Saturday, October 12, 2013


The blogs I most enjoy are not the ones that depict a picture-perfect life - much as I enjoy the fantasy of that, I know that this is just not possible for most (all) of us. So it follows that, much as I would love to turn this blog into a catalogue of the best moments, a collection of pictures of tidy rooms and fresh ironing, of homemade bread and pots of tea, I feel compelled to honesty. Today is a day for confessions.

Confession the First: The Pile

It has to be capitalised. It's not a pile. Oh no. It's The Pile. This is a picture of the area beside my bed:

It consists of scraps of fabric from old projects, balls of wool, the swatch for a new pair of socks I'm planning, letters that need replying to, documents which need filing, books, handcreams, jewellery, a bag of essential oils, my spindle and wool for spinning, a spare towel, my slippers, my flip-flops, and lengths of fabric ready to be used, as well as old clothes that need mending or that are past mending and are ready for the rag bag.

To be brutally honest, the Pile was a helluva lot more impressive two weeks ago. I've removed a significant number of items in the rediscovered craftiness of the last two weeks. Please also note that the pile extends under the bed as well.

My challenge is pretty much the same one as always - being constantly torn between on the one hand a desire to get rid of surplus possessions, to simplify everything from my wardrobe to my craft cupboard down to practical, beautiful essentials which contribute towards my goal of living a purposeful, efficient yet meaningful and uplifting life - and on the other hand, a reluctance to throw things away which still could have function, a desire to repurpose, reuse, adapt, personalise. Which means I get as far as taking old clothes out of the wardrobe, or keeping fabric scraps out of the bin, but not as far as actually DOING anything productive with them!

I have spent most of my evenings for the last week unpicking the seams of four items of clothing which were so stained, worn, torn and moth-eaten (repsectively) that I had resolved to finally convert them into panels for my next next next project, a patchwork quilt. (Never do things by halves. My first patchwork quilt will be super-king sized). I am finally making progress with some of the pile - but I am stumped by the 'superfluous' but still functional clothes. Can I bring myself to cut up perfectly serviceable clothes? My moral dilemma of the week.

Confession the Second: Bloody beeswax

One of the crafty projects that has been on my list for sometime was making homemade candles. I've watched Kirsty Allsop do it, and it seemed really basic - melt wax, add essential oils for scent, pour wax into containers with wick inserted. Allow to cool. It seemed so easy.

At first, it was rather hypnotic - I was moved to take a photo of the melting beeswax, which also smelled lovely. But then I came rather unstuck with pouring the wax - the wicks I had bought from the craft shop sort of floated around. My boyfriend came to the rescue, improvising with a teaspoon and a couple of toothpicks, and the wicks were in place. I thought the worst was over - BUT NO!

Oh woe, woe and thrice woe. For I have STILL not got the bloody beeswax off the plastic measuring jug I used for pouring the wax. I have tried freezing it, which is supposed to make the wax harden and crack off. I have tried soaking and scrubbing it in boiling water, alcohol, baking soda and washing up liquid, individually and in combination. The jug sits on the side in the kitchen, looking sorrowfully at me, and reminding me to give it a hopeful bath every time I do the washing up. Each day, it becomes infinitessimally cleaner but it's definitely not wax-free yet.

Gentle readers, take heed - do not put melted beeswax in an implement you intend to use for cooking. Have a beeswax jug in the corner of some cupboard which can live with a crust of wax.

I think that's enough honesty for today! I'm off to ignore the pile of projects and do some knitting.


  1. Speak nicely to the angel of thrift and a lovely new measuring jug may be waiting for you in a charity shop somewhere, then you too can have a beeswax encrusted one in the back of a cupboard. As for the superfluous clothes, what about a clothes swap with some friends. They are great fun and will give your clothes a lovely new lease of life in someone else's wardrobe. Eleanor x

    1. Ooh swishing! Nice thought, I will see if I have interested friends... Thanks! For the jug, I'll need to make a stop at a flea market or something.

  2. Hey - just found you through Down to Earth. Try Crystal soda (or washing soda here in the US), let it sit overnight. I use it to remove wax from candle glass holders.

    1. Oooooh thanks! I've got some washing soda in the cupboard, definitely give that a go (as the jug still has a coating of wax...)



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