preserving leaves

The easiest and most pleasurable way to preserve the color of fall is with beeswax!  I found my beeswax at a farmers market.  When you buy it unfiltered in bulk it is very inexpensive.  You will not be lacking in projects that require beeswax either.. think salve, lip balm, candles, and so much more!  Use a double boiler to heat it up, preferably a second hand one, for it will forever be the beeswax pot.  Wax is no easy task to remove.  Once it is good and melted bring it outside, gather up the most spectacular leaves you can find and dip!

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One dip is all that is necessary, any more and it’s too thick for the colors to shine through.  There are many ways you can display your leaves.  We made a mobile and intend on making a wreath as well.  A few grape vine wreathes and a few yards of yarn is all that you need!

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It was a lovely fall day!

mind your own… how to make a beeswax candle

Around here we light a lot of candles.  We eat each meal by them (my favorite being the sunrise breakfast), we bathe by them, we practice for our birthdays frequently, and we generally just congregate by them.  The flickering light, the sound, and the bit of warmth is so sweet in all seasons.

Recently a friend mentioned her issues with petroleum candles to me.  I must admit, while I have not been a fan of the scents of a store bought candle, I had not really put much thought into the dangers of burning a petroleum candle otherwise.  Well it turns out those paraffin filled candles are in fact dangerous.  Very much so.  Another reason it is nice to try to have an open mind and listen to others.  There is so much you can learn from this practice!  While it feels like everything is potentially harmful when you scrutinize it long enough, this is one that I feel is worthy of changing.  Besides, it turns out making beeswax candles is not only economical, but it is never-ending FUN.

I promise.

This is one for the men and the women.  The old and the young.  The crafty and the craft averse.  It is simple and satisfying.

First, soak 100% cotton or 100% linen strips of yarn or string in the following solution: 2 tbs. of borax (you can buy this extremely handy natural powder at the grocery store) 1 tsp. of sea salt and one cup of water.  Let them sit over night.

As far as the lengths of your wick goes, I would say it will vary depending on what you will be using for your holder.  Dipping them you should make them about 4 inches (to make two 2 inch candles) or if your holder is 3 inches tall, cut the wax about 4.5 inches to give you something to grab hold of when you are letting them set.

The next day drape your wicks over a line and let them dry completely.

Melt your wax in a pan you wish to keep as a candle making pan (or any other wax-y craft you may choose).

Tie each wick to a little weight, a pin, a safety pin, a button, a clip, a snap or even a rock would work.  It just has to fit inside your cup/object.  Place the wick inside and pour your wax in.  Be careful its hot!  Hold the wick upright or give it some leverage by placing it by a shelf you could weigh it down with until it dries.

Finally cut the wick until it’s just so, and you’re finished!

You can get fancy with your holders.  I tried a turtle shell and some cups I made in ceramics back in college.  I have been enjoying thinking up the other possibilities!

If you want to do birthday candles, you just dip the wick in making sure its straight, let it dry, then dip again until you have the thickness you desire.

So, I did what any rational woman would do: I hurried out to the farmers market and purchased six and a half pounds of the golden good stuff.  Oh the possibilities…