I love candle light! In fact, I quite prefer it.
Growing up in a place where the power went out frequently for extended periods of time I got used to the flickering lumiation that fire light provides.
My mom taught us how to make candles when we were young. Sand candles, molded candles, dipped candles, multicolor totally crazy candles etc…
She believes (as do I) in being proficient in the the old crafts. The skills that used to be necessary daily like making cloths and light. She is a more then adequate seamstress and made all of the family’s Renaissance costumes from infant to adult.
In the back here you can see my mom using her spinning wheel. A gift given to her one birthday by our dad. Then assembled with child labor, as all thing were in our household.
My sister, mom and I used to go to the shepard’s house, right down the street from my best friend. We would watch the collie round up the flock, help with the shearing and bring home bags full of raw wool.
That’s where the fun starts! You then get to- sort, clean, dye, card and spin the wool. She would sell skeins of yarn locally or knit it herself- yet another amazing talent my mother possesses.
What does that have to do with candles you ask?
I had to reclaim the wax from our failed hive of last year. I didn’t want to reuse the comb for our new colonies, just in case. The most logical use of the resulting wax was candle making.
But first you (I) have to get the wax off the frames. I start by cutting out the drawn comb and foundation then wrap that in cheese cloth.
Then go to work getting the bits off the frames. This is not so much for the wax but so I can get new foundation in there easier.
A hot water bath will do the trick and is far easier than trying to scrape it out of the grooves.
When the frames are functional again I put the cheesecloth wrapped comb in the boiling water and weigh it down with rocks. The wax will filter through the cheesecloth and float to the surface. When it cools you have sheets of filtered wax.
Then you are ready to dip candles!
I do this part inside.
One of the frames was wobbly so I took it apart to make my wick dippers (I’m sure they have a name but I like mine better.)
In my fist attempt I didn’t leave a end out so I can rest them when they are cooling.
Ten minutes later…
When dipping candles the most important thing is to get the wick straight early, within the first five dips. Otherwise, any imperfections will just keep getting worse and the end product will not burn right.
The only real trick from here on out is to make sure you only dip each pair once or twice and let it cool. I should have a thermometer in the wax but just tweak it as I go.
Then you dip, and dip, and dip, and dip…. till your arm wants to fall off but in the end you have:
I had pressed some flowers from the yard and wanted to see if I could stick them on (a tequnique I’m sure I saw at the Renn fair as a child)
I thought they came out nicely so I did some more.
They will be available at the Greenland Farmers Market tomorrow-$13 a pair. We hope to see you there!
We have also been making citronella candles in decorated jars.
There you have it. We hope to see you tomorrow.
No matter where you end up, enjoy this amazing sunny weather. This is my first summer outdoors in over a decade and I have to admit it is an amazing thing!
Be well (see I only did it the once.)