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DIY Beeswax Cotton Bags

Most people that use plastic bags would hardly realize that they’re a fairly recent innovation. Dating back to the Pioneers, and even further back to the Ancient Egyptians, people have used cotton bags to store food for centuries. Now, with sustainability in the spotlight, some people have restored the craft of using cotton bags over plastic.

The benefits are obvious. Aside from the environmental and potential health benefits of using natural cotton bags over petroleum-made plastic, cotton bags are completely reusable (meaning you save money). Plastic bags can be expensive, and if you use them regularly to pack lunches or store leftovers, that can add up. For an economical, sustainable, and functional choice, Celestial Gifts’ natural muslin bags provide a variety of sizes that can be used to store sandwiches, dry foods, snacks…. or even produce and leftovers.

One of the best and easiest ways to innovate our bags for additional purposes is to seal them with beeswax. A natural protectant, when beeswax is melted and applied to cotton it creates a sealing, plastic-wrap like quality. As the wax absorbs into the cotton fibers, the bag becomes less “breathable,” making it perfect for storing non-dry foods… especially since beeswax is antibacterial.  Even better, you can decorate our bags before sealing them to make beautiful, economic, and sustainable storage bags that can be used time and time again.

 

DIY Beeswax Cotton Bags

 

Materials

  • beeswax, grated (or pellets).  About 0.5 oz. of beeswax per wrap
  • Celestial Gifts’ bags of your choosing
  • old cookie sheet (used exclusively for beeswax)
  • paintbrush (used exclusively for beeswax)
  • chop stick for stirring the wax as it melts
  • cheese grater (used exclusively for beeswax)
  • a make-shift clothesline and clothes pins
  • oven

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 185F (any higher will burn the wax).
  2. Place Celestial Gifts’ bags on cookie sheet.
  3. Sprinkle evenly and lightly with grated beeswax. You don’t need a lot!
  4. Place in preheated oven.  Watch carefully!  This should take 5 minutes or less.
  5. As soon as the beeswax is melted, remove from oven.
  6. Spread wax evenly with paintbrush to cover any spots that are not yet coated (including drawstrings).
  7. Hang on makeshift clothes line with clothes pins to dry.
  8. Once cooled, flip over and repeat the process for the other side of the bag. Make sure to brush both sides after, as the wax will have melted again. Once cooled, you can use!

 

Notes

  • If your wax starts to harden before you have evenly spread it, simply reheat it.
  • This recipe uses less than 1 oz. of beeswax per bag.
  • If you have a lot of wax left on the cookie sheet, place another bag on empty cookie sheet and it will absorb the extra wax.
  • Wash in cool water with a mild soap.
  • Each wrap will last several months or more depending on usage.
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Call in Fall with Mulled Cider Spice Bags

Fresh fall apples are in, and if you’re like us, you’re looking to cuddle up this autumn with a nice, warm glass of spiced cider. What’s great about this recipe is you need just a few ingredients while other cider recipes call for all kinds of crazy jazz. Of course, you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment! While we use cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and star anise, you could easily add orange zest, ginger, black pepper kernels, a vanilla pod, or allspice to make the recipe your own. The only problem is that with more spices come more unpleasant bits in your cider (which can be frustrating to get out).

That’s where our bags come into play. Celestial Gifts’ natural muslin bags make perfect spice bags for brewing or cooking. This really comes in handy for easily removing small clove and black pepper pieces from your cider. As well, it allows you to step away from your cider rather than having to constantly stir to insure that all the spices don’t clump. Our bags aren’t limited to cider, though. You can reuse our natural muslin bags to create spice bags for stews and teas as well!

Regardless of how you cider this fall, we’re sure you’ll love this easy, warm recipe. Enjoy!

 

Spiced Apple Cider

Serves 2

 

2 cups Apple Cider

1 Cinnamon Stick

1 Anise Pod

¼ tsp. Whole Cloves

1 Nutmeg Pod

 

Heat up the cider, cinnamon stick, anise pod, nutmeg, and cloves in a small saucepan over medium heat. Let cider to mull until desired. Remove from the stove and garnish with orange slices.

Optional:  Mix the ingredients together in a container and cover. Let sit overnight and heat the next day for a spicier cider.

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Scrub-a-Dub-Dub, Toss a Bag in the Tub!

Sylvia Plath once wrote “There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.” We have to agree; nothing is as relaxing after a long day than a hot bath, except maybe a hot bath with a fragrant salt or scrub to leave your skin soft and refreshed.

Salt baths have many health benefits, as well, including stress relief, reducing muscle aches, and improving circulation. They are especially helpful if you are suffering from respiratory illness, acne, joint pain, or eczema, and they can help relieve discomfort from poison ivy or poison sumac rashes.

Our muslin bags are perfect for holding homemade bath salts to help wash away the stress of the day. If you’ve never made your own bath additives, take a look at some great homemade scrubs and salts below. Simply fill one of our bags and toss into the tub for an aromatic soak with no irritating salt crystals. Best of all, these will dissolve in the water so you can refill and use the bag again. . . for tomorrow’s post-work soak!

Lavender Mint Bath Salt

  • 2 cups epsom salt
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup sea salt
  • 30 drops lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil

Mix all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. Fill any of our natural cotton drawstring bags with the mixture and toss under running bath water. Store remaining mixture in an airtight container.

Healing Detox Soak

  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup epsom salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger

Mix ingredients together in a natural drawstring bag and toss under running water. This ginger soak will prompt your body to sweat profusely for about an hour post-bath, so be sure to drink plenty of water and wear lightweight clothing afterwards. Also, you’ll smell delightfully, but quite strongly, of ginger. If you have sensitive skin or are prone to allergies, test this mixture on a small area of skin before diving into the bathtub.

Congestion Relief

  • 1 cup epsom salt
  • 1/2 cup sea salt
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 15 drops eucalyptus essential oil

Mix all ingredients into a thick paste and fill bag. Place in hot bath water and soak for at least 20 minutes.  Store any remaining mixture in an airtight container.

Vanilla Coconut Exfoliating Scrub

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine ingredients into a thick paste and fill bag. In shower or bath, squeeze bag until mixture seeps through, then rub gently across your body to exfoliate and rejuvenate your skin.
These recipes will keep your skin soft and radiant while you soak away the day’s stresses. Have you tried your own homemade bath salt or scrub? Leave your recipe in the comments!

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Ring in Spring with our Lavender Toss Bags

April showers have arrived across the nation, the trees are blooming and the sun is shining – spring has definitely sprung, and that means June weddings are quickly approaching! Wedding season is one of our favorite times of the year, and it’s prime time for one of our favorite products: our lavender-filled stamped bags.

Throw Me
Throw Me

If you’re a bride planning a wedding, you already have enough to worry about: catering, photographer, cake, dresses, making sure the DJ understand that The Chicken Dance is absolutely off-limits. The last thing you need is to stay up until the wee hours of the morning before your big day stuffing rice or bird seed into tiny, forgettable Ziplock bags for your guests to throw during your recessional. Besides, rice has become taboo and bird seed often contains dust and dirt that you don’t want to wear on your dress or in your hair for the duration of your reception.

That’s where we come in! Lavender is a great alternative to rice or seed because it is earth- and animal-friendly, won’t ruin your dress, and it looks and smells sublime. As an added bonus, these bags arrive ready-to-use, already filled and stamped with your choice of stock graphics or custom imprints. Your guests will remember the scent lingering in the air for years to come, and can use the bag as a sachet or keepsake after the festivities.

Best of all, these bags aren’t just for wedding favors. We can custom-stamp and lavender-fill these natural cotton bags for bridal or baby showers, birthdays, graduations, and many more occasions. The possibilities are limitless with this all-purpose product. With a two-week turnaround time for custom-stamped bags, there’s still time to order these for your summer wedding, graduation, or other celebrations; contact us today to get started!

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From Genius to Delicious: The Many Ways to Use Our Bags

Our bags can be used in many ways, and among our most versatile products is our 4×6 natural bag. Read on to discover our favorite uses for this bag, including a delicious corned beef recipe just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

Protect Ripening Vegetables

Birds, deer, and rabbits can wreak havoc on your garden in the coming summer months. Slip a 4×6 natural muslin bag over your tomatoes, cucumbers, and other garden produce and secure the drawstring around the vine to keep scavengers from making a meal of your hard work while they ripen on the vine.

Bath Scrubs and Salts

We love a relaxing soak in aromatic bath salts as much as anyone, but salt crystals can be scratchy and irritating to the skin. Fill a natural bag with salts and toss in your bath water for all of the aroma and relaxation without any of the irritation.

Loose Leaf Teas and Ground Coffee

Disposable tea bags are not only less fresh and tasty than loose leaf teas, they’re also not entirely biodegradable. Fill a reusable natural bag with your favorite blend of loose leaf tea or freshly-ground coffee for an individual cup of fresh, delicious tea or coffee made perfectly to your liking.

Spice Bags for Soups and Stews

We’ve all been there: enjoying a delicious bowl of jambalaya when suddenly, you’re trying to gracefully spit out a bay leaf or peppercorn without betraying your manners. Our 4×6 bags can be used to hold your own blend of spices and seasonings while cooking any manner of meals, so you keep the full flavor of the meal without the mess and embarrassment of picking spices out of your teeth.

For a particularly-timely practical use of this bag, try the corned beef recipe below for your St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

Spicy horseradish cream and malty Guinness mustard amp up the flavor of this home-corned beef.

Ingredients

Brine

  • 6 cups water
  • 2 cups lager beer
  • 1 1/2 cups coarse kosher salt
  • 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Insta Cure no. 1* (optional)
  • 1/4 cup pickling spices
  • 1 6- to 8-pound flat-cut beef brisket, trimmed, with some fat remaining

Corned Beef And Vegetables

  • 1 12-ounce bottle Guinness stout or other stout or porter
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 whole allspice
  • 1 dried chile de árbol, broken in half
  • 12 baby turnips, trimmed, or 3 medium turnips or rutabagas, peeled, quartered
  • 8 unpeeled medium white-skinned or red-skinned potatoes (about 3 pounds)
  • 6 medium carrots, peeled
  • 4 medium onions, peeled, halved through root ends
  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 2-pound head of cabbage, quartered
  • Horseradish Cream
  • Guinness Mustard

Preparation

For Brine

Pour 6 cups water and beer into large deep roasting pan. Add coarse salt; stir until dissolved. Add sugar; stir until dissolved. If desired, stir in Insta Cure No. 1. Mix in pickling spices. Pierce brisket all over with tip of small sharp knife. Submerge brisket in liquid, then top with heavy platter to weigh down. Cover and refrigerate 4 days.

Remove brisket from brine. Stir liquid to blend. Return brisket to brine; top with heavy platter. Cover; refrigerate 4 days. Remove brisket from brine. Rinse with cold running water. Can be made 2 days ahead. Wrap corned beef in plastic, cover with foil, and refrigerate.

For Corned Beef And Vegetables

Place corned beef in very large wide pot. Add stout and enough water to cover by 1 inch. Fill a 4×6 natural bag with bay leaves, coriander seeds, allspice, and chile, enclosing completely. Add spice bag to pot with beef; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until beef is tender, about 2 1/4 hours. Transfer beef to large baking sheet.

Add turnips and all remaining vegetables to liquid in pot; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and boil gently until all vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to baking sheet with beef. Return beef to pot and rewarm 5 minutes. Discard or empty spice bag.

Cut beef against grain into 1/4-inch thick slices. Arrange beef and vegetables on platter. Serve with Horseradish Cream and Guinness Mustard. Serves 6-8.

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Ohio Bridal Expo

February 8 was a banner day for Celestial Gifts, LLC. The Ohio Bridal Expo at Cincinnati’s Horseshoe Casino was our first opportunity to meet our customers face-to-face and display our products. We had a fantastic time meeting brides-to-be and other industry suppliers.

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We displayed many of our custom-stamped bags suitable for any bridal occasion: “thank you”-stamped bags for favors or thank-you gifts, bicycle and anchor-stamped bags perfect for summer nuptials, and our “throw me” bags to hold rice or lavender for the bride and groom recessional.

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We held a drawing to give away 100 of these lavender-filled mini-bags and received 125 entries. Our winner was bride-to-be Katie Paul from Hamilton, Ohio. Congratulations, Katie!

Our bags are a perfect complement for the bridal industry. In addition to holding rice or lavender, they can hold favors, bridal party gifts, the wedding rings, and we even have bags to keep the bride’s shoes clean and scuff-free before the big walk down the aisle. All of our bags can be custom-stamped with your choice of image, your name, and wedding date.

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Cupid’s history

Valentine's Cupid treat bags

With Valentine’s Day coming up I wanted to work on a few new bags and started thinking. Where did Cupid really come from? While doing a little research I discovered Cupid (Latin Cupido, meaning desire) IS the God of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection. He is often portrayed as the son of love goddess Venus, and is known in Latin also as Amor (Love) His Greek counterpart is Eros. During his chubby childhood he acquires a bow and arrow then whoever is shot with this bow and arrow will be filled with uncontrollable desire and romantic love, often as an icon of Valentine’s Day!

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Lavender Toss

Oh, my. I have just recently learned that showering the happy couple with lavender during the recessional, (making their way up the aisle as husband and wife) brings good luck and happiness. It is earth friendly, pretty and has a heavenly scent.

Did you know that throwing something has been a tradition at weddings since the ancient Roman and Egyptian times? People have used anything from rice, to bird seed and confetti and now lavender. We have a client that requested this all natural cotton bag to use at a wedding. How adorable and smart. The guests can even re-use the bags as a sachet or a keepsake.