I made my own lotion and laundry detergent, as inspired by articles in Readymade and Bust magazines. Both turned out awesome and were very easy and cheap to make. I made the lotion with coconut and avocado oils. All you need is a blender, any edible oil, beeswax, and essential oil for fragrance if you'd like. It makes a great gift for the holidays packaged in a simple mason jar. Click the readymade link for more detailed directions.
1 C water or cooled brewed green tea
3/4 C any edible oil (olive, safflower, coconut, avocado, etc.)
2 T grated beeswax
several drops essential oil
Heat the oil and beeswax in a double boiler (or a pyrex mixing bowl placed over a pot of boiling water) until the wax melts. Remove from heat and let cool for 2 min. Blend the water on high in the blender, remove the stopper on top and slowly pour in the oil. Blend until it's emulsified completely.
The laundry detergent cost about $1 per gallon to make. It acutally works better than a lot of the expensive eco-detergents. And even better does not have migraine-inducing fragrances like most conventional detergents. I scented it with eucalyptus and lavender essential oils, and it smells wonderful. I used a coconut based soap that did separate when the detergent cooled, but it still worked great all the same. I couldn't find the recipe on Bust's website so here are the instructions:
Grate 2 C of unscented bar soap
bring 4.5 C water to a boil and stir in soap till dissolved
add fresh herbs (4 sprigs lavender would do)
2 C each of borax and washing soda (some grocery stores have them in the laundry section or hardware stores)
pour mixture into pail with 2 gallons water
add 10 drops of essential oil such as ylang ylang, lavender, or eucalyptus
let stand overnight and strain into a large container, discarding herbs
use 1/2 C per load, shake before using
You can find these in the laundry detergent section.