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How to Make Old Candles Look New

January 15, 2014

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Who doesn’t love a tall pillar candle? Who doesn’t hate it when they start looking like the ones pictured above? I have a habit of accumulating a lot of these wonky candles in my candle stash because I’m too much of a spendthrift to toss them, and I never seem to get around to recycling the wax (which I always promise myself I’ll do). I try to tidy them up, either breaking or cutting off (a serrated blade works okay) their peaks, which makes them look weird in a new way. But with the help of an old iron and some aluminum foil, you can make misshapen candles look almost new. Here’s how you do it:

First put down a thick layer of newspaper or a section of aluminum foil on you work surface. Then cover an iron (preferably an old one, just in case) with heavy duty aluminum foil and crank up the heat to cotton/linen.

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While you’re waiting for the iron to get hot, trim the edges of your candles by either breaking them off. If they don’t break easily you can CAREFULLY use a serrated blade to score them at the desired breakpoint first. That seem to help. If you decide to cut the wax entirely, PLEASE be careful.

When the iron is hot, simply hold it up diagonally in one hand and a candle in the other. Gently touch the top of the candle to the iron and watch the wax melt like crazy. WARNING: the wax will smoke a little. (I would have included a picture, of this process, but my hands were tied, as it were.) Make sure you old the candle perpendicular to the iron for the straightest outcome. You might be temped let the iron rest on your work surface and simply hold the candle up to it. DON’T DO THAT. If you do, the slant of the iron will make the wax run down and onto the bottom of the iron.

When I said the wax melts like crazy, I meant it. It took about 10 seconds per candle to get them looking almost new. Check them out now:

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Nobody would know that they weren’t new and previously wonky!

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How to Make Over Your Pillows (Without Making Over Your Pillows) for the Holidays

December 20, 2013

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I found a nice piece of red microfiber suede in my stash last week, so I whipped up a big bolster for the sofa in our living room. I love the rich color, but it was too plain. For the holidays, anyway. I considered stenciling it but worried about messing it up, then all that sewing of the original pillow would have been in vain. (Not like the first time that’s ever happened.) Then it occurred to me: I could make a ‘sleeve’ for it and stencil on THAT. Then, when the holidays are over, I can remove the stencil and be back to plain rich-red.

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I cut ‘Joy’ out of sticky-back shelf liner using my Cricut and the Printing Press cartridge. A quick swipe with gold fabric paint and I was set. The sleeve itself is made out of some leftover linen. When I finished the sleeve, it was a bit see-through-y, so I lined it with some muslin which I adhered into place using good old Steam-a-Seam. (Love that stuff.)

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Wondering about future sleeves with other images I could make. Something for every season, maybe??

Totally On-the-fly iPad Tote

November 7, 2013

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I totally pants (as in, ‘flew by the seat of my pants’) this tote, and—much to my surprise—it turned out great. Sometimes I think I do better withOUT a pattern than with. Hmmm . . . wonder what that means? I made it to fit my iPad and included a couple of pockets outside to house my wireless keyboard too. Perfect for trips to the library or coffee shop. Next time, a tutorial???

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