Make Ice Candles

A how-to article by Gail Lee Martin that was originally published on the eHow site.

ice candles on pinterest

Ice candle examples that I found on Pinterest and pinned to my Craft Ideas board there.

“My son used to make these striking candles back in the seventies. I think it’s a craft that’s worth bringing back. The finished candle looks quite sculptural, but they’re really pretty easy to make. Here’s how to do it.

Things You’ll Need:

  • cardboard milk carton
  • candle wax
  • a single candle (or wicking)
  • ice cubes
  • a double boiler

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  1. Start with a clean cardboard milk carton, the quart-sized ones. Open the top so it’s square all the way up. Once you’ve made a few of these, try it with the larger milk cartons.
  2. Heat the wax until it’s liquified. This is what you use the double boiler for. The wax chunks go in the top and the water goes down below. You can also use one of those candlemaking machines to melt the wax.
  3. Place a wick (tied to a crossbar) in the center. The crossbar will rest on the top of the milk carton. The wick needs to go all the way to the bottom. Tie a flat washer to the bottom of the wick to give it weight and make it stay straight.
  4. Pour in a layer of wax to form the bottom of the candle. Let it set slightly. This gives it a solid base. Keep the wick as straight as possible.
  5. Pour the melted wax into the milk carton, then drop in the ice cubes. Don’t splash the hot wax.
    The ice cubes will melt, but they are cold enough to start hardening the wax. There will be interesting crevices and open spaces throughout the candle from the ice.
  6. He also added bits and pieces of crayons for unique colors. (remove the wrappers)crayons-pixabay.jpg
  7. Don’t try to move the candle until it has cooled and the wax has hardened.
  8. When the wax was set, he poured out the water from the melted ice cubes and tore the box from around his creation. They were so beautiful when lit as the overall candle had holes here and there that let the light shine in so many different ways.

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Tips & Warnings

  • Use great caution with hot wax as it can burn you badly.
  • I wouldn’t work on this project with children around or any distractions.
  • Do not move the candle until the wax has hardened completely.
  • Check Pinterest by searching “ice candle” to find examples and more instructions.

Shannon’s Crafty Cards

Happy Birthday, to my sister, Shannon. It’s hard to imagine that she would be 61 if she were still here today. In my mind, she is forever that young, vibrant person loved by all who knew her.

Her creativity shone through the humdrum lives that we all live. It came out in performing in plays in high school, in writing, and in her scrapbooking and card-making.

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A card made by Shannon Hyle with her favorite ladybugs on it.

Here are some more samples of her cards. Nature was a recurring theme of hers. She liked to experiment with color combinations, lettering, and other effects. Often her designs include birds or butterflies or ladybugs.

I’ve taken up tea drinking in the last year, so this card of Shannon’s inspires me to make a cup of tea. Then I’ll pull out a favorite author of hers to read a little. Maybe an Elsie Lee or a Georgette Heyer would hit the spot.

Thinking of you, Shannon. I hope in heaven there’s plenty of creative activities for you to indulge in and a huge library of books for you to read.

card made by Shannon Hyle

“You warm my heart” – card made by Shannon Hyle.

Photos of the Wagon Wheel Rugs

Post by Virginia Allan
My mom and dad tried out a lot of crafts after retirement. One that they revived was the almost-lost art of the wagon wheel rug. The metal rim of an old wagon wheel serves as the base for tying the strips of cotton cloth before you start weaving.

They used old sheets torn into strips and turned out many colorful rag rugs woven on the wagon wheel. Although these are intended as throw rugs for the floor, I’ve seen people use them on a round table or to drape across the back of a sofa or chair.

They even demonstrated this technique at various pioneer days and at local history museums. Mom and Dad would be thrilled that a growing number of people are taking up the weaving of wagon wheel rugs.

There’s now a Facebook group where those making these round rag rugs are helping others to learn the craft. The folks would be so pleased that the skill is being shared with new people. Almost 200 people have joined the Facebook group and are sharing tips on making the rugs.

Photos of Gail and Clyde Martin’s Wagon Wheel Rugs

I asked my family to send me photos of their rugs made by Gail and Clyde Martin. My sisters and nieces shared the pictures below. Thank goodness for email and digital cameras which made it easier for them to send these along to me.

It seems that family cats are also liking the wagon wheel rugs. They are just right to curl up on for a cat nap, it seems.

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Nikki’s cat and blue rug

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A wider view of the blue rug

Here are some more rugs from the family.

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orange and white wagon wheel rug made by Gail and Clyde Martin

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Close-up of the weaving

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Spokes of the wheel

I’m leaving the photos full-size so anyone trying to make these kinds of rugs can see the details.

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Wagon wheel rug made by Gail and Clyde Martin

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Detail of the center of the rug

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Detail of the spokes of the wagon wheel rug

Even more wagon wheel rugs –

 

Mom And Tiny Houses

On a rainy day last week, I got out my miniature birdhouses and decorated them with paint. It’s the sort of project that Mom would have had a lot of fun with. Gail Martin was an excellent crafter and there are many memories of her sharing her talent by teaching her children and later the grandchildren.

Last year, I’d picked up some miniature unpainted birdhouses from Michael’s for $1 each. What a bargain. This seemed the perfect time to pretty them up. I already had a stash of leftover oil paints from a paint-by-number kit. Remember those? That gave me a variety of colors to use on the tiny houses.

 

 

Here’s my first attempt, using some red fabric to cover the roof and adding some heart-shaped flowers. I’ll spray this with a sealant and hope it holds up for a summer outside if I put it in a sheltered area.

The second one ended up with a birch bark theme. It was a sheet of bark that I found in the woods last year. I’m such a packrat, but now I had a use for it.

 

I was surprised at how easy it was to cut the bark with ordinary scissors. My glue gun worked fine for securing the bark to the walls of the faux birdhouse. Do you think it looks OK with a white roof or should I paint that?

These are going into my planting areas to add a little color in a few spots too shady for most plants. I’ll tuck in some moss and a little fern for a fairy garden. That’s a huge gardening trend the last few years. I haven’t seen any fairies but maybe the availability of houses will attract some.

Fairy Garden with plants and little house

The plants are mouse-ear hawkweed, red crest lichen (also called British Soldiers), and a cutting from another plant with purple flowers.

I’m sure that if fairy gardening had been thought of in the 1950s and 1960s, Gail would have loved the concept and set her children to collecting pebbles and moss to make our own miniature gardens somewhere in the yard.

You can read more about fairy gardening online. Perhaps your grandchildren would like to create one the next time they visit. They could make little houses out of bark, collect stones for a path, make a little fence out of twigs. It’s great fun for kids or even grown-ups. Don’t wait for a rainy day.

Tiny fairy house

The round fairy house needs a few more plants and some moss to go with the fern.

Mom Would Have Liked Her

Now and then, I meet someone in real life or online who has much in common with my mom, Gail Lee Martin. I find myself wishing that they could meet each other. Recently, I met one such lady, Edna Melcher. Too bad that Edna is way out west in Idaho, while I’m on the east coast in Orlando.

We could have a cozy chat about all her interesting activities. Like Mom and Dad, she makes wagon wheel rugs. Thanks to the magic of the Internet, she shared photos of her rug making and the finished projects. I’ll share her tips in another post as she is anxious to pass along the rug making techniques.

Edna’s Facebook page is sprinkled with pictures of her crafts, recipes for yummy foods like chicken and dumplings, and other nostalgic activities. She makes jelly, plum applesauce, and chocolate caramel cookies. She’s quite a gardener too, growing colorful ears of Indian corn, some rhubarb, and tomatoes.

edna melcher jams

Edna Melcher’s pretty jars of jam.

Although Edna is more my generation than Mom’s, I’m sure they would have hit it off and spent an afternoon sharing tips for making the wagon wheel rugs and swapping favorite jam recipes. Although she can’t meet Mom in person, I sent her links for this blog so she could enjoy Mom’s recipes and crafts.

Make a Santa Ornament from a Light Bulb

Gail Lee Martin wrote this article for the eHow site telling how to make old light bulbs into Santa decorations. If you have some dead light bulbs, don’t toss them out. 

How to Make a Santa Ornament from a Light Bulb

Here is a craft my daughter, Shannon, and I started making back in 1993. We took them to the Wesley employee’s craft fair. They were so cute and were very popular.
It’s a fun way to recycle burned out light bulbs. Here’s how to make them.

santa-ornament-light-bulb

Things You’ll Need:

  • light bulbs
  • white spray paint
  • various paint and a brush
  • or colored markers
  • glue gun
  • gold string
  • canned snow (the kind sprayed on windows)
  1. We took burned out light bulbs and turned them into Christmas tree ornaments. Start saving up bulbs now and ask your friends and family to save theirs for you too. You can also buy new ones if you can’t wait for them to burn out.
  2. I spray painted the bulb white like Santa’s beard. Even though the bulb is whitish already, the spray paint gives a more even surface and color. It also hides the dark spot that burned out bulbs sometimes have.
  3. Then I used a brush to hand-paint the screw top with red paint for his hat.
  4. I hot-glued a gold string to the top to hang it with. Heavy gold thread or gold wire is fine for this or you can use red yarn.
  5. Using canned snow, I put a rim around the red cap and some on the top for a ball.
  6. Shannon painted and sketched on the expressive faces and added a realistic mustache with a swipe of white paint. Leftover paint-by-number paint or a kid’s paint kit works for this. You can draw on the eyes and details with permanent markers also.

Tips & Warnings

  •  This makes recycling fun.
  •  Check the Santa clip art site listed below in resources for ideas for Santa’s face. You can make jolly Santas, roly-poly Santas, stylized Santas, classic Santas, etc.

Resources

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Use those old light bulbs for crafts

Make a Star Ornament from a Paper Bag

Post by Virginia Allain – This was an idea that I wanted to show Mom. I was sure she would be making these by the dozens in no time. These can go on a tree, decorate a package, or hang on the door handle.

Brown Paper Star Ornaments

Using a printable star pattern, trace two same-sized stars on a brown paper bag. Cut these out using pinking shears or craft scissors. Don’t worry, the pencil lines will be inside the star.

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Glue the two stars together except for one tip. Leave an opening to put in the filling.

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Pull apart a cotton ball so it’s loose and stuff it into the opening of the star. Use a pencil to distribute the stuffing the way you want. I like most of mine in the center. You could also use a bit of quilt batting or some used dryer sheets bunched up.

Cut a piece of raffia to loop at the top for hanging. Put the cut ends inside the opening of the star and glue it shut, securing the hanging loop.

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Add that homespun, country-look with faux stitches around the edge. Use a black marker for these. Space them evenly.

Tie another piece of raffia into a bow and glue it to the front of the star. Glue some buttons to finish the theme.

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Always save buttons for future use. (photo by Virginia Allain)

Anytime you discard a piece of clothing because of wear or stains, cut off the buttons and save them. A stash of buttons comes in handy to have for clothing repairs or for a craft like this.