Monday, February 17, 2014

Valentine's Day 2014

So this isn't something that I made myself, but rather admired as I walked through Leichhardt on Valentine's Day this year. Someone had carefully hand coloured large signs on cardboard saying 'everyone needs love' and attached them to electricity poles. Too true! And too easy to forget when the message is to love just those
people closest to us, in the hearts and flowers way. It makes me wonder who made them, and what drove them to do it - did they just wake up on the morning and feel inspired to do something for other people? Was it a cry from a broken heart or from a lonely person? Does this person make other inspiring signs throughout the year, or was this the first time ever? I love the mystery of not knowing.

Sunday, February 02, 2014


Candle making fun for homemade Christmas presents, one crafternoon at the lovely Miss D and F's pad in the Inner West. Candles were made by heating soy wax flakes on the stove (they are light and fluffy like old fashioned soap flakes), with essential oils or candle-making fragrant oils added. The molten wax is then poured into vessels of your choice - in our case a mix of mason jars, old brown jars (empty marmite jar from when UK family was visiting worked a treat!), lovely Turkish style glass tea cups, and delightful vintage cups and saucers. (This is the ladies watching wax melt - much more fun than watching paint dry)
When pouring, you need to first put your wicks in - different thickness wicks for different size candles. the wick is secured into a little disc of metal that sits flat at the bottom of the container. Bigger candles need thicker wicks, for some clever technical reason I can't remember. To secure the wick you need to secure it to the bottom of your vessel with double sided tape, or if you are brave and wild and free and care to risk all in your candle making ventures you can just poke it in once the wax is pored and stop it from flopping over sideways or drifting away by clever use of things like kitchen skewers. I think that's right, the details are a bit hazy now a few months later - all I remember is the pouring and waiting to set part, plus the joy of the finished product. This is Miss D carefully pouring into an old red metal jug that looks straight out of a 60's Danish Farmhouse. She had some incredibly some funky tea cups lined up as well. Once poured, the hot wax is still transparent, becoming a lovely opaque soft off-white colour when cooled. Here are the ladies watching the candles cool.
And finally, after an hour or two, they are ready! It's important not to poke or prod them while still drying as the wick moving can crack the surface of the not-yet-properly-set candle, messing with that ice-floe smooth surface that is so gratifying. You can see here that even drinking glasses make great containers. Did I mention that soy candle wax has quite a low melting point? This means that at the end of the candle, when there is that pesky stub of wax left at the bottom of the container, you can dissolve it in hot water, then wash, leaving you a nice tea cup/ jar/ tumbler you can re-use.
The final step is to trim the wicks down to say 5mm above the candle, once the candle is well and truly set. Doing it the following day is a safe bet.