Did you know it’s actually really easy to make your own scented candles? I didn’t, until a few days ago. But it is! And they are lovely!
I’m not sure if I believe all the rumours about scented candles bringing toxic chemicals into our homes, but it’s nice to know what goes into them anyway. I made the ones above using beeswax, coconut oil and essential oils (lemon myrtle, peppermint and mandarin). The scent of the oils is quite faint and the lovely fresh beeswaxy smell takes over a little – but that’s just fine with me. From what I’ve read, beeswax doesn’t hold the scent of the essential oils so well, so if you want something stronger then soy wax is the go. That’ll be my next candle-making venture, I think.
I made my candles with reference to these two tutorials, but not following either one exactly because that’s just how I roll. It’s really just a melt-and-pour process so you can’t mess it up too badly – or so I thought. My first batch tunnelled (i.e. they burnt down the middle instead of spreading out and melting all the wax) so I had to remelt and add a lot more coconut oil, which will hopefully make them softer and melty-er.
I think once you get the hang of it and perfect your wax to oil ratio and container size to wick size ratio, making your own candles is a lot of fun. It’s also a lot cheaper than store-bought candles and you can choose your own containers (I got mine from op-shops!) and customise the scents exactly how you like. It’s one of the simplest but most satisfying crafts I’ve tried, and I’ll definitely be making more soon.
Some days, I really, really don’t have the time to do anything creative. Chock-full of errands, appointments, writing and research, these hectic days are also the ones when being creative would benefit me the most. When my mind is buzzing and whirling and sitting down to make something would calm it right down.
As a result, I’m a big fan of the five-minute craft – perfect for squeezing into your study break. I thought I’d show you some of the speedy lil things I’ve been making lately. Maybe you’d like to make some too?
- Gift tags. Lots and lots of gift tags. These are perfect for using up leftover bits of card, ribbon and scrapbooking paper, and you can decorate them any way you like (I used a lot of washi tape!)
- Gift bows. I don’t know why, but these are so relaxing to make! I made mine with old envelopes and catalogue pages, basing them off this tutorial and altering them according to size.
- Fridge magnets. You know those huge ugly magnets you get from real estate agents with calendars or lists of emergency numbers on them? They’re perfect for cutting up into squares or fun shapes and decorating with painted paper, washi tape or whatever bits and pieces you like.
Some other things you could try: bookmarks, envelopes, printed or stamped wrapping paper, paper Christmas tree ornaments…
What are you five-minute creative fixes (crafty or otherwise)?
When I was a kid and people asked me what I wanted to be, I always said ‘artist’ or ‘writer’. I was going to travel and paint beautiful landscape paintings. I was going to write a series of novels that was at least as successful as Harry Potter. My parents encouraged creative pursuits as a form of relaxation and fun, but gently nudged me away from the idea of the arts as a career. (“Painters only get famous once they’re dead,” my mother told me once, only half joking.) I’ve since done the conventional uni-degree-as-a-backup-plan thing, and while I enjoy learning about my field, the desire to be an artist of some kind has always fizzed away in the back of my mind. As my forcible ejection from the cocoon of higher education and entry into the ‘real world’ of work draws ever closer, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be an artist.
I thought I’d share some articles, books and videos that I’ve been saving up: things that have helped me think more deeply about inspiration, the creative process, overcoming your own roadblocks, art as a business and all that good stuff. Whether or not you’re thinking about getting serious with your art, I hope these ideas will benefit you in some way.
- An ace motivational pep talk from Danielle Krysa (aka The Jealous Curator) on ignoring your inner critic and getting motivated:: here
- Ira Glass explains ‘the gap’ and why you feel like your art isn’t good enough:: here
- Illustrator Holly Exley responds to that age old question: should I work for free? :: here (check out the rest of Holly’s videos too – she is lovely and full of good advice)
- Fran Meneses is another good egg with good advice. I like her video about creativity and motivation:: here (have a poke around her other videos too!)
- 50 things every creative should know:: here
- Some young artists at Rookie have an eye-opening conversation about digital promotion, money vs passion, and more:: here
- Justin Heazlewood’s book Funemployed is the ultimate resource if you’re an Australian creative-type looking to go pro. It covers all sorts of things like getting a manager, promoting yourself, dealing with setbacks, and all the highs and lows you might experience in your career. It’s also very, very funny in a self-deprecating kind of way.
- And finally – I really love Brodie Lancaster‘s Rule of Three for taking on freelance work:: here (near the bottom, but read the whole thing!)
What do you reckon? Good advice, no?
If you’ve read or watched anything cool/useful on a similar topic I’d love to see it! Let me know!
I bought this plain purple top from my local op shop a while back, for no particular reason except that they were doing a 5 for $2 type of deal and I needed a fifth thing. After a bit of experimentation I found that it looked quite cute tied up into a crop over some high-waisted shorts. But it was still just a little bit… dull.
So I dug out my screen, squeegee and some eye-shaped stencils from a previous project and gave it a mini makeover.
I’m super happy with how it turned out. It really gives an already nice top just that little bit of extra individuality. What do you think?
I might keep going and do something with the collar as well – maybe a bit of trim will do the trick…