Our garden is out of control this year!
Each year I try new things in our garden, seeing what we like, what we could do without and so on. It’s a gamble every year and every year there there are a couple items I think “I will not do that again!” … And then I do it again or something like it. Whatever. You live and you learn …and learn some more.
Lots of compost went into the garden and the results are tomato plants taller than me. We are also growing corn, luffa, butternut squash, roma tomatoes, cucs, kale, onions, potatoes, pumpkins, cherry tomatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, beans and a few other things. At last count there were 19 butternut squash growing on ONE VINE! It’s crazy.
I have been fascinated with the idea of edible landscaping and making our yard work for us more and produce more. Our main vegetable garden is in our neighbor’s back yard and over the winter I started thinking about ways that I could better utilize our yard. Enter edible landscaping. Edible landscaping is essentially using spaces that many would commonly use for ornamental plants and flowers for things like edible plants and herbs or mix it into existing flowerscapes. So I had Dylan dig up a bit of our front yard and some of our back yard. We planted things like beans, sunflowers, cabbage, nasturtiums, corn, collards, lettuces, broccoli, chamomile, luffa and a bunch of herbs.
Edible landscape things I learned this year:
Black Beans take over EV ERY THING!
Collards grow significantly larger than you expect
You need mulch, oh man do you need mulch.
So here’s a few photos of the garden.
Well folks, we have been wanting to try our hand at candle making for a while now and it finally happened! We did it! They are far from perfect but they happened and we are looking forward to doing it again. We love beeswax and have been discovering new uses for it in our life as of late. I have been really wanting beeswax tapered candles for our dining room table but each time we came across some they were on the pricey side so Dylan suggested we just make them. I was mega giddy about this new project.
Now let me start this off by saying this is not an in-depth tutorial but merely a photo journal of how we did it and what did/did not work for us. I found this video by Way Out West very helpful and highly suggest it.
We started off with a basic kit from Micheals. This seemed the best route for us since everything we needed to start was included in this kit. Use one of those 40% coupons in your email or download the app or just go here. The kit came with pretty much everything we needed and then we also bought a roll of cotton wick and a block of beeswax.
We started off with the paraffin wax to get our feet wet, then later did the beeswax but for the sake of this post you’ll be seeing both intermittently.
We chopped up all the wax. This was a tough job, Dylan took over this task while I heated up the water for the double boiler and prepared the wicks for the tapers. I set up our clothes drying rack for the taper candles to dry on. I tied nuts on the end of the wicks for weights.
We made our double boiler with a tall wide mouth mason jar and a pan on the stove. I feel like the beeswax took a little longer to melt than the paraffin wax.
I have learned from decrystallizing my honey to place a washcloth between the jar and the bottom of the pan. Works like a charm and the washcloth comes out just fine.
I used some bamboo chopsticks for stirring and to help move the wax around to melt it down.
As seen in the video link I shared earlier, they used a bucket of water to cool the wax. We also did this.
I ended up with very lumpy candles towards the end. I am uncertain what the cause for this was. It could’ve have been water drops on the wax after cooling it in the water or it could be just air pockets from hurried dippings towards the end.
We poured the rest of the wax after the tapers into found containers and jars throughout the house and the votive molds that came with the candle kit.
Bobby pins, clothes pins and chopsticks were excellent tools to hold the wicks center.
It was fun watching the candles cool and harden. To speed up some of the process I placed the containers in the fridge. This was quite efficient.
So overall it was fun. I still can’t decide if I like the imperfectness of our lumpy tapered candles but they happened and I will burn them either way. Dylan says they look ‘fun.’ I think he was just trying to be a supportive husband. All of our container candles turned out great! We have a nice little stock pile of candles set aside now.
The beeswax burns nice and clean and we are looking to see if we can possibly buy it locally next time. We know we can buy it from our co-op and I believe it is local since the honey we have bought there is local. However, if you’re in the Pittsburgh area and have a great connection to some beeswax, we’re interested.
We have slowly picked up candlesticks holders here and there but one of my more proud holders is a simple pipe fitting adapter that we picked up at Lowe’s randomly. It’s a great size and super cheap.
For a fun match container DIY go here.
Matches are great! We use candles a lot throughout the house and rather than using lighters we use matches.
It was time to buy more matches for our house and I remembered a little idea I read about in a Martha Stewart Living magazine back in October. The idea was to give a small hostess gift of some matches in a pretty container. I really liked the idea so I decided to do a slightly cheaper spin on it.
You will need some neat containers. Thrift stores and antique malls are great places to grab a few pretty and unique jars. You could also use a cracked tea cup, a discarded spice jar or a burned out candle container, or you could even make a container Get clever!
Strike on box matches
Wood die cut
Wood glue stick (important to purchase non-flammable)
Paint and brush (optional)
Bakers twine (optional)
1. Remove stickers from thrifted jars and wash thoroughly. Make sure container is clean and dry before placing matches inside.
2. Paint wood die cuts. This is an optional step and is not a necessary part of the process but I liked the idea of adding a little color. Die cuts were chosen by shape according to the containers they were to be matched up to, I even tried a little bow tie die cut. I used a teal wood stain and a acrylic pale gray. Die cuts and paints can be purchased at any craft store.
3. Cut the strike pads off the match boxes. Make sure the strike pads are cut to size for the die cuts.
4. Fill dry containers with matches. I filled a couple haphazard and others I lined up for an organized look.
5. Once the paint is completely dry, paste the strike pads to the die cuts and place under a weighted object for about five minutes. This allows for the strike pad to dry flat and not curl.
6. Place strike boards with their corresponding containers. Keep container in a cool, dry place where it is easily accessible and ready to use for your candles and other pyro activities.
Attach a tag shaped die cut with bakers twine, write a note on the opposing side and give as a gift. Everybody can use matches, right!
My husband made a sweet little clay vase for me and I really thought it was perfect for the matches and this way we could use it more. We placed it on the kitchen table to be used for candlelight meals. It is by far my favorite match container.
You can also use strike anywhere matches and fine grit sandpaper, however that route tends to be a little more expensive and the box matches are only $.97 cents.
If you have a really fun container that you do this project with or even an alternative container, I would love to see it! Just leave a comment or @ me on instragram.