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How to make your own soy candles = a very hygge winter DIY

Cold January temps mean I'm burning a lot of candles. I always do at this time of year, but even more so now, after reading Meik Wiking's book The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well. I read the book as part of some research for a story I wrote for The Toronto Star, on hygge style entertaining.  So, in the spirit of hygge (candles are essential!) I thought I'd share this easy, soy candle diy that uses recycled jars and cotton wicks, which are a healthier alternative.

 You'll need:

  • jars (I used yogurt jars, but you can also use jam jars or even old bowls or tea cups)
  • lead-free cotton wicks
  • soy wax
  • a clothes peg
  • essential oil
  • glue dots
  • something to stir with - I used a chopstick
  • a pot
  • an old metal or glass (heat safe!) bowl for melting the wax

Step 1.

Get your jars (clean, obvs) prepped by gluing the cotton wick inside the bottom of the jar. I used glue dots to hold the wick in place. Ensure the wicks are straight and centered.

Step 2.

You're going to use a double-boiler method to melt the wax. To determine how much wax to melt, I found that if I filled the container I was using with wax and then doubled that amount, it was pretty accurate. One pound of wax filled four yogurt jars.

Bring a pot of water (approximately 1/4 full) to a simmer. Put the wax flakes in an old bowl. Make sure it's heat safe! When the pot of water is simmering, place the bowl of wax in the pot.

Step 3.

Melt the wax. Stirring occasionally with wooden stick. Make sure you can an eye on the wax so it doesn't burn. You want to slowly melt the wax over a simmer. 

Step 4.

Carefully pour the wax into the prepared jars. Using a clothes peg to hold the wick in place. Let the wax cool slightly.

Once the wax has cooled slightly, add the essential oil. You don't want to add the essential oil while the wax is hot because I'm told it can alter the fragrance, but don't wait too long or the wax will set. The amount of essential oil that you add at this point is really up to you. I used about 10 drops per jar.  Gently stir the oil into the wax and let it set. It will take approximately 24 hours for the wax to set completely.

Step 4.

After the wax has set, remove the clothes pegs and trim the wicks to approximately one inch and enjoy!

DIY Soy Candles in recycled yogurt jars

*Some of these images were originally part of a story I did for The Toronto Star.

Curio Cabinets: A round-up of black glass display cabinets

I have a collection that needs a home. It's an inherited collection that one day I'll share with you.  For now, know that it needs a special place for it to live, before I can bring it here, to my home. I know it sounds a little mysterious and that it's annoying to leave someone wondering. Sorry about that.

So, I go back and forth between buying a cabinet to house this special collection, or having something made. But there are budgets to consider, or lack there of.  So, I troll the Internets looking for something vintage or antique. Nothing yet.

This past weekend, I came across a cabinet via a designer I follow on Instagram. I kind of fell in love with it. The designer is Nina Freudenberger. You can go look at her Instagram here if you want to see the post. I shared her post on my IG stories with a plea for help finding the cabinet and many responded - asking me to let them know if I found the source. Well, I did find it via a post on Remodelista, natch. It is called the Joyce Cabinet by Pinch Design located in London, England.  

Joyce cabinet by Pinch via The Future Perfect

However, you can buy it here on this side of the pond (in the US) from The Future Perfect for a cool $14,145.00 USD + shipping (yes, they ship to Canada).

Okay, I'll keep shopping, thanks.

So, for those of you that were asking, here it is. If you buy it, please invite me over so I can see it, alright? It is gorgeous.

I kept shopping because I want to find something like this, but not, ... um ... the cost of tuition in Ontario. I figure that many of you will relate and may appreciate this more attainable selection of options via this little round-up.  Not exactly (at all) the same but similar in feel and at least one is potentially hackable and/or stackable.

The Round-Up ...

Wyn Sideboard via Black Rooster Decor

The Wyn Sideboard via Black Rooster Decor, $3526.30 CAD
Black Rooster Decor always delivers. It's not quite the same as my inspiration cabinet but I love the look, the only drawback is the interior is white and my collection is ivory coloured. It will just disappear inside.  But it's gorgeous. Someone buy it and let me come over and style it, pretty please.

Casement Black Tall Cabinet via Crate and Barrel Canada

The Casement Black Tall Cabinet via Crate and Barrel, $1499.00 CAD

 I like this steel casement window-inspired option. The size is not quite right though. I need something a little wider and I'm not sure I want to double up this one.  

Milsbo Cabinet in white via Ikea Canada

The Milsbo Cabinet via Ikea Canada, $229.00 CAD

Ikea Canada delivers a nice budget option made of steel and glass. I wonder if I there is a hack somewhere in this? Maybe the shelves could be replaced?

MALSJÖ Cabinet via Ikea Canada

The MALSJÖ Cabinet via Ikea Canada, $499.00 CAD

and another Ikea option ... a little more trad, I like the brass colour hardware detail.  A little short but I could double up at this price.

Highway Beech Mountain Display Stand via Wayfair Canada

The Highway Beech Mountain Display Stand via Wayfair Canada, $1849.99 CAD

I really like this option from Wayfair Canada. Only glitch is that light coloured backing and I don't want to paint something that is $2000.  

20th C. English Brass Bar Pull Glass Double-Door Cabinet via Restoration Hardware

The 20th C. English Brass Bar Pull Glass Double-Door Cabinet via Restoration Hardware, $4295.00-6095.00 CAD

Classic RH.  I like the cabinet but don't love the hardware and at this price I might as well go custom.

Gwyneth Cabinet via Black Rooster Decor

The Gwyneth Cabinet via Black Rooster Decor, $3810.41 CAD

Another beauty from Black Rooster Decor. Love this arched iron cabinet with brass hardware. Gorgeous. Nice height too at 7.5 feet.

What's your favourite? I think I'll look into some custom options too. I love the idea of a special cabinet crafted for this collection but I'm not sure if it's too much of an investment for us right now. I really want to move this collection here, it's an heirloom collection. I'll have to sit with this for a bit. I'd love to hear your thoughts. If you have any leads on cabinet makers please let me know.

4 Easy DIY New Year's Eve Party Decor Ideas

Hosting a New Year's Eve party? Ring in the New Year with sparkly gold party decorations you can make yourself. Try using what you may have around your house to create some festive decor to ring in the new year. Here are four sparkly ideas that you can personalize to suit your style.

Cocktail Stir Sticks

When you need something last minute, pretty stir sticks embellished with glitter tape are an easy DIY you can whip up in just a few minutes. Start by cutting a 3-inch piece of tape. Place the skewer in the middle of the tape and fold together. Use scissors to cut the end of the tape to create a flag. If you don't have glitter tape, washi tape makes a pretty alternative.

You'll need:
  • bamboo skewers
  • glitter tape
  • scissors

Paper Lanterns

Decorate your space with a cluster of paper lanterns suspended from the ceiling. Perhaps you have some left over from a summer patio party that can be re-imagined as sparkly New Year's eve decor with a lick of gold paint. In a well ventilated area, spray the bottom half of a paper lantern with gold spray paint. Let dry. Here's another idea: If you don't have spray paint, but want to fancy up some lanterns, try tying glittery ribbons and garlands to the top of the lanterns, letting them cascade over the lanterns. I've also used diluted acrylic paint to paint paper lanterns. It's just takes a little more time.

You'll need:
  • paper lanterns
  • spray paint
  • fishing wire - to hang the lanterns

Party Horns

Make some noise when you ring in the New Year with party horns made festive. All you need is left over wrapping paper, double sided tape and some party horns. This is one way to re-use that holiday gift wrap that you saved.

You'll need:
  • party horns (from the dollar store)
  • double-sided tape
  • 8" x 10" sheets of paper (we used holiday wrap)

Step 1: Using scissors, remove the plastic mouthpiece.

Step 2: Cut a piece of paper, 8' x 10" and place a piece of double-sided tape on the short and long end of the paper.

Step 3: Place the plastic mouthpiece on the edge of the short side of the paper.

Step 4: Loosely roll the paper to form a cone shape. It will stick as it rolls along the tape.

Step 5: Trim the ends of the cone to create a straight edge.

Gold candle holder

Customize a simple glass vase purchased from a thrift store with gold spray paint. Then pop a candle inside. Be sure to apply paint in a well-ventilated area. *Tip: Spray paint is best applied in light back and forth strokes to achieve even coverage and prevent drips.

You'll need:
  • glass vases
  • gold spray paint
  • candles

Happy New Year, friends!