Tooth Pillow

Tooth Pillow

My son has had a rough few days, with his Very Loose Tooth and his ongoing fever. This morning, his tooth finally came out, so I scraped together a few minutes over my work-at-home lunch break to whip up a tooth pillow for this second tooth.

Of course, I look at this and think, God, this looks horrible. So very first draft, so proof-of-concept. My son thinks it’s awesome, though, and I guess that’s all that matters.

(He did tell me I should write a note for the Tooth Fairy to say that he wants to keep his tooth for his tooth collection. I’m afraid the Tooth Fairy is going to tell him what she tells everyone: you want the cash, you gotta surrender the tooth.)

I tried to get him to pose with his second tooth like he did with his first… but he hasn’t been feeling well, like I mentioned, so my attempts to get him to show his new and bigger tooth gap look like tortured grimaces.

Gap toothed grimaces

We’re going to the pediatrician tomorrow, so hopefully that plus a visit from the Tooth Fairy will make him feel better.

Practice Mushroom

Blue Mario Mushroom

This morning, my son was insistent that we make the Super Mario Mushroom he’d been asking about for weeks. I’m not exactly Little Miss Etsy, but I took Home Ec in junior high and sewed my own plushie music note by hand, so I figured I’ve totally got this.

I found this instructable that put me on the right track, and I convinced Connor that we should make a small “practice” mushroom out of the fabric I had on hand, instead of an 18-inch Giant Mushroom.

I showed Connor all the steps involved in sewing a plushie, even though I actually did everything myself. (Since I hadn’t sewn in several years, I wasn’t sure which steps to let Connor help with.) It took about two and a half hours start to finish, but the end result was a perfectly passable practice mushroom. It has a few imperfections, and I learned what not to do next time, but I really enjoyed myself. My son thinks it’s the best thing ever (for today, anyway), and that’s what I was going for in the first place, so arts and crafts time was a rousing success!

Sewing by hand is kind of meditative. I like it. I should do this more often. I’m sure my son would appreciate it. 🙂

‘Twas the Eve of the Solstice

brownies tied up with ribbon

As I stood in my kitchen this evening, cutting plastic wrap into little squares and individually wrapping brownies I’d just baked from a box mix, I felt… a little out of my element.

This is what “Pinterest Moms” do, I thought. This is what women who grew up baking dozens of Christmas cookies with their own mothers do. Me, I’m almost 40 and I’m having trouble wrapping up my little brownies into cling-wrap burritos that four-year-olds will hopefully be able to open.

A batch of soy candles was cooling on the other counter as I traipsed through the house and into the back closet to fetch a couple different types of ribbon to wrap around the brownies.

Ribbon. To wrap around brownies.

So it’s come to this, my brain snarked as I tied a little raffia bow around each wrapped brownie — again, carefully crafted for little fingers to successfully unfurl. I may as well get used to it. At least preschoolers won’t care what your bows look like.

Perhaps this is practice for future years of favors for class parties. Maybe someday I won’t feel like I’m playing house as the brownie mix poofs up out of the bowl in a dry cloud of chocolate, or as I’m cutting one red fuzzy ribbon into two thin ones because I ran out of gold raffia to tie up the rest of the brownies, or as I slowly become all thumbs and start tying single-loop bows instead of normal double-loop ones like I’d use to tie my shoe.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy baking or making treats for my son’s classmates. It’s just that it seems that so many women do this domestic stuff as naturally as breathing. It’s not just a social-media pop-culture thing, either — I know these women personally. I work with them. Several of them. They make awesome cookies and desserts and —

*pause*

Yeah, I know. I have my own wheelhouse. I don’t have to be good at everything, or feel like I have everything “under my fingers,” to use a musician’s turn of phrase. Some things take practice, repetition, and I’m sure that I’ll feel a lot more room-mother-ish once I do this sort of thing more often.

It was just kind of funny, seeing myself from the outside, studiously wrapping brownies in plastic wrap.

I’m only being “that mom” because we didn’t find out about the Valentine exchange until after groceries. instagram.com/p/y-sgkgNUxs/

Instagram Photo

The last time I made candles was for Christmas 2012. These are the 1st I’ve made at the “new” house. instagram.com/p/wuhBootU3c/

Instagram Photo

My poor neglected candle hobby left in its wake a small tub full of fragrance oils. instagram.com/p/wNW5LZNU4z/

Instagram Photo

Candle Composition

Soy Candles

Pictured: Cosmopolitan, Amaretto Sour, and Lavender. Wish I would have played with this composition a little more; I didn’t try this particular angle until the very end of this evening’s photo session.

The candles are, of course, made by Yours Truly and are for sale — $5 for the Cosmo, $4 for the Amaretto Sour, and a mere $1.50 for the cute 2oz Lavender. Other scents that would be smashing in a cocktail glass: Piña Colada, Fuzzy Navel, Green Apple (appletini, anyone?).

On My Candlemaking Hobby

One of the many things I record and track in my life is the income and expense from my hobby of making soy candles. Since September 2006, I’ve recouped in sales about half of what I’ve spent on candlemaking supplies.

This is not a lucrative hobby for me, mainly because I keep it as a hobby. I’m not willing to spend time and money to make this a viable second income. I don’t need a second income right now.

I tried selling on Etsy, just for shits and giggles, and only had one customer. Granted, I only sold my standard wares, and didn’t do anything fancy or eyecatching with the packaging, so my candles were basically lost in a sea of craftiness. It also didn’t help that candles are heavy and relatively expensive to ship, compared with their per-unit cost.

Mainly, I have two repeat customers, both friends, both local. They’ve been responsible for the majority of my sales (15 out of 24 total sales, or $130 out of the $300 total I’ve made in the past 2½ years). I’ve had some sporadic decent-sized orders from other people — one gift basket, ordered by a former supervisor of mine; and one batch of stocking-stuffer candles with custom labels, ordered by a friend and former co-worker — but I subsist mainly on my two repeat customers and a few random co-workers who discover (or remember) that I make and sell candles.

I recently had the chance to kick things up a notch. A really BIG notch.

I got an e-mail last week from a potential candle buyer in New York state, who requested a quote on a custom batch of candles for a party she was throwing at her church. It was a 1950’s-themed party, so she wanted root-beer-scented mini-mugs (which she must have found via Google, since they’re no longer linked from my candle site) and parfait/sundae glasses in vanilla. There would be three to four candles per table, and 35 to 40 tables.

I about passed out when I did the math. That’s roughly 140 candles. At $4 apiece (minus a bulk discount of 10%), that comes out to $500.

I seriously considered doing it. Then I kept doing the math.

Mine is a very low-volume operation. I don’t even have a proper wax-melting vessel; I use a Pyrex measuring cup I got at Goodwill years ago. I can make about 18 ounces’ worth of candle in one batch. That means I’d be making candles for literally two weeks straight. Every night. Unless I took a weekend to just make candles ALL DAY LONG.

And that’s not even considering the initial monetary investment I’d have to make in bulk fragrance oils, dye, and soy wax.

I e-mailed the woman back and politely declined, telling her that I just am not equipped for such a large order. Granted, I probably could have done it. Would it have gotten me more return customers and expanded my business? I doubt it; not from New York.

I’m content to continue making custom hand-poured candles for my friends and acquaintances, and to keep my hobby as a hobby. Although I must admit that I wouldn’t be upset to see myself break even one of these years.