DIY: Cleaning Spilled Scentsy

When we were looking at selling our home, I started looking into Scentsy products. I liked the idea of pretty scents without the fire risk of candles. I find regular plug ins and sprays really artificial smelling and I very rarely enjoy the scents available. My mother was a huge fan of Partylite products and Scentsy, so it made sense to use what I had inherited from her to try. Unfortunately, a cup of liquid wax isn’t always the smartest thing to have in this house.

A couple weeks ago, while playing, a giant ball went flying into the living room where I was knitting and relaxing. It hit the warmer I had beside me and made the room look like a crime scene:

Calling Dexter

Calling Dexter

Thankfully, the warmer itself survived the incident. I immediately started looking online for ways to clean up this mess. The two main methods used and recommended were: Hairdryer and Paper Towel, Iron and Paper Towel. I decided that this would be a good opportunity to try both and report back to you guys. So, uh, I did.

The Iron Method

So, the basic idea is that you put paper towel over the wax, turn on your iron and place it on the paper towel. Some people reported the wax getting on their iron so I was really careful, as our iron is fairly new and well loved around here.

20141105_093418Right away, I realized that this method was really only good for flat surfaces. Not idea of the moulding we have, or the little areas where the floor met the moulding, or the moulding met the wall. I decided to try it out on our side table first.

20141105_093654

It worked! Unfortunately though, despite my best efforts, it did get some wax on the iron which I then needed to carefully clean. I am not a fan of cleaning methods where I need to do follow up cleaning. So, on to the hair dryer method.

Hair Dryer Method

I didn’t get a picture of myself doing this as it worked so fast that I had wax dripping everywhere. This method is really best with two free hands (one holding the dryer, the other holding the paper towel to mop it up). Initially, I was really really impressed! It really seemed to work well! Unfortunately, dark red wax on beige and white paint resulted in some staining. I attempted to do some patch cleaning with the iron, but it was no use. I will need to go at this again with either something scrubby.

Damn.

Damn.

Over all though, not bad considering! This should also help if you spill wax from a candle.

A responsible Heather would have her bags packed and waiting by the door. A Heather with amazing time management skills would have a clean kitchen and a home made lunch waiting for me in a couple of hours.

This Heather got home yesterday and promptly fell asleep on the couch. In my work clothes. You may not understand why this is strange, but let me assure you, it is. I’m not a napper, at all. It makes me queasy and messes up my very delicate sleep schedule. Also, it’s my usual routine to get the hell out of my work clothes as soon as I walk in the front door. Instead, I fell asleep and eventually got up to our dog jumping around in anticipation of her evening walk (80lbs of excited jumping is actually a lot more like stomping, especially considering the proximity to my face). I got up, had a bowl of cereal, a mug of tea and somehow managed to stay conscious until about 10pm when I passed out (in bed this time) again.

Every now and then, my body announces that it has had enough of my stress and busy schedule, of my poor diet and my lack of exercise. I’ll admit, it’s been a bit rough having to work on the estate most evenings, the many trips across town to check on the house, while working during the day, keeping the house “clean”, trying to maintain my relationship with my husband and my friends, the weddings, babies and showers. Some days, I’m just so very done that I can’t use any more energy than that needed to watch an episode of Bones (last night, btw, was amazing with the exception of Michaela Conlin. Not sure what’s going on with this actress or if its just the character, but I’m really disliking how her character has progressed into this condescending unfeeling bitch. Seriously, not even a single tear last night? Really? BONES cried, and you didn’t even whimper?)

Today, I started reading my blogs after getting myself a cup of foul smelling coffee. I came across The Harlot’s recent post and was struck by the following:

I realized that this is what I want to tell her- or anyone else who says “I don’t know how you do it all.”

I DON’T.

I can’t express that enough.  I don’t think I could do it all. The only reason that I’m able to make any of this work is because I’ve got priorities and low standards and no expectation of doing it all. There are a million things I don’t do.

I just don’t see any way that anybody could ever really do it all- especially if it’s all their problem. We’re all going to prioritize stuff differently, and maybe knitting appears lower on your list and the condition of the kitchen way higher, in which case my darlings… you should let go of what suits you.   I could have a clean house and finished laundry and toilet paper and matching towels all the time, but I think that to do that, I’d have to give up some knitting, or writing or being with my family the way I want to, and there’s no way that you’re ever going to tell me that I am ever, ever going to look back on this time and think that the time I spent talking with my kids, knitting beautiful things, writing books or earning a living was wasted, and that I could have been way, way more fulfilled by a shiny sink, a more intimate relationship with my vacuum,  or knowing where my damn bra is. There are only so many hours in a day, there are only so many things one woman can be responsible for, and I have to make choices, just like everyone else, and I don’t know how I would juggle it all and I don’t know how all this looks through the lens of the blog, but really,  no…

I don’t do it all.

Guys, I can’t even explain how much I needed to read that. I hold myself at this impossible standard most days and am so disappointed with myself when things don’t get done. I have friends and family that put so much pressure on themselves to be “perfect” and to have “perfect” homes, and I find it so stressful and exhausting to try to meet these imaginary standards that are out there when they come over. Sure, I like a tidy-ish house, but I don’t need every piece of furniture gleaming and every surface clear of clutter. I just don’t and I’m just so damn tired all the time that it’s nice to finally read something that shows me that I’m not alone.

Thanks Harlot, I needed that.

The plan is to do a bit of tidying tonight, finish up laundry and get some groceries so that the husband doesn’t survive solely on popcorn and cereal while I’m gone, and then tomorrow I’ll finish up (ie: Start) my packing and then I’m off! No stress, no anxiety. Get it done at my pace.

My baggage

It’s been a productive weekend for me and the husband. We did some running around yesterday, after my last day at my job and managed to pick up most of what we still needed for our honeymoon. One more trip and we should be good to go. Today I started the massive task of laundry and CLEAN ALL THE THINGS. I also started packing.

Packing and I go way back. I’ve packed for moves, for road trips, for concert trips, for family visits and contest wins. You’d think with such an extended background in packing that I’d be good at it. You, my dear optimistic reader, would be so very wrong.

That looks like a pretty well packed piece of luggage, doesn’t it? Well, the key issue here is that this is after I’ve done only half of the laundry (which means I’m sure there’s more to come) and prior to any of my beauty/cleaning products and undergarments.

Also, WestJet has a strict 50lbs rule on departure. It gets mighty expensive if you’re over. I have a feeling I may already be in that range.  So, now begins the debate…do I admit defeat and split my stuff into two bags? (You’re allowed 2 checked bags per person, at 50lbs each) or do I try to go through my stuff again and take it out?

My problem is that I over pack. Every single time. I like to be prepared for whatever we may face, and I hate the idea of having to choose between only a couple of outfits for 10 days. I mean, what if I got a shirt dirty in the morning and had to change, but I only allocated so many shirts for the visit? Things happen. I may spontaneously decide that we are going to go out dancing. I may not. Do I limit myself by not bringing something for dancing? Ugh.

I’m also facing the dreaded body image issues. I’ve gained a lot of weight over the last year and haven’t completely come to terms with the body that I’m in now. I really actively try not to let it get me down, but it’s hard knowing I’m going to be in a bathingsuit in front of strangers for two weeks. Ugh.

I do have to say though… if this is my biggest stress right now, then life is good. :)

Edit: I’d like the add…the most difficult part of packing? Making sure my phone is up to date on all my music. We both have old Sony Ericsson Walkman cellphones. While they can’t even begin to compare to the smart phones of today, they are pretty good for acting as a stand-in mp3 player.

Wheels and Wedding Crafting, Part 1

Good afternoon everyone!

We in Canada were lucky this week to have Canada Day on Thursday. For me, it coincided with my summer hours week, so I got Friday off as well (at my job, we work 45 minutes more each day during the summer, which earns us every second friday off!). Faced with this long weekend, I wanted to get a lot done.

One result of weddings, that I hadn’t prepared for, is the mess. Firstly, you’re bringing home a bunch of stuff you didn’t have before (yay gifts! Oh wait, that includes ALL of the decor too!) and no where to put it. It also means all of those jars I used for centerpieces came home with flowers in them. I’ve been slowly working towards reclaiming our home. I feel that today, finally, I’ve made head way. All the flowers have been composted, water dumped, jars washed and sorted. I’ll be selling some of them, and keeping the few that I really love. Unfortunately, with these flowers, came some of the BIGGEST EARWIGS I’VE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE. Yes, they warrant caps lock. Seriously. Thank god I have a fearless husband manned with huge shoes to destroy them.

I know that that’s not a very Yay Nature! thing, but I have this understanding with creepy critters. In your environment, I’ll leave you alone. My house, however, does not welcome anything between 5-7 legged critters. Spiders I can handle, because they eat things I hate. And they are master weavers. Bugs though? No way. You know, I thought about posting a picture of an earwig just now, for those of you who don’t have them, and I just couldn’t do it. No way I’m letting one on to my blog! UGH.

They are truly my most hated critter. Unfortunately, I live in an area where they prosper. HATE. Ugh.

So, back to happy things: This weekend has been productive. I did some cleaning at The Big House (the family home), did some banking, cleaning and, completely unexpected: Bought my first vehicle.

My last car had been a gift. When my father died, my Mum gave me his ’96 Volvo so that I could get back and forth to work, and to her place to get her to her many doctor’s appointments. Unfortunately, as you might remember me talking about, I crashed it about 7 months ago:

The car that saved my life.

I’ve only owned one other car before that, and it was extremely brief. And wasn’t really mine. My Dad bought a Volvo and was going to sell it to me. I took it on a few road trips  and then decided that I didn’t want to keep it. In fact, even before we left I decided I didn’t want to drive it, so my best friend, Isaac, drove it on our road trip out East.

Isaac, Me and The Car

My favourite picture of the trip

My first car

It was a great car, but I was having major stress issues dealing with it being a standard. You see, I never really learned to drive a manual car properly, and it was just too much for me to drive for 22 hours straight. So, I gave it back to my Dad when we got back from our Summer travels.

I’ve never actually purchased a car, had it put into my name and owned it, all on my own. Every since the crash, I’ve been needing a vehicle to get around. My Mum’s van has been useful the last few weeks, but we’re sending it back to the dealer soon and I don’t want a minivan. So, Pat and I started our searching and very randomly came across a 2000 Subaru Outback with a bunch of scratches and almost no rust. It’s in great condition and the scratches make me less worried about keeping it pristine. So, allow me to introduce my new baby, Betty Joan:

Meet the lovely lady Betty Joan

Her name is both a nod to Mad Men, as well as a reference to her license plate. I obviously can’t tell you much about it, but it does include the letters B and J. She’s a great car that will definitely serve our family as it grows. We aren’t planning on having kids right away, but certainly within the next five years. We wanted a vehicle that could handle all of our stuff (including our 85lbs dog) and any potential babies. I think she’s just great :)

In other news, I wanted to share some of my wedding crafts. Now that the wedding is over, I feel that I can finally share some of the things I made for it.

Heriloom Wedding Garter

My Garter

Pattern: Knitted Lace Wedding Garter

Yarn: Artyarns Silk Rhapsody Glitter

Ravelry Project Page

This garter was actually a really fun quick knit. Because of the yarn I chose, I had to change the pattern quite a bit. It still ended up HUGE, but absolutely gorgeous. The yarn was just the most beautiful stuff I’ve ever knit with, though not the easiest to work with. The glitter separated from the yarn, and didn’t have the same stretch. Winding it was NOT fun. In the end, I only wore the garter for a little while, because it was just too big and too warm for me to wear at the end of June. It’s definitely going into my cedar chest for my kids though.

All knitted

Jam Wedding Favours

Jam Favours

I decided quite early on that I wanted to make jam for our favours. It suited our rustic and DIY theme. This was especially true once we decided on mason jars as the centerpieces. For the recipe, I used the one on the quick set packages. I found it too sweet for my taste, but it was also my first time using Quick Set (with sugar already included) as opposed to pectin. The jam was straight up strawberry. We made 85 small jars (I think they were 1/2 cup?).

How to make your own easy peasy jam:

1. Boil your jars and lids for a good 10 minutes at a rolling boil. This makes sure you get all the nasty bacteria out. Remember, when removing them from the water to use sterilized tools, and NEVER touch the inside, the mouth or the bottom of the lids with your bare hands.

Sterilized Jars

If you have a pressure cooker, I’d definitely recommend using that to sterilize instead. But, boiling works fine so long as you’re careful and quick.

2. Cut up your fruit. In our case, a BUNCH of strawberries. We cut them pretty chunky, because I find it easier to mash bigger pieces. Depends on the consistency you like.

LOTS of strawberries

3. In our case, we just threw all the strawberry bits into a pot with some lemon juice and boiled them. Once they started to boil, we added the quickset. The key here is stirring. Keep on stirring and mashing up the big pieces.

Me, stirring away

4. Once the jam has boiled for some time (I think it was about 10 minutes, but I’d have to check), you remove it from the heat and start skimming the cloudy stuff off the top. Personally, I put the skimmed bits in to a bowl to eat with fresh bread or shortbread cookies.

5. Once all skimmed, ladle the jam into your prepared jars. Get the lids on quick, as it’s the heat of the jam which will pull the lid down into a seal.

For storage: If you plan on using the jam right away, keep it in your fridge once cooled (Hot glass + cold fridge = bad news!). Otherwise, you can store it in a cool dark place for about 3 months. Longer if you freeze it instead (which is what we do. We’ve used jam YEARS later, if its been frozen). When labeling, make sure to include the date made.

Some great labelling pages: Eat Drink Chic

What I did:

-Printed one set of labels on Staples Brand labels (Ours read Strawberry Jam. Handmade with Love. Heather and Pat, 26-06-19).  Those went right on the jars.

-Printed another set that read “Spread the Love! Heather and Pat, 26-06-10”. These went on plain white tags, also bought at Staples. We then used some of my scrap yarn to attach those to the lid. We were lucky that our jar lids were so pretty, so I didn’t feel the need to add fabric, though you can. Just be aware that this has to happen as you’re closing the lids as it goes between the middle lid and the outer ring. Be careful that you’re spooning the jam in cleanly, otherwise you’ll get jam all over your fabric.

Hope you enjoyed!! I’ll be posting more of my crafts over the coming weeks.

Spring Cleaning

Hard at work today! Happy Easter to those who celebrate it. For us, it’s the beginning of spring cleaning.

We tore up the nasty carpet in the basement, and the mismatched underlay. The amount of dust and ancient cat piss was incredible. I tidied up the yard, Pat moved the saw on to the deck, we rearranged our stored boxes and managed to fit in a walk. Unfortunately, the painters messed up our washer and dryer, so we spent about an hour re-leveling things, only to discover they wrecked the venting for the dryer. So, tomorrow will involve getting up early, going to Ye Olde Home Depot and the grocery store, all before Easter Dinner at the in-laws.

Garbage! So glad to have it gone

Looking forward to the easter dinners, to be honest. I absolutely love my in-laws and my family (most of the time), so these big dinner get togethers are always great. Tomorrow is the in-laws, Sunday is my family dinner and Monday is the “super fantabular mystic cookoff”, held by one of Pat’s groomsmen and his lovely wife. We’re super lucky that the weather is freakin’ gorgeous this weekend. It’s 28 degrees Celsius out there right now (that’s 82 for my US readers), and tomorrow it’s supposed to be about the same. Yay for spring!

Last night I decided to check up on the bellydance world for the first time in a while. For those that don’t know, I used to dance pretty regularly. I started taking lessons in 2002, and quit about a year ago. I’ve taken Egyptian, Romani, Turkish, Folkloric and Tribal classes. Tribal and Romani are huge favourites of mine, so I popped on youtube to see what TribeFest was like this year. Man, did it ever make me miss dance. Unfortunately, I am far too broke and too busy to get back into it right now. Ah well, one day.

Ah, that’s me from a performance a few years back. It’s amazing how much more active I was back then. Do I ever miss it.

On that note, I have to go wash up. I feel very gross from all the dust and such. Have a good one all :)

Imbolc

I hope everyone had a really great Imbolc. My weekend was extremely busy and extremely productive for me.

Friday and Saturday involved much cleaning. I wanted to have the house ready for it’s cleansing, so I started on the main floor, went upstairs and then to the dreaded basement. I cleaned. I dusted. I washed. I vacuumed. I deodorized. I did all the dishes and all the laundry. I cleaned both bathrooms. The place was shining. Once clean. I got myself ready for the ritual.

Firstly, I cleansed myself, having a nice hot shower, asking Brigid to cleanse me with her healing waters. Then, I dressed myself intuitively. I ended up wearing a lovely off-white skirt and a flow-y off-white shirt with lace and sequin embellishments. I wore silver and amber jewelry and put my hair back in a braid. I also wore my bright blue coin belt.

Now, I am definitely more of an intuitive green witch type when it comes to ceremonies. It’s generally on the fly with whatever feels right. I like elaborate ceremonies enough, but I prefer to do what feels right with what I have. So, I set up my alter on my kitchen counter. I put down the candles we made at a previous rit to signify the directions, and then salt at the north for earth, incense at the east for air, a red candle at the south for fire and blessed water at the west. To start things off, I cast a protective circle around myself and the pets. I then did a smudging of the entire house, deosil, starting on the main floor, working upstairs, an then working down through the basement, returning to my starting place in the kitchen. I asked all spells, spirits and negativity not in harmony with me and my family to depart. I introduced myself to the spirits of the land, including the good neighbours. I praised the house. Afterwards, I did the same deosil tour of the house, but cleansing with the elements. Again, demanding all energies not in harmony with me and my family to leave. I then did a third tour, and sealed all of the doorways, windows and mirrors of the house with blessed water.

I then did a blessing of the hearth and heart of the home in Brigid’s name. To wrap things up, I offered the spirits of the land some tobacco in welcome, to announce myself as a friendly neighbour, respectful of their place. I then made it an offering with some more sage.

I then left some tea and cookies out for Brigid and took rest. It was an exhausting day, but I could immediately feel the difference in the house. I was planning on doing a job/money spell, as well as my totem meditation, but it just didn’t feel right. It was a dark moon on a Saturday, so I wanted to wait until the correspondences were better aligned with my intention.

Sunday afternoon, I felt a strong sense of peace and comfort in the house. I snuggled myself up in a blanket on the couch and let my worries just float away. I think I’ve realized this weekend that Brigid and I get along famously. I think she is going to stay a good friend for me, and a part of the ladies that I turn to for strength and inspiration.

I hope everyone had a great Imbolc and that the light shines bright for you in its return.