Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Very Special DIY Gifts...Candles and Bubbles...


Imagine it's December 1st, and you have all your gifts organised. Not only that, but you're several hundred or even several thousand dollars better off than you usually would be at this time of the year, because you've organised every single gift for every occasion this year, in a similar timely fashion. How would you feel? Excited? Content? Proud? Jubilant? 

It can be done!

Here at A Tray of Bliss, I've declared this year, Homespun Year.

I've made a commitment to hand craft all gifts for the year, and it's incredible what some of my friends on my Five Star Frou-Frou linkup have already generated. Annabel over at The Bluebirds are Nesting is having her own Gift Challenge and similarly, her followers are awe inspiring. Have a look here.

Homespun can mean anything, from creating gifts, to trying a new recipe for something like pasta made from scratch, or pate` or that seafood pie you've always meant to try but hadn't got around to, or growing something like a Kaffir Lime Tree in order to gift lavish bunches of fresh Kaffir Lime Leaves to friends who adore Thai cooking. 

Homespun also conjures up visions of the rustic, the imperfect and the upcycled, so even if you're not  particularly crafty, or you're time poor, there will be many projects I'll be sharing that take less than five minutes to complete.

This week I'm sharing two incredibly easy projects, one of which will take you an hour at most, and one, a mere matter of minutes!

Now, the other great thing about getting an early start on gifts, is that you have time to gather inexpensive or exotic materials, even ones that take ages to ship.

I've started the year with some really easy bubble bath, and some divine DIY luxury scented candles.

Candles truly are the Gift du Jour amongst young girls and women everywhere at the moment. The designer ones are crazy expensive to buy, and yet making your own candles is one of the easiest and most rewarding crafts ever.

I bought candle making supplies on eBay from this supplier here. For $55 including postage, I have enough wax, dye chips and wicks, to make at least 20 beautiful candles.

I use Wellington Designer Fragrances to scent mine. I bought three 16oz bottles of Designer concentrate, in Chanel No 5, Lemon Verbena, and White Linen about 4 years ago. I've used them for all kinds of gifts, and whilst with shipping, they cost me over $100, they've saved me hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, in creating gifts and even fabric softener! But really, you can just use fragrance oils available at any discount store. My argument though, is that if you're making gifts, you can afford to use the best materials. This turns the ordinary, into the desirable!

My vessels for the candles can be anything from glasses, to thrifted sugar bowls, to teacups, and apothecary jars. I set myself a limit of $3, and I never go over that.

I add ribbons and charms to decorate them and they just look beautiful. Charms of all kinds are available very inexpensively from China on eBay. Usually you can get 10-20 little charms for $2, with free postage. I've just ordered some little Eiffel Towers which I think will be very handy indeed.

This completed candle is embellished with a diamante` studded shape, echoing the Art Deco lines of the little vintage sugar bowl. I tinted the wax a delicate peach colour and scented it with Lemon Verbena. 



This second one, below, is my first attempt at Faux Mercury Glass. It wasn't what I'd call a raging success, but it's still a very pretty effect. This is a really substantial candle weighing a good 600gms which will last absolutely ages. It's scented with a Chanel No 5 oil from Wellington Fragrance, and embellished Chanel style, with a black satin ribbon and crystal buckle.










These three below are the ones I made the other day. One peach as mentioned above, two pink. The Feather topped one is also scented with Chanel No. 5, and the baby pink one on the right, is scented with Estee` Lauder White Linen. Divine.



It's a simple 3 step process. 

1. Use your chosen vessel to scoop twice into the soy wax chips. You need double the amount of wax chips as when they melt, they collapse. I've been using half a dye chip to get this pretty pastel result, so add that. Put the soy wax and the dye chip, into a microwave safe glass jug.

2. Microwave on High, for about 2 minutes, stirring with a chopstick to assist the chips in melting.

3. Add as much fragrance oil as you like (about half a teaspoon is good), stir, and pour the melted wax into your selected vessel, adding the wick with the disc attached (I bought wicks that already had the anchoring disc on them), to the bottom centre. Allow it to solidify. You're done!

Now a lot of tutorials tell you to tie the wick to a pencil across the top of the jar or glass to keep it in place. These wicks I bought were really good quality and quite thick so that wasn't going to work. I also bought long ones to give me the versatility to use them in different containers. So I got a mixing bowl and put about 7cms (3 inches) worth of water in it. I sat my newly created candle in the bowl very carefully, and gently, one by one, added ice cubes to the water. This enabled me to cool the wax quickly, especially at the base, where I needed to anchor my wick. Then it was just a matter of holding the wick base in place with a chopstick, for about 2 minutes until the wax solidified sufficiently to hold the wick in place. It worked well! 

Once my candles had solidified, I simply trimmed the wicks, added embellishments and I was finished. I made three beautiful, designer grade soy wax candles in 45 minutes. Total cost about $6 each including the designer scent, and the embellishments. And I have enough wax and accoutrements, to make another 16 candles! Similar candles sell for anything from $20 to $200, so I consider that money well spent!

Today I also found these adorable little apothecary bottles with a bird stopper. I followed Annabels instructions for her Hollywood Bubble Bath which I wrote about here, tinting the blue bubble bath with a drop of red food colouring to get this pretty lavender colour, and scented it with Lavender essential oil. A purple bow to finish makes a special gift for under $4. I now have 6 of these lined up prettily for gifting for Valentines Day.






Creating gifts that people will love receiving doesn't have to take much time. A bit of planning ahead will stand you in good stead, and see you smiling on December 1st, as you wrap your beautiful hand crafted gifts, and admire your bank balance.

You can do it!

...Mimi...
 
Sharing at:
 
The Charm of Home

47 comments:

  1. Mimi, they are just beautiful candles, and soo pretty, and the bubble bath colour is lovely as is the sweet wee bottle and stopper.The recipients will love them!Is that Wellington fragrance company here in NZ ? Love Maria xx

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    1. Thankyou Maria :) The fragrance company are actually in Canada I think. I know...sounds like your end of the world doesn't it! Mimi xxx

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  2. I'm so pinning this. You inspire me to try things I never thought I would. Thank you for such loveliness. :)

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    1. I'm glad I've inspired you to try something new and pretty Melinda. You'll have fun with it, I'm sure! Mimi xxx

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  3. Simply stunning! I've been waiting for this post! Thank you for including your sources for supplies. Blessings, Leigh

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  4. Mimi,the candles are beautiful and I'm going to add the bubble bath idea to my Christmas gift giving list. I love the lavender color! Thanks for including the instructions for both!

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  5. Simply beautiful! Thank you for sharing how you cooled them so quickly, I would have never thought of that. :)

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    1. Debbie, it was one of those 'Heck what do I do now' moments. Thank goodness the brain was working that day...lol! Mimi xxx

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  6. A shame that none of my friends or family want to do gifts any more, these are lovely. Sigh.........

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    1. You could always make them for yourself or to donate to a womens shelter? Love, Mimi xxx

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  7. Hello, This is truly a very lovely craft and gift! I did Pin it! You did an amazing job! Thank you for sharing!
    Blessings,Roxy

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    1. You're a darling Roxy. Thanks for the pin. Love, Mimi xxx

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  8. Only one word~BEAUTIFUL! Thanks so much for sharing wonderful ideas. Have a beautiful week, Lynn

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    1. Thankyou Lynn. You are a sweetheart...xxx

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  9. Wow! You are one organized lady!

    And, your gifts are beautiful.

    Thanks for Sharing Your Cup!

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    1. Thankyou for visiting, and for the lovely comment! Mimi xxx

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  10. We think so alike....I have already collected a number of martini and champagne glasses to make candles for gifts this year, and researched where to buy soy wax etc and I check out your blog and lo behold this is your theme.... Last year I did body butters lip glosses etc, the year before chutneys etc from produce in my garden and now everyone is looking forward to the gift theme of the year. It is so satisfying to give a gift made with love that is truly appreciated.

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    1. Oh that sounds lovely! I agree. Gifting something hand crafted, that the recipient loves, is a really good feeling :) Mimi xxx

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  11. Wow Mimi, you have created some beautiful gifts here! and on such a budget!?! Great work; I know they will be treasured~ Karen O

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    1. Thankyou Karen. I think so too. Mimi xxx

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  12. I love candles but I've never tried my hand at making them. It sounds like fun! I hope you can stop by:

    http://collettaskitchensink.blogspot.com/2016/02/book-review-heart-divided-by-kathleen.html

    Colletta

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    1. Hi Colletta. Lovely to meet you. I'll stop by and say hi. Mimi xxx

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  13. Your candles are ever so lovely, Mimi! Very elegant too and the perfect gifts for ladies...I love how you've declared this year to be a homespun year - there is something so satisfying in having handmade gifts on hand to bless others with! Thank you for your ideas!
    With love...
    Kelly-Anne

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    1. I agree Kelly-Anne. Just knowing you always have something lovely on hand to gift is like having a special little secret...lol! Thanks for visiting. Mimi xxx

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  14. Mimi I just love those bottles with the bird stoppers ~ would you please share where you got them from.

    PamelaG xo

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    1. Hi Pamela. They were a lucky find at a discount store called Bargain City. I think like a lot of things at those stores, you just have to be in the right place at the right time. Another idea though, is that you can buy fancy bottle stoppers on eBay in all kinds of shapes for around $3.50. Then you can repurpose wine bottles, using the pretty stoppers. Do you know anyone who drinks wine who could pass their empties on? Or could you ask at a local restaurant? Clear bottles would work best I think :) Hope that helps. Love, Mimi xxx

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    2. Thanks Mimi, I'll keep my eyes open

      PamelaG xo

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  15. I would love to try, I have so many containers and embellishments, that this would be a wonderful idea to recycle them

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    1. Pili, if you can make a cake, you can definitely make candles! Mimi xxx

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  16. Oh, they sound delightful. And I bet they smell wonderful. And you saved heaps of money on a gift so many will be glad to receive. It's a win win DIY project.

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    1. It really is win-win Heidi. You're right! Thanks for stopping by. Mimi xxx

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  17. These are so beautiful! I'm totally inspired to go and buy up all the bon bon pots in the charity shop ready to upcycle them.

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    1. Oh I'm thrilled to have inspired you Sam! Mimi xxx

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  18. You have INSPIRED me. I am working on making homespun gifts this year from my quilting supplies. But these candles would make wonderful gifts as well! Have to try a couple to see how I do. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Beth, you'll be thrilled with the results. They really are such an easy thing to make and so beautiful! Mimi xxx

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  19. Oh, these are gorgeous, Mimi! I love all those fragrances and how lovely to make your own candles as gifts. Fabulous idea and thank you for sharing at No Place Like Home.

    Blessings,
    Sandi

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    1. I always love visiting you Sandi. I'm glad you love the candles too. Mimi xxx

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  20. Ok, my last comment disappeared... Anyways, these are great gift ideas and your presentation of the candles are marvelous! Thank you for sharing this on the Art of Home-Making Mondays!

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  21. What a great idea. I've always wanted to make my own candles but I've never really looked that hard into what I'd need to buy and do to make them as special as the ones I like to buy.

    Is there anything in particular I shouldn't use for a holder for the candles? I'd be worried in case they got too hot.

    Sally @ Life Loving
    #LifeLovingLinkie

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    1. Hi Sally. If you look at the candles sold in retail stores, you'll note that they're almost always glass or metal. I'd stick with that, but other than those specifications, anything is up for consideration! Teacups, bowls, vases, recycled containers from bought candles, terracotta pots (seal the hole in the bottom first!) and so on. Have fun with it! Mimi xxx

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  22. Mimi, I will be featuring this post at no Place Like Home on Monday. Happy Valentine's Day!

    Blessings,
    Sandi

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    1. Sandy, thankyou for featuring me! I don't know how I missed this post, but I appreciate it! Much love, Mimi xxx

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  23. How inspirational this post is, Mimi. Each one of those candles is gorgeous and worthy of sitting alongside those other expensive ones in those high end shops. Your candles would put the others to shame. I have never really thought of making my own candles, nor did I know that it was so much cheaper than buying one. As you say the most perfect of gifts.

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    1. Dear Kim, you say the loveliest things! I agree, they're worthy of any high end store, aren't they? Mimi xxx

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I love hearing from you! I always respond to comments, so don't be shy! Mimi xxx