Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Daydreaming at Home ~ Snippets

Sometimes I daydream as I make my home. I’d like to think Louisa May might have tidied up and scrubbed the floor as I have, or Ma might have baked a few batches of bread that wasn’t quite perfect as I’ve done or that Mrs. Tittlemouse might have had a little cabinet just like this... with dried chilies dancing merrily above a shelf of filled mason jars.

The world may feel weird right now but home is still what you make of it.

🌢 🧺 πŸ…

“...aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.”

~ 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

Thursday, September 9, 2021

DIY Prairie Candles & The Seasons of Homemaking


In answer to “will you be going to work now that you’ve finished homeschooling your family and/or what will you do all day?”

This kind of stuff sometimes... 

the projects you always wanted to try but never had the time. Now is the time. 

That is the beauty of homemaking, there are so many enchanting seasons.

To begin, I prepared a make shift double boiler with a large coffee can.  This bypasses excess clean up as you can dispose of the waxy can afterwards with no remorse and zero extra work. Just add a few inches of water into a sauce pan and place your clean can inside. Add the wax of choice to the can and slowly melt it down (and you have a makeshift double boiler)! I would recommend using either beeswax pellets or soy wax pellets as they are both clean burning (aka non-toxic). Beeswax would be ideal as it has its own clean scent! However, it is quite expensive. I used the remaining soy wax from the last project making herbal wax sachets for these candles. (Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links meaning I earn a small percentage from any purchases).

It begins in your birth home, making your bedroom the place of your dreams ✨ 

As you age, you begin suggesting changes in the entire home (and mother smiles knowing you yearn for a nest of your own).

Finally, you arrive at the doorstep of said domain and desire to make it cozy and comfy for you and dear husband.

To make the "prairie candle" pretty, using a hot glue gun, glue a few dried flowers and leaves to the side of the chosen vessel. I used roses, calendula and the hydrangea and eucalyptus leaves I had dried myself. There is no rhyme or reason, the rustic look is completely acceptable here. I didn't put too much as I wasn't sure of the outcome once the candle started burning. Plus, I didn't want them to become a fire hazard. (Also, it would be wise to line the counter with newspaper or paper bags to make clean up convenient.) Edited to add - See fire hazard warning in comments. 

And then it begins to feel empty and you yearn to fill it with chubby little faces.

If God grants you that desire, the home becomes a training ground for the future Christian generation. It is a time of hard work, physically challenging while mentally challenging your patience and nerves (giving you growth). 
For some, the home education process begins and feels like it will last forever. You are tempted to rush through thinking it will never end and at the same time so sad knowing it someday will. 

Next, using a hot glue gun, glue the candle wick in place (centered). My candle wicks came with the bulk soy wax but you can purchase them separately. 

But please don’t hurry.

Because one day, it’s all over! 

Just like that! And here you are, making little prairie candles all by yourself.

Once the wick is in place, use a clothespin to frugally center your wick. They also sell fancy candle apparatus for this but my kit only came with two so I resorted to the handy clothespin for help. 

The rush won’t change the movement of time but it may affect the family memories.

I encourage you to slowly enjoy each season of womanhood. For the day will come when you will have the time and when you see those sweet young “struggling” families (like yours may feel like right now) and you will miss it!

In the meantime dear homemaker, let’s continue to create beauty in all our different stages.

Once my wax was melted down, I removed it from the double boiler and added in about 1/3 of it's volume in coconut oil. I was trying to stretch the candles a bit further. And once it was a bit cooler, I added in some essential oil for scent (I used some inexpensive ones I found on clearance). There is a science to this (ratio) but I'm not much of a scientist so I dumped in what I thought was adequate and called it a day. But if you'd like to be more "professional", you can research the ratio on candle making websites. 

For me (an almost empty nester), it may include creative homemaking projects, visiting/helping a new mother, administering to the sick, spending time with aging parents, learning new skills, getting more involved in the church, etc.

Once the candle cools, you can trim the wick down to 1/4" and they are finished. 

And while doing these things, our adult children see the variety and industry of home life and will carry beautiful feelings of home in their heart and into the homes they will one day have of their own.

As far as the containers go, I used a set of six thrifted etched glasses in the pictures above as I loved the look of them. Unfortunately the etch-work didn't show through that well. 

You can also use recycled jars which I did for the rest of them (see picture above) or recycled tin cans from canned goods (you can wallpaper the can with pretty paper after) or you can also use random tea-cups and so forth. The options are limitless. I can't wait to burn them come autumn and winter!

But remember, never leave candles unattended while burning... πŸ”₯ 

In these ways, the homemaker is never obsolete. She is valuable in every season. I will be a keeper at home forever.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

DIY Easy to Make ~ Herbal Wax Sachets

 “If you have been afraid that your love of beautiful flowers and the flickering flame of the candle is somehow less spiritual than living in starkness and ugliness, remember that He who created you to be creative gave you the things with which to make beauty and the sensitivity to appreciate and respond to His creation.” 

~ Edith Schaeffer, The Hidden Art of Homemaking

My 20 year-old daughter and I spent some time in the kitchen today with the heavenly scent of herbs and oils and wax. We melted, slowly stirred and delicately drizzled the slightly set “sachets“ with dried flowers and aromatic citrus. It is like capturing the seasons in a beautiful fragrant bar.

We will place our herbal wax creations in our closets and drawers to scent our little spaces for the chilly, cozy, autumn months ahead… we’ve done these kinds of projects together through all our years of homeschooling. It is a delight to do them now simply for the love of homemaking…

Supplies (some of these links on this post may be affiliate links):
  • dried herbs, dried flowers, dried fruit, dried spices  -- Some ideas include dried lavender, calendula, roses, hibiscus leaves (for color), chamomile flower, dried citrus (tutorial here), cloves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, allspice (I will be making fall-related ones next!), etc.
  • essential oils (your choice) -- I use the least expensive ones like orange for these types of projects.
  • baking tins, baking molds, silicone molds -- You can use cupcake tins, candy molds, silicone molds or even these ornament molds (shown two pictures below) that you can hang. Note: you can also poke a hole with a skewer (once they have completely cooled) in the top of the sachet to hang them from a hanger, doorknob, etc.
  • double boiler (see my makeshift, shortcut version below)

Make shift double boiler:

To bypass excess clean up, save up some of your discarded canned food tins to make a disposable double boiler (that means you don't need to clean up the wax residue after - you just toss your can!). Just add a few inches of water into a sauce pan and place your clean can inside. Add the wax to the can and you have a makeshift double boiler!

To Make Herbal Wax Sachets:

Slowly melt down soy-wax or beeswax in a double-boiler, once slightly cooled, stir in essential oils of choice, pour into molds (baking tins, etc.). Stir in herbs and dried citrus if you’d like. Once wax has slightly set, sprinkle additional dried flowers on top for extra decoration and fragrance. Do not remove sachets until they have completely cooled at room temperature.

Place finished products in closets and drawers to naturally scent and freshen the air.

These kind of projects are fun to make but also add a bit of charm into your life and we could all use a dose of that right now. Happy homemaking!


Tuesday, August 24, 2021

A Call to Common Sense ~ Proverbs 31 Preparedness Series

“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” 
~ John F. Kennedy, State of the Union Address January 11, 1962

One thing about the Proverbs 31 woman that always inspired me was she did not fear for the future. The Good Book writes that “God does not give the spirit of fear”.

However, He does give wisdom. 

He gives the example of the ants that work hard and put away in due season. He gives the example of Noah to put aside provisions for a coming flood. He gives the story of Joseph to store food for a future famine.

And so, it is with a prudent spirit that I’m spending a little extra care this summer in building up our pantry and/or larder this year. I will be preserving with a purpose.

Common sense dictates that if half the world closes up commerce for over a year’s worth of time, there must be repercussions (right or am I crazy?!?!). 

I already notice little things missing on the shelves. And I’m honestly not sure what to expect. But I’m leaning on the Biblical side of preparedness and am slowly putting aside in a Proverbs 31 fashion.

I am making a real effort to dry any excess produce we grow and be extra mindful about waste! Any small bit of produce (Did someone say zucchini?) will be diced and dried and added to my "winter soup, sauce & stew" pantry. 

If there is a bumper crop of tomatoes, I’ll be diligent to preserve as much as possible.

If there is a good discount on oats (or anything else that is useful and stores long term), I’ll be purchasing two bags (instead of one). I will make certain to have an abundance of the three main preservation ingredients on hand; vinegar, sugar and salt (all of which don't technically expire).

If there’s a desire to buy something bright and shiny, I’ll hold off and make do with what I have. 

Another way I am "doing" this is collecting frugal and resourceful recipes and keeping them in my "Proverbs 31 Preparedness" Notebook. This doesn't cost any money and is a great little homemaking guide for hard times. I will include the pantry recipes I shared HERE (perhaps I will do a printable of these in the future) and any other concepts that allow you to make do with what you have. Of course, it will include all the crazy cake recipes which only uses pantry staples as well as:

You get the idea!

I'm also learning how to preserve everything that surrounds me in my environment. It is a little hobby I created for myself. It's called the pretend game... "pretend I have only what is grown on my property and my pantry as a resource for food". What can I make and serve as food for my family? So I look around my yard and find everything that is edible. I learn about my landscape. Dandelions in the spring! These are free and can be made into jelly, fried up into fritters and brewed into tea (they also boast many health properties). I also look at my beautiful roses and see food there! The hips can be dried for vitamin C-rich teas. The petals can be brewed for a relaxing tea and you can make "rose jelly" (which can be served with biscuits made from pantry ingredients). All the culinary herbs can be dried for food but can also be made into jelly. They can top a pizza (all the crust ingredients are pantry staples) to make it more nutritious. I think you get the point. Be aware of your surroundings, what can feed you and how to prepare the various foods. This is just a side little hobby I have been doing and it is quite fun to add this useful information to my "Proverbs 31 Preparedness" Notebook as well.

Here are a few recipes to make "floral and herb" jelly with anything edible in your yard. All that is required is sugar (pantry staple) and a supply of pectin (I bought mine in bulk - -affiliate link) as it is less expensive that way plus it enables me a nice supply for any spontaneous project). HERE is another recipe which uses the basics of herbs, water and sugar.  I have made rose jelly and dandelion jelly and they were both quite delicious.

In conclusion, this is no different from what our pioneering ancestors did to survive each season as they never knew what the weather would bring. I foresee a bit of a storm coming so I’m quietly continuing in the old ways of canning, drying, pickling, fermenting, repurposing, thrifting and saving. However, not out of a rushed panic or fear, but slowly, gently, calmly and with a “sound mind”.

(And if I'm wrong, I will have an amazingly stocked pantry and I will have acquired more forage and food preservation knowledge (always a good thing). With all the savings, I can purchase that apothecary cabinet that I've been eyeing! πŸ˜‰ )

"The wise store up choice food and olive oil..."
~ Proverbs 21:20a

"The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty."
~ Proverbs 22:3

“It is not often that a man can make opportunities for himself. But he can put himself in such shape that when or if the opportunities come he is ready.”
~ Theodore Roosevelt

"Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come."
~ Proverbs 31:25

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
~ 2 Timothy 1:7

To begin your own Proverbs 31 Preparedness Binder, here is a printable cover page.  I've be placing much of my information in this binder for any "time to come" and can pass this down to my daughter one day as a beautiful resource. In the meantime, here are the preparedness articles we have shared thus far to get you inspired to continue adding to your Proverbs 31 Preparedness notebook: 

πŸ… 🧺 ♥️

What are your thoughts on this? I’m so curious! There are many "ordinary" homemakers like ourselves who feel this importance and are sharing their ideas and experiences that you may also appreciate such as Annabel at The Bluebirds are Nesting and Patsy at A Working Pantry. I also glean much from The Prudent Homemaker and the Preparedness Mama (though her blog is solely preparedness tips).


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