Today I had the privilege and pleasure of driving to Olympia for some shopping and errands; in my case, a few books and some fabric for my next project. Rather, I should say I was driven to Olympia by a dear friend, and we had a wonderful Thai lunch, some great conversation, coffee at the Blue Heron, and – shit, things were just awesome. Even nursing the remainder of a headcold during such a big day I think – I think – I didn’t wear myself out.
In the bookstore I picked up two books I needed for an art project – and then came across this (gently) used hardback that I instantly knew Phoenix would love – The Wikkeling by Steven Arntson. I mean first off – I wish you could see the cover in real life, it was so Phoenix. Then I checked out the story – and the illustrations, including a wonderful Bestiary. It was just a perfect fucking book for my oldest, and I had it in hand within two minutes of walking in the store.
I brought it home and Phoenix so, so happily read it all the way through. Straight through.
I really, really love how well I know my kids – and know what they like.
I didn’t do as well for Nels. He wants candle-making supplies and the employee at the craft store was entirely unhelpful (“We don’t have that stuff.” “Do you know where I might find it?” “No.” Yeah. Thanks.) and I felt terrible to come home empty-handed, but I was out of funds (having spent my grocery money) and out of steam to drive to Michael’s. Hey, if anyone here knows of a good simple candle-making kit I can grab up, please let me know. Looking online got overwhelming fast.
But yeah, today? It was a good day.
Coffee. I love you love you love you.
Sorry for the OT comment —
Kelly, I’ve been reading your blog (and really enjoying it) for a while now, even though I haven’t commented much. There’s something I want to email to you — do you have an address you use to receive random comments and questions from blog friends?
if he wants to dip candles (rather than do molds) you can use cotton string, beeswax, old crayons for color, and use a coffee can+pot double boiler system. So beeswax would be the thing, but a lot of hardware stores have it, or local bee people. If he’s going the mold and stuff direction, you’d do well with the craft store, as you said.
Hello! Yes, you can email me at kelly AT hogaboom DOT org. Thanks for reminding me as I didn’t realize this wasn’t on my About/Contact page. I get a lot of emails.
I’ve made candles the way you describe and it didn’t work (some kind of wick-to-candle-thickness ratio thing), which is why I was hoping for a kit. We do have a local candlemaker lady, and your comment reminds me of this. I’ll get in touch with her! Thank you.
If you and Phoenix are fond of stories filled with lots of interesting beasties, you should try reading anything by Walter Moers; I have a deep infatuation with The City of Dreaming Books, in particular.
I have a buttload of unused candlemaking junk sitting in my basement. Email me your address and I will make up a little kit for Nels with as much stuff as I can cram into a flat-rate USPS box.
Thank you for the recommendations on the books.
Hey – your buttload is welcome here! That is so sweet of you. Thank you so much! Email: sent. Seriously: thank you!
I love Orca…that place is magical. I was hanging in there one day when Gravity’s Rainbow wouldn’t stop calling to me from the shelf. I seriously think that someone (either an invisible being or a very short and thin old person) kept edging it out, a millimeter at a time until I couldn’t refuse. I used to sit on the floor taking in the book dust. I think the Orca book dust alone will heighten brain function.
It sounds like you’re taken care of on the candle thing…soapmaking and candlemaking supplies seem hard to come by from local stores around here for some reason. There was a great one when I was living in San Francisco but there was enough support for it there.
When I was making candles in Oly…I was a poor little punk so I would go buy a ton of old candles at Goodwill and Value Village (I think it’s still a Value Village…haven’t been there in a couple years but it’s next to the Rainy Day books)…kind of a hodgepodge of wax that was left over in the glass jars. I’d then heat the oven to a little below 200 degrees, fill a big pyrex casserole dish with water and set all the jars in there and let the wax melt and then just pour it together into a large container for when I wanted it. Because some of the store bought candle scents suck…you have to be a little careful. Anyway, I would wash the jars out well and then roll up various colors of polymer clay into little logs. I’d cut thin slices off with a razor blade and then stick them to the outside of the jars, covering it completely with the clay design and then fill the jar with water, put it back in the casserole dish in the oven and bake it up…and eventually pour some wax and a wick back in there. I’m not sure what kind of candles you are trying to make…but these were badass. I was able to get a pretty good black and white skull with the polymer as well as a bunch of hippie-looking shit, but regardless, when the light shines through it the candles are really pretty…and there’s nothing simpler than melt and pour.
They do sell beeswax at the Oly Farmers Market, or at least, I’ve seen it there before…and you can always call the beekeeper ahead of time and ask them to bring it for you (and what the price is, since that stuff can be super spendy). There are a ton of places to order it online but I hate doing that because fats, oils and waxes are heavy as hell and you have to pay shipping on that stuff. If you don’t mind using a petroleum based wax, Joann’s, in Lacey, has blocks of wax. They also have wicks, scents and colorings for the wax. I’m sure Michaels sells the same stuff too. I’ve never been cool enough to do hand dipped candles…as I found that soap was my true passion, but if you do it, please post pictures (and perhaps, a tutorial?!)
The one time I remember being in Orca before I pulled soem AnaÃ¯s Nin off the shelf and read a bit. I was irritated with it.
Thank you for the candle ideas – and the reminiscing. “a bunch of hippie-looking shit” LULZ. Candle-making accoutrement is on its way for The Boy. I’d kinda like to make soap after but I also don’t like buying new equipment, etc. I’ll have to think on it! Actually I’ll just let the kids decide, because when they want to do something, they end up helping and it goes really well!