Perfecting the Art of Grubby Candles

To my surprise, my little grubby candles were a huge hit at my co-op and I have been putting off making a new batch because of what a giant MESS the whole process is. It’s fun, but it nearly gives Greg a heart attack every time I make candles and wax gets splattered all over our kitchen and is a royal pain in the @$$ to clean up. Anyway, I did make a new batch and I think they came out even better than the last.

I know I already posted a tutorial on these but I figured more pictures couldn’t hurt. I have also been not-so-crafty lately, so I felt obligated to document this recent craft endeavor. ๐Ÿ™‚

I started by melting some big candles from Wally World…I like to use these ones because of the color and strong, yummy scents. You can also use any left over wax you have lying around.

The votives I like to use are these:

These off-white votives come 16 to a pack and are significantly cheaper than the scented ones, that’s why I use them. Plus you’ll be packing on scented wax – so you’ll still have a yummy smelling final product.

Again I used my ghetto double boiler that I use solely for candle/tart making…

Then pour some of the melted wax into a disposable tin container. I get these 3 to a pack at the Dollar Tree. Let the wax stiffen up a bit so it’s more of a gooey texture, as opposed to runny (only takes about a minute). Basically when it’s JUST cool enough to work with. Set the votive down in the middle and “pack on” the wax, like you’re packing a mini snowball. I usually wear gloves….it’s WAY messy.

Then set aside on wax paper, or in my case foil…I was outta the wax paper. Anything to keep the wax from getting all over your table.

This is what they look like after they dry…

And then a final dip in wax “seals” it up and gives it a cleaner look, while still being deliciously “grubby!”

Some came out more chunky than others. I much prefer the one on the left.

Awww, how cute!

Finally, I packaged them up since they will be for sale in my booth. I use candy-making “treat bags” from the baking aisle at the craft store. They come in a variety of sizes while being very cost-effective (100 bags for like $2-$3??). Finished off with a little homespun tie…my favorite “country” accent.

*One thing I forgot to do before packaging was dust them with cinnamon. D’oh! I love that look. This is an easy way to add even more of a country feel.

I will display them in this shallow wooden box. The perfect height for my itty bitty chunky candles. I am pricing them $1 a piece, which is probably a little low for the work involved. I try really hard to price things reasonable and at a price that the average joe can afford. I want people to enjoy them, because I know these types of candles can be so expensive in the big country stores!!!

I DID try making these types of chunky candles with the BIG candles seen in the first, top picture. It was a major craft FAIL. LOL. I have to work on those before I dare take any pics!!!

Off to an estate sale and two thrift stores this weekend on the other side of town that I normally don’t get to go to. Let the treasure hunting commence! Have a great weekend my crafty peeps! ๐Ÿ™‚

Mini Country Jar Candles

I said I wasn’t going to do the jar candles again this year but I just can’t resist the Fall scents! Pumpkin Spice, Vanilla Spice, Mulled Cider, and a new one this year: Pecan Pie! ๐Ÿ™‚ I got these at Wally World, and I think they are an awesome deal. Only $1 a piece, and the scents are very fragrant and long-lasting. Also, the labels peel right off, so they’re great for crafting!

Really, why bother trying to pour your own when you can get these for $1!

Instead of making labels this year, I decided to do something EASY and not as costly, or time-consuming. I simply wrapped the jars with a wide piece of homespun fabric, wrapped with a piece of jute, and finished with a rusty star, heart, or little salt-box house. All secured with the hot glue gun. The pictures aren’t great, because I took them with my phone. Sorry. SOMEONE went to a dog training seminar and took ALL the good cameras in the house!

Originally I was done at this point, but I wanted to do something to indicate the scent. I decided to make little tags to tie around the necks of the jars. I cut down the normal size tags to make “mini grubby tags.” I stamped them with my mini alphabet stamps to spell out the scents – some of which I changed. I didn’t like “vanilla spice” so I changed it to “spice cake.” These mini alphabet stamps can be found at the craft store OR Walmart for $1 too!

Tip: I find it’s easiest to stamp multiple tags at once. Stamp the “p” on all 3, then the “u” on all 3, and so on. It’s so much quicker stamping out one whole tag when you are fumbling around with tiny stamps like this.

I don’t stress if they aren’t perfect…that just means they are one of a kind and have a little home-made charm!

I used to print out labels on brown craft stickers and just tie a piece of fabric around the neck. The labels were a pain in the @$$ to get just right, not to mention those stickers aren’t cheap or easily accessible. Cute, but just not efficient for me.

I really hope people think my new candles are as cute as I do. Guess we’ll find out very soon! If they do sell well, maybe I’ll make a bunch for the craft show in Dec.!

In other news, here are some cool thrift store finds from last week, starting with this very cool, retro scale! I am getting quite a nice collection of old scales and can’t wait to display them together.

Grapevine heart wreaths…for a buck? Heck yeah!

Two country-style boxes, both in great shape!

A round pink jar with a wire frog lid

An itty-bitty rug beater…at least I think that’s what it is! It’s so stink in’ cute!

And lastly, this cool wood pharmacy sign. Not sure if it’s a repro or not but I love the graphics and lettering.

Well that’s all for now! Has anyone else been working on any Fall crafts yet? Or am I the only one who wants Fall to hurry up and get here?! Have a fabulous weekend and BBS! ๐Ÿ™‚

Making Over Dollar Store Candles and a Few Other Crafty Tid-Bits…

Ever see these at The Dollar Tree? They are in the tiny wedding accessories section, usually near the craft supplies. I am guessing they are meant for favors? I don’t know, but they are good quality little jar candles, and 3 to a pack is a great deal.

I knew right away I wanted to texture them, but I didn’t want to use the dark brown or the gold. I am tired of these colors and there aren’t other colors of Texture Fierro except a bluish-gray and green.

So…I mixed these two to make a light brown/tan color! I then added a little strip of homespun with the trusty hot glue gun.

I was going to embellish them with a rusty star, but I decided at the last minute to use these left over Fimo crows I made. I originally made them to mix with some Fall themed “fixins” but I had some extras…exactly enough for the candles! It was meant to be! ๐Ÿ™‚

I think they are super cute. and great for Fall/Halloween! I just LOVE crows!

The other weekend projects I have been tinkering around with are the mini clothespin snowmen for my December show. They were a huge hit last year so I made TONS!

All they need are their scarfs!

And finally, I have been working on some pins/magnets/wine corks for Fall with pumpkin faces. It’s taking a lot longer than the snowmen did, but I am liking the results. Here is a sneak peek!

ย Welp, even though it’s a crappy, rainy MONDAY morning (eww)…try to have a GREAT day!!! I am in major crafting mode…more to come soon!!!

Folding Ruler Stars

Welp…I got my first check and summary of sales since I have opened my booth. I made more than double my rent in a little less than 3 weeks…I couldn’t be more excited!!! I think I definitely made the right choice of where to set up my space, and I have gotten to know a lot of the vendors and the owner quite well. I can’t wait to see what the future at the co-op brings…I hope the rest of the summer goes as well as my first few weeks! So lately I have been doing less crafting and a lot more stock piling items from thrift stores and estate sales, trying to make sure I am able to fill my booth as needed. I’ve been in a bit of a crafting “rut” lately. I keep wanting to go outside to do some spray painting but the weather won’t let me. Anyway…I found a bunch of these folding rulers at a garage sale yesterday and remembered an idea I saw somewhere online ages ago, where it was shaped as a star. I decided to give it a try!

Pretty stinkin cute, huh? I love how they turned out. So easy…just bend em! I tied a little piece of homespun to hold it together. The hinges are pretty stiff and there’s not really an issue with the star losing it’s shape, so no need to glue it or anything…it pretty much stays in the shape you fold them!

Here are some other recent thrift store/household sale finds!

Ok, does anyone know what these scissor things are?? I have looked around online and no one knows. I keep thinking something along the lines of candle snuffer, fire tongs, etc. Anyone???

I am always on the look out for things like this little wooden sleigh, for displays at craft shows or in my booth. For .50 cents, I will use this to hold some of my Christmas trinkets at the craft show for sure!

And one of my favorite finds…this “Courting Candle” which I decided to do a little more research on:

In the 1600s to 1800s, fathers, parents or guardians of a marriageable young lady would allow suitors to visit her in her home. The couple were allowed to visit in a sitting room, parlor or on the front porch. The father would prepare a candleholder called a courting candle or suitors candle and set it up in the area where the couple sat. The father would observe the suitor and decide an amount of time that he felt comfortable with for the man to visit and socialize. The candle height would be adjusted to measure out the time. The candle was raised or lowered with a peg or thumb lever. When the candle burned to the metal at the top of the candleholder it was the firm yet polite signal that it was time for the suitor to bid the young woman good evening and leave. (Found this info here).

And lastly, in honor of Easter, I thought I would share a picture of the evil wood bunny that stares at me every time I go up and down the stairs to my craft area. He kinda scares me. Happy Easter everyone!

Grubby Candles and Tapers

Who doesn’t love a grubby, chunky, little candle? I decided to make some today, by modifying some small votives and tapers I had lying around. I think they came out pretty darn good! Wanna try?? Here’s how I did it!

Start out with your basic votives. I got these at Wally World.

The other supplies can be found at the Dollar Tree, except this large pillar candle which I also got at Walmart. I chose this color/scent to melt down, because it sort of matches the votives. I HIGHLY recommend using a tin pan or something disposable for this project. It’s SUPER messy and washing wax off of dishes is not easy. Trust me.

I made my own ghetto double-boiler using a small pan that set in a larger flat pan. This prevents the wax from getting too hot and burning. All of these pans have been sacrificed and are my permanent candle-making pans…I wouldn’t use them to cook with afterwards.

Pour some melted wax into the foil pan. You gotta work QUICK! Wait just a few moments for the wax to cool (just hot enough to work with), and start rolling your votives. I recommend using gloves! I just got my nails did, and I refuse to chip wax off of them for the next week!

Shake some cinnamon/nutmeg right in with the wax. Be liberal, depending on how grubby you want them. The consistency shown below seems to work best – when it’s still melted but just starting to harden. Roll the votive around and pack it on the sides, like you’re packing a snowball!

Meanwhile, Paco supervises this messy operation.

After they dry, they look like this.

Next, find a small container that the votive will fit all the way in, to dip them once more to seal. I cut down a ricotta cheese container because it’s narrow and I won’t need as much melted wax to fill it up. I knew I hoarded those plastic containers for a reason!

And dip…

Place on wax paper to dry. Once dry, I dusted them with cinnamon. Here’s the finished product! I love them!

And now for the tapers. I got these like a year ago, for 25 cents a piece, when some craft booth was going out of business. I knew I’d find a use for them eventually.

Any tall, narrow container will do. I used an old glass vase. Being tall and narrow, you don’t need as much wax to fill it up, as say a large pot. I like to melt as little wax as possible, for times sake. Then…dip, dip, dip away! *Please note the delicious roast in the crock pot in the background. Dinner tonight…YUUUM! ๐Ÿ™‚

Roll in cinnamon mixture and re-dip. Repeat as much as you’d like, to create, thicker, grubbier tapers.

My professional candle drying rack…nifty, huh?

And here they are. I plan to finish them off by tying together with some raffia or homespun and adding a little rusty star, or something like that!

Whew. It’s a very time-consuming and MESSY project, but well worth it. I love how everything came out. Here my helper Paco rests after a long, day…

As always, if you try these, I’d loooooove to see some pix!

And now for that pot roast…..:P

Country Themed Dollar Store Crafts

While the selection is better, large craft stores prices can be a little rough on the wallet. There are tons of supplies for general crafting at the dollar store; i.e. tacky foam shapes, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, etc. Those can be great for kids, but it gets a little tougher when looking to do primitive/country crafts.

Here are a few projects that I have done that involve dollar store supplies. A lot of these have been featured in previous posts, so the pictures may look familiar! All of the photos with a white background were found at

Salt Dough Ornies & Cinnamon Applesauce Ornies

Salt, flour, cinnamon, and applesauce, wax paper – all of your main ingredients for both salt dough and cinnamon applesauce ornaments – can be found at the dollar store. The recipes can be found all over the web, I don’t feel like typing it out…hehe. I make cinnamon applesauce ornies in bulk – usually stars, hearts, and gingerbread men for the holidays.

A wonderful salt dough tutorial can be found at

This “snowman pop” I picked up at a craft show looks like salt dough. I definitely want to try this. A cute stocking stuffer perhaps?

Primitive Electric Tea Lights and Jar Candles

My best seller and favorite dollar store craft: electric tea lights! I recently found the tea lights on the right at a local Dollar Tree…. 3 for $1! I have found that they are as good the ones at the craft store, and last just as long!

These particular ones have been coated with gold and brown texture fierro, a textured paste made by DecoArt (found at the craft store for about $6 a jar). I have however used plain cinnamon which I get at the dollar store. First I put a piece of tape around the base of the little silicone flame, so my cinnamon doesn’t get on it. Then, paint them with regular glue or modge podge, roll in cinnamon, and let dry. Once dry, re-paint with glue/modge podge to seal! The cinnamon technique works great, but I prefer the look of the texture fierro.

This candle was grubbied up using the cinnamon/glue technique.

These candles were found at the Dollar Tree. I used the same technique as the electric tea lights. This can be done to any glass item or jar candle. Same thing goes for these – dollar store cinnamon works great for a more rusty look!

Wooden Spoon Kitchen Decoration

You can get packages of wooden kitchen spoons at the dollar store (usually 4 per pkg) that can easily be painted and made into very cute country kitchen decorations. I spray painted them black, sanded the edges,ย  and finished off with a homespun tie and dollar store faux berries!

Silicone Dipped Bulbs – Christmas Lights and Country Night Lights

Hand dipping silicone bulbs looks like a daunting task, but is actually quite easy. I do this with night lights found at the dollar store and also with strands of Christmas lights. I scooped up a huge supply of plain white Christmas lights at the dollar store during the holidays to use all year round! The silicone must be bought elsewhere, but I found it real cheap at Walmart. To see how to dip silicone bulbs, view my previous tutorial here.

Turn these…

into THESE! ๐Ÿ™‚

Christmas lights for Everyday Country Decor

As I said, I stock up on these after the holidays to use for a variety of projects. One simple idea (not a “craft” per say, but cute nonetheless) is to look for old bottles at yard sales or thrift stores, and put a strand of lights down inside to illuminate the colored glass. I got this blue house shaped bottle at a yard sale for 10 cents, added a string of white Christmas lights, and it looks so darn cute! This picture doesn’t do it justice, but I swear it looks awesome up on a shelf!

Another idea is to take small strips of homespun and knot them on the strand of lights in between each bulb. I have seen it/done it before but can’t seem to find a picture! Cute idea and super-duper easy!

Brown Craft Paper

The Dollar Tree has a surprising selection of brown crafting/wrapping paper that can be used for numerous craft purposes. The one on the far right has little gold stars, and is super cute – one of my favorites.

They also sell plain (without patterns) brown craft paper by the roll. I use this to make labels for my products like the one seen below. I use a paper cutter to cut 8.5 x 11 sheets that can be run through the copier. The Dollar Tree also sells a really great red gingham craft paper – the one that the snowmen are clipped to!

I use it to cover my craft table too, so I can make a mess and then replace it as necessary!

Brown craft paper gift bags are great for stamping.

Homespun Wrapped Candy Cane Ornaments

You get 6 plastic candy cane forms for $1…you can’t beat it! Simply wrap in homespun. I used hot glue to dab on the ends. Another one of my FAVORITE crafts of all time. This could be done with the large candy canes also found at the dollar store!

I haven’t tried these LARGE Dollar Tree candy canes, but I bet they’d look great!

Jingle Bells – As Bowl Fillers and Accents for Other Crafts

Dollar Tree sells all kinds of little jingle bells at Christmas time. I typically spray paint them barn red, navy blue, and forest green, tie a bit of homespun on the top for a little country flair.ย  I use them as bowl/jar fillers and tree ornaments.

This cute holiday candle decorated with these same (spray painted) jingle bells was found at

Scatter around candles or mix in with your potpourri. Heck, plop a big wooden bowl on your table and fill it up with these suckers for a nice holiday center piece! A nice silver candle and bell display is shown here, by

A list of other craft supplies I have found at the dollar store:

  • Small round magnets & clear gems/marbles (marble magnets)
  • Styrofoam cone forms and balls (rag ball ornaments)
  • Basic floral supplies (wire, moss)
  • Baskets
  • Mini terra cotta pots & spanish moss (country witch head)
  • Jute
  • Large Christmas bulbs (the old-fashioned looking ones)
  • Small glass jars (use to hold potpourri, putka pods, cinnamon sticks, buttons, etc!)
  • Buttons
  • Glitter
  • Wooden frames (to paint and distress)
  • Wooden shapes for all kinds of crafting
  • Super glue/basic craft glue

Visit The Dollar Diva for more great dollar store craft ideas!

Hope you found this post helpful in saving a few bucks while working on your country/prim crafting endeavors. I don’t think I could survive without my local Dollar Tree. If you have any great dollar store ideas and/or crafts, I’d love to hear! Have a great week ya’ll! ๐Ÿ™‚

Cinnamon Sticks

Winter in western New York sucks…to say the least. It’s gray, depressing, and we probably won’t have sunshine for another 3 months. Needless to say I have been kind of lagging on my crafting lately, even though I’ve got a bunch of really great ideas for 2011. Lately I’ve seen cinnamon sticks on sale at the craft stores…not sure why they are all on clearance, unless they are considered “Christmas” or holiday items? Anyway, I have always found great uses for cinnamon sticks and thought I would share a few. Sorry the pictures aren’t great! Basic long cinnamon sticks like these are great for making “cinnamon stick stars”. I just laid them out in a star shape and tied the ends with a small piece of homespun. You have to “weave” the sticks, so they don’t fall apart. You’ll see what I mean if you try it. These are so simple and cost next to nothing to make! A cute Christmas tree topper perhaps?

The other great idea I had was a simple one – use them as jar fillers. These were some small ones I had on hand that I mixed with a few seed pods/potpourri, and filled these small jars I found at the dollar store. I spray painted the lids black, and sanded the edges. I did the same thing but in mason jars, with slightly longer cinnamon sticks. I used this jar set up (below) which then creates a cute votive holder!

Even easier is bundling them to sell as decorative bowl fillers. I literally tied together 6-7 sticks, tied with homespun, and added a grubby tag that said “Cinnamon Sticks” and sold them as is. A cute prim tag can do wonders! I love the simplicity of things like this.

Though these are not cinnamon sticks, I did the same for these really cool bean pods that my mom found. She picked them off some tree and we let them dry out…they were really neat! Does anyone know exactly what they are or what kind of tree they come off of?ย  I tied and labeled them and they couldn’t look cuter in this little cast iron bowl.

Lastly, I tied them onto some rose hip potpourri just as a fun accent.

I found this picture at Country Living and would like to try this eventually. Seems easy enough…just hot glue em on to the side of a little glass votive! They look very Thanksgiving-ish here, don’t ya think?

Guess that’s all for now. What other ideas do you have for using cinnamon sticks??

Happy Crafting! ๐Ÿ™‚

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