Summer Citronella Candles!

citronella candle

I’m really proud of this craft. It turned out super sweet. But I have to admit I had a pretty big flop before I got it right.

I did not know that you can’t just walk down the craft store aisle and buy any old wax and and wicking to go with it. You NEED TO READ the package. Because candle-making is a science and not just any old wick goes with any old wax! Who knew! I did this whole candle-making batch, the colors were perfect, I was so excited that I had finally invented another craft of the snow globe soap magnitude and guess what….


place setting

The candles sputtered, sparked and went out cold. I fumed. They were so pretty and yet completely and utterly useless. I couldn’t even gift them. And it’s not like I can just put up the photos and hope people are not like me and do follow directions. I had to re-do it because what if no other wicks worked and it was all a complete flop?!! The last thing I need is a passel of angry crafters after me.

(wicks pictured here are the wrong kind, they stick up straight because they are waxed wire wicks, not the soft flat braided wicks)

Thankfully, praisethelordhallelujah, the new braided wicking worked just fine. The second batch, though not quite as red (don’t skimp on the red crayons!) and photogenic as the first batch, turned out perfectly and burned just fine. And that is how I bring to you my latest craft at Alpha+Mom.

patriotic pastels

Crafting: It’s a dirty job but somebody’s gotta do it.

The Flashlight Flop


My idea was to paint flashlights in patriotic stars and stripes. Then we’d attach red or blue cellophane and one some wiggly chenille stems in front of the lenses and it would be sparkly and cool. What better way to wait for fireworks than a fun flashlight to play with right?

stripe painting Rapunzel painting

SuperChic painting mauve is totally patriotic

If crafting success is rated by how many daylight hours were spent happily painting, then this was a smashing success. The kids had a blast painting. If success is rated on magazine-quality photos then it was a disastrous flop. The paint did not stick to the smooth plastic of the flashlights.

It’s not really shown in these photos but when I pulled off the masking tape that I had so carefully taped on there to create stripes, it pulled the paint off with it! The foam stars didn’t work either. Paint seeped in around the star edges and when they were removed the blank space was a sloppy smudged blob instead.

sloppy paint job

star idea

Painting a star on the lens didn’t really work out either.

attaching the chenile stems

But you know what did work? The chenille stems. They were totally funky and cool.

twinkle twinkle

They make neat wiggly shadows in the dark.

I think this craft could be rescued by either painting with some special made-for-plastic spray paint or maybe roughing up the plastic of the flashlights with sandpaper before painting. We probably should have used painters tape instead of masking tape too but… we used what we had on hand and it was fun.

making spooky faces

Sometimes the process is more important than the end result anyway.