Craft #1: Glycerin Soaps
A few days ago, I was in the mood to make some apple-scented fall soaps, which the children shared with their teachers at school. This led to a weekend of trying my hand at some fall crafts with our children. Unfortunately, I discovered that crafting is not one of my strong points.
Glycerin soapmaking, however, is simple enough for me to handle. I like to buy seasonal buttons and scrapbooking items to place inside the soaps. These can be found at any of your fabric or hobby stores.
All you have to do is take a block of glycerin soap base (I got mine at Michael's,) cut it into cubes, and microwave it for a few minutes until melted. Then add about half a dozen drops of fragrance oil or essential oil. I used to buy mine from a company called Lorann Oil's, but fragrance oils can be found in hobby stores. Pure essential oils tend to be more expensive, but they are of better quality and can be bought at your local natural foods store.
To prevent the soap from sticking, line the molds with vegetable oil or coconut oil. Then pour enough melted soap to cover the bottom, and place the decorative items in.
Then you just fill the molds with more soap and let cool. Several hours later, they should be ready to pop right out. To get rid of the bubbles on the bottom, you can spritz them while hot with some rubbing alcohol.
I had some melted soap left, so I added a little yellow liquid coloring and poured it in these leaf and sunflower molds. Candy molds will work too.
|image from sparkandchemistry.com|
Craft #2: Fall Leaf Mason Jar Candle Holders
I found these cute DIY fall leaf candle holders on Pinterest and all over the Internet. I thought this would be a fun, sticky, and inexpensive craft for the children and me to do this weekend. We have Mason jars galore in our basement, and we picked up leaves on one of our evening hikes last week, so all I had to do was buy some Mod Podge and raffia ribbon. I couldn't wait to see how these would turn out and had visions of lighting them up all over the house and front porch.
This was SO much harder than it appeared. My boys gave up after the first ten minutes, but my girls and I stuck it out a little longer. We could not get those leaves to stick. I googled our problem, and the suggestion was to wrap elastic bands around the leaves to keep them in place on the jars. This didn't work very well either.
The Mod Podge stuck to our fingers, to the table, to the jar, but not to the leaves on the jar. We couldn't figure out what we did wrong.
We eventually gave up and abandoned this project too, but with much reluctance and disappointment. With so many pictures and sites featuring these on the Internet, it must be a popular craft. I would appreciate any reader tips on how to make this work. If you want to try making these yourself, you can visit this website: http://www.sparkandchemistry.com/craft-it-blog/leaf-mason-jar-candle-holder.
Craft #3: Jack-o-Lantern Candies
After the failed attempt at the previous craft project, I figured we'd do something simple and less messy. My teen daughter has experience in candy making, and I found these pumpkin spice candy melts at Michael's and wanted to try them.
She and I melted the candy wafers in the microwave and used a wooden skewer to "paint" in the black lines with the black chocolate. This was more challenging than I expected too because it was such a time-consuming, tedious task. Or maybe I am just that impatient.
After we finished with the black chocolate, we filled in the rest of the jack-o-lanterns with the melted orange pumpkin spice candy.
Then we put them in the freezer to cool.
And this is what we ended up with. Not quite what I had hoped for, but they tasted good. I don't know how those kids at the 4-H fair create those fantastic winning candy exhibits.
My Tried-and-True Oatmeal Cookies
The only way I redeemed myself and saved my self-esteem was by helping my teenage son bake some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for a party he was attending that evening. Maybe I just have to accept that I'm a much better baker than a DIY crafter. Unfortunately, that doesn't help my expanding midriff. I guess instead of spending the weekends trying out the great projects I find on Pinterest, I'll just have to go on more hikes with the kids.