Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Is this thing on?

Wow. Has it been a long time since I last posted. What can I say life's been busy! Last year we went to Iceland, got married, had a mini-moon in Chicago and made some candles in between! Scroll on through a few shots of what we were up to below.

Iceland as you can see is full of jaw dropping beauty. I was so in awe of our planet and how vastly different the landscapes can be in one country let alone across our planet! In order to preserve all this beauty, we all need to do our part to minimize our carbon foot print. Yesterday being Earth Day it seems an appropriate time to talk about recycling and alternate uses for our candle jars.

We do our best to use materials that are recyclable or biodegradable. The wax we use - Eco Soya Wax - is made from soy beans (a renewable source) and is 100% biodegradable. We also try wherever possible to use recyclable materials. I've been asked before why I don't use a clear plastic box for our sampler packs. I prefer to use kraft paper boxes and kraft tissue paper that are made from 100% recycled content and can be recycled again. Our oceans are sadly filled with enough plastic.

Now on to the jars! I wanted to share with you how you can clean and re-purpose your candle jars at home.

I find using boiling hot water the easiest way to remove wax from a container. Boil a kettle, pour in hot water (leaving space at the top for the wax to rise), and watch the lava lamp-like show! (Excuse the shaky-cam quality of the video below).

Once the wax hardens, then you can easily scoop it out and throw it in the garbage. Then all that's left to do is take a sponge with a scrubber & clean it out under warm water with soap and you're good to go! Use it to store bathroom products like cotton balls, cotton pads, cotton swabs or even Epsom salts for your bath. My favourite use though is as a planter.

How cute is this? Markus and I try every year to get grass to grow in our backyard but it's always patchy and awkward looking. So I decided to try growing some grass indoors. You know that feeling of sitting in a park running your fingers through the grass? Now I can do that anytime. It's amazing. It's a great way to bring the outdoors in!

We'd love to see how you re-purpose your containers. Post your photos on Instagram and tag us #woodsmokeandolive. Happy Earth Day!

Candle Cooking 101.

Walter White cooks meth; I cook candles. We're basically the same person. Except maybe for the whole drug part. He had a Bunsen burner, I have my stove top. Cooking meth involved mad chemistry skills, and although candle making doesn't involve a ton of chemistry, there is still some science and math involved (fragrance calculations, ratios and flash points). Cooking meth seems far more dangerous though - fortunately with candles there is little to no risk of blowing up my house.

My candle addiction started when I first moved in with Markus. Wanting our place to smell delicious all the time, I used to hoard candles from Bath and Body Works every season and would burn through them so quickly. This habit proved costly. I then started buying soy candles from local small businesses (while still costly at least I was supporting a local businesses). I found that soy candles burn longer and are less harshly scented than the BBW candles. I wondered if I could make my own, did some research and decided to give it a shot. I quickly became obsessed. It's such a fun process and my favourite part is mixing custom fragrances. My process is HIGHLY scientific. It involves me taking a few Q-tips, sticking them in different fragrance oils and figuring out what combination of scents I like and what ratios to use. SCIENCE.

If you've ever felt like giving candle making a shot, I encourage you to give it a try. It's fairly easy and a pretty zen and relaxing past time. For those of you who are thinking about making your own candles or want some tips on caring for your candles, I thought I would write a few posts and share a few tips I've learned along the way. So here we go, post #1...

Candle Cooking 101: WICKS

When it comes to wicks, size does matter.

The actual candle making part is a little bit of Goldilocks-type trial and error. First, you need to find the right wick size for your container. If your wick is too small, you won't get a full even melt pool and your candle will tunnel and look terrible. You also won't get a strong scent release. I ruined many a candle that way. On the other hand if your wick is too large, you'll get a great strong scent release but your candle will burn through very quickly. The "just right" fit is somewhere between the two.

Candle Care Tip: Trim 'dem wicks!

Trimming your wick is an important part of caring for your candle. If you don't, you'll end up with a lot of soot deposit on your container which isn't pretty. You don't want to trim your wick shorter than 1/4" otherwise the flame might be too small and will cause a small melt pool and tunneling. The Atkins & Pearce wicks I use are designed to be self-trimming so there is little care involved after the initial trim before lighting.

That's it for now! Stay tuned for more tips...