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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Yankee Candles

Many of us love to burn candles, especially scented ones such as Yankee candles. These candles are bought for their fragrance so it only seems right to explain how to get the best out of your candles.

Here lies the secret of burning high-end, luxury candles.

Lella Loves... Yankee Candles

I have photographed 3 jar candles, and will explain how to get absolute value out of your jars.

Lella Loves... Yankee Candles

This is the candle at rest. Solid wax state.

Lella Loves... Yankee Candles

This is the candle after 30 minutes of burning. You can see the wax melting and there will be fragrance in the air already.

Lella Loves... Yankee Candles

This is the same candle after 3 hours. The level of the wax has decreased and the candle is melting at all the same rate. This stage is the 'perfect burn' for all luxury candles. The wax pool is touching the sides and the lovely scent fills the house.

All high-end, highly fragranced candles should be burned in this way.

Allow 3 - 4 hours for each burn to avoid the following problems.

Lella Loves... Yankee Candles

This is a candle which has only been alight for a few hours (single wick). You can see that the wax pool has not yet touched the sides.

If I had extinguished the candle at this point, all the fragrance locked in the unused wax in the side walls will be wasted.

Lella Loves... Yankee Candles

And here is the nightmare scenario for all luxury candles: tunnelling!

This is what happens when you light a candle and only burn for an hour or so. Because the wax hasn't been allowed to completely melt and pool in the top of the jar, when the candle solidified, it has hardened with an edge crust.

There is no way back for a candle which has tunnelled to this extent.

*Tip: If you are a user of Yankee Tart Burners then you could melt the tunnelled candle in a ban marie and pour the wax into small silicone cupcake moulds. You would then simply use a wax cupcake in place of a wax tart.

I do hope that helps you to gain more from your candles. If you are spending £12 on a large jar or Housewarmer, I really want you to enjoy every penny of fragrance. A tunnelled candle is £6 worth of wasted fragrance.

Pop back soon.

Lella  xx

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Gifts Ideas (Fabric Crafts)

If you are struggling with what to buy a friend who is mad about fabric crafts, please worry no more. This post shows you a few ideas on what to buy and how to present your thoughtful package.

All you need to do is go to your local market and look for the stall selling buttons and cottons.

The idea is to buy an vintage tin and fill it with sewing notions, ribbon, buttons et al.

New poly-cottons will be greatly appreciated. 5 main colours or just a black and white would be an option.

Cotton off-cuts and fat quarters are a firm favourite of crafters.

Vintage buttons are a delight.

Odd sewing items are just perfect for a lucky dip gift box.

All the ladies love ribbons!

Super sweet and 'oh so small' Mother of Pearl buttons still on their original linen backing.

Exquisite crystal glass buttons on their original cards.

Antique linens can be found at flea markets. Always wash inside a pillowcase on a cool 30 degree wash once you get them home.

Felt is fun and can be used to make felt flowers.

Felt balls.

If you wanted to include a set of tools, pliers are a great alternative to scissors and much better value.

Do let me know if you gift an assortment of wonderful treasures for a crafty seamstress friend. I would love to know her reaction.

Think about her particular likes and maybe include an embroidery hoop, pinking shears, bead selection, copper wire, wool etc. Tailor your present to the recipient and she will appreciate the time taken to compile it.

Have fun,

Lella xx

Monday, 28 November 2011

Glitter Balls

These delightful pictures were taken, last Friday, in my dining room. I walked in and the shimmering reflections on my walls were so pretty, I wanted to share it with you.

"What is it?" I hear you ask :)

Lella Loves... Pretty Reflections

Well, they show the very pretty effect of my glitter ball - which sits on the table - catching the sunlight.

Lella Loves... Glitter Balls

The light spots are the sun's rays landing on the mirrors and reflecting back across the room.

Lella Loves... Pretty Reflections

It looks so pretty and on a November day and, when the days are short, it really lifts the spirits.

Lella Loves... Pretty Reflections

You don't need a huge glitter ball to achieve this look and definitely not one so large it would be hanging from the ceiling, waiting for Madonna to come and swing on it!

Lella Loves... Pretty Reflections

All you need is an average glitter ball, about the size of a football or mirrored decorations.

You could make a glitter ball with mosaic mirrored tessera, a glue gun and a polystyrene ball but, at this time of year, they can be easily found in many stores' Christmas decorations.

Have a good day and pop back soon.

Lella  xx

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Simple Pleasures (Collecting Pine Cones)

If you enjoyed my pine cone garland blog-make from November 1st, there is still time to go and collect your pine cones. I went to several locations yesterday and there were plenty of cones still on the ground.

Lella Loves... Pine Cones

The idea behind Simple Pleasures is to spend little or no money on the activity and there is no cost to collecting Mother Nature's gifts. Take a pretty wicker basket and have fun collecting.

Lella Loves... Pine Cones

Lella Loves... Pine Cones

Lella Loves... Pine Cones

Lella Loves... Pine Cones

Just 10 minutes of fresh air and this was my haul. My only cost was the petrol to drive to my pine pickin' spot.

If you love the pine smell, simply arrange the cones in a big bowl. (Pop the pine cones in the freezer for two days if you are worried about bugs and beetles and woodlice.)

Please click here to see how to wire pine cones and to start the basics of a pine garland.

Have a lovely day folks :)

Lella  xx

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Scrapstores and Recycling Arts Projects

A few months ago, I wrote a post about the hidden gems and amazing craft supplies just waiting to be tapped into, if you were a member of your local Scrapstore, also called Recycling Arts Projects or Scrap Clubs.

To encourage you to go and find your nearest club, here are a few photos from one I visited on Tuesday. There had been a delivery of Crown Paint sample pots, glitter snowflake cut-outs from retail displays and lots of coloured foam.

Remember, as a member you don't pay for anything you take. It is all free and constantly changing. The idea is so simple and it takes a group of volunteers 40 hours (approx) a week to help collect and sort.

Lella Loves... Scrapstores

Huge snowflake templates.

Lella Loves... Scrapstores

Thick glitter board.

Lella Loves... Scrapstores

Hundreds of Crown Paint sample pots.

Lella Loves... Scrapstores

Paper, card, folders and dividers.

Lella Loves... Scrapstores

If you have children who need entertaining on rainy days, why not join a Scrapstore and enjoy the use of clean waste all donated by local business to keep it out of landfills. The photo above shows rolls of coloured foam.

Lella Loves... Scrapstores

Pigeon holes filled with pin badges, beads, buckles, pens, cup hooks, screws, key rings and so on.

Lella Loves... Scrapstores

Huge 6ft cardboard tubes. They have tubes in various sizes and widths as it comes from local businesses who supply either fabric, paper or carpet. There is something for everyone.

Lella Loves... Scrapstores

Rub-offs, foils and stickers.

Lella Loves... Scrapstores

Salvaged computer parts, Motherboards, ribbons and cables.

Lella Loves... Scrapstores

Perspex, foam board and plastic sheeting.

Lella Loves... Scrapstores

If you make dolls or cushions, the kapok and poly batting dump bin is the size of a jacuzzi.

Lella Loves... Scrapstores

Plastics and clear film.

Lella Loves... Scrapstores

Hundreds of metres of plastic tape.

Lella Loves... Scrapstores

Sticky-backed papers and coloured signs with adhesive backing.

Lella Loves... Scrapstores

Foam wedges and cushion upholstery trimmings.

Lella Loves... Scrapstores

If you were moving house, bubblewrap can be used for the move and then returned to allow someone else to use it. There are bins filled with useful packaging such as poly peanuts, foam, cardboard and much more.

Lella Loves... Scrapstores

I said it in August and I will say it again today: look up your local scrapstore and pay them a visit. If you love fabric, buttons, card, foam, paper, trimmings and so on, then do please find your local club and join the hundreds of other members who benefit from being a member of a scrapstore.

Here is the link to my August post explaining how Scrapstores operate:

Here is the link to the list of scrapstores in the the UK.

Visit a scrapstore this week and take some money as you will have to pay a very small, one-off fee for the year but that will allow you access to all their stock. 

*Tip: Try to donate something every time you visit. Please don't just be a 'taker'. Keep the wheels turning and find a few yards of fabric to pass on. A bag of spare buttons, several cotton threads in colours you will never use or that odd ball of wool will be greatly appreciated by someone else.

Please let me know if you went and joined and feel free to post a comment.

Lella  xx

Friday, 25 November 2011

Pine Cone Flowers

It is one month today until Christmas Day so Floral Friday has been given a twist with these lovely pine cone flowers. I love pine cones and if you do too, these are rather fun to make.

Lella Loves... Pine Cone Flowers

As a seasonal display, pine cones are one of my main 7. The others in this tried and tested list are fruit, nuts, greenery, robins, candles and Christmas decorations. Pine cones and pot pourri are the 7th.

To make these, you will need:

Pine cones
Twigs - let them dry out
Hand tools

Lella Loves... Pine Cone Flowers

Start by taking your dried twigs and slice the top off at an angle.

Lella Loves... Pine Cone Flowers

 The aim is for you to create a wedged end.

Lella Loves... Pine Cone Flowers

Where the pine cone left the tree, there is a little belly button. You need to create a hole into which the twigs will be glued. Either gouge out with a gimlet (BE EXTRA CAREFUL) but it would be easier to use a small hobby drill such as a Dremel.

Here is a link to their hobby range.

Lella Loves... Pine Cone Flowers

Place a blob of glue on the end of your stem.

Lella Loves... Pine Cone Flowers

Insert the twig in to the pine cone to create the flower stem.

Lella Loves... Pine Cone Flowers

Leave them to dry overnight.

Lella Loves... Pine Cone Flowers

Make as many as you would like for your arrangement. If you enjoy the creative, simply keep on making as a bouquet of pine cone flowers would be a lovely handmade present.

Lella Loves... Charity Shops

Select your container. I chose this fabulous handmade (not by me!) jug which I bought from a charity shop last month. 

*Tip: It only takes two minutes to browse in a charity shop but I encourage it at all times as you never know what you might find.

Lella Loves... Glass Nuggets

As the pine cone flowers are top-heavy, use some ballast such as these charming glass nuggets.

Lella Loves... Pine Cone Flowers

They are super-cheap at £2 for a huge tub. I chose brown as my jug is brown and this is a naturals display.

Lella Loves... Pine Cone Flowers

Arranging the pine cone flowers is fun. Do make sure when you make them, your stems are either very long so you are able to trim or make them with varying heights.

Lella Loves... Pine Cone Flowers

Start the arrangement with the triangle. This helps guide you to an even placement.

Lella Loves... Pine Cone Flowers

Here is my finished display. You can now see the benefit of being able to trim the stems. Differing heights is a must or else the arrangement will look odd.

If you have children who want to make Christmas decorations, let them add a touch of sparkle to a bowl of plain pine cones using glitter and glue. For a rainy-day project,  set aside a big bag of pine cones. Encourage the children to express their creativity and let them paint the cone tips with non-toxic PVA glue and dip in dry glitter.

I do hope you enjoyed today's blog-make and please leave me a comment. It is always nice to know what you think.

Have a lovely day.

Lella  xx

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