06 November 2012

Let me stand next to your fire

*I found this blog, which had gone unposted.*
Yesterday we had an egg hunt for the kids. I was outside, hanging eggs from branches when the mailman pulled up to the house. He handed me a medium-sized package addressed to me. I gave it a toss, judging the weight. Yup, that felt like about ten pounds. Ten pounds of beeswax! I did a little happy dance, thanked the bewildered mailman, and skipped inside to share my joy with my mother and sister.
Two years ago I hand-dipped tapers as part of our Winter/Christmas celebration. It took a long time, but I found it almost meditative and relaxing. However, I don't have a whole lot of empty time to dedicate to standing over a hot stove for hours on end, especially when what I'm making isn't dinner. I wanted to delve further into candle-making this year. I scored on some used molds, and I found beeswax for $6/lb. I'm in love with beeswax. I love the color, smell, how it feels on your skin. It's just chocked full of nostalgia. That and my adoration for honey have even piqued my interest in beekeeping.
Candle-making is pretty simple but still time-extensive. Fill a pot with a few inches of water and simmer. Since I am pouring the wax this time, I used a metal bowl. If you are hand-dipping, you can use a tall can or canning jar. If using a jar, put a towel at the bottom, so the glass doesn't get too much direct heat and break.
Keep the heat on low, add the wax to your container, and occasionally check on its progress. While you are waiting, you can trim your wicks and set up the molds. Once melted, pour into mold, or get to dipping. If dipping, cover your working space with foil to catch the drips and reuse. You can use lots of household items for molds. It just has to withstand the heat. Reuse food cans and jars, cookie cutters, baking tins, etc. My mother-in-law used to make candles with the recipient's favorite soda can.
Today I'm making some unscented votives and some with lavender. I used essential oil and dried buds. There are lots of things you can add to candles, such as coloring dyes, oils, spices and herbs (avoid cloves; they are combustable!), sticks, and dried flowers. They make great gifts and are very practical, especially during power outages. When the candles age, they get this dusty look to them, which I think is so cool. It's kind of shabby chic, heavy on the shabby.
I think I like making candles just because it is fun. It doesn't take a whole lot of prep or money, but you get immediate gratification.

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