The crazy wreath making time of the year. I was going to show you a different one from what you see right now. The one I planned (for two years), made and then I realized I can’t show you because my mom reads along… So I had to come up with another idea.
Looking around in my chaos that is my craft lab the idea of a cozy advent wreath hit me. Well maybe it was because I am all crazy about my french knitting lately. So why not combine the two and make a nice simple french knitted advent wreath, right?
Let’s make this french knitted advent wreath:
1. You need: a wreath form, glue (gun), wool and a french knitting tool.
2. First you have to make your yearn thread (or as I call them sausage). I used a ball of 50 meter yarn for a xx cm wreath form.
3. Decide your layout. You could wrap it around the form or you could layer it starting in the middle. I decided on the latter.
4. Next one is simple. Glue to the form. You can pull the thread a bit if you need. I did that towards the end because I thought it might not be enough. In the end I was left with a bit extra to make the little bow.
5. Time for decoration and candle attaching. You need four nails, candles and deco material to your liking.
6. I clipped of the nail heads with pliers. Then I heated the nail over a candle flame and drove them into the candle. I learned that the candle will not break as easily if you heat the nail. Due to the wick it is often tough to place it directly in the center. If you manage that would be preferable so that the candle will be straight on your wreath. Otherwise it could be a bit tilted.
Now comes the fun part of decorating your wreath. I already liked the clean look of the braided style of the thread so I just added a few sparkles by glueing little bells onto the wreath. (As you can see I didn’t use the lavender ribbon I originally intended.)
As this wreath is made of wool and tall candles it’s really nothing I want to leave unattended in a room. So maybe I would add some metal candle holder in a future project.
Now I am curious. Have you made your advent wreath already? What does it look like? Please leave a link if it is on your blog/Instagram. I always love looking at other creations.
I have a confession to make: I am not big into Easter decorations at all. Heck I don’t even own Easter decorations. Usually it’s just a pot of flowers and that’s about it.
I grew up with a one simple decoration. Every year we would cut some birch twigs and put them in a huge vase. On Saturday before Easter we would then hang easter eggs to decorate. And as I grew up in a area in Germany where there is a minority called Sorbs living, most of our eggs where made in their traditional way – at least that’s how I remember.
Since last year I was having the urge to give this craft another try. I remember we did it as kids but the eggs probably looked horrible. Maybe I can find some on this year’s Easter bouquet.
The sorbs have four different techniques for decorating their easter eggs but I only know how to do the wax batik technique. Wax is applied with special quills to the eggs shell and in various usually very detailed and complicated patterns. Then it is dyed. Different colors can be achieved by dying in many different steps and in-between applying more wax.
To make Sorbian Easter Eggs with the wax batik technique a bit of preparation required though.
I recommend doing this technique on blown out eggs. It is time consuming and it would be sad to have them broken on Easter morning. However it’s up to you but make sure to boil them before starting to craft. Usually the eggs have stamps on them that need to go. With a bit of soap and a brush or sponge you usually get it off. You could also use nail polish remover but you really need to wash the eggs carefully afterwards otherwise the dye will not stick.
Feathers are your drawing or better stamping tool for this craft. It’s important to get feather from the wings and goose feathers* are recommended. Then you cut of most of the thin hairlike thingies left and right of the bone of the feather until you have only the tip left. (Sorry not sure how that is called in English but you hopefully know what I mean.) Now you cut your shape. (I just read that a cutter is better suited than scissors… Well next time…) For basic patterns you would need a triangle, a drop, diamond and a arrow shape. The dots are made with the heads of a pin.
In the picture below you can see what kind of (traditional) shapes can be made with those basic tools:
Once you have the quills you need the wax. It is important to use a mixture of regular candle wax and bees wax. The bees wax makes it more flexible to apply and also easier to get off as it melts faster. You also need a tinplate spoon. I used mine out of New Years Eve lead-pouring kit. Then set up you station by curving the spoon in a 90° angle and pushing it into a flower pot. Place a tea light underneath and add a bit of wax to the spoon. Now you are ready to go.
How to do Sorbian Easter Eggs.
Your first egg will probably look horrible. Its ok because it’s to learn how the quill works. It is important to work fast and with a steady hand. Not always easy.
Put your quill to the wax and make sure its fully soaked (first time) or fully melted (after already using it). You can see tiny little bubbles.
Now press the quill to the shell and remove immediately. I found it to be practical to remove the tip by slightly moving it towards your body (always making sure you don’t mess up the pattern). If you let the quill rest too long the wax will melt and then you have to jerk the quill away and usually this results in tiny wax drops all over the egg shell.
When you are done with your pattern you can dye your egg. Use only cold dye otherwise the wax will melt. If you are planning to do a two colored egg you only need to have it in the dye a very short time. Otherwise the difference is hard to see.
The following picture shows the steps for a simple wax batik egg with only one dyeing:
1. your cleaned egg // 2. wax is applied // 3. after dyeing // 4. after wax is removed
And here you can see the steps for a two colored egg.
1. your cleaned egg // 2. first coat of wax applied // 3. after first dyeing // 4. second coat of wax applied on dyed surface // 5. after second dyeing // 6. after wax is removed
You get the idea. You can go with multiple dyeing rounds when your pattern requires it. My brain however can only think ahead two rounds.
4. Once you are done with your egg you can start to remove the wax. We used to do it over an gas flame but this time we put the eggs in the oven. Preheat oven to 50°C/120°F, put paper towels on your grate or baking pan and add eggs for about 3 minutes. Wipe of melted wax with an old rag. Tada and you just made your first Sorbian Easter Egg.
How to do patterns.
This is the hard part, something coming with practice I guess. However I found it useful to divide up your egg by either going in a circle from top to bottom or by making a line at the thickest part of the egg. This gives some direction to help with the symmetry. And symmetry is key when it comes to Sorbian eggs. For more complicated patterns I thought it was easier starting from the middle and working your way out of the pattern. I saw online that some people predraw the patterns with a pencil. I don’t understand how this works as you can’t get it of once the wax is covering it. Maybe after dying but that requires the dye covers the rest of the predrawing. Well you figure it out and let me know.
So who has some Christmas candles left over?! Or who is gathering used, half burned candles in some weird place? Or who never finds the right color anyways?
I sure raised my hand for all and yelled yes.
Ever since my dad introduced me to candle making about 25 years ago (holy crap…) I keep collecting candle remains. The other day I came across my designated candle box, trying to fit in more and realized it’s time for candle cooking.
And with BBQs coming up and long nights on the balcony or one or two invites it’s good to stock up.
I usually have a very old pot I use. Unfortunately due to decluttering I brought it back to my dads workshop. But I had seen this idea of using a regular can and was intrigued.
2. Break up your candle and wax pieces so they fit the can. As smaller the pieces the faster they melt.
3. Remember how color works! If you put all colors together most likely you end up with brown candles. Maybe not what you have in mind for summer candles. I started with plain white for the first ones so I could go darker. Other way around will leave you with a faint color.
4. Pour water in your pot and place can inside. Make sure it doesn’t tip over and water gets into the pan. (No I have not tried that…)
5. Wait till all wax is melted.
6. While you wait, cut up tetra packs. They should be a bit higher than your candlewick is long. Push your wooden sticks through your tetra pack. They will support the wick from moving/drowning once the wax is filled in.
7. Fill melted wax into your mold. Be sure not to drown wick. Some wicks will melt, the good ones won’t. You never know when buying.
Bonus: if you want to add some special effects do it now. I added some glitter before pouring wax and sprinkled some on top. You could add all materials that won’t rot like coffee beans, dried flowers, glitter, toys and what not. Just make sure they don’t start a fire.
Now have some fun!
Things I’ve learned:
Using a can in a water bath takes much longer, but you can throw it out
Using a can gives you the possibility of doing more colors
It still kinda makes a mess
I need to figure out how to avoid this hole at the wick when candles start to dry. Any ideas?
I found using tetra packs as molds are genius. They come off in a second.
Have you ever made candles yourself?! Will you going to?
Wedding preparations are so fun and exhilarating but I am pretty sure you don’t plan what to do afterwards besides maybe go on a honeymoon or paying bills.
So pretty soon you’ll wonder: what am I gonna do with my bridal bouquet. Well look no further I’ve got the perfect way to preserve it.
The story behind
You will carry all those memories with you – in shape of a fancy necklace. I do for sure. In my wedding planning I know quite early how my bridal bouquet was gonna look like. It was either calla lilies or white peonies. When I decided on the peonies I just had to find the perfect little flower shop in a city I didn’t know and that is a bit too traditional for my taste when it comes to flower arrangement. But somehow I found Mrs John and when walking back to the train station looking for another shop but saw some candles in tiny dark alley which were so inviting that I decided I want to go in and get a feel. Just entering I knew that gone be it. She is doing my flowers.
So when I told her I wanted peonies she tried to move mountains to get me some. Unfortunately they did not deliver and 3 days prior to the wedding I had no idea how my bridal bouquet should look like or what to do because we had to take what she bought already. If someone told me I would marry in carnations I would have yelled: never! You must know I hate carnations because I think of them as communist flowers – but mainly the red ones. And I found this really cool idea of a carnation snowball. And that’s what I ended up. Nothing I would change only maybe a bit of color at the edge of the bouquet because than you actually see it in front of the dress.
But anyways, you wanted to hear about the tutorial. Well I am a bit into jewelry making and so it was pretty clear to me what I’ll do with my bouquet afterwards.
Step 1 – preparation
You can either do this with fresh flowers or with your dried bouquet – opens whole new possibilities doesn’t it?! I wanted to do mine with fresh but was sent on a surprise honeymoon.
Pick all the flower petals from your bouquet leaving a skeleton of the greens. This can be quite a meditative task.
Step 2 – cook
Yep throw them all in a big pot and add destilled water until covered.
Step 3 – blend and filter
Now through the whole gooey thing into a blender and go crazy. Once that is done take a fine mesh cotton clothes and filter out the water. The flower dough should be really dry with a consistency of cookie dough.
Step 4 – making beads
Now comes the fun part. Form little beads and stick them on your tooth pick. They really shrink! About 50%. I didn’t believe but it’s true. Let them dry. Best for several days (or in my case weeks). Unfortunately I forget to take a picture of the fresh beads.
Step 5 – get creative
I read that all flowers kinda turn some shade of brown when you cook them. Specially white ones have no color on their own to bring in. So I knew I was going to paint mine. But I still wanted to see the real bouquet. So I dip dyed my beads. Since they are not waterproof I also coated them with transparent paint. After that I made jewelry.
I like what I have turned my bridal bouquet into. Now it’s you turn!
Here is what you need:
– destilled water
– tooth picks
– paint (optional)
– clear varnish
are you online shopping crazy like me? I mean come on why hassle to the store, stand in line for the dressing room, fight your way to the cashier or not finding what you were looking for in the first place and ending up spending money that didn’t need spending…
Yes I am a big online shopper. I like it, it’s so much easier and much more relaxing.
However you do end up with all the boxing, papers, bubble wrap and what else. We keep some of it because we do sell online too but once in a while it’s just too big of a pile. That is when I start using the stuff laying around.
Like the other day I wrapped my friends birthday gift in boxing paper and added some masking tape.
I was quite happy with me. I thought it looked good, she liked it, less ruffle in my apartment and no trash in the can. Sounds like win-win for me.