Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Soy Perfect Candles

Whew !  I've finally found a little time to get some things done around the house that I have been wanting to do.  

In light of the many natural disasters that have been wreaking havoc on our world, the internet has been bursting with ways to be prepared in case the power goes out (or if you fail to pay your electric bill), your house gets flooded, or find yourself in a log cabin far away from civilization.  I do have a little first aid kit, some flashlights, and three gallons of water in the basement…and that's about it.  I figured I'd get to storing food and other things (like this) later.  

However, I did find something fun to do a few months ago...DIY soy candles.  I've never made candles before and I figured it would be a fun craft to attempt.  For Christmas, Kerry's parents got me a 10 pound bag of soy wax and a 96 pack of 6 inch wicks.  This past weekend I purchased 8 oz jelly jars and got to work ! 


It was actually a really easy process and only took about an hour.  The 10 pound bag of wax made 24, 8 oz jelly jar candles, plus two four oz jelly jars.

I used my canner and another pot as a double boiler to melt my wax.  Since the canner has a rack in the bottom, it acted as a great double boiler.  I filled the canner with water to cover the rack, added the second pot inside, boiled the water, and dumped the wax in the pot.



While the wax was melting, I trimmed my wicks to be just a little bit taller than the jelly jar and placed them inside the jelly jars.  I made sure to straighten them out and place them in the center of the jar.


The wax didn't take long to melt once the water was rapidly boiling…it was neat to watch it melt down.


Once the wax was melted, I used a measuring cup to pour the wax into the jelly jars.  I held a paper towel at the bottom of the cup as I poured to catch any wax that dripped...and a lot dripped.  You could also try with a ladle (with a spout)…that might result in less of a mess.


After I poured the wax in, the wicks softened a bit and started to tilt to the side…so I went MacGyver on it.  I used some thread around the jars to hold up the wicks in the center as the wax cooled.  It was a pretty simple solution (2 pieces of thread on either side of the wick going across the box), but it worked surprisingly well.  Had it failed, I would have had some sad looking candles that probably wouldn't be useful in a power outage.


I let the candles cool over night before doing anything else to them.  Some of them "cratered" at the topsnot sure why - perhaps some air bubbles got in there.  Maybe I poured too fast or something, but otherwise they looked great !


I trimmed the wicks some more so that they were level with the tops of the jars...


...and then I fancied them up for some friends using paper cupcake liners like I did for my apple butter jars back in December.  I figured these could also be used as favors for a bridal or baby shower, especially the little 4 oz jars.  I could attach a pack of matches with each candle.  If you really want the candles for sniffing purposes, I noticed that Michael's craft store sells different scents that you could add to the wax.  You could also jazz them up with color (don't use food coloring - you need to get a dye) for different seasons.


I'm going to give some away to family and friends, but the rest are already downstairs in the storage area in my "work-in-progress" emergency area…which I hope is ready before the emergency comes.

I hope this helps for anyone who is thinking of making candles…it's a pretty easy process.  And for those who already made candles, why did mine "crater" ?

Now you can Do It Yourself Too!

~Stephanie

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Dressing Up Jars

Each year around the beginning of December, a few teacher friends and I get together and make homemade jam and apple butter.  Then we can the jam and apple butter and give them out as gifts.  Due to scheduling issues this year, we couldn't do it together.  Luckily I had my sidekicks to help this year - Kerry to help can and Stout waiting patiently for any apple butter goodness to fall on the floor.

I made the apple butter in the crock pot, using applesauce and other ingredients, and let it cook slowly for about nine hours.  Yum!  Then I canned it with the help of my trusty assistant, Kerry.  After the jars cooled off, they were ready to be dressed up for gifts.  

Typically I cut out circles of cute holiday fabric with pinking shears to decorate the tops of the jars...but then I found this idea on Pinterest and loved it !  


I thought this was a genius idea and it saves a lot of time.  I didn't have to trace out and cut circles to size.  You can find cute cupcake liners ANYWHERE!  I got these at JoAnn fabrics for less than $1.00…with leftovers for next year.  I just hope everyone forgets the pattern by then!

The instructions are as so simple, a caveman, or unsuspecting husband, can do it.  Just put the regular sized cupcake liner on top of the lid and then screw on the metal ring as you normally would.  See? Easy !

Since cupcake liners can be found in all sorts of themes, you could use this idea for baby/bridal shower gifts, birthday favors, or other holiday gifts.  I plan on making soy candles in jelly jars soon and will probably dress them up with cupcake liners when I give them away as gifts.

How do you dress up your jars?

I hope that you all had a very Merry Christmas and have a safe and happy new year !

Now you can Do It Yourself Too!

~Stephanie