Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Candle Burning Tips

Woo! It got cold this past weekend here in Dallas! Time to bundle up with some blankets and relax at home with your favorite holiday candle burning to fill your home with yummy smells.

So we thought it would be a good time to post some candle tips to help you burn your candles safely and help you get the most burn time out of them.

A little science lesson first though...Just exactly how does a candle work? Understanding this process is important for candle makers but will also help you understand how to use and enjoy candles more :)
The wax in a candle serves as the fuel for the flame and is absorbed into the wick through capillary action. Too much melted wax and you can drown out your flame, not enough and you will starve the flame of fuel to continue burning. This brings us to our first candle burning issue, inadequate burn time.

A common problem we see with candles is inadequate burn time. A candle needs to burn approx one hour for every inch in diameter. When candles are not burned long enough to create an even wax pool, it will not allow all the wax to melt in future burns, and will leave a wall of wax around the wick. It is important that every time you burn your candle, you allow it to burn long enough to melt all the way across to prevent it from tunneling down. Sometimes when a candle tunnels down too far, there is too much melted wax and your candle will eventually drown itself out. When you don't have enough time to burn a candle for a few hours, consider burning a tealight or votive.

Example of uneven melting:

Proper candle melt pool:

Another cause of uneven melting is placing your candle in drafty areas. Not only will this cause uneven melting, but it may cause wax to splash out of the container or the wick to smoke.

In addition to that, another way to keep wick smoke to an absolute minimum it to keep the wick trimmed to 1/4" before burning your candle. A flame that is too big may melt too much wax for the candle to burn and may drown itself out. Don't cut it too short though or your flame will not be big enough to melt the wax!

What can you do if one of your candles starts to tunnel? Take a knife or spoon and scrape out the excess wax that has formed a wall around the wick. This will help allow your candle to burn properly, provided you allow it the correct amount of burn time in the future.

When you want to extinguish your candle use a dipper or snuffer to put it out. This will create less smoke and soot. If you don't plan to burn a candle for a while, store them in a cool dry place to preserve the fragrance.

One last tip-Never, ever leave a burning candle unattended! Regardless if you have kids or pets-it is never safe!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Made in Far North Dallas-Regal Cottage

Woot woot! Etsy Dallas member Regal Cottage is the next shop featured in the Far North Dallas Advocate!

Check out the article here and her shop here.

We are a little envious of her super organized craft room :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

How to Make a Chalkboard Drawing

All over Etsy, Pinterest, Craft Gawker and other crafty DIY websites you can find super cute pictures chalkboard walls and drawings...How do they make them look so perfect? Well, it is possible that they are super talented artists-it's also possible they used this easy trick.

Let's face it...fonts and lettering are hard to draw perfectly, and chalk is not the most exacting of mediums...So leave that work to someone else. You can find tons printable drawings and quotes online, the one I used for this tutorial is from Etsy shop Lady Lee and Drew Jones. You can also make your own printable quotes-just open up MS Word or Photoshop and type it out, you can find cool free fonts at dafont.com.

Once you find what you are looking for, print it out in the appropriate size. The one I downloaded was too small (and I also don't have a working printer at home right now) so I blew it up in Photoshop and sketched it out.

 Next, turn your image over and rub chalk all over the back so it covers all of the printed image on the other side.

Once the back is covered in chalk, tape your image onto the wall and make sure it is level. Use painters tape if you have it to protect your walls.

 Now you're ready to trace. Use something with a wide enough tip that it will transfer the chalk clearly to your wal l(but not too big that smaller text looks blurry). My image was pretty large so I used a pencil eraser-I also liked it because it was soft and wouldn't leave indention in my wall.

 Once you're done with that you can pull your printed image off the wall and you should be left with a good transfer of the image on your wall. Fill in any gaps in the drawing by hand, and clean up any smudges or unclean lines with a q-tip.

I have always liked this quote, and while it is fitting for most occasions, I think it is especially so during this time of year. With all the go go go of the holiday season, remember that you can say NO to the crazy in your life...sometimes it is better to skip that next holiday party and relax with a glass of wine at home :)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Made in Far North Dallas!

Wow, we are super excited that the Dallas Advocate (for Far North Dallas) featured us in their holiday shopping guide! Check out the article here

We had to do a crazy quick cleaning spree for the photographer to get this pic because we were in full on holiday production mode! You can see all of our fragrance and essential oils in the background as well as some "test" octopi soaps in the foreground :)

Woodland Creatures

My last post featured foxy finds from Jingle Bash artists...today I think I'll add a few more woodland creatures to the mix :)

Don't forget the Jingle Bash is Saturday, Nov 23 from 11-6pm!

Owl Skirt by Freckled Chicken www.etsy.com/shop/FreckledChicken

Baby Toy Ball with Rattle by Regal Cottage www.etsy.com/shop/RegalCottage

Sasquatch Greeting Card by Refill My Glass www.etsy.com/shop/refillmyglass

Racoon Plushie by Regal Cottage  www.etsy.com/shop/RegalCottage

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sly Like a Fox - Jingle Bash

Wowza! The Jingle Bash is quickly coming up! We have lots of great artists this year and hope to see you all there!

Today I've rounded up some of my favorite foxy items from shops that you will see at the Bash.

Fox Watercolor painting by Anna Tovar www.etsy.com/shop/annatovar

Foxy Fox T-Shirt by Dowdy Studio (I bought this shirt and can assure you it is super soft and comfy!)

Fox Lunch Bag by Dozy Dotes Totes www.etsy.com/shop/dozydoatstotes

Fox Bookend by Ray Lynn Woodshop www.etsy.com/shop/RayLynnWoodShop

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

DIY Refrigerator Side Storage

As I have mentioned before I live in a loft, and for those of you that know about loft living, you know there is absolutely no storage space. At. All. So I am on a constant quest to find ways to store and contain all the stuff in my house. I also want to pull the doors off my kitchen cabinets-but where will I put all the random food stuffs (because it is highly unlikely that I will keep that organized-ever).

Then I came across this gem on Pinterest-a skinny storage rack that goes between your wall and your fridge-genius! After some measuring, I was off to Home Depot.

Classy Clutter Canned Food Storage

I measured that I have 4.5” of space between my wall and fridge and my fridge is about 70” tall. I wanted the whole thing to be able to fit completely behind my fridge and be hidden when not in use, so I measured it for 2’ deep and 65” tall (the casters on the bottom are approx 3” high). I guesstimated that I would need a max of 9 shelves, but I ended up only using 7.

Supplies you will need:
  • 2 1x4’s cut to the desired height you need
  • 2 1x4’s cut to the desired depth you need
  • 7 1x4’s cut to be 1.5” shorter than your desired depth
  • 7 3/8” wooden dowels cut to 1” shorter than depth, or if you want to be fancy/lazy like me you can use inexpensive telescoping curtain rods (keep in mind this will add 3/8” to the width of the shelves)
  • 1 Drawer Pull
  • 4 2” metal casters
  • 1 thin board cut to the total external dimensions of your shelf

Tools you will need:
  • Drill
  • Wood screws
  • 2” nails
  • Finishing nails
  • Hammer

Start by putting all boards together to make the main structure. I used two screws per shelf to secure them to the frame. Play around with placement of the shelves to make sure they will fit everything you need. I had some shelves at 7” tall and others at 11”.

 Attached the rods to front of shelving approx 1.5-2” above each shelf using a finishing nail on each side. If you would like to go the dowel route, see below.

(Dowel Instructions: Drill holes for dowels that are about ¼” from the edge and about 1.5”-2” from the shelf. Insert dowels into holes. Use wood glue for extra support).

Next, paint your cabinet and back board. Since the wall that I was putting this against is painted black chalkboard, I decided to paint the cabinet with leftover chalkboard paint so it would “disappear” when not in use. The backboard I used was MDF chalkboard, and the rods were already black so I left them as is. 

Then attach the backboard to the frame using finishing nails all the way around the perimeter. Attach the casters and the handle and you're done!

Remember, this storage is not attached to anything that keeps it upright. Strategically placed casters will help keep it balanced, but DO NOT pull this all the way out and think it will balance on it’s own. When I pull mine out I usually leave the last inch or two behind my fridge for stability.

The final product look like this:

After using my new storage for a little while, I can offer some suggestions that may or may not improve on this design…
  • I would probably buy rigid casters instead of swivel casters. There is always one caster that wants to turn around wonky and makes the shelf hard to pull out
  • I would also consider attaching the unit to a track mounted on the wall so it was anchored to something to keep it from tipping over if you accidentally pulled it out all the way. This would require pulling the fridge out to install, so it’s not worth it for me, but if you had small kids at home it might be worth it

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Adventures in DIY Home Improvement-Reclaimed Wood Shelves

I decided recently that I wanted to update the decor in my loft and give it a more industrial feel. Among the many things on my list, I want to change up my gallery wall where my photographs are displayed. When I originally hung the photos, I was excited, but I quickly realized covering a 9x8 section of my wall a) cut down on a lot of reflective light, and b) did not quite have the look I was going for.

Then I came across this pin on Pinterest and it was perfect-I love the look of the reclaimed wood, and the industrial feel. Off to Etsy I went, shopping for reclaimed wood shelving...I am truly impressed with the level of craftsmanship I found there, but no one had 7' shelving, and at the prices listed for 3-4' I wasn't going to be able to afford it anyways!

So I turned to the internet for a DIY solution and found this great tutorial: the simple life: Lusting for [Restoration Hardware] and decided that I could handle making them myself. The only difference is I didn't really want to beat up the wood shelving myself, so I set off to try to purchase some reclaimed wood. After looking up some local architectural salvage places in the area, I found some great reclaimed wood...$150 for 15' (I need 35' total), maybe it was reclaimed from somewhere really fancy, but it was too much to pay for old planks. I finally ended up at Orr Reed Wrecking, and jackpot! Found nice old weathered wood planks for 50 cents a foot (happy dance)! They even offered to cut them to the length I needed.

It took two weekends (and half a dozen trips to Home Depot) to finish-one weekend to finish and seal the shelves and one to mount them. First think I did was roughly sand the boards to get rid of anything that might splinter. Next it needed to be sealed. I used Varathane semi-gloss and did two coats to get a nice seal on them.The hardware was all ordered from Amazon and Home Depot, and is black malleable piping which has a nice industrial feel.
Black Malleable piping parts to make the shelf brackets.
*As an aside, my sweet dad always saves the Sunday comics for me and I get loaded up every time I come visit :) 

Once the brackets were assembled it was time to start mounting the shelves to the wall. I have a very specific but handy way of hanging things to make sure they are level, especially when you are dealing with large items (mirrors, art, etc...). It involves measuring everything (from the floor and ceiling) and marking the mounting points. Then you stretch painters tape across, and check that with a level-then you always get it right on the first try!
Template to mark the shelf bracket holes

Tape marked off and leveled for where the shelf brackets will go

Closeup of the shelf and bracket

The finished product with my photography back on the shelves!
The "before" shot with the gallery wall-looks cluttered

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