Friday, October 26, 2012

{Tutorial} Felted Beeswax Candles

This holiday season, we're doing another felted homemade gift - beeswax candles. Super easy, infinitely customizable, and so cute. 

I'm just going to get this out of the way - my inspiration came from here and here. Except my felting technique was taking from here instead of the other. It works for us.

So this was pretty easy and fun and these will be gifts "from the boys." Baz actually did help felt that two that we made for the purposes of this post, and will help with the rest of the jars. Ultimately we'll have twelve.

Here are the tools and skills you'll need for twelve half pint beeswax felted candles.

*12 Half Pint Mason Jars
* 5lbs beeswax - purchase locally or from a variety of etsy stores. I had a schmorgasboard and am actually about a pound short, so I'll be make another order to fill that void.
*candle wicks - I bought mine at Michaels and they were pre-cut to 3.5 inches. You can also buy a large spool and cut it down. 
*Felting Wool. Again - I had a variety. I will say that the wool I bought from a local boutique (now closed - SOB) is far superior to what I got at Michaels, but the wool from Michaels worked just fine so don't stress out. (It's back with the embroidery, if you're looking.)
*Felting needle - not necessary, but nice to have. And you can needle felt a design onto yours, if you're so inclined.
*Optional: essential oils to mix into the wax. I like the smell of pure beeswax, so I left it plain. 

Step one: wrap jars.

However you like, with whatever colors strike your fancy. It won't lay perfectly, and that's ok. It's being made by a person, not a machine. 

I did a bit of needle felting to get the strands to stay in place, but then I ended up dunking it to get it wet before wrapping the whole thing with a stocking.

Yes, we eat popcorn from that bowl. You'll want soapy water (I actually gave a squirt of dish soap on each jar) and you'll want to use actual hose (the toe part) to keep everything in place. Then you just agitate until the fibers tighten up. I also suggest felted with the lid on - to keep the fibers in place so you can close it up later.

While they're drying, put the wax in a pot and turn up the heat. You don't want it too hot (obviously) but too cool and the wax doesn't melt evenly.

I experimented with the pouring of the wax - some I filled up straight away and some I layered in. I found that layering helped keep the wicks straightest. Also - some of the wax has now cracked and caved in a bit, so when I melt the final pound to finish the jars, those will get a dollop on top to even things out.

You could do the wax part first - in fact, the only two jars that were felted before they got waxed are the two below.

So that's it. Given the right circumstances, you could do these in a weekend - counting drying and cooling time. Then just wrap them up and gift them to people who could use a little glow in their lives.

I think I'll be packaging mine with Ashley Ann's "Best Of My Day" calendars.

Happy Crafting!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Yogurt Cake!

One of our favorite things to make these days is the yogurt cake from Bringing Up Bebe, a fun little parenting memoir which I thoroughly enjoyed. The recipe is in the book if you're interested, but the key point is that it is measured using single-serving yogurt cups. It's a great introduction to measuring because little ones don't have to remember which lines mean what - the just scoop and pour and stir. (I did the few actual measurements and then stood back and let him do the rest.)


(Yes, you CAN have white and brown chocolate chips!)

(I poured from our awesome batter bowl into the springform - the best pan for the job, imo)

 If you're wanting a recipe to refer to now, this one from Orangette is swoon-worthy. Trust me.

Always document your accomplishments:

Now go bake something yummy this weekend!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

In Praise of the Pause

Let me just preface this with acknowledging that a lot of people out there are having French Parents Are Awesome Fatigue, and I respect that.


According to Pamela Druckerman, French parents don't sleep train - despite having children who sleep through the night early on (2 months, she says.) What they do, is pause. They just take a moment, when their child stirs, to make sure that awakening is what's happening and not just restlessness.

And I cannot stress enough how much I want to kiss her for sharing that little tidbit. It seems like such a small thing - and something that SURELY everyone knows. Well, you know what happens when you assume, right?

With Baz, the minute I heard noise I rocketed to him like he'd turned on a tractor beam. The result was a baby who never learned how to settle back down between REM cycles and parents who didn't sleep through the night for close to two years.

With Walter, the only thing that's changed is that we Pause now. The crib is still side-carred. He still winds up with his head in my armpit the second half of the night. He nurses on demand, he nurses to sleep, he sleeps on me if he's having a rough time of it (Baz hasn't figured out Quiet Time just yet) but ultimately...he's sleeping through the night and napping like a champ to boot.

Let me clarify that sleeping through the night is a 4-6 hour stretch. And it is AMAZING. The not-so-amazing part is that he goes down between 6:30 and 7:30 and then sleeps until between 11 and 1 and is then up every two is hours after that. 6:30-8:30 seems to be his I'm AWAKE time, and then we get a morning nap and - if Baz cooperates, 2 afternoon naps.

And all I do is Pause. I listen to the quality of his noises and can now (at almost 3 months) tell the difference between the Between Dreams shifting and the Awake and Rooting for Boob shifting. I am always right there and if he starts crying there is definite tractor-beam-like action, but I don't interfere. I trust him to follow the cues his body is giving him, just like he trusts me to provide milk, snuggles, a fresh diaper, or a pat on the back when he needs it.

It's some of that advice that you hear from older generations and tend to blow off until you put it into practice:

Don't Read Books - Read your Child
Don't Watch the Clock - Watch Your Child
Don't Listen to "Experts" - Listen to Your Child.

Well, I did. And everyone benefits.

Also - Husband was right: everyone should have their second child first. This baby thing is a breeze the second time around ;-)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Put A Bat on It

We wanted an easy Halloween craft...and my mantel was feeling a little out of step with the season. And then I was inspired by Portlandia* and Pinterest and decided to put a bat on it.

But tracing a template and cutting out bats is a Mommy job and Baz wanted in on the action. So I cut out pumpkins (construction paper, freehand, glue stick) and some black eyes, noses, and mouths, and let him go.

Oct 12 2012 from Emily Bartnikowski on Vimeo.

Finished product:

*I did not enjoy that show as much as I felt I should. In fact, I enjoyed exactly one segment. This one. (Because it speaks to the part of me that wants to go live at the Pit in PCU.)
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