Candle Jar Upcycle

For a long time I’ve felt guilty about tossing empty candle containers into the trash, especially when so many of them are quite elegant.


The problem is obvious: the vast majority of the time, the candle burns unevenly into a tunnel shape or else it melts down to a little nub at the bottom.

A nub that I cannot chip out for love or money.

Hence, the toss.

Recently, though, I hit the jackpot: two candles burned cleanly down to the bottom of the jar.

When the last bit of fire snuffed itself out, I use a paper towel to wipe down the sides and bottom. The key here is that the wax was still warm, making this easy to do.

Next I cleaned both jars with soap and water. One was a clear container and I put it through the dishwasher. It came out nice and sparkly!

I’m currently using both of them to hold items on my desk at work.

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(And yes, one of them is stuffed with lip glosses).

Two other tips I found online for cleaning wax residue:

  • Place jars in the freezer overnight, then use a butter knife to chip out the residue. Clean with soapy water.
  • Pour a small amount of boiling water from a tea kettle directly into the candle jar. The water will melt and displace the wax, and as the water cools, the wax will float to the top in a disc. Remove and clean with soapy water.

P.S. Here are a few other snaps from my desk:

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My Mom and Trixie. She’s so small! And my hot pink Buddha.

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Smiling sperm beanie doll. One of the perks of being an OBGYN: sperm toys.

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I think this is an X-bearing sperm. (Nerdy doctor joke).







Art Gallery

Trixie (5) got an American Girl Doll art studio set from Santa, and it was a huge hit.


Photos from American Girl



She was playing “gallery” for a whole afternoon, and I overheard her dramatically channeling her inner artist and saying things like, “Oh, no! Whatever will I do? The gallery opening is tomorrow night!”

Frantic art creation ensued.

One of her finest:


Title: “What Does the Fox Say?” (Price: $8.95)

I predict a bidding war over this piece on opening night.






Fun D-I-Y Gifts

Anthropologie has so many cool gifts that could also easily be D-I-Y, if you are so inclined (which generally I am NOT).

First, these Celebration Jars could be tailored to almost any recipient or occasion and are cutely packaged in a mason jar. Love those felt crowns! Kids could also even make these as a D-I-Y favor at a birthday party.

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This would take a bit more work (instructions here), but Surprise Balls are also a lot of fun, especially if the trinkets inside were extra sparkly. Before and after shots shown below.



This is a set of small gifts, one for each day of the recipient’s birthday week. Fun!

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How about this sweet little mouse? She could be made in a re-purposed Altoids tin.

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More ideas for a re-purposed tin are here.

Happy crafting! Send me some completed projects, please. 😉 


Mason Jar Candle Holders

Recently I saw this oversized Mason jar candle holder online, but it was sold out from the store by the time I got there to check it out.


It holds a large three-wick candle, and I thought this would be perfect for a casual outdoor gathering, provided that spring and summer eventually show up.

Even though I struck out with the above, I found some cool DIY projects that are even better.

Check out these glittered jars from Cakerypapery:


So simple to make! Here’s how.

A floating candle version:


Ok, here’s the coolest one of them all, glow-in-the-dark jars:


Will someone please make me a set of these? Here are the instructions.

P.S. 100 other great ways to use Mason jars





Masterpiece on Canvas

Trixie received an acrylic paint set from a school friend for her fifth birthday back in February, and she’s been chomping at the bit to use it.

The kit is something like this.

canvas art set

All I could see were acrylic paints waiting to be spilled on the carpet, sofa and just about anywhere else they shouldn’t be at Fancy Pants Ranch, so I made excuse after excuse to put off creating her masterpiece.

(Sample excuses: “These paints won’t work well when it’s cold,” “It needs to be daytime to work on this, not night,” “These paints are smelly and we need to wait until we can open the windows.”)

Except, last weekend I ran out of excuses.

We’d already been on an arts and crafts bender, making a homemade dollhouse on Saturday.

When Sunday rolled around, it was go time.

I reluctantly took the kit out of its hiding place and set up a paper-covered art zone for her to work on her creation.

I had to help her get the paints open and onto a makeshift palette, but she did the rest.


Here’s the finished product, two dogs on a sunny day.


I admire her bold use of color and abstract interpretation of both dogs and clouds.

P.S. This didn’t turn out to be a mess at all! So much worrying for nothing. But I still won’t be bringing acrylic paints home any time soon.






Homemade Dollhouse

Trixie and I spent yesterday afternoon crafting a dollhouse out of an old cardboard box.


Ahhh, the old cardboard box. Still a classic plaything.

I loved doing this when I was a kid!

She needed quite a bit of help with fabricating the doors and windows, but then together we cut out pictures of interior shots from a home decorating catalog to fancy up the inside.

The outside of the box also got quite a bit of attention by drawing in trees, grass and plants.

We also crafted a few pieces of cardboard furniture, like this oven:


This new resident found the house to be quite satisfactory:


They’re not homemade, but check out this cool line of modern dollhouses that double as furniture from British company Qubis.

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P.S. Here is a story about a great DIY dollhouse makeover. This project is out of my league, but I admired the effort.