Thursday, February 7, 2013

C is for Crafts and Candles

I spent the majority of this past year unable to do much at all with my hands due to RA, and as a result I am very aware that my ability to use them creatively could disappear again, and it might one day be forever.

It makes me wonder - which cross-stitch piece I do will be the last one?  How will I express myself when this skill is beyond me?

Needlework for me is not only a creative expression - it is a meditation.  It is a way to be still and listen, to quiet myself enough to notice the sacred.  It is also a way to make something that is uniquely mine, in order to give of myself to others, something that let's them know that I see who they are, and that they are worth my time and energy.

It is also, of course, creativity - a fertile, productive act of creation.

But it may someday be beyond me, and I have decided that this year I need to make a point of learning a few new crafting skills, hopefully a bit more large-motor oriented, so that if/when I can no longer ply a needle, I can still do creative work with my hands.

My intention-list of skills to learn/practice:

1. Sketching/Doodling. I drew a lot when I was younger, and it dropped off.  I bought a set of small blank cards and some drawing pens, and here soon, I'm going to begin a practice of drawing a small card each week.

2. I'm going to learn how to use a lucet - a Viking era knitting tool used to make cords.  I have two varieties - a single version, and a double version.  My brand of pagan is Anglo-Saxon ADF Druid (with Heathen sensibilities), and I very much want to learn a skill traditional to my hearth culture.

3. So, for the similar reasons, I also plan to learn to use a drop spindle to twist wool fiber into yarn.  I have no idea at all if I can pull  this off, but the effort is an offering I am making to Frige, mistakes and all.

4. Soap making - sometime this year I want to try my hand at this.  I freely confess, lye scares me, but it's something I've wanted to do for a long time.  I expect I'll be starting with some non-lye pour soap first.

5. Candlemaking - I plan to experiment with a few different types over the course of the year.

I got a little jump on that last one today - I decided to start out very small, and bought a container candle kit for my first try.  It came with a pitcher for melting the wax, a bag of soy wax chips, a thin wafer of green waxy dye to color the wax, a small bottle of scent ("pearberry"), some wicks, and a few containers - a lidded jar, a glass 'flower pot' shaped votive, and four tea light containers.

I needed to use my own thermometer to complete this, but that was no issue.

The directions were quite straight forward - the pitcher full of wax chips goes into a pot of water (so that it's a double boiler), to melt.  Once it's fully melted, the wax dye is added, and then the wax needs to cool to about 120F, before adding the scent.

Wicks are set into each of the containers, and the wax gets poured in - the instructions said to just wait until the wax is semi set to fix any wicks that aren't quite upright.  That mostly worked, although I would like to find a way to secure  them so they start off seated correctly.

The wax turned out to be a bit more than the included containers could hold, so I found myself scrambling to find other things to use (fortunately, I'd bought extra wicks) - a bit of wax went into a mostly used tea light (hah!), and I used the rest to fill two small empty tea canisters I'd been looking  to repurpose.

All in all, this was an easy way to introduce myself to candlemaking, and I'm ready to have another go at it, more completely 'homemade' this time.  I recommend kits as a way to get started.

Shared with:  Pagan Blog Project, Week 6 - C
Creative JuiceDelightfully Inspiring Thursday, HomeAcre Hop, Hooking Up with HoH, Showcase Your Talent Thursday, Thank Your Body Thursday, Thrifty ThursdayThursday Favorite Things, Thursday's Treasures, Get Real Frugal FridayLHITS DIY LinkyFarm Girl Blog Fest, Freedom Friday, Friday Favorites, Frugal Friday, Show & Tell Friday, Small Footprint Friday.


  1. I am so sorry you suffer from RA ( my husband does too) Happy you were able to enjoy some creativity. Thank you for sharing at the hop xo

  2. Just dropped in from Farmmgirl Friday blog hop - I like your ideas for finding other ways to be creative. It's great to experiment with new skills, and it's a good way for me to practise dropping my perfectionist tendencies. I'm glad your creative pastimes bring you peace of mind - may they continue to do so.

  3. please read my post on candle making
    to see how to secure the wick.....
    Lovely blog

  4. I'm so glad that you are finding other creative outlets! Thanks for sharing this on The HomeAcre Hop! Hope to see you again on Thursday when the next hop goes live at:

  5. Great list of ideas, I hope you get to try them all out this year and find out which ones you like enough to keep doing.

  6. Your candles look great! I am very interested in learning to spin, also. I took a one time class on drop spindle spinning but had a hard time and the instructor got very frustrated with me, as I did with her. I have a friend who spins who is much more patient and she offered to help teach me.