This past weekend I had an escape. I was in a deep coniferous forest surrounded by the scent of fir trees.
I felt the moist earth along with the crisp crunch of pine needles under my feet.
The air was clean and the smell of the forest was so invigorating.
In the midst of the quiet, cool forest I built a fire with more glowing embers than flame. I found the perfect stick on the forest floor and with my small pocket knife whittled the end to a sharp point. Upon that point I skewered the freshest marshmallow ever, and toasted it to a golden brown.
What could be better than a marshmallow melted by an open flame, I thought, than to pair it with a bit of creamy chocolate? And to sandwich it all between two squares of graham cracker? They call that delectable treat a s’more. Anyone who has been camping, and even many who haven’t, know the utter delight of this taste treat.
Such satisfaction I felt, deep in the woods and indulging in the gooey lusciousness of a s’more.
Except I wasn’t in the woods at all. And there was no campfire and no marshmallows. I was busy pouring candles in my studio all weekend long. But my work took hold of my imagination and I was transported.
It wasn’t an accident that I poured a large batch of Northwoods Dream pillar candles, a lovely fir scent that takes you deep into the woods of northern Minnesota, a batch of Toasted Marshmallow votive candles and a batch of German Chocolate votive candles. The three scents took me away from what would normally be considered work into the fantasy of a lazy afternoon in the peace and quiet of nature, not to mention the decadence of s’mores.
The sense of smell is one of the most powerful of our five. One whiff past the nose can take you back to your childhood or to a cherished place. Never underestimate the influence of scent and the primitive power of a single flame.
Auntie B’s Wax has a variety of scented candles. Check them out and come back often as there will be additions to the shop periodically.
Read Full Post »
You know my friend Ruthie? The girl half of the couple with whom Husby and I go out on Dive Nights? She holds a tradition of giving me chocolates for a Christmas gift. This year she gave me a very impressive-sized box of truffles.
Ruthie knows I love sweets. What she might not know is that I’m still working on that box of truffles. Oh, they’re almost gone, but I’ve been savoring them for nearly two months.
When I retire for the evening I usually like to read for a little bit. I’m still working on the Harry Potter series; I’ve finally reached the last one, The Deathly Hallows. The other night Husby and I were laying in bed reading our separate books. I surprised him by saying, “chocolate?” and offered him one of the Christmas truffles Ruthie gave me. You see, reading chocolates are darn near the best chocolates you can eat.
A tray of truffles (one of five!) given to me by Ruthie at Christmastime. Such a wonderful accompaniment on my evening journeys to Hogwarts.
Husby was gracious and only ate one of the truffles I offered him, but I could tell he wanted to make chocolate a regular part of his bedtime reading.
See that one in the middle? It’s caramel, my favorite.
Thank you, Ruthie, for a winter of indulgent nights with creamy chocolate. Thank you, JK Rowling, for whisking me away on the Hogwarts Express.
Winter evenings with a good book and some good chocolate…what could be better than that?
Read Full Post »
Last week was kind of a rough one for me. I wasn’t sleeping well and I had the blues. At times like that I want to retreat and be away from everyone and everything. I put on a happy face around people, but it exhausts me to fake it. Luckily Husby gets it when I’m like that. He knows conversing with me won’t be particularly engaging or entertaining, so he pretty much leaves me alone to work my way through the bad patch. As much as I wanted to be completely isolated I was so grateful he was my friend, because one day he gave me this:
Kisses don’t always cure the blues, but chocolate always makes me smile.
Read Full Post »
I use Pinterest as a filing system. I hope that’s why it was invented because it works really well. The internet is filled with craft ideas, recipes, household tips and all sorts of other things I’m interested in. When I see something I like I’ll “pin” it and pretty much forget it. Until that one day when I decide to remind myself of all the things I pinned. Then I get all inspired and eager to try something new, or sometimes even buy something new. I found some cute little chocolate/pretzel Easter treats on the internet a long time ago and pinned them.
When the Easter season rolled around I decided to try to make them. After all, someone else did the hardest part of thinking of the idea. I just had to execute the already brilliant idea. The original recipe said to use yellow candy melts for the fill, edible black pearls for the eyes, and orange chocolate-covered sunflower seeds for the beak. I used vanilla almond bark tinted with yellow food color for the fill and for the eyes and beak I used decorating gel. I also didn’t look at the picture before I started painting on the eyes and beaks so I didn’t have the embellishments in the right position on the pretzel. The results made me laugh out loud.
As singular little chicks they didn’t look quite right and I just kept laughing and laughing. My little chicks looked much better when they were in a group. You could kind of tell a little better what they were supposed to be.
I took my little Easter chick treats to my mom and dad’s house for Easter. They were received with great enthusiasm, even though I didn’t do it exactly like they were shown on the site I pinned because 1) I made a treat from scratch that beared a slight resemblance to an Easter icon and 2) everyone in my family loves chocolate and pretzels no matter what they look like.
I hope your Easter was a happy one and that your sugar coma is short-lived.
Read Full Post »
One of the best things about doing the same craft show every year is seeing repeat customers. Even those who visit every year but don’t buy anything become familiar and are worthy of a Hello! Good to see you again!
Robert and his friend have been repeat visitors and buyers at my booth at the Chateau St. Croix festivals (spring show and fall show) for several years. They love my candles and bought some every time they stop by. A couple of shows ago Robert said he was looking for a chocolate candle like the one he bought the previous year. He ranted and raved about how it made his bathroom smell like a candy store. I was sorry to tell him I stopped making chocolate-scented candles. People loved the scent, but would usually just comment instead of buy. “Ooh, that smells wonderful! But if I burn it I’ll just get hungry.” Robert was sad to hear of the discontinuation and settled for another fragrance.
During the down season, between January and May, I received a small complimentary sample of fragrance oil with an order I placed with my supplier. The fragrance? Fudge Brownie.
Of course I thought about Robert right away. The sample bottle of fragrance oil was enough to scent only two candles. I decided I’d make them up and when I returned to The Chateau I’d keep them behind the display and pull them out as a surprise for Robert.
Fall, 2011 ~ no Robert.
Spring, 2012 ~ no Robert.
Where are you Robert? I have the candles of your dreams!
With the disappearance of Robert I have to grapple with the decision of whether or not to try to sell these two chocolate-scented candles at my upcoming shows. What do you think? Hang onto the candles until the Fall Festival at the Chateau St. Croix with the hope that Robert not only shows up but actually buys the candles? Or take them along with me to the Olde Ellison Bay Days show next week with hopes to entice another chocolate candle lover?
What would you do?
Read Full Post »