Making Candles

For one of my March goals, I wanted to use a candle making kit that Michael got me for Valentine’s Day to try my hand at making a soy candle.  He got it from Candlewic.com, and I’m not sponsored by them at all, but this will also be kind of a mini-review of their product as well.

In my research, I found that this kit was the least expensive kit for what was included in it. And from start to finish, the only things I had to provide were a pot to boil water in and a spoon to mix (and technically the newspaper, although they did have packing paper included that was thick enough to use.

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So, first, I used a glue dot to attach the wick to the bottom of the container.

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Then, I poured one bag of one pound of soy wax into the pouring pot, and then placed it in the pot of boiling water, to act as a double boiler.

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Once that melted, I used the included thermometer to measure the temperature.  I was impressed with the quality of the thermometer in this kit.

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Then, when it reached 175 degrees F, I added the green coloring included in the kit.

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Once it cooled to 140 degrees F, I added the Agave Nectar fragrance.

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The fragrance was pretty strong.  We have an open floor plan and I could smell it in the living room, but it wasn’t so strong that it would give me a headache.  After the fragrance was added, I poured it into the container with the wick (at this point, I realized that I could easily fill two containers, so I made another container with a wick before I started pouring).

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I then used one of the bow tie clips to hold the wick in place as it dried.

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And then, a few hours later, I checked on it and it was solid.  I cut the wick down.

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And they even included little stickers to put on the bottom of the candle with safety warnings (like don’t leave a candle burning unattended).

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Clean up was very easy, and that’s saying a lot for a clumsy, messy girl like me.  I only had to clean up a few drops of wax around where I poured, and cleaning the pouring pot was super easy as well.  I loved the kit.  The instructions were straightforward and easy to follow, and I have three more scents and colors to try!  Honestly, I put this off because I thought it would be time-consuming, but it really was easy to do!

Have you ever made candles?  Have you tried a kit that you love?

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The Fall Season

Last Thursday was the first day of fall, or autumn depending on where you are from.  I celebrated as I always do with my first Starbucks salted caramel mocha.

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This week, I have enjoyed cooler weather.  By Texas standards, it’s cooler weather anyway.  I’m just happy when the lows drop to the 50s and the highs stay below 90, so this was a wonderful week.  I wouldn’t mind for it to be a little cooler than that, but it’s a start.

The beginning of the fall season is my favorite time of year.  It’s easy to fall in love (see what I did there) with the scents of this season and the colors.  I have already been using the Scentsy Welcome Home scent in the kitchen.  Michael came home on Monday and exclaimed with a big smile on his face, “It feels like fall outside and it smells like fall inside!”  And I changed our bedding to deeper colors as well as the placemats on the dining table.

I realized that these rituals are a part of what makes fall such a wonderful season to me.  I don’t give the other seasons as fair of a shot, to be honest.  I have a few things I do – I change the bedding and the placemats in the spring, I also have different decor for the major holidays throughout the year that tends to be in season-based colors.  But I don’t have scents or drinks that I attribute to each season.  I want to change that.

Because I realized that these fun little traditions I have to welcome the fall also help me appreciate the small joys in my life.  One of the ways I deal with my grief is identifying the tiny gratitudes in my day, looking for God’s presence in my present.  So, I want to be more intentional in identifying small joys in the seasons, months, and weeks of the year.

I can be intentional about this in many ways.  Having particular things I do each day, celebrating holidays (even the silly ones), remembering anniversaries, celebrating the beginning of the seasons, participating in activities or traditions that happen around a particular time of year.  Each of these things can help me appreciate the passage of time as well as be aware of God’s blessings in the small things.  And especially be aware of God’s presence in my journey, not matter what season I am in.

What is your favorite season?  Do you have a scent or something you eat or drink to celebrate that season?  I’m looking for ideas for the other parts of the year!

 

Decorating for Spring

St. Patrick’s Day was yesterday and the first day of Spring is right around the corner, so I thought I would share a couple of my favorite pieces of decoration for this time of year.

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All of my pieces were DIY projects that I have made over the years.  The framed Irish blessing was the first thing I made to decorate for St. Patrick’s Day.  And the jar covered in burlap and lace was the last thing I made (I think it was one or two years ago).  Funny that the first and last things I made for the holiday are my favorite!

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Speaking of firsts, I believe this is the first wreath I made for our home.  It was super simple and held up well over the years.  The coloring isn’t perfect in this picture, but the yellow V goes well with the green burlap of the wreath.

Do you have any favorite spring time decor?  

Are you ready for the spring? I kind of wanted a little more snow (or any for that matter) before springtime came, but I can’t complain for the really nice weather we have had this winter!  It’s been great weather for hiking and spending time outside (despite a few weeks of rain here or there).

Valentine’s Day Decor

I can’t believe that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.  It feels like we just celebrated New Year’s Day.  This January has been way more busy than I’m used to.

But whether we have a busy January or not, I still don’t usually remember to put out the Valentine’s Day decor until the day before.  So I’m pretty proud of myself that I’m a whole week ahead of my usual schedule.  Here are a few of my favorite pieces.

 

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This is a door hanger we got from Hobby Lobby, of course.  That place has amazing stuff!

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I made a heart chain a couple years ago using zip ties.  I hang them with some rose lights I got a few years back as well.

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But by far my favorite piece of decor is this heart shaped box and bear because when I received this gift, an engagement ring was sitting in the bear’s lap.

Do you decorate for Valentine’s Day?  Do you keep sentimental pieces to use as decor for the holidays?

Finally Done!

So, for one of my new year goals for 2015, I wanted to finish some projects in my master bedroom.  And now I’ve finally finished and taken pictures to show you!

So, the first thing I completed was my drawer organization.  I bought all of the baskets from Target, and I organized the sock drawer, underwear drawer and pajama drawer20151217_123843.jpg

The next thing I worked on was updating the bedding for our bed.  My pup is nicely modeling for us as well.  I finally got a duvet insert and cover, something I have been wanting to buy for years.  I also got holiday pillows for the bed.  I plan to get another cover for the spring and summer time, but that will be something for next year!

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This is the final project I worked on.  Each picture represents a year we have been together.  I had fallen behind on the frames the last couple of years, but now I’m all caught up and have a plan for the next ten. 🙂

Did you accomplish any goals/projects this year?

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Since I shared some of my Thanksgiving decorations, I thought I would share some of my Christmas decorations with you too.  I’m just going to share my mantle, which holds some of my favorite decorations, both old and new.

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My oldest decorations on the mantle are the Coca-Cola bottles that I collected between college and when I got married.  My dad’s side of the family lives in Atlanta, the home of Coca-Cola, so it’s a reminder of my roots.  Plus, the company makes adorable bottles for Christmas.

The puppet is our fifth anniversary gift (which is wood) from Italy.  I bought it while we were in Rome.  It’s usually on the mantle all year, but it’s red and green, so I thought it could stay up for Christmas.

The candle, I made this year with my mom at Thanksgiving.  It is made from sheet music from an old, falling apart music book that used to belong to my great grandmother.  I’m so glad we could re-purpose the music sheets in such a beautiful way.

The countdown is the newest decoration to my collection.  We got it on sale at Michael’s this year.  I’ve always wanted a countdown of some kind for Christmas, so I was pretty excited when we found a cute one for such a good deal.

The stockings that are hung by the ‘chimney’ with care (okay, by the gas log fireplace with a small flue) are from Hobby Lobby.  I am a huge fan of plaid, especially at Christmas.  And I love the matching dog stockings as well!

How do you decorate for Christmas?  Do you put out the same decorations every year, or does it depend on travel, hosting, or busyness in general?

Do you have any special decorations?

 

Decorating for Thanksgiving

I want to show you a few pieces from my Thanksgiving décor, but first, I think it’s pretty obvious that Thanksgiving gets lost among the Halloween and Christmas decorations in the stores.  In one of the local Walmart stores, I think it managed to get an end cap in the crafting section.  And I kind of have a heart for the little guy, the overlooked, so that’s probably why I’m pretty stubborn about waiting until after Thanksgiving day to actually pull out the Christmas decorations.  I just want the holiday to have a moment in the sun.

So here are some of the pieces I put out this year.

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Just like Halloween, I think all of these are from Hobby Lobby, although I’m not sure where I got the bottles on the mantle.  I like the theme of scarecrows and pumpkins because it represents the harvest and provision that God gives to us in our lives.

Also, there aren’t a whole of songs about Thanksgiving.  But in one of my old children’s songbooks, I actually found one!  So I’m playing it on the piano this month to celebrate the holiday.

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Do you decorate for Thanksgiving, or is it straight from Halloween to Christmas?  Do you have any songs for Thanksgiving that I can add?