Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Getting Crafty For the Holidays

Early in my life I discovered that I not only didn’t have much talent for creating art I also didn’t have much patience for it. I’m talking about at the very beginning when I couldn’t quite stay within the lines when using my coloring book. I’m not sure if I worked it out that if you couldn’t do well in something it’s best to not do it at all or if I just decided that if I wasn’t any good at it then I must not like it very much.

Now in my later years I’m starting to create again. I’m talking about all kinds of things whether it be cooking, drawing, painting, candle making, photography, etc. It is not that I have developed an actual talent for any of these things but it is the process that is so rewarding. When I’m working creatively my mind is a million miles away from the usual struggles of everyday life. A study conducted in a Health Journal in 2007 showed that people who are more creative live longer, happier lives.

So not only does it save you money to get crafty it is good for you too! Over the weekend I made some candles. Candles were the one thing that I made as a kid that I enjoyed creating and that I couldn’t make too big of a mess of. That is why I decided that candles were a good choice for homemade gifts this year. While shopping on the Internet for supplies however I was appalled at the cost. Why in the world would anyone spend over a $100 on a candle making kit when they can buy candles already made for less than that?

My solution was to drive to the Redmond, WA. Ben Franklin store and see what I could find there. They had no kits but they did have the stuff it takes to make a candle. Once again my eyes popped at the prices. For 3 tin votive candle molds they were asking over $16! While next to it a much larger travelling candle mold was $1.99. Wax was $6.99 a pound! A package of 3 inch wicks $2.99, color for wax $3.99 and the scent was $6.99.

I ended up buying 2 pounds of wax, a package of wicks, a package of color and 1 bottle of Sandalwood scent. I also bought the $1.99 travelling candle holder and then spent another $1.99 on a small Christmas tin that I thought would work just as well. I did not get online and get instructions or get any special equipment such as a thermometer or a container to melt and pour wax. I did it like I did when I was a kid. I got a large empty can, filled it with broken up wax, placed it in a pot of simmering hot water and when it melted I poured it into the mold. Simple.

I used a whole pound of wax on my first candle and since my second tin was even larger I realized that I was going to need some extra wax. I also did not want to use yellow again since the Christmas tin screamed for a red or green candle. Creative thinking was required. I realized that I had many old red and green candles that had been burned to stumps or burned so far down that they were difficult to light. I broke up all the red candle wax that I had and mixed it with some of my store bought wax and Presto one pretty red candle. I also had some left over wax so I was able to create 3 more votive sized candles in green. When tallied up it worked out to about $5.00 per candle. Not bad.

If you throw some pretty decorations on it your friends or family members won’t know whether it’s homemade or made in China since, as far as I can tell, are the only 2 places where things are made anymore. My picture also includes some of my Pear Chutney Gifts. Do you like the little serving suggestions I have included? Very cute. So have a happy holidays people and Get Creative!


Heather @ SGF said...

These sounds really great (and wonderfully frugal). Good job! I'd love to learn to make candles someday.

Robj98168 said...

Nice candles! I see on The TV that profesional candle makers use old Crock Pots/slow cookers to melt their wax. Can get those cheap at thrift stores. I like the idea of using old candles to color the new ones! Spot on!