All during the year, we burn lovely scented candles from several sources, and as each one grows too small to be safe, I dig out and save the last bit, in a zipper bag. For ages I did not know what to do with these candle bottoms, carefully removed from lovely jars and votive cups. They still smelled great and it seemed such a waste just to pitch them, although sometimes, I did.
Then I met a woman who knew what to do and my life changed. (And my candle hoard changed.) I began saving candle bottoms with a vengeance, even offering to clean up the jars and cups of friends, if I could have the remains.
Yes, I had more!
What do I do with them? I make one big candle and burn it to start off the year! Here is this year’s “starter” candle, made from last year’s candle bottoms, and sorry I’ve almost burned it all gone before this topicarose! Believe me, it almost overflowed with contents a few days ago:
So how do my friend and I do this? Simple!
Anchor a dripless dinner candle in the bottom of a large candle jar, such as you see here. I do this by dropping a bit of melted wax into the center of the jar and pushing the candle down onto the melted drops. I hold it there until the melted drops set and will hold without me.
Then I carefully set chunks, slices, shavings, and crumbles of old candle bottoms into the space between the center candle and the jar walls. I also use leftovers from tart warmers.
Light the dinner candle and let it melt down, some, to hold the wax pieces in place when you move it around, and then let it cool. After that, you can let it burn as long as you like. It all will melt together and become one lovely, undefinable fragrance.
That’s all there is to it. It smells so lovely, reminiscent of all the fragrances I’ve loved in the past year. Mine are mostly outdoorsy scents such as pine, bayberry, or lavender. My friend calls hers “tuty fruity”.
But anyone can romance the last of last year by giving old candles a new beginning this way.
Ever wonder when would be the best time to begin a new project?
I do that from time to time.
And when we spend a great deal of time deciding when to begin, we are wasting time.
Wouldn’t it help to have a plan for when to begin a project?
Yes it would.
We often do not realize there are three basic types of projects, each with a sensible set of parameters that nearly dictate how to decide when to begin.
First, there is the long-term, self-started, easily interrupted project.
Crocheting an afghan for that wedding scheduled for next spring? Yes, you could begin it any day. It’s so far away, when you begin is not very important.
The best time to begin, if you really want to accomplish this project, is now.
Today. As soon as you finish reading this post.
Realize that beginning such a project includes, first, scheduling its progress. Scheduling means counting the units of the project such as skeins of yarn, and comparing to the time left, such as six months. Does the afghan include 12 skeins of yarn? Then you must complete two skeins every month, one-half skein every week.
Scheduling such a huge project this way accomplishes three objectives:
You will realize you must begin soon.
You will see how easy it will be to finish on time.
You will know, immediately, when you need to stay up past bedtime or work while talking on the phone, thus avoiding putting it all off until it’s too late.
Second, the Help You Promised to Provide
Get roped into making cookies for the next event at church? Promised to present a workshop at the ladies’ retreat? Someone counting on you to . . .
. . . It doesn’t really matter what we place in the blank, here, you have given your word you will do this thing. On time.
Guess when the best time is, to begin.
This is a matter nearly of life/death importance: It is your word. At least you can find the recipe and make sure you have all the ingredients. At least you can make an outline of the points you hope to present in the workshop, or a list of the visual aids you will need.
When I promise to bring something to somewhere, I often place that thing in my purse or in my car, immediately, before I forget. Then it’s done. If I arrive at the appointed place, it will be there with me. If I am not home when I give my word, I record a note to myself in my “palm pilot”. These notes MUST be dealt with before my next shampoo, or they will be erased. I know that and act accordingly.
Even if I say I will provide the thing next WEEK, it goes into the car NOW (unless it will melt, in which case it goes by the front door, in the way or even hung from the doorknob, obviously outward-bound.) With food items, I post a sticky note on the door at eye level, then another on the steering wheel of the car.
And when you say you will pray for someone, do so in the next breath, especially if you say this in an email. Then it’s done, and the prayer-ee will notice any effects, such as unexplainable peace, immediately, and remember it came from God.
Third, Those Projects You Wish You Could Accomplish
No one really cares if your kitchen is reorganized, but you wish it. Few will notice the grass in your day lilies, but you’d like to get it out of there. No one but you knows how messy your filing system on your laptop is, but it’s driving you slowly and completely crazy.
Begin now, by scheduling a non-negotiable time, each day, to work on it. By non-negotiable, I mean telling the children, “You know Mom has to fix the kitchen (flower bed, computer) right now, every day, so can it wait?” I consider interruptions akin to interrupting a phone call, if I am keeping a promise to myself. Children can even answer the phone for you while you are elbow-deep in kitchen utensils, you know, and you can train them to answer however you want, such as: “Mom is at work, right now. May she call back later? Thanks!”
So: At 10:00 each morning, I will empty one kitchen drawer, get the ick-o out of it, hammer the thing back together better, re-line it with new liner, eliminate the extraneous contents, and reload. It only takes a half hour, or less, and you will not believe how much more you’ll like yourself at 10:30.
OR: At 6:30 each morning, I will pull the grass from the day lilies for ½ hour.
OR: At 10:00 each night, I will get the misfiled folders out of one file and find all the missing things that should be in it.
Then give yourself another such kiss and hug tomorrow, on schedule.
I know, it seems like so much work, it seems so far away, it seems I’d never forget such a promise. However, the truth is that if we decide NOW how to deal with these challenges, we succeed. He who fails to plan, plans to fail.