Have you made candles?

This was another holiday project…candles.  Which I had never done before and thought would be much harder than it was.

This idea is from Pinterest…and the link is here. The original tutorial makes the candles in adorable little tea cups. I couldn’t find any tea cups that I loved, but I did find a great assortment of cups and dessert dishes at a local flea market. I think they were 75¢ each.

Wicks into glasses.

Wax melted on stovetop.

Fragrance (cinnamon) and dye go into the melted wax.

Then you pour the wax into your containers…and let them cool. Really. That’s it.

I made these as gifts for our annual family “Holiday Hen Party” at my aunt’s house. We usually bring something to share…lots of baked things…but, this year I didn’t feel like cooking. It was fun to do something new and they smelled great – a big hit! Any candlemakers out there? Tips or ideas?

Hope everyone is enjoying their holidays…




Just in time for the holidays…

I’m back. Yay!

I still have presents to wrap and some cooking to do, but I wanted to drop in here and share some projects I did last week for Christmas.

Historically my Christmas tree has been a “no touch” affair. One of my favorite collections is my crystal tree ornament collection. For about 15 years now I’ve been collecting Christmas tree ornaments, mostly Waterford, but there are a few Swarovski in there. With white lights and silver accents I think they make a stunning tree. NEWSFLASH TO SELF: You have a 2-year-old and there is a train under your tree…you can NOT have an entire tree full of breakable things. Can. Not.

So this year, the ornaments stayed in their gorgeous, satin-padded box…and we covered the tree in (mostly) handmade ornaments and other not-easily-breakable things. I’m quite smitten with it.

One of the projects was making some big red and green ball ornaments to go on the tree.  Because, actually, I didn’t have very many kid-friendly ornaments outside of the ones they have made at school.

Yarn wrapped around small balloons, dipped in glue…hang to dry, pop the balloon. How fun are those?

I found the instructions on Pinterest. And if you aren’t addicted to that yet, by all means, click through and prepare to waste an hour or two. My boards can be found here. And the link to these ornaments is here.

A little tip: the more you cover the balloon with yarn the easier it is for the balloon to “pop” after it has been covered with glue…it will kind of stick to the yarn of course. I tried to use water balloons because I thought they would be the best size, but I couldn’t blow them up. Seriously. So I just used regular balloons, barely filled. And a pair of tweezers will come in handy to get the balloon pieces out.

Here’s my favorite handmade ornament – my oldest made it in his preschool class last year:

I’m pretty sure it is a plain glass ball covered with glitter and tissue paper. Lovely.

My youngest’s ornament from last year…hand-print snowmen. Those teachers are so clever.

Of course, we must have the requisite photo ornaments:

And there is always a selection of memorial ornaments:

Periodically we add a memorial ornament for our first son and last year our oldest wanted matching ones. He placed them on the tree this year insisting they be grouped "because we are brothers."
And our precious pups...one gone last year and one this. This is the first year in more than I can remember there won't be any rawhide under the tree!

As much as I adore my fancy-schmancy ornaments, I really loved having a tree totally decorated by my boys…and not caring that 90% of the ornaments were bunched on the bottom third of the tree!

If we make more of these yarn ornaments next year, I’m going to add silver yarn into the mix. And who knows, maybe we’ll string popcorn and cranberries, too. It might be awhile before my crystal sees a tree again.


My Little Christmas Soldiers

I’m big on homemade gifts.  It’s one of my very favorite kinds of gifts to give and get.  This year, my little salsa soldiers are ready to make their way into the holidays spreading spice wherever they go.

Can you see those little bits of yummy goodness in there?

This salsa recipe is a favorite in my house for a couple of reasons.  One: I usually have all the ingredients on hand which makes it easy to throw together in just a few minutes.  Two: It is very simple to adjust the heat index on this as the recipe includes both sugar and jalapeños.  Three: It is the closest thing to my favorite kind of Mexican restaurant table salsa – you know, the kind they bring out with the chips?

So, if you still need last minute gifts for people who happen to love spicy things on salty chips, go grab some mason jars and haul out your blender.  Just be sure to make enough of these little soldiers so you can keep one or two for yourself!

Blender Salsa

1 can Italian style tomatoes

1 TB cider vinegar

1 TB sugar*

1 TB jalapeño juice (out of the jar/can)

3 spoonfuls sliced jalapeños*

2 shakes each of: Italian seasoning, garlic salt, season salt

salt and pepper to taste

fresh cilantro to taste*

1/4 onion (optional)

Throw everything in the blender and pulse until nearly smooth…or until it is the consistency you like.

* These ingredients can easily be adjusted up or down depending on your personal flavor preference.  I made three different batches of salsa (1-3 stars) by increasing the heat and amount of the jalapeños.

(I got this recipe from my dear, dear friend Christy – who is about to become a temporary Texan – yippeeee!!! And she has Angi Weigel written on the top of the card.  Just giving credit where it is due.)

Merry Christmas Y’all!