Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Birthday wrap-up.

Hello all!! Hope you are all well : )  Sorry I have been a bit quiet lately but life has been busy and I made the sensible and sanity-keeping decision to be involved in the action and worry about blogging after.  I was saying to a friend just the other day that given the choice I'd rather prioritise making, creating and being present in the moment instead of having a bit of blogging time (knowing that it would come full circle too). Thank you for all the lovely comments recently, it's nice to know that people like what I share and understand that life is busy. I love hearing from all of you, it brightens my days.

I wanted to share with you a bit more of what we did in our home to celebrate bub's year around the sun. The one thing I really wanted to do was make her a Waldorf doll. I have seen so many of these well-loved dolls in my travels and adore the simpleness of the design and the love that goes into creating one. Last year I came across local toy and doll maker Carla de Jong at a local Steiner Christmas Market and have desperately been trying to get to her doll workshops since. Unfortunately, Bub only settles with me so night time activities are still out, but fortunately for me a friend over at The Little Gnomes Home was taking a workshop and agreed to help me out. Coincidentally in the meantime I had contacted Carla and she also highly recommended my friend as a very competent and helpful person (which she definitely is, plus generous with her time considering she was about to embark on moving and renovating their new home). The outcome is that I made this doll for Bub.


I really enjoyed the process and learning new skills. I was so busy making her I didn't any photos of her creation.She's completely hand sewn and made from natural fibers. Her name is Annie and she is well loved by Bub. (I ran off a list of girls name and "Annie" was chosen outright).


Mister also got into the making and whipped up the Birthday Ring you see in all these photos. When I say "whipped up" I mean worked very hard! We had looked into buying one but thought it would be nice for Mister to make one. I think he did a tremendous job. It's Mahogany, coated in Tung Oil and will have a Beeswax finish. I love that he made it and the handmade look and feel of the wood. No perfectly machine finished edges here.


He also made the one and bird figure for the birthday ring and we painted them the night before.




In keeping with the making theme we also made beeswax candles for the first time. I loved this, it's very methodical and enjoyable. I bought some Organic Stradbroke Island Beeswax from Hello Honey and got started.  For anyone that hasn't made their own candles before here's a quick tutorial.


BEESWAX CANDLES (DIPPED & TEA LIGHTS)

What you need:
Beeswax (block or beads, I used blocks)
Old Saucepan (I thrifted mine and love it!)
Old clean cans to melt beeswax in
Boiling water
Wooden skewer
Wick
Newspaper to cover your floor/bench
Tea light moulds
Something to hang the candles on as they dry (I put a handle between two children's chairs).

Firstly if you have blocks you need to break the beeswax down to a more manageable size. Initially I tried to cut/shave my beeswax blocks and quickly realised this wasn't the greatest method. I froze my beeswax blocks overnight in a plastic bag and then just smashed them on the concrete outside. Before you start melting, set up your drying station, placing newspaper anywhere you think beeswax drips will land.


Place your saucepan on the stove and boil enough water to cover half way up the side of your can. Once your water is hot enough turn down your heat so it continues to simmer. Using a double boiler method place pieces of beeswax into a clean can, then place the can into the saucepan of simmering water.


If you need to stir the beeswax with the wooden skewer. Add beeswax until it has all melted and you are left with the depth you are wanting (this will be the height of your candles).


While waiting for your beeswax to completely melt, cut your wick to the desired length, roughly twice as long as your dipping container, while leaving a bit for you to hold on to. Once the beeswax is ready, take one of your pre cut wicks. Dip the wick quickly, allow to cool then repeat this process another two times. These first dips it will look like you barely have any beeswax on the wick. Straighten the wick with your fingers if you find it curling or turning, then hang at your drying station. Repeat this step for all the candle wick you have cut.



Once you have dipped all your virgin wicks, starting with the one you did first quickly re dip, wait a second to cool, dip again and then hang. Remember to dip quickly so the previous layers don't melt off.

This is after a few cycles of dipping.

Then you simply continue in this fashion cycling through each set until you reach the desired thickness of your candles. As you progress you may find that you end up with a nipple on each end, I found that I needed to trim this every 4 turns roughly to ensure that I was dipping the whole candle each time. Also as you continue you will need to replenish your beeswax to maintain the same levels (this is where the small shards are very handy).


I was very happy with the end product of our first attempt and will definitely making more. I used the remainder of the melted wax to make tea lights by tipping the wax into a tea light mould with a wick suspended in there. I found by cutting the wick a little longer than needed dipping it in the wax, then while it was still warm pushing it onto the based of mould, the wick stayed secure and straight enough when pouring the wax in.


I also tried to make crayons, but I'll leave that story for another post but has anyone else given this a go? What were your results?




2 comments:

  1. Such a sweet post with all your handiwork leading to the momentous celebration of your wee one's first! Congratulations dear mama and blessings to all...

    ReplyDelete
  2. wow what a wonderful thing to do....you are very clever ♥
    Love PIp the Gnome

    ReplyDelete

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