TGI Spring: DIY Frankenstein Candles

This is the perfect thing to do after you’ve spring cleaned and have a collection of used up candles and candle containers.   Scented candles are being sold in more and more beautiful jars every year and I hate getting to bottom of those candles, realizing that there is perfumed wax left, but no wick!    The Frankenstein candle recycles the pretty containers and the bottoms of all the scented candles into a brand new candle!

This project works best with heavily scented candle wax because it is usually quite soft and easy to harvest from the bottoms of all the jars.   You can collect the scented wax throughout the year and store it in a mason jar until you have enough to melt down.   Don’t sweat the burnt up bits you’ll probably get into the wax, this isn’t meant to be clean and perfect, just a way to save some money and pretty things!

You will need:

  • 1 or 2 really special candle containers that you want to re-use
  • pre-waxed wire wicks (available at most craft stores)
  • mason jar
  • heavy bottomed saucepan or pot
  • collection of old scented candles you can no longer light
1. Get your mason jar, wick and favorite candle container to re-use (mine is from Anthropologie and it’s lid is a cute porcelain winter cap!)
2. Use a plastic spoon or knife to scrape all the left over wax from the bottom of your scented candles and put it in the mason jar.
3. Spread some soft wax on the bottom of the wick base.
4. Stick the wick firmly in the middle of the bottom of the container you want to refill.
5. Place the mason jar into a pot of simmering water and let the wax melt completely.
6. Pour the melted wax into your container(s). The color might be a little murky from the charred wax bits, but don’t worry, it will still smell great!
7. Let it set completely and trim the wick to 1/4″ high before lighting. All done!

TGI Spring: DIY Leather Plant Hanger

I found some awesome DIY plant hangers in a craft book my mom gave from the early 70’s.   I thought this one in particular was the best design, because its super easy to do and holds many different planter sizes and shapes.   It can even be used to hold a vase of flowers!   I’m leaving the measurements open on this project because you can make yours any size, to hold anything from a tiny succulent to a big hanging fern.   Just make sure you cut your hanging straps wider if your plant is particularly heavy.

You will need: 1. medium and/or heavy weight leather- large enough to cut 4 long hanging strips and 1 circle. If you use thick, heavy leather for the circle, you will want a lighter weight leather for the straps because you have to be able to tie tight knots with it. 2. drafting compass with a pencil tip 3. very sharp scissors or an Exacto knife

1. Use your compass to mark the leather with several concentric circles 1/4″ to 3/4″ apart (totally up to you and the size of your plant hanger…play around!). 2. Draw four lines through the center, dividing the circle into eight equal wedges.

3. Use your lines as guides to draw your cut lines as shown.

4. Cut using scissors or an Exacto knife.

5. Mark and cut 4 small slits as shown on the outer circle.

6. Cut four hanging straps anywhere from 1/4″ to 3/4″ wide depending on the weight and size of your plant. They should be at least 2 feet long unless you’re making a small hanger.

7. Cut one end of each strap in half about 2 to 3 inches in.

8. Tie the other ends together in a VERY tight knot.

9. Tightly tie the four slashed ends in knots onto the circle through the four small slits.

10. All done! Slip your plant into the center of the circle and hang!

How to Use T-shirt Transfers…In a Cool Way

T-shirt transfer paper comes in two varieties; those for dark t-shirts (the solid white background blocks out the cloth behind it) and those for light t-shirts (transparent background allows cloth to show through).   I use both for various purposes, but this is a lesson in the dark t-shirt transfers as I find them more versatile.

T-shirt transfers that you print at home don’t last as long as screen printing, so I recommend using them on projects that won’t be washed often, like throw pillows, on leather, or even on cards and paper.   Play around!  You can iron these things to just about anything!!   Although the package says you can launder these, I recommend spot cleaning or a gentle hand wash instead.  After you wash your item, NEVER iron the transfer directly or it will melt; iron the backside instead.

This is how I made the pillows in the photo, but you can use any image and iron to any surface you want to try!   But, if you don’t want to make them yourself,  you can always just buy them here.  😉

Select and print your images on dark t-shirt transfer paper. I used botanical images from a Dover book that came with a CD packed with royalty free JPEGS. I sized them in Photoshop and created an xray version of each flower I chose.

Carefully and meticulously cut out your images using small scissors or an Xacto blade if needed. Make sure none of the white paper is left.

Slowly and carefully peel the transfer from the paper backing. Take your time; intricate cuts could tear if you are rushing through it.

Lay your image or images onto whatever you want to iron them to. If you have a lot of feathery cuts in your image, be sure to position them where you want them and make sure every bit is laying flat.

Cover the image with the paper that came with your transfers. Press with a hot dry iron, moving it in circles over the whole image, for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until the transfer has completely fused with the fabric.

Voila! The colors of your print get richer and more beautiful when the transfer is completely fused with the surface.

Winter Projects: iPhoning Your Gloves

An “iPhoned” glove frees up a single fingertip for answering calls in the cold!

You might not mind having to take your glove off every time you get a call on your smart phone, but it drives me CRAZY…especially since I decided to sport the long-leather-glove-with-a-3/4-sleeve look.   So, I decided to officially “iPhone” my right glove to free up a fingertip for touch screen action.

For this project, you will need leather gloves, a piece of thin scrap leather close to the color of your gloves, Velcro, scissors and E6000 glue.   I used white Velcro so it would show up better in photos, but I recommend using whatever color is closest to your glove.

Put on your glove and pin at the bottom of the first joint on your primary iPhone finger.
Take off the glove, and carefully cut through one layer of leather and only one layer of lining on the palm side of the glove. Be sure you don’t cut through the seams- you don’t want your glove to fall apart!
1. Cut a piece of leather the same width of the finger and about 1 inch long. Round the edges. 2. On the sueded side of the leather, apply glue to ONE tip of the leather and apply the male side of the Velcro. 3. Once that dries, trim off the excess velcro, cut the same shape from the female side of the velcro and glue it onto the glove just below the cut line. Allow to dry completely. 4. Flip the leather piece over, apply glue to the tip without velcro, carefully slip into the slit on the glove, press gently and allow to dry.
Once dry, this is how your finger should look!
When you want to use your fingertip, just unvelcro and poke your finger out!

Winter Projects: All-Purpose Balm

We made an all-purpose “winter balm” as our Christmas gift this year, and it ended up working better on my dry hands than anything I’ve ever purchased!  It’s easy to make and has the same components as lip balm, so it can be used to soften and soothe anything chapped from the winter air.   Here’s how you do it at home!

You will need:

  • Container(s): This is what we bought from Paper Mart.  You can also use cleaned, used containers that you already have at home.  Test some things out!  Altoids tin, perhaps?  Maybe a small jam jar?
  • Clean and dry mason jar with a lid: You can use this over and over again for making your balm
  • Cosmetic grade beeswax pellets (white or natural): You can buy these here.
  • Grapeseed, almond, or vitamin E oil: We used a little almond and vitamin E oil in ours for their smoothing and healing properties.
  • Light olive oil (NO extra virgin!): Olive oil is GREAT for your skin, but you don’t want the scent or color of extra virgin olive oil.  Get the lightest colored oil you can.
  • Essential oils (i.e. lemon, sweet orange, geranium, rosemary): Essential oils are used for healing, aromatherapy and for their scent.  You can combine them to create a personal scent or play around with mixtures for their medicinal benefits.

The amount of balm you make it totally up to you.  You can make a fresh batch every time you run out or you can make several to gift to friends.   Either way, the ratio of oil to beeswax is 2:1.   You can combine your special oils with your olive oil in any proportion you want, and then use half of that amount of beeswax.  If you want to make a special balm that is all vitamin E oil and no olive oil, by all means, go ahead!

Or you can just use our recipe:

  • 1/2 cup beeswax pellets
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil
  • 1/4 cup vitamin E oil
  • 1/4 cup almond oil
  • 10 drops each, lemon and sweet orange essential oils

Fill your mason jar with beeswax, olive oil, almond oil and vitamin E oil and screw on the lid.   Place the jar in a pot and fill with water a little over halfway up the side of the jar.    Set pot over medium high heat and simmer until the beeswax has completely melted.  Remove the jar from the water with a pot holder, dry off with a towel and unscrew the lid.  Stir in essential oils and add more if you want a stronger scent.  Carefully pour the mixture into your containers and let set at room temperature.   This recipe makes about 6-8 2 oz. containers of balm.

Winter Projects: Tea Cozy

I’ve always wanted to have a real need for a cozy and I giggle every time I see cozies for objects that don’t really need one (i.e. the chapstick cozy).   I just love them.  Seeing an inanimate object all bundled up for winter makes me smile, but I rarely work on projects for myself that I don’t absolutely need.

Finally this winter, I discovered that I actually really needed a teapot cozy to keep my second cup of tea warm!  Here’s how I did it (in 20 minutes) for free.  Make one today!

Start with an old button up cardigan and your teapot.
Using the bottom of the cardigan, button once under the handle and once beneath it. Pull the sweater tightly around the teapot and pin once above the spout. Giving yourself a little seam allowance and starting at your pin, cut the excess fabric by following one of the grooves in the sweater. You won’t need any seam allowance along the bottom, so cut only enough to cover the height of the pot. You should end up with two equal rectangles.
Overlock any unfinished edges and then sew your two rectangles together, leaving an opening for the teapot spout. Topstitch your seam allowances if you want- it gives it a cleaner finish but doesn’t really matter otherwise!
This is the front side of the cozy. Both rectangles have been serged and sewn together. The bottom is a little wavy from the cutting and serging, but we will fix that soon!
Using a similar color yarn as your sweater, sew a straight gathering stitch at the bottom of your cozy and pull just tight enough that it fits snuggly around the bottom of your pot. Tie off after you’ve checked the fit on your teapot.
All done! Button it on!

6 responses to “Make

  1. Niamh Murphy

    Hey Delia,
    have you ever tried miniature weaving with colored metal wire, its really fun and sculptural!

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  4. sallie

    awesome. love seeing your progress. i love all the hats, but especially the bridal hat and the pink silk hat with bow. so perfect and beautiful. i also love the embroidered pendants, the bullets with rhinestones, the mini-loom tapestries… thankfully, i have a self-enforced moratorium at the moment, otherwise i’d wipe you out. XO

  5. Neat ideas! I actually have an acorn candle just like that. 😀 Definitely going to consider making a sweater teapot cozy sometime.

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