big ole jar of Nivea under the bathroom sink and all I did was use my existing cream as a guide and used Neroli, Jasmine and Rose Geranium (30 drops of each oil in 600ml of cream) and, 'et voila', it bally worked. Not only that, I think it's softer and smoother due to the oils. I mixed up the oils first in a separate pot to make sure I liked it then I scaled it up and mixed it into the cream. I then shoved all the moisturiser into a disposable icing bag and snipped the end off before putting into a dispenser pot I already had. I then made a cute label and I was done.

I cannot tell you how chuffed I am. I've saved money and had fun. I'll be exploring more combinations of oils with the help of a website called Fresh Skin that gives loads of information about them. I'll also be seeing what other creams and lotions I can pimp. But before I do that I might write a blurb for the back of my new lotion:

By Wendy Jane Face Cream

'Flower Garden By Wendy Jane a moisturiser so soft and smooth it'll instantly remove cellulite from even the most stubborn of backsides and lift even the most droopy of jowls. The oils used in this cream have been especially formulated by a crazy cat lady in Cornwall who has picked the Rose-Geraniums with her teeth on the third Sunday of June, plucked the Jasmine with tweezers whilst wearing her special pants, and created the Neroli from platinum plated Oranges from Suffolk to produce what is surely a triumph in the world of beauty.'

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