Monday, April 24, 2017

How We Upcycle Old Candles into New Candles {did someone say cheap and easy D.I.Y. gifts?!}

I love essential oils and diffusing them, but there's something romantic and classic about an open flame {even though I have to be extra careful with kids and pets}, I just really love the sensory experience with the flicker of the flame.  And since I love to make things, I make my own candles.  I do this probably once a year.  It's not because it's too much work, it's a little bit of effort but something fun to do.  No the reason I do this once a year, is because I like to save the scraps from old candles and upcycle them into the prettiest of my jars.

You do have to be careful, because some wicks and candles can contain lead, but my mom sells partylite and she's always giving me seasonal soy based candles and unscented tea lights {I'm super sensitive to 'fragrance' - which is where my essential oils come in, later}.  So throughout the year, I burn those, and sometimes people buy me candles as gifts.  I save the scraps in a drawer in the bottom of my hutch with extra wicks, damaged beeswax candles kids got a hold of, the bottom of a jar you just can't seem to burn.  And I take all those and melt them down and repour them with new wicks...
here's my current stash of otherwise trash or recyclables.
//kids please stop biting my bees wax candles {don't worry I moved them to a new spot- even though my kids are old enough to know better} // oh yes, that's henna on my hand, no cause for alarm.
this is my candle making pan, wax is hard to clean and I don't want to cook in the same container I melt wax in so I keep this one just for this project, specifically.
I use a double broiler method to melt any unusable candles {where the wick is too damaged to light} and I add it to the pan.
this part can be a little dangerous because it's so hot, I suggest gloves and long sleeve shirts just in case something splatters.
dip the new wick in the wax and let it set up and cool off to act as glue before pouring in a bit more wax.
I do my candles in layers so that it has time to set up a bit while the other scraps are melting down.
I tried adding rocks to this one to make a cool effect but they're hidden by the wax so that was a waste. 
those gross old wicks just get scooped out once the wax is melted. 
these are left over from a skin care recipe, and since this is my favorite wax I used some of this for my green candles {I honestly don't even know what scent they were, probably unscented - I hope}. 
For this candle I wanted to use my favorite anti bug blend to put outside this summer.  Essential oils are best diffused for their therapeutic properties {because they degrade with heat}, but if you're after the scent of the oils you can totally use them in candles.  I'll let you know how this one worked after I test it, but I think TerraShield smells like marshmallows so I'm not going to complain if all I get is the scent. 
remember all that trash from the first photo? this is all that's left, everything else was recycled or upcycled back into the new candles.

// finished product.  I'm still waiting for them to cool but too excited to wait to share.

do you love candles? what's your favorite scent? and what's your favorite way to reduce waste and upcycle? tell me all the things?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Another Arizona Adventure.

//wild flowers blooming off the 1-17 near flagstaff at sunset. 
//we stopped overnight in flagstaff to eat dinner, because we left late on friday night.  we got there so late and after dinner, husband set up the tent at 10pm while the girls and I slept uncomfortably but slightly warmer in the car.  we woke up to breakfast burritos and a campfire.

 "Radioactive pollution kills, it's time to clean up the mines" it's time we stop ignoring native people and their requests for environmental respect.
//texture. + found.
 sure.  I ask him to take a photo of me, doesn't happen, pretty mountain get's his attention tho.
 same sonja.  same.
this should be a flowing river but a dam is upstream restricting wildlife and flooding a beautiful canyon we'll never see again, you might know it as lake powell.  you can educate yourself on dams and their destruction here
 once we were in the wilderness, we went for a walk.
 my six year old needs her own camera.
 here she is in awe of the tiny canyon that welcomed us.
  I think this is Hedysarum boreale, does anyone know for sure? 
 after our hike, we finally found our home away from home.
and there were even bones around our site, this appears to be the lower jaw of a cow broken in half.  I was shocked to see the tooth still in place.
"When I found the beautiful white bones in the desert I picked them up and took them home too...I have used these things to say what is to me the wideness and wonder of the world as I live in it."
-Georgia O'Keeffe 
we settled in for the night, I'm forever cold and this campfire was barely handling it.  I always need feet warmers and feel like a camping failure, any tips on how to increase your tolerance to cooler temperatures?
//sunrise from inside our tent.
warming up with freshly brewed cowboy coffee.
after loading up the car and finishing breakfast we set off on our hike to our intended designation (as some of you know I've stopped disclosing dispersed camping sites as a way to encourage your own adventures, you won't find this site on website or google maps, if you want to find places like it you'll need a good old fashion map with hiking trails and you'll need a four wheel drive vehicle, and two working legs to get to most places worth seeing, at least the places worth seeing without a bunch of other tourists in the background).
//hawks circling and blue skies.
 another moment captured though my daughter's eyes. {unedited, like all the images shared on this post}
 it's pretty impressive what a million years will do to the earth.
she came up with this all on her own; sand fairies {childhood mostly unplugged will create some wonderful memories - i hope.} and they kept calling it magic sand. I wonder what the canyons were telling them.
nature's sculpture.
until our next adventure, thanks for reading along, if you have any questions feel free to email me at {but no, I won't tell you exactly where this place is.}

For partnerships and collaborations please email me at