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May Arrives

A petite bouquet tucked into my closet window.

 

It’s nearly 1 pm on May Day and I’m just now getting into the studio. Just now thinking about this post! It’s been that kind of week so far. Which, might not bode well for the remainder of the week.

So, it’s a slow running day. Slogging, if you will. I picked up new glasses, much anticipated glasses, last Friday—and I’ve been struggling to adapt to my new prescription over the weekend. My eyes are exhausted and over taxed due to some sort of crazy blooming alder out-side. I’ll post photos when my eyes don’t look like they were just stung by a bee.  The adjustment to focusing differently has made me tired and, in an odd parallel, made it difficult to me to focus on work. I’m just a bit scattered. Exhibit A: this post!

 

I don’t know why, but I was enchanted with the aftermath. . . 

And it’s not been the best weather today for delivering presents, though I did get all of ours in place this morning—I’m hopeful our May Day presents won’t be a soggy mushy mess by the time my neighbors discover my gesture. I never think about water-proofing packages until I’m running for the car in a down-pour with a package tucked in my sweater. I attached little hang tags to the plants that said, “Happy May Day from the Oates Larsen Family.” Or, that’s what I hope they will still say after a few hours in the elements. Otherwise, my neighbors will be utterly confused. 

 

 

And I did manage to cut a few lilacs for the house this morning. I put a lovely bunch by my bedside—which might not be the smartest choice, considering all the allergy related bottles and medications that are already crowding my nightstand. But that fragrance is the prettiest thing to wake up to in the morning. And I’m already walking around with half sealed eyes, what a bit more pollen? 

 

 

In case you’re wondering, lilacs don’t  last long in vases. But you can do a few things to help prolong the experience:

  • Cut early in the morning. And choose stems that haven’t completely bloomed yet. 
  • Cut the stems on an angle. Use a serrated knife not scissors. Split woody stems up 1″. 
  • Place in warm water. Never set the vase in direct sunlight.

 

Happy May Day! 

Future Selves

A gorgeous A-Frame Tent for the wee ones. Tutorial via Grosgrain Fabulous

 

IZ and I took a lovely walk this morning—a break in the weather often finds us briskly walking our “loop” in an attempt to avoid the rain. Today, we bumped into our neighbor who is moving. Conner is just about four and very excited to be going to Grandma’s house where there is a brand new kitchen waiting for him. A pint sized kitchen made just for him… in boyish colors. Apparently, that’s important. Grandma explained, “We decide to turn an extra room into a playroom for the boys instead of another guest room.” In this room there is a magical kitchen set just waiting for a very excited  four year old.  Conner  is always going to remember that kitchen—it will be bigger and better and so much cooler in his memory than it actually was. And that’s because it’s been imbued by the magic of Grandma Love!

I love this plan! A room for the grandbabies to play. It’s not as if we have any expectation of grandchildren soon. Our son is just 15 and he’s already showing signs of being a lab rat. I’m not holding my breath. But IZ and I are still planning. Because planning is a good thing. We want to do it right. 

Today’s encounter with Conner reminded me that I’ve been wanting to share my Pinterest boards with you.  IZ and I have been pinning to a board called “The Grandparent File“.  The adorable play tent is just one of our pins (and yes, I’m already collecting cool vintage fabric for this project!) and we’re having fun imagining our future selves. Our world is a colorful world. And we have every intention to sharing it with another generation. . . in time!

I shared our idea board with Geo last night. He approves.  I looked at him and said, “See this is why you have to have a bunch of kids! I have projects to do.” Geo is a good sport about his mother’s delusions. And he knows there is no pressure. His father and I are happy with the idea of grandbabies at the moment. Our future selves can wait.

 But in the meantime, we’re happily pinning. I hope you’ll join us! (let me know if you need an invite to Pinterest!) 

Burning Soy Candles

widechrisblis1

Winter Holiday Candle — Exclusively at Mireio

Last year, I posted this on my personal blog and I thought Mireio readers might like to see it now. Below you’ll find my whimsical approach to burning soy candles. It’s packed with great tips on how to  get the best burn life from your soy candle. And a solution if you’ve drowned your wick and your candle will no longer light.


Keeping the Home Fires Burning

Did you know that soy wax has a memory? Yep! It’s sentient and while you sleep it schemes ways of exacting its revenge! Apparently, it’s not too keen on being lit afire and being made to melt into viscous pools.  Ok, I exaggerate, but truth be told it does remember its last burn—and if you don’t maintain your candle properly, give it a little attention now and again, it can eventually burn itself out long before the wax is used. It’s a lot like love in this regard. You don’t get to light it and walk away! You have to fan the flames a bit. And now I’ve seriously run amok with a metaphor. Kick the dead horse, Wende, kick it! Ahem.

Where was I? Oh yeah, I thought you might like to know how to help your candle burn to its full potential. As it turns out, burning a soy container candle properly is rocket science.

You know what I said about not being able to light a candle and walk away? Yeah, I meant it. For safety reasons, please, please, please never leave a lit candle unattended. If you do light a candle and get, uh, distracted by that darling man you married and his proffer of champagne and moonlight, make sure that candle is out of kicking distance. Or tipping distance. Or tossing the pillow off the bed distance.  He might want to set the night on fire, but trust me there is nothing sexy about the fire department coming to your house when you’re in your underwear.  So, burn candles when you’re not burning–or make sure they’re out of reach.

And while you’re keeping them out of kicking reach, keep them out of drafts as well. A draft can cause a wick to drift far from center. Left or right, makes no difference—if your wick isn’t centered, it can’t reach its zen potential and that, my friends, will only lead to heartache.

You know what I said about candles and memory? Well, it turns out, soy wax’s memory might be longer than yours. It remembers its first burn. Ok, who forgets their first burn? Nobody, but wax especially remembers. And if it’s not a good burn, then your candle is on its merry way to being cold in no time. To keep that from happening, a first burn means your candle should burn until there is a wax pool across the entire width of the candle.  Get that? Entire width. If you blow that candle out before the entire top has melted, then the next time you light your candle it will burn consistently smaller and smaller circles until it no longer lights. It’s called tunneling, and it can happen to candles from the best of families.

You know what I said about trimming the wick to 1/4″? Ok, now you’re just making stuff up because I didn’t say diddly about trimming wicks. But you should. I’ve personally found that 1/4″ is too short. Make it a generous 1/4″ to keep that wax burning all the way to the edge.  If you find that the wick drifts away from center, gently move it back to center AFTER you blow out the candle. Moving wicks while they’re still burning is courting disaster.  Oh, who am I kidding? You’ll try moving it while it’s lit because you’re the kid who just had to put the key in the light socket. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

So, what happens if you don’t follow the rules and your candle starts to burn itself out? You’ve neglected to give your candle the proper attention it needs to thrive and it dies from your lack of care? What then, you lament. Whatever can you do?

Get a spoon.

That’s right, you heard me, get a spoon! Turns out, soy wax is very soft and is easily scraped out with an ordinary spoon. Scrape the excess wax along the side of the candle—the edges that you didn’t let completely melt the first time! Scrape it down until a generous 1/4″ of wick is showing and the top is fairly even. Then, grab your hair dryer—position the nozzle just high enough to melt the wax without blowing it and turn the dryer on. Keep heating that top layer of wax until the ENTIRE SURFACE melts to the edge. Why? Because soy wax has a memory. And you’re making a new one!

If that wax pool ends up being too deep, so that it drowns your wick, pour off the pool. Wipe down the inside edge of the candle. You should have an even top, an exposed wick, and a second chance at hot, hot burning love. Wait until the wax has completely cooled before re-lighting.

And this time. . . don’t neglect to keep the home fires burning. The entire surface. To the the edge.