Crafts

Candlefish Atlanta Class Experience

Until I read a post on My Style Vita about it, I had actually never heard of Candlefish, but I had been looking for a place to take a candle-making lesson. For a while I’ve entertained the thought of making my own candles and even trying to sell them, though right now I don’t feel like I have the room to store all the various equipment needed for this venture. Anyway, the My Style Vita post offered a 15% off coupon that applied to the cost of the class, so I told my friend Melissa the code too and we booked a class. Thanks for that code, Jessica!

Candlefish is located within Ponce City Market, a place that–in my view, anyway–has some cool aspects (it’s nice that they reused a historical building instead of tearing it down) and some less-than-cool ones (the crowds and the backwards parking system…just use Atlantic Station’s pay-on-exit system!). But I put that aside because, hey, candles. We actually had trouble finding Candlefish at first! It wasn’t our first PCM rodeo, either. We soon deduced that the shop is not near the food hall, unsuccessfully tried to find a mall-style directory map in 3 different places (for the record: there’s one by West Elm), went outside to the courtyard and found it next to Alex and Ani. By the way, the store is so new that it wouldn’t have been on the directory anyway.

Candlefish Atlanta Class Experience - Pucks and Macarons

When you walk into the small (yet not cramped) store, one of the first things you see is this fantastically old-fashioned looking display. This is the library, featuring 100 scents identified only by a number. You can find out what notes are in each one, mainly by asking one of the friendly people working there, though. Their website also offers up explanations of the notes in each scent sorted by theme.

Candlefish Atlanta Class Experience - Pucks and Macarons

Here is one of the shop’s areas, featuring displays of different candles and accessories. One table offered candles that purported to have scents inspired by cities.

Candlefish Atlanta Class Experience - Pucks and Macarons

This is the workshop area where classes are held. I think the table seats 10 while also offering the instructor ample space to explain and demonstrate each step in the process.

Candlefish Atlanta Class Experience - Pucks and Macarons

ARE Y’ALL READY FOR SOME SCIENCE? These are all the tools provided for you to craft two 9 ounce candles of the same scent: candles, wicks, labels, beaker for scent oil, handled container for wax, whisk, popsicle sticks, ruler, eyewear and cards that identify your creation and allow you to discover which scents you like.

First, you pick a scent. There were 20 scents spread out around the workshop area with cards bearing their notes, though the cards were facing away to preserve an air of mystery. These were 20 of the most popular. You take the numbered card and go around sniffing candles with each scent, circling or crossing out ones that you like or dislike. This is the one part I would maybe change–I’d bring out candles from all 100 scents so everyone could try every scent. Melissa and I tried all 20 put out for us and then we wandered over to the library to try out lots of the other ones, but so did other students of the class, and it created a bit of a logjam that kept us from reaching candles of some numbers, mainly the higher ones.

After much deliberation, I picked scent 88, which is lemon, tulip and musk. Melissa picked scent 69, which is maple, brown sugar and bourbon. My scent is in the Green & Natural collection and hers is in the Epicurean collection. 88 is my birth year, so I liked that number too.

Then it was time for science. Bottles of the fragrance oil for each chosen number were brought out and we were directed to pour 1.6 ounces of oil into our beakers. Because the beaker measured in milliliters, we used little food-size scales to weigh out the oil. It was about 500 milliliters of oil, at least for me. Instead of having to melt soy wax flakes, a mysterious giant metal box with a spigot dispenses hot wax, which we poured from large steel containers into our smaller ones. We needed about 16.2 ounces and again used the scale for that. Thus, it’s about a 1:16 ratio of oil to wax for a 9 ounce candle. I think.

The oil was poured into the wax, stirred thoroughly with the whisk and then we allowed time for the wax to cool to 110 degrees. At this time, you are encouraged to shop and take advantage of a 15% off everything discount given to students on their class day. During this break, I bought this Magick candle by Lindbergh Candle Company. Its juicy fruity scent is really quite magical!

Once the wax was down to 110 degrees, we glued the wicks to the bottom of our votive glasses using hot glue guns. I feel like I didn’t do super well at this part, maybe due to a little hesitation around using hot glue guns for the first time in years, but I did see if the glue at least held by trying to tug the wicks up, which didn’t make the wick move. I also figured the wax would help keep the wick down if it tried any funny business.

Wicks in place, we also filled out and affixed the labels, along with circular warning labels. Then, it was pouring time! The bits of rulers have a thick mark on them near the 3 inch mark. That’s the fill line. Place the ruler upright behind the votive and then pour wax until you reach that fill line. Repeat on your second candle. Use the popsicle sticks to keep the wicks upright–or, in my case, use popsicle sticks, your ruler and Melissa’s ruler because my wicks were drooping even after using a popsicle stick.

Candlefish Atlanta Class Experience - Pucks and Macarons

Nailed it…maybe? You don’t know right away. Once you pour the wax, you’re done–the candles set overnight and then you can come pick them up the next day. That’s kind of too bad, really, because you just want to take them home and enjoy them right away, but alas. The store will look after your candle for the week following your class, just in case you can’t get there the next day.

Our class was on a Saturday, so I was able to get down there the next day for pickup. No matter when you made the candles the day before, they’re ready for you as soon as the store opens.

Candlefish Atlanta Class Experience - Pucks and Macarons

Ta-da! They look great and smell terrific, both when lit and unlit.

Overall, I had a great time at the class! I only have the one gripe about making all the scents readily available to students so they can make the most informed decision, but maybe if your class has smaller attendance or you’re just good at asserting your physical presence, you can get to sniff all of them at the library. Candlefish also allows you to bring in your own beverages, adult or otherwise, and has drink glasses¬†along with cafe-style water bottles in cool marble buckets.

The normal cost for a class is $55, but when you think about how you’re making two sizable candles with soy wax and you compare the class’ cost to the price of similarly-crafted candles, it’s a good deal. Classes are offered on Sundays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Weekdays tend to have just one class at 7 pm while weekends have two, one at an earlier afternoon time and one at a later time.

Candlefish also offers classes on creating two different unique scents and making candles with them, which cost $65. These classes are new, so they are offered less often right now. They are also launching a class that allows students to paint glass vessels with unique patterns and then fill those vessels with candles. That class is $65 as well.

Candlefish’s site has an expanded selection of items, including jewelry, soap, glassware, stationery, key tags, art and candle subscription boxes.

IKEA Papercraft collection - Pucks and Macarons

IKEA Papercraft Collection: Yes, Do Want

I love IKEA, even though sometimes it doesn’t always love me back. I love it in spite of the crowds clogging up the walkways. I love it in spite of the fact that they removed the self-checkout lanes and I always get stuck behind someone buying half the store. I love it in spite of the fact that sometimes I genuinely have trouble reading the assembly instructions and one time assembled a bookshelf with one piece on backwards, the unfinished particleboard exposed, so late in the process of building that it couldn’t be fixed (a pretty scarf lies over the mistake). I just love the way they design, the intriguing showrooms on the second level, the fun lighting available in the marketplace, the IKEA Family benefits and those meatballs. Among other things.

I haven’t been to IKEA recently–it’s kind of a haul to get there and then to get around in the crowds–but I may need to make a trip soon to see this new IKEA Papercraft collection. Just check out these pictures from their official Share Space blog.

IKEA Papercraft gift wrap - Pucks and Macarons

Gift wrap! Ribbon! Washi tape! Oh my! I like the colors here–they’re nice and neutral, suitable for pretty much any occasion. IKEA already has Christmas gift wrap and ribbon, but a lot of it is really Christmassy and you couldn’t haul it out for a midsummer birthday or anything. Washi tape is so hot right now (in the voice of everyone from Zoolander) and I have a few rolls of it myself. Could do with some more uses for it…I like the idea of using it to tape up presents, even though I’m often clumsy with wrapping paper. My dad is actually a gift-wrapping whiz.

IKEA Papercraft notebooks - Pucks and Macarons

VARIOUS NOTEBOOKS!!! Those pink, blue and green ones piled on the floor are 99 cents apiece for the small and $1.99 for the big, both having a gray elastic band that keeps them closed, kind of like Moleskines but a lot cheaper. Those black and white shell and pointing hand designs appear to be part of a set of stickers, 14 for 49 cents.

IKEA Papercraft writing paper - Pucks and Macarons

Silver is the ruling hue here in this display of notebooks, notepads and little notecards, plus gift wrap and paperclips.

IKEA Papercraft hanging decorations - Pucks and Macarons

What is the proper term for these?! They’re like paper hanging decorations that unfold to have this sort of interior pattern and become 3D. I’m sure they have a name and I don’t know it. IKEA just calls them decoration. I like the fun heart-shaped ones! Obviously you could use these at a party, but then you could just keep them up after since they work as permanent decor.

IKEA Papercraft collection - Pucks and Macarons

Here’s a whole roundup of the collection. You can also see black and white boxes with tree designs, gift bags and boxes and gift wrap with a speech bubble pattern. Speech bubbles are all over the place in this collection, along with the old-school black and white drawings shown earlier and beautiful colorful forest scene notebooks for just three bucks. There’s even party stuff for kids’ parties!

As you can see, Papercraft has some pretty attractive prices for some fun-looking stuff. That forest scene notebook is just gorgeous. There are some fun speech bubble-shaped sticky notes and I like to have some pretty blank cards hanging around just in case (actually, they became useful lately when we wanted a pretty card to cover a cash gift for a family friend’s wedding celebration), so this set might be right up my alley…especially for 99 cents!

IKEA promises new additions to Papercraft all year long, so it’ll be interesting to see how often they add new things and what they add.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go round up one of the big blue bags and head over there sometime soon!

Thinking of Cross Stitch Again

I’m thinking of picking up cross-stitching again. I’m not much for DIY, don’t have a ton of space to store works in progress and don’t think I’d be very good at the fine art of spray-painting things to look 200% better than they did before, but I’ve done cross-stitching before. Actually, I’ve done it twice before.

As a teenager, I used to do some cross-stitching with my stepmom back when she was still alive. It turns out my grandmother (who also has passed) was a dab hand with cross stitching herself and my dad has some of her framed works: intricate, multicolored, beautiful.

Then I picked the habit back up in 2011 to stitch up two different copies of a Nyan Cat-themed pattern I bought off of Etsy. I made one for me and one for my friend Bethany as a gift!

(Y’all remember the Nyan Cat era? People made some hilarious parody versions, including a Swedish one where the little 8-bit pixel kitty flew over pine trees, cabins and IKEA stores.)

Etsy is a great place to visit for patterns again. The instant gratification is really quite nice and there tend to be more pop culture, youthful-focused patterns available than what one might find at Michaels or JoAnn–of course, there’s nothing wrong with either of those shops, especially considering I’d source thread and cloth from them, but you might know what I mean about the patterns. Plus it’s great to support independent craftspeople.

Here are some patterns that caught my eye while browsing.

Pretty Little Tokyo

Pretty Little Tokyo: $6

This cute and colorful pattern features lots of Tokyo sights, including Mt. Fuji, the Sky Tree tower and more! There are also loads of other Pretty Little cities from this same shop, including San Francisco, Paris, New York, Sydney and Italy. I can think of a friend who might like the Paris or Italy ones as a gift. Having been to San Francisco, maybe that one would be a good choice! But if I can’t decide, there’s a deal for purchasing 2 or 3 as a bundle.

Owl in a Hearts Tree

Owl in a Hearts Tree: $3.78

Wow, that price is great! This pattern is so cute…I love the little owl and the mix of colors in the hearts.

Doomed Redshirt

Doomed Redshirt: $3.99

The grandmother I mentioned above was actually a huge Star Trek fan during the run of the original series. My dad tells a story of how the family was given a Nielsen box one year to chart TV ratings. Grandma would make sure the TV was on for EVERY Star Trek episode, even if it was on at 2 a.m. She passed that Trek love down to Dad, Mom got into it too and now I’m into it, so that makes me a third-generation Trekkie. Cool, huh? Anyway, back to the pattern, which is nothing but the truth (except for when Uhura is in red because she’s Uhura and she rules).

Read More

Read More: $4.22

I like all the little details of this pattern, which would make a fun gift for a librarian friend of mine. This seller also offers a bundle deal for 3 patterns. Note that many of her patterns include naughty words, haha. Who knew such salty language would look so pretty in flourishes?

Only Judy Can Judge Me

Only Judy Can Judge Me: $8

The first time I saw someone use that phrase, I cracked up–and it’s always made me smile since. Mom and I enjoy watching Judge Judy because of her hilarious quips and take-no-prisoners attitude. I also like the frame that the crafter made for this picture, though I know that would be sold separately.

Peacock

Peacock: $4.50

I just love the colors and the look of this peacock pattern! Beautiful in its simplicity–and I love blue hues, so it’s a perfect fit.

Rapidash

Rapidash: $2.09

Pokemon has been a favorite video game of mine since the very first generation. I had a teal blue Game Boy Color and Pokemon Blue and I was happy as a clam. I’ve played pretty much every gen since, except the 3DS ones since I just don’t have a 3DS yet. The pixel art style lends itself well to cross-stitch rendering, like in elegant fiery Rapidash here.

This seller offers a buy 2 get 1 free deal, so it’s easier to catch them all. I’d probably go with Pikachu and Umbreon.

Here are some more incredible cross-stitch patterns that seem too daunting for my liking, but God bless anyone who tackles these:

I’m not sure which one to get! Or, because they’re so affordable, maybe I could get a few?!