Homemade Gifts- Industrial Candles

It is the season of gift giving. Around here we don’t do a lot of shopping, but instead, do a little supply gathering. Our family LOVES to do homemade gifts for the holidays.  Today I took to some candle making supplies to test make some unique industrial candles. A quick trip to the hardware and craft stores and I was ready to go!

Here is what I used:

  • Galvanized Pipe Caps: 2 inch, 1 1/2 inch, and 1 1/14 inch sizes
  • Beeswax Pellets
  • Essential Oil (Sweet Orange)
  • Long wicks

In a double boiler, or in my case a regular pot of water with a heat safe bowl on top, heat the wax and about 40 drops of essential oil until fully melted. While you wait, glue the wicks to the bottom inside of your galvanized caps.  Pull the wicks to one side, pour hot wax into each cap.  Using skewers, prop your wicks up to keep them out of the wax. Don’t worry if the tops are a little rough, you can clean them up using a hair dryer and a skewer to smooth things out.  When everything is set, cut your wicks down and viola! A custom set of candles ready for gifting. Total estimated Cost: $16.00


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Sweet Tooth

Our house has always embraced the old fashioned, outdated qualities that slow living provides.  I love technology in so many ways, but really admire the classics and the quality and pride of making something for yourself.

I recently had an ice cream making experience with my favorite ginger that was so successful we were trying to figure out ways to bring the “left overs” home more than a few hours away. Afterwards,  I scoured the web for my own little piece of ice cream history.  I found my very own antique maker thanks to In the Top Drawer via etsy.  After gathering my favorite (and locally sourced) ingredients, we were on to our frozen kitchen adventure.

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The Must Have:

    • Plenty of Ice & Salt for the bucket
    • 1 1/2 Cup half & half
    • 4 egg yolks
    • 1 Cup sugar
    • 1 1/2 Cup heavy whipping cream
    • FLAVOR: Fresh Strawberries (you can really add anything here

 The How To:

1. Heat the half & half in a sauce pan over low heat.

2. In a separate bowl, mix the egg yolks and sugar.

3. Slowly add the egg and sugar mixture into the saucepan.

4.Continue to cook on low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon.

5. Add heavy whipping cream to the  mixture.

6. Pour everything into the metal canister and secure the lid.

7. Insert canister into bucket, surround with crushed ice, add salt, and crank it for almost 30 minutes or until there is resistance in the cream.

8. Pour into a freezer safe container and freeze over night.

9. Scoop and enjoy- even for breakfast.


A twist on an old tradition

Every holiday season, my Grandma makes the same delicious meals. It is tradition after all.  Every year, I drool over the smell of of her version of “Pigs in Blankets”. Don’t let them get confused with the hotdog/pancake imposters, but rather the zesty, hearty cabbage rolls made of magic and covered in Sauerkraut.  Now, there is one giant problem for me. I don’t eat pork. Its like I am missing out on a pot of gold every year.  So instead of stuffing myself with her traditional creamed potatoes and appetizers in regret of my no-pork diet, I took matters into my own hands to make a new version “Birds in Blankets”. Recipe Below of course.

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Here is what I used:

1 lb of Italian Seasoned Ground Turkey

2 cups of Brown Rice

2 tbsp of seasonings (I used generic Italian, Garlic and Onion Powder)

1 Jar Homemade Sauerkraut (equivalent of 3 cans store bought)

1 Package of Italian Chicken Sausage (precooked)


1. Steam your Cabbage until soft and plyable (this may take a couple steams after the first few peels)

2. Peel into large petals and set aside

3. Mix ground turkey, rice, and seasonings together in a big bowl

4 Lay the cabbage out flat, and spoon 1/4 cup of the ground turkey mixture in the middle of the leaf

5. Roll the cabbage from the bottom and sides, and carefully place into a casserole dish

6. When the casserole dish is full (about 14 rolls), slice your sausages in half, line the edge of the dish

7. Cover the entire dish with the Sauerkraut and cover with foil.

8. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and cook for 90 minutes.

9. Serve and Enjoy

Peppermint Bath Salt DIY

I have a large circle of fabulous people that I work with.  I have never been a big fan of buying gifts for colleagues for many reasons, but have found that my homemade gifts are much more memorable.

This year, I have all women (with exception of one great guy) that surround me professionally. All fun, friendly, and festive. I needed something that I could make a large batch of, please the masses, and acknowledge the hard work that happens daily.

Each jar was less than $2 to make with plenty of extract left over for another craft.

Homemade Peppermint Bath Salt

For 12- 4 ounce jars you will need:

.5 fl ounces of Peppermint Extract

3 lbs. of Basic Epson Salt

The Super Easy Instructions

1. Pour Epson Salt into a large bowl

2. Drop 12 drops of peppermint extract and mix together

3. Scoop into jars and seal

4. Add your own adorable touch (Cupcake Liners for a jar topper)

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Blueberry Rhubarb Jam

Of course, after a trip to the local blueberry field,  its natural to have the urge to make jam. How else would I use fresh local berries? Smoothies, berry salads, and pancakes will only get a girl so far.

I had a full rhubarb plant in the garden this year, so I thought I would throw it in the mix.

Blueberry Rhubarb Jam Recipe


4 Cups Blueberries

1 Cup Rhubarb

1 Cup Sugar

1/2 Cup Honey (you can substitute for package of pectin)

2 Limes (Juice only)


Start by adding sugar to rhubarb, let sit for 2 hours.

On medium heat, add honey, rhubarb/sugar mixture and heat until sugar is dissolved.

Squeeze in lime juice.

Bring to low boil, cook for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, skim any foam and pour into clean jars.

Set with a water bath, allow to rest on a room temperature counter top.

This recipe made about 10, 4 oz jars of jam.

Share and Enjoy.

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Homemade Weekend

I have been feeling extra inspired in the kitchen. With help encouragement from my long-distance kitchen companion, The Natural Ginger,  I gathered needed supplies and made the following according to some of my favorite blogger recipes:

Fresh mozzarella Cheese- Ree Drummond- The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Strawberry Chipotle Jam- Mavis Butterfield of One Hundred Dollars A Month

Finn Bread- My family recipe featured here

I had an excess of strawberries after an over zealous trip to the produce stand. This posed a dilemma, I decided to freeze them. Then decided to make a new jam. Not being a spicy girl, this was a stretch, but I made 4 jars, two have already been doled out to my favorite people.


The bread is a given with cheese, so it was a quick throw together.

The fresh mozzarella cheese was a personal challenge. I’ve wanted to try my hand at cheese making for some time, but needed the encouragement. After a phone conference with The Natural Ginger, it was TIME to give it a shot. I spotted some fresh (as in milked yesterday fresh) milk at the Olympia Farmer’s Market and figured it was fate. A trip to the local co-op, and I had all the ingredients necessary to attempt cheese.

Here is what is needed:

1 1/2 teaspoons of citric acid powder

1/4 teaspoon liquid vegetable rennet

1 gallon of whole (raw) milk

2 teaspoons salt


In a large stock pot, dissolve citric acid with 1/4 cup water.

Pour milk in pot and stir.


Put pot on Med/Low heat until it reaches 90 degrees.


Take pot away from heat, add rennet mixed with 1 cup of water. Mix slowly from bottom to top of liquid.

Let sit for 5 minutes.

In 5 amazing minutes the texture is soft but solid.. remember GAK? That is what this feels like. It is weird.


Cut into 1 inch cubes in the pot with a long knife or spatula.


Heat on Medium until it reaches 105 degrees. Remove from heat and use a drainer spoon to separate the curd substance into a collider.  The less whey the better.


Drain in collider, until the least amount of liquid whey is present.


Take in your hands and gently squeeze remaining liquid out.


Put in microwave-safe bowl on high for 1 minute. Take out and squeeeeeeze.


Back in the microwave for 35 seconds, remove and squeeeeze.

One more time for 35 seconds and squeeze/stretch until smooth.  Knead in salt to taste.


Roll the cheese into itself to make a perfect little ball.

Drop into a bowl of ice water once totally cool, it is ready to eat.

This was delicious and has totally created a monster, I can’t wait to try again next weekend including adding my own special ingredients.