Check out this free crochet pattern–the Eloise Baby Sweater. What a great gift for a little girl.
Don’t overlook the rolls at Thanksgiving. Here are 5 Roll Recipes that will impress your guests.
GOURGERES–the classic French cheese puff. One of my favorite things, ever.
If you know someone who is into yoga, here’s a great gift idea: Knit a Pair of Yoga Socks.
Free pattern: knit A Blanket For Seriously Cold People. I could use one of these right now.
I went to Target the other day with the intention of buying some candles. I was surprised to discover new candles were so expensive–$5-$15, depending on size.
On the other hand, I’ve been thinking about making my own candles for awhile now. In fact, I just so happened to have several used candles lying around, with enough wax to recycle into a new candle.
What stopped me? The mess.
I’m notorious for getting candle wax all over the place, so trying to make candles sounded like an experiment in ruining my kitchen.
Then I realized that all I had to do was melt the wax in something I could throw out afterward. I decided to use a milk jug.
I cut the milk jug in half, cleaned it with soap, then melted the wax by floating it in a pot of simmering water. Next, I poured the melted wax into the tin and let it set. Voila! A brand new candle that cost me nothing to make.
Not one drop of wax spilled.
NO-MESS CANDLE MAKING
Paper Towel Or Newspaper
Magnet Or Clothespin
Gather your old candles.
Make the wick. I used cotton embroidery floss, but you could use any kind of cotton string. I took three pieces of floss, tied them to a paperclip, and braided them. When it was done, it looked like this:
Clean out the milk jug with soap and cut it in half so you have a plastic tub to hold the wax. Put the old candles inside the jug.
Fill a pot with water and float the jug in it. Turn the heat on medium, bring the water to a bare simmer, and let the wax slowly melt. It takes about 10 minutes.
When the wax begins to run, dip the wick in the wax so that it is thoroughly coated. Fish the wick out with the plastic fork and lay on a paper towel or newspaper to dry.
When the wax is completely melted, it’s time to make the candle. Set the wick in the middle of the tin. I secured it in place by putting a magnet on the underside of the tin. Alternately, you can secure the wick to a clothespin or stick and lay it across the tin, as the below image demonstrates:
Now it’s time to make the candle. Remove the jug from the water, and carefully pour in the hot wax. I used the plastic fork to keep the old wicks from the other candles from pouring into my new candle.
Let the candle sit undisturbed for 24 hours until the wax has set up. Trim the wick with scissors. Enjoy your new candle.
Ha ha, straight out of The Lord of the Rings, it’s the One Ring Fire Ring. $500
Mac and Cheese Bites. Homemade macaroni and cheese, no utensils required.
Mini Caramel Apples. Hollow out a peeled apple with a melon baller, insert a stick, and dip in caramel.
Prosciutto-Wrapped Bread Sticks. Wrap prosciutto around a breadstick–how can you go wrong?
Greek Salad Appetizers. Feta cheese, olives, cucumbers, and tomatoes on a toothpick.
Beets and Preserved Lemon Bruschetta. Salt-cured preserved lemon, roasted beets, and chives on grilled toasts brushed with olive oil.
Strawberry Santas. The strawberries are Santa Claus’s hat and body, sweetened whip cream for his face and the top of the hat, and chocolate sprinkles are the eyes.
Cheese and Chocolate Bruschetta. “Rich, creamy cheese, slightly bitter chocolate, and sweet-tart fruit.”
Caprese Salad Appetizer. Hollow out cherry tomatoes, put mozzarella cheese balls inside, add some basil, and stick them on a toothpick. Drizzle with a touch of olive oil.
I’ve written about 3D printing your own Christmas ornaments before. For example, check out this awesome Poinsettia Ornament we put on our tree last year. Here are 5 Christmas Ornaments You Can 3D Print:
“I want this dragon carrot risotto to become a person so I can take it to Las Vegas and marry it.” Augustus Waters
Did you read or see The Fault In Our Stars? Did you find yourself drooling over the Dragon Carrot Risotto the two main characters have in the restaurant? I know I did.
This Traveler Heart Of Mine gave it a try and came up with a pretty decent-looking recipe. (Pictured above)
Alternately, you can try Sunset Magazine’s Caramelized Carrot Risotto and use Dragon Carrots instead of the regular carrots. They look like this:
That is one of my garden beds. The plants your see are my cover crop, also called “green manure.”
Cover crops are plants that are grown over the winter to protect the garden bed and enrich the soil.
In this bed, I used a Green Manure Mix, which “contains 50% Conventional Bell Beans, 25% Organic Biomaster Peas and 25% Organic Purple Vetch. Peas cover the ground, while vetch climbs up the beans.”
In another bed, I’m trying out red clover.
Here’s how a cover crop works: you plant the seeds in the fall and it grows all winter. About 6 weeks before you’re ready to plant your spring garden, you dig the cover crop into the dirt and let it decompose. The organic matter enriches the soil and leads to a happier vegetable garden.
Someone once told me that soil doesn’t like to lie barren. In a forest, patches of dirt are soon covered with plants. Growing a cover crop in your raised beds is to simply put beneficial plants into your garden before weeds can sprout.
So what’s beneficial about green manure/cover crops? They
* Fix nitrogen to your soil, a major nutrient all plants need.
* Improve the structure of the soil.
* Keep rain from washing away your good soil.
* Stop weeds from sprouting in your garden.
* Keep soil from compacting.
* Encourage beneficial insects.
* Discourage pests.
And, for me, there’s the added benefit of keeping my cat from using my raised beds as a litter box.
Here’s a list of cover crops. For most of us, now is the time to get them in the ground.