Let’s Create Our Own Candles!

Lets Create Our Own Soy CandlesI bought a soy candle kit for myself several years ago, opened the box and looked at the supplies, then folded it back up and set it aside. For years! I don’t know if I felt intimidated or scared I’d get it wrong, but I’ve been missing out because it is pretty darn satisfying to make your own candles!

If you’re a beginner, like myself, I highly recommend starting with a candle kit. I purchased this kit from www.candlewic.com. Unfortunately I no longer see these or any kits available (this may change in the future), but they do sell all the supplies individually or you can purchase a kit from another reputable website, including Amazon, Bramble Berry, Candle Science, etc. Each kit should include instructions with specific temperatures to add any colors or scents. In this post, I’ve refined the instructions from my kit which you can reference to create your own candles or apply the basic principles if using another candle kit.

Lets Create Our Own Soy Candles

SUPPLIES

Lets Create Our Own Soy Candles

  • 12 candle containers (8 oz)
  • 12 pre-tabbed wicks
  • 12 glue stickers
  • Pouring pot
  • Thermometer
  • Stirring utensil
  • 4 pounds of soy wax
  • 4 different color dye blocks
  • 4 different fragrance oils (1 oz)
  • 3 bow tie wick bars
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Prepare your candle containers. Place a glue sticker onto each pre-tabbed wick, then place one wick directly in the center of each candle container.

    Lets Create Our Own Soy Candles
  2. Place one pound of soy wax into the pouring pot. If you have a kit, this may already be measured out for you, if not use a kitchen scale.

    Lets Create Our Own Soy Candles
  3. Set the pouring pot into a large saucepan filled a third of the way with water and bring the water to a soft boil.
  4. Allow the wax to melt, then insert your thermometer and continue to heat until it reaches 175 F.
  5. At 175 F, add the color dye block and stir until it’s completely melted and blended with the wax.
  6. Remove the pouring pot from the water and allow the wax to cool to 140F.
  7. At 140 F, add the fragrance oil and stir until well incorporated.
  8. Carefully pour the dyed and fragrant wax into three of the prepared wax containers. One pound of wax, one color dye block and one ounce of fragrance can create three 8 ounce candles.

    Lets Create Our Own Soy Candles
  9. Center the wicks in the bow tie wick bars and allow them to cool and set completely on a level surface for at least 24 hours.

    Lets Create Our Own Soy Candles
  10. Once cooled and set, remove the bow tie wick bars and cut the wicks.

    Lets Create Our Own Soy Candles
  11. Enjoy!

    Lets Create Our Own Soy CandlesLets Create Our Own Soy Candles

I plan on using these in our home, but I would love to make more for family and friends! Do you use candles in your home? What is your favorite scent? Mine is Spruce or Mulled Cider, all the holiday feels!

DIY Pinched Felt Halloween Garland

DIY Halloween Pinched Felt Garland

Although Halloween may be celebrated a little differently this year, that doesn’t mean we can’t kindle a little Halloween spirit!

Today we’ll be making what I like to call a “pinched” felt garland. Pinched felt garlands are made by pinching small ribbons of different colored felts, poking a threaded needle through the pinched portion of the fabric, and stringing them close together onto a garland.

In the spirit of Halloween (and this tutorial), we’re going with traditional black, orange and white. Other fun variations would be candy corn colors or general fall colors so you can display it from the Autumn Equinox through Thanksgiving.

DIY Halloween Pinched Felt Garland

DIY Halloween Pinched Felt Garland

SUPPLIES
  • Black felt, cut into 1 x 3” strips
  • Orange felt, cut into 1 x 3” strips
  • White felt, cut into 1 x 3” strips
  • Scissors or a rotary cutter
  • Rotary mat
  • Ruler
  • Black cotton crochet thread, size 3
  • Needle
INSTRUCTIONS

DIY Halloween Pinched Felt Garland

  1. Cut the felt into 1 x 3” strips. I started with about 200 pieces of each color, but I only used about 175 of the orange and white and 176 of the black. You can use fabric or sewing scissors to do this, or you can use a rotary cutter. If you use a rotary cutter, please make sure you have a cutting mat so you don’t damage the surface below the felt. I use a ruler to keep my cuts straight.

    DIY Halloween Pinched Felt Garland DIY Halloween Pinched Felt Garland

  2. Measure out 7 feet of the cotton crochet thread, 6 feet for the garland and 6 inches on either side for the ties and knots.
  3. Thread the needle, then knot the tip of the opposite end (I often triple each knot).
  4. Six inches from the first knot, tie another knot in the thread again to create a section to tie the garland up when it’s finished.
  5. Pinch the center of a black piece of felt and poke the needle through the folded pinched fabric and push it down to the knot.
  6. Pinch the center of an orange piece of felt and poke the needle through the folded pinched fabric and push it down onto the black piece.

    DIY Halloween Pinched Felt Garland

  7. Pinch the center of a white piece of felt and poke the needle through the folded pinched fabric and push it down onto the orange piece.
  8. Repeat steps 5, 6 and 7 until you’ve created 6 feet of pinched felt garland. The pieces of felt will be pretty close together to hide any exposed thread in between the pinched felt.

    DIY Halloween Pinched Felt Garland

  9. Thread one last piece of black felt to frame the garland and then tie a knot in the thread.
  10. Remove the needle and tie a knot on the very end of the thread, creating another tie section on this side of the garland.
  11. Hang or display your garland and enjoy!

DIY Halloween Pinched Felt Garland

DIY Autumn Leaves Sensory Bottle

DIY Autumn Leaves Sensory BottleI love Autumn, it has to be my favorite season of the year!

After creating a Summer-themed ocean wave bottle, I felt inspired to create a sensory bottle for each season and I immediately thought of swirling multi-hued Autumn leaves!  Part of the fun in raising Zoey is making things that teach and fascinate her. And, if I’m being completely honest, I find sensory bottles fascinating too, so let’s make one!

DIY Autumn Leaves Sensory Bottle

SUPPLIES
  • 16 ounce clear, plastic bottle
  • 6 ounces of hot water
  • Clear glue
  • Slender whisk
  • Glycerin
  • Leaf-shaped glitter
  • Regular glitter (optional)
  • More hot water
  • Glue for the lid

DIY Autumn Leaves Sensory Bottle DIY Autumn Leaves Sensory BottleDIY Autumn Leaves Sensory Bottle

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Pour the 6 ounces of hot (as hot as your tap will run) water into your bottle.
  2. Add 2.5 to 3 ounces (or more) of glue to the hot water in your bottle. The more glue you add, the slower your leaves will swirl and fall.
  3. Whisk the glue in the hot water until well incorporated. You can also replace the lid of the bottle and shake, however this created a lot of foam bubbles for me. They will go away, but it will slow down your progress.
  4. Measure 1 to 2 tablespoons of Glycerin and whisk or replace the lid and shake again.
  5. Add your glitter. I used several different hues of leaf shaped glitter and a few pinches of regular gold glitter.
  6. Pour more hot water into the bottle. Stop before reaching the top, replace the lid and turn the bottle over several times to check how everything moves. At this point you can add more glitter, more glue to make it fall slower, and/or more glycerin to smooth everything out.
  7. After you’re satisfied with the flow of the bottle’s contents, remove the lid again and fill the bottle all the way to the top with the hot water.
  8. If your child is older and you worry about him/her undoing the lid, you can coat the inside of the lid with glue, then screw it back onto the bottle. This will secure the lid and make it harder for little ones to unscrew the lid and create a leak or spill the bottle’s contents.

DIY Autumn Leaves Sensory Bottle

DIY Peasant Belle Peg Doll

DIY Peasant Belle Peg Doll DIY Peasant Belle Peg Doll DIY Peasant Belle Peg DollPart of the fun in raising Zoey is making things that delight her; I want to create lasting, meaningful toys for her that are made with love and will be loved! Wooden toys are classic and beautiful, when created and treated right, they can last a lifetime; so let’s make some!

It’s no secret that Cameron and I love Disney. Zoey’s middle name was inspired by one of my favorite Disney princesses, Belle, and that Belle in her name has also led to another Disney nickname, Tinker Bell. I cannot wait to create a whole set of peg dolls for her, but these two characters hold the most significance until she begins watching the classics on her own.

We’ve created a Tinker Bell Peg Doll, check her out!

This week I’ll be sharing the steps I took to create a Belle peg doll in her blue peasant dress for Zoey.

DIY Peasant Belle Peg Doll

SUPPLIES
  • Blank peg doll (I used a “small angel” or “girl” shape/size)
  • Small, flat & fine tip paint brushes
  • Paint palette (or a tray for your paint)
  • Blue non-toxic acrylic paint
  • White non-toxic acrylic paint
  • Light blue non-toxic acrylic paint
  • Brown non-toxic acrylic paint
  • Dark brown non-toxic acrylic paint
  • Black non-toxic acrylic paint
  • Non-toxic varnish (I used Duraclear Ultra Matte Varnish)
INSTRUCTIONS

DIY Peasant Belle Peg Doll

DIY Peasant Belle Peg Doll

  1. With a pencil, lightly sketch Belle onto your blank peg doll. Belle wears a dress over a white blouse, I gave her sleeves so more of the blouse can be seen.
  2. Begin painting your peg doll with the base layers first. I started with the blue of her dress and hair bow, the white of her blouse and apron, and the brown of her hair. Allow this paint to dry before moving on to avoid smudging, then apply a few more layers of each until you’re happy with the colors and textures.
  3. Paint the very bottom and edges of the peg doll black to signify her shoes.
  4. After the base layers have dried, paint a border of light blue on the edges of her apron, shirt and hair bow. If you don’t have a lighter shade of blue, you can create some by adding a small amount of white paint to the original blue and blending.
  5. Paint dark brown accents on and around the hair, don’t forget her ponytail in the back!
  6. Taking something small and round (I used the opposite end of one of my smaller paint brushes) dip it in black paint and dot the two eyes. Using the finest tipped paintbrush you can find, give her an eyelash or two on each eye.
  7. Once the eye paint has dried, add a highlight dot to each eye with a fine tipped paintbrush and white paint.
  8. Using the same method as the eyes, dip the opposite end of a slightly larger paintbrush into light pink paint and dot the blush under each eye.
  9. With a little white paint, give her a few sparkles of pixie dust on the hem of her dress or wherever else you feel it will look right!
  10. Allow for all paint to completely dry, then apply a varnish and allow it to dry. You can apply as many coats as you want for the finish you want, just allow them to dry in between applications and before handing her over to your child.
  11. Voilà! Belle is done and ready to be played with! Enjoy!

DIY Peasant Belle Peg Doll DIY Peasant Belle Peg Doll

DIY Tinker Bell Peg Doll

DIY Tinker Bell Peg DollDIY Tinker Bell Peg DollPart of the fun in raising Zoey is making things that delight her; I want to create lasting, meaningful toys for her that are made with love and will be loved! Wooden toys are classic and beautiful, when created and treated right, they can last a lifetime; so let’s make some!

It’s no secret that Cameron and I love Disney. Zoey’s middle name was inspired by one of my favorite Disney princesses, Belle, and that Belle in her name has also led to another Disney nickname, Tinker Bell. I cannot wait to create a whole set of peg dolls for her, but these two characters hold the most significance until she begins watching the classics on her own.

We’ve created a Peasant Belle Peg Doll, check her out!

This week I’ll be sharing the steps I took to create a Tinker Bell peg doll for Zoey.

DIY Tinker Bell Peg Doll

SUPPLIES
  • Blank peg doll (I used a “small angel” or “girl” shape/size)
  • Small, flat & fine tip paint brushes
  • Paint palette (or a tray for your paint)
  • Green non-toxic acrylic paint
  • Yellow non-toxic acrylic paint
  • Light brown non-toxic acrylic paint
  • Light blue non-toxic acrylic paint
  • Light pink non-toxic acrylic paint
  • White non-toxic acrylic paint
  • Black non-toxic acrylic paint
  • Non-toxic varnish (I used Duraclear Ultra Matte Varnish)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. With a pencil, lightly sketch Tinker Bell onto your blank peg doll.

    DIY Tinker Bell Peg DollDIY Tinker Bell Peg Doll

  2. Begin painting your peg doll with the base layers first. I started with the green of her dress, the white of her wings and the yellow of her hair. Allow this paint to dry before moving on to avoid smudging, then apply a few more layers of each until you’re happy with the colors and textures.

    DIY Tinker Bell Peg DollDIY Tinker Bell Peg Doll

  3. Paint the very bottom and edges of the peg doll green to signify her slippers.
  4. After the base layers have dried, paint a border of darker green on the edges of her dress. If you don’t have a darker shade of green, you can create some by adding a small amount of black paint to the original green and blending.
  5. Paint an accent of lighter green on the inner layer of the dark green border of her dress. If you don’t have a lighter shade of green, you can create some by adding a small amount of white paint to the original green and blending.
  6. The wings can stay matte white, or you can add a pearly white finish to give them a sheen. Once the wings have dried, border and accent them with light blue paint.
  7. Paint light brown accents on and around the hair.
  8. Once the hair has dried, paint a small light blue ribbon around Tinker Bell’s bun.
  9. Taking something small and round (I used the opposite end of one of my smaller paint brushes) dip it in black paint and dot the two eyes. Using the finest tipped paintbrush you can find, give her an eyelash or two on each eye.
  10. Once the eye paint has dried, add a highlight dot to each eye with a fine tipped paintbrush and white paint.
  11. Using the same method as the eyes, dip the opposite end of a slightly larger paintbrush into light pink paint and dot the blush under each eye.
  12. With a little white paint, give her a few sparkles of pixie dust on the hem of her dress or wherever else you feel it will look right!
  13. Allow for all paint to completely dry, then apply a varnish and allow it to dry. You can apply as many coats as you want for the finish you want, just allow them to dry in between applications and before handing her over to your child.
  14. Voilà! Tinker Bell is done and ready to be played with! Enjoy!

DIY Tinker Bell Peg Doll DIY Tinker Bell Peg Doll

DIY Edible “Sand” for Sensory Playtime

DIY Edible Sand for Sensory PlayIt’s the middle of Summer and I would love to take Zoey to the beach for the first time, but just about everything she picks up is quickly introduced to her mouth! I understand she’s figuring things out (and more power to her), but I’m not super enthusiastic about her ingesting beach sand. So, until she gets a little less eager to put everything in her mouth, why not bring a little beach experience to her?

Part of the fun in raising Zoey is making things that teach and fascinate her. We can make edible “sand” that’s fun to play in and safe to eat out of graham crackers and oatmeal; let’s make it!

Check back next week for the homemade teething cookies I made with the remaining edible “sand”.

DIY Edible Sand for Sensory Play

SUPPLIES
  • 1 box of graham crackers.
  • 2 cups of oatmeal (I used whole grain old-fashioned oats)
  • A food processor
  • A mixing bowl
  • A mixing spoon
  • A container for playing in the “sand” (I used a heavy casserole dish)
  • Beach or ocean themed toys (optional)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Open the graham crackers and blend them in the food processor until they are a fine sand-like texture.
  2. Remove the graham crackers from the food processor and pour them into a mixing bowl.
  3. Measure the oatmeal into the food processor and blend it until it is also a fine sand-like texture.
  4. Remove the oatmeal from the food processor and add it to the mixing bowl with the graham crackers.
  5. Using a mixing spoon, stir the graham crackers and oatmeal together until well combined.
  6. Pour the edible “sand” into the container you’ve chosen for your baby to play in. I used a heavy casserole dish since Zoey’s not strong enough to flip it yet. You can always double or triple the graham cracker and oatmeal ratio if you want to fill a larger container.

    DIY Edible Sand for Sensory Play
  7. Arrange beach and/or ocean themed toys in the sand for your little one to play with (optional).

    DIY Edible Sand for Sensory Play
  8. Introduce the edible “sand” to your baby and enjoy!

    DIY Edible Sand for Sensory PlayDIY Edible Sand for Sensory Play DIY Edible Sand for Sensory Play

DIY Stacking Felt Doughnuts with Sprinkles!

DIY Felt Stacking or Stackable Doughnuts with SprinklesPart of the fun in raising Zoey is making things that teach and fascinate her. I’ve seen the stacking toy done in so many fun and creative ways, but I don’t believe I’ve seen a felt doughnut stacking toy yet, so let’s make one!

My Dad, Zoey’s Grandpa Kev, made the base of this toy. If you do not have access to a competent woodworker/carpenter to make a base, I would recommend using the base of another stacking toy. You can switch out between the rings that came with the toy and felt doughnuts!

DIY Felt Stacking or Stackable Doughnuts with SprinklesI have provided the patterns I used to make the four different sizes of donuts for my stacking toy. You’re welcome to use them if the base of your toy closely resembles mine, or you can make them as play food without the base. Another option would be to create your own patterns using the measurements of your base and a compass.

Pattern for Felt Doughnuts
Doughnut Patterns

SUPPLIES
  • Doughnut and frosting patterns
  • Scissors
  • 4 sheets (9” x 12”) of a doughnut colored felt of your choice
  • A skein of closely matching doughnut colored embroidery thread
  • 4 sheets (9” x 12”) of frosting colored colored felt of your choice
  • 4 skeins of closely matching frosting colored embroidery thread
  • Embroidery needle
  • Fiber filling (stuffing)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Print 3 copies each of the two supplied pattern pages.
  2. Use the first two copies to cut out a pair of each size of circle, one for either side of the doughnut.
  3. Create your own wavy frosting pattern within each of the circles on the third pages, and cut those patterns out for your frosting.
  4. Lay the circular patterns on the felt you’ve chosen for you doughnuts and pin them in place.
  5. Lay the frosting patterns on the felt you’ve chosen for the frosting; these can be all the same color, or different colors.
  6. Cut around the patterns. You can do this directly or trace around the edges of the patterns with a pen, then remove the patterns and cut out each shape.

    DIY Felt Stacking or Stackable Doughnuts with Sprinkles
  7. Place the frosting for each doughnut on one of the doughnut halves, aligning the center holes, and pin them to keep them secure.
  8. Cut a length each of three different colored embroidery threads for the sprinkles; there are 6 strands in each embroidery thread, split them in half three by three and peel them apart.
  9. Thread the needle with your first sprinkle color, and poke the threaded needle up from the bottom of the top of the doughnut, emerging through the top of the frosting, and pull it through. Create a sprinkle size length in any direction you choose and poke the needle back down through the frosting to underneath the doughnut. Repeat this process all around the doughnut in a pattern you prefer and tie it off underneath.

    DIY Felt Stacking or Stackable Doughnuts with Sprinkles DIY Felt Stacking or Stackable Doughnuts with Sprinkles
  10. Remove the pins, repeat this process and create sprinkles in two more colors.
  11. Thread the needle with thread that matches the color of your frosting. Begin using neat whip stitches around the outside edges of the frosting starting with your knot underneath the top half of the doughnut.

    DIY Felt Stacking or Stackable Doughnuts with Sprinkles DIY Felt Stacking or Stackable Doughnuts with Sprinkles
  12. Using the same thread color as your frosting, align the bottom half of the doughnut to the top, frosted half and use neat whip stitches around the center hole. To hide your thread, knot it and pull it up through the bottom of the frosted layer to begin. When finished, poke the needle through the bottom doughnut layer, but only come through the middle in between the top and bottom of the doughnut to tie off your knot.
  13. Thread the needle with embroidery thread the color of your doughnut. Once again, use neat whip stitching along the outside edge of your doughnut, concealing the knot inside. About two thirds around, stop stitching and begin adding stuffing. Keep stitching and stuffing as space allows until you’ve made your doughnut whole.

    DIY Felt Stacking or Stackable Doughnuts with Sprinkles DIY Felt Stacking or Stackable Doughnuts with Sprinkles
  14. To conceal the knot, tie a knot at the base of your string still attached to the doughnut and pull it within the edges of the doughnut, going through the stuffing and coming out somewhere near he center hole, then trim this piece off.
  15. Repeat steps 7 through 10 to complete each size doughnut.

    DIY Felt Stacking or Stackable Doughnuts with Sprinkles
  16. Enjoy!

DIY Ocean Wave Sensory Bottle

DIY Ocean Wave Sensory BottleWith Summer solstice right around the corner, I was thinking about the beach and got inspired to make an ocean wave sensory bottle (not to mention I had all the ingredients already on hand)! Part of the fun in raising Zoey is making things that teach and fascinate her. And, if I’m being completely honest, I find sensory bottles fascinating too, so let’s make one!

DIY Ocean Wave Sensory Bottle

SUPPLIES
  • 16 ounce clear, plastic bottle
  • Funnel
  • 8 ounces of water
  • Blue and green food coloring.
  • 8 ounces of baby oil
  • Glue

DIY Ocean Wave Sensory Bottle
DIY Ocean Wave Sensory Bottle DIY Ocean Wave Sensory Bottle

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Place the funnel in the mouth of your bottle and use it to fill the bottle with 8 ounces of water.
  2. Remove the funnel and add several drops of blue and green food coloring until you reach your desired shade of ocean aqua. I used 8 drops of blue and 2 drops of green, as you can see that led to a very deep shade of blue green.
  3. Screw the lid back onto the bottle and shake the water until the food coloring is well incorporated, then remove the lid and replace the funnel.
  4. Add up to 8 ounces of baby oil.
  5. If your child is older and you worry about him/her undoing the lid, you can coat the inside of the lid with glue, then screw it back onto the bottle. This will secure the lid and make it harder for little ones to unscrew the lid and create a leak or spill the bottle’s contents. If you’re still concerned they may be able to get the lid off, please use cooking oil instead of baby oil.

DIY Chalkboard – Made from a Vintage Wall Frame

DIY upcycled chalkboard made from vintage wall frame.Years ago, I purchased an old empty frame from a Goodwill store. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to use it for, I just knew that I loved the decals on each corner and wanted to fix it up and give it a home. After years of procrastinating while the frame sat around and gathered dust, I finally decided to paint it and create a chalkboard.

DIY upcycled chalkboard made from vintage wall frame.First, remove and sand one side of the mounting board to smooth it out. Once it’s as smooth as you prefer clean it off and prime it, then begin layering coats of chalkboard paint until you’ve reached your desired chalkboard depth and texture.

Scuff the frame with sanding paper all over to allow for the paint to adhere better. Clean the frame and prime it, then begin layering coats of white paint until you’ve reached your desired depth of color (or lack of color in my case since I used white); I used acrylic paint.

DIY upcycled chalkboard made from vintage wall frame.DIY upcycled chalkboard made from vintage wall frame.Once both pieces are dry, you can reassemble the frame. Before writing or drawing on the chalkboard, you’ll need to prime it by coating it with chalk.

DIY upcycled chalkboard made from vintage wall frame.As you can see I just wrote the first thing that came to my mind here, but I intend on leaving this frame up as decor year round and changing it for different events, seasons or holidays!

DIY upcycled chalkboard made from vintage wall frame.