We had great family fun today, started as usual with a Kefir harvest. My culture is growing so big now and I’m assuming therefore that it is super healthy and happy here. Nowadays it’s producing much thicker more pleasant tasting milk so if you’re just
starting out, persevere with it. My kids have started to take it now and don’t run a mile, all I do is drop a tiny bit of fruit juice into it and they find that makes it more like a milkshake, especially now it’s thicker and more effervescent.
Then we did the Saturday Kombucha bottling and rebrew. I got my new massive jar so we were able to make 4 litres this week. My Kombucha culture (SCOBY) looks very healthy and reproduced a lovely new slimy baby so I’m taking it that that lump of yeastand bacteria is happy too.
This time as it was my second brew I didn’t have to add the vinegar for acidity and used a cup of the previous brew instead and so it already smells much more pleasant than the last lot and so I’m expecting once it’s had time to ferment in the bottles it will be even nicer than the last batch. This time I flavoured some with fresh ginger and lime zest and some with orange and lemon zest. I’m experimenting at the moment with flavours. The last lot was flavoured with raspberries and blueberries and was refreshing and light but did have that vinegar flavour which I’m hoping has gone from the next lot. I only just discovered that you don’t have to let it ferment for a second time in bottles and you can just take it straight from the first brew and drink it. This is fortunate as I have almost ran out from last week.
Then, we took some old candle jars that we’d bought/been gifted and we’d cleaned out and stashed for future use and we got our candle making box of tricks out and made some delicious fragranced candles.
We used wax pellets this time which made life so much easier (although they all mould together in the double boiler they do melt faster) and we added stearic acid as we heard it makes candles burn for longer. We decided to go for two varieties today. Our first batch was coloured using red wax and we added just enough to get a lovely watermelon pink/red colour. We thought of adding more to make a more berry red colour but we loved the pink and when my daughter added it to the green coloured jar she loved the water melon effect with the contrast of the two colours. That one was scented with cherry ameretto and smells divine. Any excess we just pour onto grease proof paper or into a jam jar lid and once it’s set we use it like a melting tartlet on a burner. This one was so sweet smelling I dropped a chunk into a vase of dry flowers in the hall to give a lovely cherry blast when anyone walks through the door
The next batch we made we managed to get a lovely yellowy colour using just a little of a dark orange dye wax. We love this colour and we decided to add lemon fragrance oil to this one and we called it our lemonade fizz candle as that’s just what they look like, little pots of fizzy, brightly coloured lemonade and of course they smell delicious too.
So they’re all setting now and tomorrow we’ll be able to set them around the house to fill it with beautiful fresh fragrances. I double up on fragrance strength from 0.5 to 1.0oz per pound of wax and 3 teaspoons of stearin. I find that this gives off a lovely smell even when the candle isn’t alight which is good to come home to after we’ve all been out of the house.
I don’t think my house smells bad without candles but I just love fragrances. They can put me in certain moods, flowery, fruity smells make me happy, musky smells make me feel sexy and/or in the mood for a bit of luxury and indulgence and natural linen, fresh laundry, cotton smells make me feel very cosy, really floral smells make me feel relaxed and sea side smells make me feel quite lively. Someone mentioned to me that vanilla and chocolate smells are supposed to satisfy chocolate and sweet cravings so I’ve ordered some brown colouring and some chocolate and vanilla fragrances to try it out to see if it works, however I’ve not really had cravings yet that I couldn’t control but it might be useful to have some ready just in case.
The kids love doing anything art and craft based as a family venture so we had fun with our little production line in operation. It’s amazing what the kids find to talk about and amazing what they learn from such sessions, they’re really unifying family activities no matter how old the kids are.
Now they are older they still love doing this stuff, what 14 year old boy do you know who would admit to having had a fun Saturday morning making scented candles? OK so mine won’t admit it outside of the house but he enjoyed it and it was interesting how he found lots of opportunity to talk about the science of the whole process. He had a lap top on the kitchen side and was finding out exactly why stearin is used in candle making then he researched different waxes and ordered some beeswax to try and he found interesting info about why it’s dangerous to use too much fragrance oil and it was a bit of a mini chemistry lesson, following on from the home fermenting biology lesson.
We made 16 big candles for a couple of pounds and so they got an economics lesson too considering that the original candles in the pots had not smelled as good as ours, burned very quickly and cost minimum of £4 each.
My daughter had to go to work after and my son set to designing labels as he’s decided he’s going to make some large jar (Yankee type) candles for his teachers for when we leave. He wants to put some thought into it as he wants to make each one a fragrance and colour which represents the teacher it’s for and he’s going to try to make some male fragranced ones too for the couple of male teachers he has. He saw a jar candle that had
been made to look like a pint of beer and another like a pint of Guiness and he figured he could come up with male fragrance, a musky, malty kind of smell so he’s going to get on with that and I think it’s a great idea and will save me a fortune on end of term gifts. I wonder if he’s thought of a ginger beer? I’ll have to tell him to look into that one.
In our busy lives fitting time in to do activities with the kids is precious and often rare and something I’ve fiercely guarded and deeply resented when work or other people have eaten into that time. I’m hoping these guys make me lots of grandchildren or at least a couple so that I get to carry on doing this stuff, it’s when I’m happiest and I just hope I’ve instilled in them the value of just being together.
Weather’s taken a down turn hence the indoor activity, it’s rained so much I’m thinking our next project might have to be building an Arc.