Friday, July 25, 2014

Craft project #2 - the slightly disappointing candles

For Crafty Freaks project number two I had the genius idea of making candles.

I've become a big fan of candles, primarily for their ability to freshen the air, as opposed to the light (I spent years not understanding candles, because I like to be able to see, and they're so dull. It turns out I have very poor vision in low light). There are a lot of people living in our house, and we cook a lot. Bread everyday and lunches and dinners and endless things. I hate houses smelling like food, so candles sort that nicely.

I also like smelly oils in the oil burner. I've got some yummy flavours, have you smelled lemon myrtle? It's delicious. I also love basil, it's really liquoricey.

So bingo, thought I, how hard can it be to make some nice candles?

I bought a kit from Zen Designs. It's a super starter, had a kilogram of soy wax, assorted containers and wicks and a bottle of oil. The service was terrific, and including postage it was $30.

 (this is after I'd used enough for 4 candles)

It was very simple to make the candles. I ordered coconut and lime fragrance, not something that would usually float my boat, but I was feeling adventurous, and it was quite nice.

I also tried making some with basil oil and lemon myrtle, plus some of the colour that came in the pack (gold). The colour made it quite beeswaxy looking, I liked the effect a lot.

The kids helped me with it. It was a great project for them, lots of weighing and mixing and testing the temperature. We made 4 wee candles.
 (pencils being used to hold the wicks straight)
They look great. The ones using my own oils you could barely smell, but I don't think essential oils are usually used like that? Anyway, my motivation to tinker around with them pretty much died the next day when I got a huge shipment of candles in the shop, and they smell incredible with loads of interesting flavours. I think in this instance I'll leave it to the experts in the future.

It was really fun though, and sometimes I think it's good to try these things just to appreciate how expert some folk are. I still have a lot of wax left and I think we'll be making some more for a rainy day project.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Craft mojo

In an effort to get back my craft mojo and my writing mojo and my mojo mojo, I have signed up to do the Little Minx Crafty Freaks challenge. Now, I would never admit to failing anything, however I think it is fair to say that a) I'm late and b) I'm submitting renovations as "craft".

It's still impressively dusty and needs a further wipe. I'm proud of it though, I've never really tiled before, only ably assisted. This time I did the waterproofing underneath, mixed the adhesive and spread it out in lovely swirly sweeps, laid the tiles and settled them and then grouted the lot.

The project wasn't especially cheap. We bought the tiles forgetting about all the other associated costs (tile board, waterproofing membrane, we used 6 boxes of grout) but it really will make the bathroom look completely swish once it's finished. And a tiler told Glen mosaic tiles can cost $250m2 to lay. I understand this now, it was an unpleasant job. I can't stop looking at them now though. 

As far as craft projects go I don't know how often I'll get to practice this new skill. I do need a splash back behind the stove though, and we have some nice leftover tiles.