Easy Rosemary & Cranberry Centerpiece

When I was in Atlanta for my cousin’s wedding, my sister and I were brainstorming some festive, but not overwhelming, and easy to make centerpieces for a table she was decorating in December.  I’m really happy with what we came up with, and I’ve even got 2 options to execute it for you!

Easy Rosemary & Cranberry Centerpiece

What you’ll need:

  • Glass containers / vases
  • Fresh rosemary sprigs
  • Cranberries
  • Water
  • Floating candles

My favorite crafts are always the ones where I have everything (or almost everything) on hand.  When I decided to make some centerpieces, I realized all I needed to buy were some floating candles – which I found at Hobby Lobby for a few bucks.

PS – You should totally plant a rosemary bush in your yard.  You’ll love it.

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This is a really simple centerpiece that looks way nicer.  Fill your containers half way or more with water (not all the way up).  Place the sprigs of rosemary around the bottom of the container, and put your floating candle on top.rosemary_cranberry-centerpiece-02

You could leave it like this, but I’m in the Christmas spirit and wanted to add some red too (possibly a first).  I had some cranberries in the fridge leftover from an appetizer I made for Thanksgiving, and added them around the candle.

Since they float, they were right on top of the rosemary and it was a festive blend of white, red, and green.rosemary_cranberry-centerpiece-03

Light your candle and you’ve got a centerpiece!rosemary_cranberry-centerpiece-04 rosemary_cranberry-centerpiece-05

I put one container on our bar, and the other on our kitchen counter.  Of course I don’t always keep them lit, but they most definitely are when I’m feeling in the Christmas spirit at home!
rosemary_cranberry-centerpiece-07If you want a slightly different take on this, swap out the floating candles for an assortment of white flowers.  My sister did this for the centerpieces at a table that she was in charge of for her church’s tea recently and they turned out great!

She just got 2 varieties of white flowers from Publix for a few dollars and arranged them in various sizes of mason jars & vases.  I hear that their table got a lot of compliments too 🙂

rosemary_cranberry-centerpiece-11rosemary_cranberry-centerpiece-10I’m always a fan of easy projects that look fancier, and this one fits the bill for a last minute Christmas centerpiece!  Did I mention it smells great too?

PS – This is more of a 1-2 day centerpiece.  After a few days the water will start to break down the rosemary, so you’ll want to clean up before then!

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Clam Shell Candles

Shell candles are some of my favorite coastal party decor, and I’ve made a lot of oyster shell candles the last few years.  Until this point I’d stuck to using oyster shells since they are abundant in Charleston, but my friend Meaghan brought me a huge bag of clam shells from the northeast, and I knew they’d make great candles because of their shape.

Clam Shell Candles

What you’ll need:

  • Clam shells
  • Fake pearls
  • Hot glue
  • Aluminum foil
  • Tea lights
  • Shallow pan (one that you don’t use for cooking)
  • Soy wax
  • Candle pour pitcher

The process is basically the same as the oyster shell candles, but I’ve learned a valuable lesson about wicks and updated my process again.  First, clean your shells and set up your candle making space.

Next you’ll want to make sure all your shells are sitting upright.  If they don’t on their own, then add pearl feet to the bottom with hot glue to keep them upright so no wax would spill.  Then bring these over to your candle making space so they’re ready to become candles.

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The metal bottom that holds the wick is crucial to keeping the wick up while the candle burns so it doesn’t go out, and I’ve found it’s easier to use wicks from tea lights that already have this rather than getting all the parts and putting them together and cutting the wicks for each candle… so you’ll want to extract the wick & metal bottom from the tea light.  It’s easy to just pull it out from some tea lights, but the ones I always manage to find require me to melt the tea light away from it.  Put the tea lights in a shallow pan and melt the wax on low heat.  When the wick is extracted, place it in the bottom of the clam shell with the wick standing straight up.

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While you’re melting the tea lights to get the wicks, melt your soy wax in the candle pour pitcher, also over low heat.  When the soy wax is melted, pour it into the clam shells, a little at a time to make sure it doesn’t spill over.

Finally, just let them sit so they harden, and then you have some clam shell candles!

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You can see a few of the clam shell candles used as part of the centerpieces at our reception.  Sadly the wind blew a lot of them out, but that means I can use them at decor elsewhere!  I also gave these out as part of my hostess gifts for friends & family that helped with the wedding festivities.View More: http://mintedphotography.pass.us/wilds-wedding

If you like these, but don’t have any clam shells laying around, you can now find these in my Etsy shop!  Use the coupon code CKBLOG for a discount 🙂

Cleaning Out Candle Containers

Did you know that you can clean out the leftover wax from a candle holder when the candle is done to save the container?  I didn’t until recently so I tried it out on a recently finished candle and wanted to share the technique!

Cleaning Out Candle Containers

What you’ll need:

  • Finished candle holder
  • Boiling water
  • Paper towels

Step one: Take out your spent candle.  Mine was one of those delicious smelling Swedish Dream sea salt candles that I had finally burned all the way through.
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Boil some water on the stove.  When the water is boiling, pour it into the candle container, but not all the way to the top.  Wait 15 minutes while the wax softens and starts to rise to the top.

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After 15 minutes, remove the wax residue (and any wick holders) with your hand.  Then fill the container with warm water and let it sit for 5 minutes.

Finally pour the water out and wipe the container clean with a paper towel — that’s it!

candle holder 03Sorry for the kinda poor pictures… This isn’t great for photos, but seemed like a fun trick to share.  I cringe when I think about all the cool containers I’ve thrown out, but now I won’t have to!

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Side Projects

I’ve been making a lot of things for friends lately, and wanted to share with y’all what I’ve been working on even though they’re not “new” projects.

USC Pillows

After my friend Will saw the Clemson pillow I made for Panda, he asked if I could make some USC ones for him and his parents.  We came up with a design (the state outline and USC emblem), then I got to work!

will 01

will 02 I can’t wait to see these in their new homes!

Wedding Date Canvas

Kaylee is getting married the week before us and liked the date on burlap canvas I made, so I did one for her!  I couldn’t find the smaller burlap canvases at Michael’s anymore, but got bigger ones which allowed us to personalize it a bit more.  In other news, I’m obsessed with the “&” in Carolyna pro.

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Etsy Shop

I’ve also been busy with some Etsy sales!  I made a Washington state home pillow for a customer, and learned a little bit about U.S. geography.  Plus my little helper had to check out what I was doing..

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I’ve also been trying to prepare my shop and my inventory for the holiday season.  I made another batch of small, medium, and large soy oyster shell candles so they’re ready to ship.  You’ll be seeing some other holiday crafts coming soon that I’m hoping to also offer on my shop!

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<plug> When you’re starting to think about buying presents for the holidays, I hope you keep me in mind!  I’m happy to make almost anything, and ship it as soon as possible.  You can use code BLOG20OFF for 20% off until Christmas! </plug>

Oyster Shell Candles, Pt 2

I know I’ve already made and blogged about the oyster shell candles before, but with the recent Etsy orders, I’ve really perfected the process, and it’s way better than my first attempt at making them.  Here’s the new, and improved oyster shell candle making process:

Oyster Shell Candles pt. 2

oyster candle 05What you’ll need:

  • Oyster shells with a deep shell
  • Soy wax
  • Wicks
  • Candle pour pitcher
  • Fake pearls
  • Hot glue gun
  • Cookie sheet
  • Aluminum foil

First up, where to find the supplies.  I went to Hobby Lobby one day after work to see what kinds of wax they had since melting down tea lights isn’t really efficient.  I found a pack of unscented soy wax that looked perfect to use, plus I grabbed 8 ft of zinc core wicks, and a candle pour pitcher.

Once I had better supplies to work with, I had to prep the shells.  The first time, I tried to find shells that perfectly stayed up, which is a lot easier said than done.  I found that adding fake pearl feet to the bottom keep the shells upright, which makes less of a mess while pouring wax, or lighting the candles later.  So, hot glue 1-4 pearls to the bottom of your shells to keep them sturdy while standing upright.

Now, prepare for the candles.  Pour some of the soy wax into your candle pour pitcher, and put on your stove on low heat.  While the wax is melting, cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and put your shells on top, ready for wax.

Once your wax is melted, slowly pour it into the shells, one at a time.  I’ve learned not to try to fill the shells all the way up, and to pour some, let it sit, then pour some more to avoid spills.

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As the wax cools, cut your wicks.  It seems like wicks about 1″ – 1 1/2″ are the perfect length.  I try to have some already cut, so I can quickly get them in the candles at the right time.

The wax has to be the right temperature for the wick to easily go in the wax, and remain upright.  If the wick falls in, just pull it out, and try again in a few minutes.  If the wax has already cooled too much, make a small divot with your fingernail, put the wick in, and pour a little more wax on top.

As the candles cool with the wicks in them, you can figure out if any of them need more wax.  If they do, add a little at a time, until they look full without spilling.

Let the candles cool overnight, and then they should be ready to use!  Cleo had to inspect my last batch of candles… and she agrees they’re much higher quality than the first ones I made.

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Don’t want to make your own candles, but like the look? Reach out to me on Etsy — I’d be happy to make some for your event!