How to make your own candle

Over fall break, I revived my love for candles. Because I burn candles so often, I thought what better project than a low-cost option to create candles instead of buying overpriced ones? Depending on your style and scent preference, with candle.littlethings.com they’re many different options to create.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

Wal-Mart: A wax cube pack (scent of your choice; in this case I went with cupcake), corn syrup and tape.

Michaels: Two pint-sized (16 oz.) jars with inserted glued wicks, rainbow sprinkles and one pound of soy wax flakes.

What I already had: Water, pencils/pens to hold the wick in place, measuring cups, a pot, glass bowl and a glass measuring cup with a spout.

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To begin, mix 1-2 tablespoons of corn syrup and 2-3 tablespoons in a bowl with your brush. Lightly coat the interior of the glass jar. Turn the jar horizontal and coat the interior with sprinkles. Be sure to turn the jar in a circular motion to spread the sprinkles evenly.

Using a double boiler, or a make-shift one, with a pot and heat-proof bowl. Fill your pot half full with water and bring to a simmer. Melt the wax along with three to four wax cubes.

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Pour two cups of wax using your glass measuring cup. Try pouring the wax directly in the center of the candle, leaving the wax you haven’t used boiling so it doesn’t dry.

 

Tape your two pencils together around the wick to hold it directly in the center and freeze for three hours.

 

 

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Now you’re ready to burn your candle!

Overall Time: 30-45 minutes

Overall Cost: $30 (but it makes two candles)

Overall DIY: Yes!

How to create the ultimate sugar cookie

I’ve been wanting to create a food DIY for a while now, and with this recipe from itsalwaysautumn.com  I found the perfect fit for my taste buds. In my 21 years of living I’ve never homemade cookies before and wanted to test my chef skills.

Here’s what you’ll need to pick up at your local grocery store. In my case, this store was Publix.

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Items I had to buy: All-purpose flour (5 cups), vanilla extract (1 teaspoon), baking powder (5 teaspoons), heavy whipping cream (2 tablespoons), margarine (1 cup), and powdered sugar (3 cups).

Items my family already had in the kitchen: Sugar (in purple container/2 cups), milk (6 tablespoons), food coloring, eggs (3), salt (1/2 teaspoon), and butter (2/3 cup softened). Having all of these items in my family’s kitchen enabled me to save quite a bit of money.

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Instructions for cookie dough:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together sugar, margarine, eggs, and milk until smooth. Then add flour, salt, and baking soda until combined. Generously flour a work surface (I did this on a cutting board) and rolling pin.
  3. Roll about 1/4 of the dough to 3/8 inch thickness. Cut the dough with a cookie cutter (or use a glass like I did) and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
  4. Cook for about 9-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the dough. Once completed, remove from pan and immediately on newspaper or another similar surface. These cookies should not be brown at all, so don’t be alarmed if you take them out and the color is similar to dough.

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Instructions for frosting (you may want to double the recipe if you enjoy a lot of frosting):

  1. Once cookies are cooled, begin to frost cookies.
  2. Add butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and heavy whipping cream into a bowl.
  3. Mix together with a beater until frosting like texture is achieved.
  4. Put a section of frosting in a new bowl and add food coloring to desired color.

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After completing this project I realized how difficult making these would be from scratch. The dough was incredibly sticky and I didn’t honestly enjoy the taste of homemade buttercream icing. The cookies after completion tasted a bit dry to me, so if you try this at home add and extra egg yolk to the batter. Personally I’d rather buy the soft cookies at the grocery…but overall it was a fun project.

 

Overall Cost: $20 (reminder – I had many of these items already at home in our kitchen, which made this project significantly cheaper.)

Overall Time: 120 minutes

Overall DIY: Eh.

How to: a ghost jack-o’-lantern

As suggested/requested in my comments to last week’s post, this week I have decided to embrace the fall season and carve a pumpkin! The tools to create your pumpkin are quite simple, and with this DIY project you get to add your own creative flair!

With that said, here’s what you’ll need.

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A pumpkin: Deciding on a pumpkin is half the fun of this project! There are so many great local pumpkin patches, especially here in Tennessee.

A pumpkin carving kit: Y’all, Michaels is my go-to for a crafts store. This could be due its close proximity to my university, and it always have coupons online. It has many different carving-kit options with different designs to choose from.

Any type of tape: This is only used to hold the design in place on the pumpkin.

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Step 1: Cut the top of the pumpkin and gut the seeds.

A tip to cutting the stem of the pumpkin: Create a divot in a point on the circle to easily align the top back on.

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Step 2: Tape design onto pumpkin.

 

 

 

 

 

Each design in the book I choose has lines on every edge, telling you where to fold it. These lines are so that the paper can lie flat on the pumpkin (for the most part) so tracing the design becomes much easier.

 

 

 

 

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Step 3: Trace, dot, and carve the pumpkin.

The package I purchased came with five tools to help carve your pumpkin. I first used the roller tool (second from the left) to trace the easy lines of the picture. After, I used the thumb tack tool (on the left) to poke holes in the more difficult areas (eyes or skinny gaps). Once everything is traced feel free to remove the paper to then carve your pumpkin.

 

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Overall Cost: $11

Overall Time: 90 minutes

Overall DIY?: Duh!

 

What’s your favorite image to carve on a pumpkin? Are you talented enough to ever free hand a design? Let me know!

 

 

How to bring the outdoors in

Many of us love the idea of adding greenery to our homes but struggle to care or feed for live plants. This week I took on the challenge of creating a unique display of nature to “freshen” up a room. This simple wall display can be created for your personal home, or even as  a wedding backdrop. For different variations of this project and my inspiration see here.

There are a few things you’ll need to complete this project.

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  1. A stick: I suggest searching in your yard for one rather than buying a wooden rod at any store. This will enhance the outdoor environment in your piece.
  2. Two types of greenery: Both of these pieces were purchased at Michaels in the greenery section of the store. I suggest buying two different types of greenery to hang: one floral piece and one thin greenery piece. For this project you will need five individual strands to fill the tree limb.
  3. Wire Cutters: These can be purchased at Home Depot for around $3. They did the job quite nicely.
  4. Twine
  5. Clear String: I decided to use a brand called “Stretch Magic” for this project. This specific string will probably be located in the jewelry section of many types of crafts stores.

Directions: To begin you’ll want to wrap the twine around both edges of the branch about 1-2 inches thick. This will create a way to hang your piece upon completion.

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Following, you’ll want to tie each greenery piece to the branch with your stretch string starting with the center piece to evenly space the five pieces of greenery. I suggest tying multiple knots due to the texture of this specific string.

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These pieces of greenery came with a plastic ring on the end of them which was super helpful.

Once completed, cut the desired length of the five greenery pieces to hang on the wall desired. Grab a nail and hammer to place the piece where you desire in your home.

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Overall cost: $20-30

Overall time: 30-45 minutes (I don’t count the time I branch searched…)

Overall DIY: YES.

Do you have a favorite activity you like to do in the fall or a favorite fall flower to decorate with? Let me know here!

How to make a cheap, sweet treat!

Summer ends as we transition into fall, and what better way to end the season with a fun new Popsicle recipe? The recipe seems simple enough, but word on the street is that the taste doesn’t live up to the look.

With that said, here’s what you’ll need: Sprite, Haribo gummy bears, and popsicle trays. All of these items can be bought at your local Walmart.

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The “to-do” is quite simple. Throw some gummy bears in the trays and fill with sprite! Due to the consistency of gummy bears, be intentional about how you place them in the

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trays so they can be evenly distributed. Once frozen for a few hours, slowly twist and pull the popsicle out of the tray to make sure it’s frozen onto the plastic base.

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Enjoy this picture of me in my Lipscomb shirt enjoying my fresh made popsicle!

Although this treat is low-cost and easy to make, I did run into one minor flaw. When I took my first bite with the gummy bear, the exterior of it had a consistency similar to apple sauce, while the interior was still stiff like a normal gummy bear. My only thought was this could be due to the carbonation in the soda…

With that said, my advice would be to allow the soda to go flat and then fill your popsicle trays.

Overall cost: $4

Overall time: 3 hours

Overall DIY: Of course!

What’s your favorite sweet treat recipe? Be sure to answer here so I can give it a try!

How to create honeycomb shelves from popsicle sticks

Whether you’re shopping for decor in your first house, first dorm room, or that blank wall in your home, every decor section seems to be filled with geometric shapes. This week I decided to give a go these simple, affordable shelves a try. You can find the instructions I followed here.

The instructions I followed were quite simple and to the point, but I found a few things I wished I would have known….

To begin you’ll need to purchase/have popsicle sticks (100 for the individual shape below and around 200 for the three-sided shelf), wood stain (I used the color “golden oak”), a paint brush, tacky glue, and probably a bit of patience. TIP: You can buy everything in one trip at Michael’s and use my favorite coupon app, “Retail Me Not” for some awesome discounts at the register.

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Once you’ve collected your supplies, you’ll want to lay out the six-sided shape with popsicle sticks and trace three lines on every other stick (see left picture below). That way you can put a dot of tacky glue on the edges and begin to stack your sticks on top of one another. I decided to layer my shelves 16 sticks high.

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To create the larger shelf you’ll need to tape four pieces of paper together to trace your border of the shape you desire. I suggest laying them like you’re going to create three hexagons and then taking out the center sticks so it’s completely open in the middle. Similar to before, trace every other stick and glue down until you have 16 sticks high of edges.

 

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Once completed, grab your paint brush and stain and have at it! I recommend laying down a garabage bag underneat your project just in case of any spills. After your shelves dry, grab some nails and a hammer and pick your wall!

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*Reminder: These shelves were not meant to hold heavy objects.

 

 

Overall Cost: $15

Overall Time: 3 Hours

Overall DIY? Absolutely!

 

Have a DIY project you’d like me to put to the test? If so, leave the link or project name in the reply box here.