16 January 2010

Wax On, Wax Off

The above title will justify my claims that I have a strange sense of humour...

This last weekend was spent in the kitchen much of the time. I LOVED it too. I never would have thought that making a mess and knowing I would have to clean it up later would result in such a pastime. However, I've discovered that I have tapped into a place of creativity and zen that I have never known before. On my journey to find my Authentic Self, I believe that the kitchen is one of the places I come out.

I decided I had to bake for my upcoming OPAC (that would be Online Public Access Catalog) Committee meeting. This is the first meeting I have had for these people in months, and we have a LOT of work to do in the future. Our libraries will be migrating to a new library automation system in about two years. This system is open-source, which means not only do we have more control and access to the bones of the system - we also have development to do. If I am going to make these demands of my library staffs, I want to make sure they have happy stomachs during these meetings. (Plus maybe then I can get them to agree with me more if they are distracted by food.)

I also threw down a couple dozen scones and muffins for church.

Oh yes, and stew for dinner. I was a productive mama.

So, once the dishes were washed up and the island cleared, I decided it was time to make candles. I got myself a simple kit from the local craft store. I had received beeswax tealights a while ago, and loved them. Needless to say they didn't last long, and I thought that learning to make them myself would be great. Then I could find local beekeepers, get an in on finding local honey and wax, and one day maybe have a hive of my own...

Okay, I was getting ahead of myself again. I am STILL waiting for the Animal Control Officer to get back to me on owning a beehive or chickens within city limits. Since before Christmas. I've heard one tell me that her neighbor's chickens were removed when discovered, however I want to hear it and see the regulation for myself. Or it isn't there.

But, I am still ahead of myself...

I picked up beeswax from the local craft store also. The kit came with paraffin, but no way am I making my candles out of by-product, thank you.

The directions were pretty simple, melt the wax to a certain temperature, fill your containers, set the wicks, do a second and third pour, and voila! Candles!

I thought, how difficult could it be to follow those directions? That thought should have been my first clue...

I chopped up the wax, deciding to do votives as I hadn't gotten any wicks for tealights yet. The set came with wicks for the votives, plus three molds.

Wax went into the pouring pot, which was set into a pot of boiling water. You don't melt wax over direct heat, but with the small amount of wax I used, the pot kept floating up. I finally got the handle braced over the edge of the pot, and the beeswax melted rather quickly.

I checked the temperature a couple of times until it got to where it was supposed to be, around 185.
Then into the molds they went. There was a bit left over, but that would be needed for the next pours. Then I only had to wait about 4-5 minutes to set the wicks. It would just be starting to cool, so they could be set in the bottom.

Aaaaaand...this would be where I went chasing butterflies or something. Checked email, talked with the niblets and hubby, looked at recipes for dinner. Something else. And who needs timers?

Well, obviously I do.

So, when I finally noticed that the candles were skinned all the way over, and after I had my "OHMYGODDESSWHATWASITHINKINGOHYEAHNOTABOUTTHISOBVIOUSLY" rant in my head, I popped the votives into the hot water again until they remelted enough to tuck the wicks in.

The second and third pours went more smoothly. And more under a watchful eye.

But eventually they were set, and they popped out of the molds easily. My first three homemade beeswax candles. Lessons learned - and hopefully remembered.

Now I have some knitting to catch up on.


  1. I love seeing and hearing about your crafty and foodie adventures. You are a dynamo. My thoughts have been turning in similar directions, with occasional bursts of activity, usually in the food direction. However, I did also make Lily a pair of wool pants out of two sweater sleeves. Looking forward to seeing you and the niblets very soon.

  2. "(Plus maybe then I can get them to agree with me more if they are distracted by food.)"

    Aha, now we are on to you!

    But please don't stop making baked goods . . .

  3. I did a similar wandering off thing while making ravioli the other day. They exploded. At least the water was a pretty shade of green....