Make Scented Candles the Eco-Friendly Way

Make scented candles the eco-friendly way, and you will be amazed by each new candle making fragrance you create. You will amaze friends and customers, too, with your fresh, natural bouquet of creations. People will gather at craft shows to breathe in the aroma of each pillar, taper, and votive. Online customers will return to replenish their favorite fragrances. We who like to make scented candles the eco-friendly way, as well as those who buy our creations, appreciate the “green” benefits of this candle making craft.

Make scented candles the eco-friendly way and you open up a whole new realm of unique possibilities. Beside soy pillars featuring the natural soy aroma, you can offer soy pillars with the heady scent of caramel and rich maple blended with chestnut. When making beeswax luminaries, you can leave some unscented, and add a real hot apple pie candle making fragrance to others. All will be nature friendly.

When you make scented candles the eco-friendly way, you create them with minimal or no harm to our environment. You use natural waxes, wicks, dyes, and fragrances.

  • Waxes: Begin an eco-friendly candle making craft with a natural wax such as beeswax or soy wax. Some argue that paraffin is natural, since it comes from petroleum, but we prefer a more “renewable” meaning of the word. We like renewable beeswax that can be produced fresh every year by worker bees. We also like renewable soy wax that comes from a new crop of soy beans each season.
  • Wicks: When you decide to make scented candles the eco-friendly way, you decide against wicks that have metal cores. Instead, you choose biological, 100% cotton wicks, or cotton wicks with paper cores. You may even want to use 100% biological hemp wicks.
  • Dyes: Another must for those who make scented candles the eco-friendly way is to use only biological dyes. Aniline dyes that are often used in candle making crafts are derived from coal tar. Again, this is a non-biological, non-renewable product. A nature-friendly choice is dye made from vegetable matter. Try steeping things such as beets, coffee grounds, curry powders, herbs, or onion skins in melted beeswax or soy wax. Just remember that all dyes used to make scented candles must be oil soluble, so it will not work to extract color with water or alcohol.
  • Fragrances: Make scented candles the nature-friendly way and then add anything other than biological fragrances – and your efforts have been wasted. Why bother? Candle making crafts that consider the environment will consider not only the waxes, wicks, and dyes, but also the aroma oils that they put into that environment. They will choose only those oils that are created from nature’s renewable sources.

You will be intrigued by the wonderful fragrances you can use when you make scented candles. Imagine filling your room with fresh lavender. Think about the lemony sweet smell of lemon grass!

Fragrance is the aromatic compound of flowers and plants. It takes a lot of flowers or other types of plant life to produce fragrance oils, of course, and that is simply not cost effective. That is why manufacturers use synthetic chemicals made from such things as petrochemicals, coal, and coal tars. You will get a sense of satisfaction when you make scented candles that contain no synthetic chemicals that try to mirror nature’s scents.

You will create, instead, your own biologically-based fragrances to make scented candles. You can use original oils right from the plant source. You can produce your oils using the conventional “hot enfleurage” process. Although this article cannot stretch to include a full description of that process, you can find detailed information in other articles and eBooks.

If you want to use a unique, multi-note mixture of fragrances when you make scented candles, or you would like to create a more potent, unique scent than you get from your homemade oils, visit an organic aromatherapy shop locally or online. Purchase two or three bottles of biological essential oils of your preference, and mix your own aromas to use when you make scented candles. You might also try adding a few drops of your purchased oils to the infused oil you created with the “hot enfleurage” process

Make scented candles the eco-friendly way, and you will open the door to a growing market of environmentally conscious consumers.

The Accidental Artist

Some people decide they want to start their own home business and know exactly what sort of business they want. Many other people who want to work at home have no idea what sort of home based business might be suitable for them.

If you fall into the second category, it makes sense to look for a product or service people need and then decide whether you could provide it. Another way of finding your own little niche business in a big competitive world is to examine your skills and think about what you enjoy doing. Sometimes, people don’t even have a vague idea about what they could do to work from home and they come across their ideal opportunity by accident. That’s what happened to me, but my friend Mick’s story trumps that: he didn’t even plan to start a business, it was all an accident.

Mick is one of those people who can fix anything and it seems like he can make most things from scratch. If you need anything fixed from your wristwatch to your motor-cycle to your curtains (yes he sews as well), Mick’s your man. I don’t think Mick and his wife have ever needed to pay for any work on their house. Mick can do carpentry, wiring, plumbing, painting; he’ll tackle anything from drains to roofing and make a professional job of it. Before you get to thinking I’m trying to sell you a superman here, I’ll tell you Mick isn’t perfect: he can’t cook and won’t try. His wife swears he’d live on sandwiches if she wasn’t there, and I have no reason to think she’s making that up. Mick says he doesn’t have time to learn to cook and I guess that’s true.

In his day job Mick worked for years at one of the biggest museums in London. I must confess to not really knowing what he did, but I gather from other friends it was something scientific and very clever. He didn’t talk about work much at all really, there were always too many other things going on – like sampling his home made beer or dashing down to the coast to work on some improvements to his boat. It was only after Mick retired from his full time job that he became aware of his hidden talent and it surprised us all when we found out about it.

Mick and his wife had always planned to dedicate most of their time following retirement to sailing. I’m not saying they are fair weather sailors but there are months when the weather can transform pursuit of a passion into a punishment. Retirement’s supposed to be enjoyable -right? It was during their first winter at retired persons that Mick started spending a lot of time in his workshop doing welding. He also developed a habit of dragging lumps of useless metal out of other people’s trash and taking them home with him. These “recovered” materials could be any sort of metal object from a broken table lamp to a buckled exhaust pipe. If you were walking down the road with Mick when he spotted an abandoned engine part, you would end up having the embarrassing experience of helping him carry it back to his workshop while hoping you wouldn’t meet anyone who knows you.

These odd bits of junk didn’t look like anything special to us and nobody could imagine what Mick could possibly be making from pieces of brass and rusty old chains. If you questioned him his answers were vague to the point of being evasive and, short of torture, you can’t force a person to tell you something he doesn’t want you to know. We couldn’t help wondering whether retirement had pushed Mick beyond acceptable eccentricity into full blown insanity. We wondered if his scavenging actually had a purpose or if he had just become a scrap metal hoarder.

We were all amazed when we found out the truth: Mick was turning all this found stuff into sculptures of all different subjects in a range of sizes from palm sized to several feet tall. It started by accident: Mick said that one day he found just looking at what we would see as a piece of bent iron made him visualise a sculpture and he felt a compulsion to turn the vision into a solid object. He already had the tools to do the cutting and welding and he enjoyed cleaning and restoring the materials. He also liked the challenge of finding methods of welding different sorts of metal together. Although he knew he had the technical skill to do this work, what he didn’t know was that he had a great artistic talent. Anyone who sees these strikingly unique sculptures will attest to the fact that Mick, the handyman/engineer, is indeed an artist.

Before long, the sculptures were taking up too much space in the house and some had to be sold. This is when, with a bit of encouragement from friends, a hobby was turned into a money making business. Mick now regularly sells his sculptures at art and craft fairs (in between sailing trips) and is making a very nice bit of extra income out of his hobby. It didn’t start out as an idea for a home business but doing something you enjoy with free materials and making a profit is about as good as any business could get.

There is always a market for well made hand crafted items: herb pillows, scented candles, soft toys, gift baskets are just a few that spring instantly to mind, there must be hundreds of others. Depending on your product, you can find customers at art and craft fairs, farmers markets and on eBay. You might not become a famous artist but it is always worth seriously thinking about whether there is a way to turn your hobby into a money making home business.

Copyright 2006 Elaine Currie

Koh Lanta, Thailand

We’re heading down south Thailand, near the Malaysian border, away from the crowds, in order to absorb Thailand from somewhere a little quieter, Lanta Island.

We found Pimalai Resort, located in Lanta Yai island, a paradise in the Andaman sea, where luxury boutique accommodation goes hand in hand with gourmet dining and wining. The visitor is greeted with lemongrass-infused iced water in this art gallery-impersonating lobby, where the ceramics make it look more to a museum of Asian fine art.

1. Accommodation

A complex in the midst of the jungle, blending superbly with the natural beauty of the island, the boutique hotel offers a selection of tastefully decorated suites and pool villas, all with great sea views.

We tried 2 of their range of room categories:

Pool Villa, a 204 sqm built on a piece of hilly land. Spacious, elegant Thai architectural design, it provides wide views of Ba Kan Tiang bay and the surrounding lush tropical forest. The sundeck featuring a private infinity edge swimming pool and a luxurious baldaquin is where you can read their luxury Southeast Asia travel guides.

Bay front Deluxe Room is placed on a small hill, and at 7-8m in front of us, the beach. The sound of waves rousted me out of bed early everyday ready to walk and swim and smile. The first image in the morning, when waking up, was the one of the sea.. incredible feeling for someone that has always dreamed to live by the sea!

The UK’s Sunday Times magazine included only one Thai beach, Kan Tiang, in its list of the world’s 10 best beaches. Pimalai resort was also awarded the ‘Luxury Resorts Awards’ award for ‘Best Scenic Environment’. The award was for the best scenic environment in the world! I haven’t traveled the world to check, but I can only say this scenery it’s breathtaking, it has a WOW factor! I set my expectations and standards pretty high after being in this place! Let’s see what other place can beat this scenery! … Just kidding! Actually every place is so different, and especially in Asia you really can not compare one place with another, they all have their own charm! And they really cast a spell on you!

2. Dining

With a superb choice of eight fantastic restaurants and bars (in high season) and 3 in low season, settings range from beach casual to sophisticate dining experience and all complemented by the unforgettable sea views. In all the restaurants we found reasonably priced and very well selected wines.

“Seven Seas” restaurant with its infinity pool at the top, is giving guests a sweeping panoramic view of the sun setting over the bay and surrounding hills.

“Under the Banyan tree” restaurant, with its traditional thai cuisine, splurged our dinners with famous Thai dishes such as Tom Yam goong, Morning glory, Goong makam, Som Tam, deep- fried sea bass with crispy kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass& herbs, served with Thai spicy sauce.

My favorite place to dine, with the sand between the toes, watching the waves crushing, is Rak Talay beach restaurant. The restaurant is given the name of the plant surrounding it. It has a very original design that compliments the beach charm. Fabulously crafted dishes, cooked to perfection, a glass of Louis Roederer, the spectacle of Andaman.. and the love of my life next to me.. idyllic scenery.

Service is always friendly& efficient yet never intrusive. The attention to the details is astounding. In terms of service and dinner experience, the traditional Thai hospitality meets the French sophistication in details, such as refined cutlery, great wine list, as the GM is a French, island adopted for the last 13 yrs.

For those wanting to explore the bay, there are few nice places to go along the shores. My favorite is Same Same But Different, this quintessential Robinson Crusoe style restaurant, a ten-minute walk down the beach, with an easygoing ambiance.

3. The feel of the island

Just feel the nature
The Banyan tree is the central piece of this resort and actually the older one. On top of the hill, sitting under the Banyan tree we had the most spectacular view of the bay. Buddhist believers regard Banyan tree as holy tree. The banyan tree is the tree where the founder of the Buddhism has achieved great awakening. It is associated to consciousness or intelligence. It refers to the state when a person becomes wake for something suddenly or comes to realize the truth or reaches an outstanding level in comprehending the world. It is thought of as perfectly symbolizing eternal life due to its seemingly unending expansion.

4. Activities

4.1 Island hopping

Once being here, in Ba Kan Tiang bay, one can choose the island and Emerald Cave excursions, snorkeling trips, world-class diving sites, coral reefs, trekking in Lanta Marine National Park, mangrove Eco-tour, elephant trekking, or visit Old Lanta Town. These are experiences that define a sublime resort getaway.
On the islands trip, we visited the Emerald Bay.

Apparently just a hole in a rock, after 100m of swimming through a dark cave, led only by the guide’s flashlight, we reached this hidden beach. Visiting the Eastern islands, went shoring on Koh Talabeng.

4.2 Sports

Maybe it was my state of mind but I can’t imagine there’s ever been a better Yoga experience than just at dawn, with the sea view in front, surrounded by palm and rubber trees and many exotic flowers.
4.3 Cooking classes

Cooking Thai – Thai food is the most delicious food in the world and its relatively easy to cook. Our cooking teacher was a very nice girl from Chiang Mai. Actually the best cooking classes in Thailand are in Chiang Mai and Bangkok. Even if you don’t plan to cook back home, at least you get to spend a day making and eating food. We had a cooking class and learn to cook a 4 course meal: spicy green papaya salad, green curry with chicken, red rich curry with filet of sea bass and grilled spicy beef salad. We also bought 7 kilos of their vegetables and cook Thai food back home the next week

4.4 Spa time and massages

The Spa is in the shape of a village style, in the middle of the natural beauty of the jungle, an oasis of serenity. One can choose from a variety of spa treatments. I had the traditional Thai massage, which is an ancient method of aligning and balancing the energies of the body, originating from the time of Buddha. The technique employed is the use of palm pressure on the body’s pressure points and energy lines “Sen”, along with a variety of stretching movements. After this, we felt spiritually and physically refreshed, strengthened and rejuvenated. Its invigorating and totally relaxing all at once, as the body will be rid of any niggling aches and pains.
As the day of our departure from these amazing southern shores came, I find myself capturing the memories like photographs in my mind.

The entire article, photos included can be read on http://satorijournal.com/koh-lanta/

Bugatti Synonymous With the Ancient Craft of Italian Cooking

The food at Bugatti is simply superb. Especially the fresh pasta dishes, its bread, soups and salads. The wine list is pretty decent and their Italian coffee is aromatic and strong. As far as the prices go they are quite reasonable. In summary, Bugatti is a small but elegant restaurant in the heart of Coral Gables; their dishes are very good and quite authentic tasting and the service is generally spot on.

Bugatti’s goal has always been to provide what the client wants. Since the opening in 1985 Bugatti was been serving exactly what its customers crave. The restaurant discovered early on that clients were crazy about lasagna.

Bugatti focuses on making awesome home made egg pasta dishes served with amazing sauce combinations and cooked to perfection. One of the patron’s favorites is Bombay Chicken Ravioli, a combination of Indian curries with stuffed chicken ravioli sweetened with raisins, apples, and roasted almonds. The Gnocchi Pomodoro is fresh and clean to the palette covered with freshly shredded Parmesan. Tagliatelli Carbonara, a master piece of perfection: homemade egg Tagliatelli decorated with a sweet pimiento sauce highlighting a reduced pancetta cream sauce and dusted to perfection with freshly grated Parmesan.

Bugatti’s specialty is the White Lasagna, served only on the first Wednesday of each month. Get there early, people know about it and crave it, for 25 years they continue to prepare this fresh, mouthwatering dish that people go crazy about. Fresh layers of pasta, over layers of mild minced beef and veal, moistened by a Parmesan Béchamel Sauce. Bugatti’s Lasagna, a legendary dish that does not go out of fashion and is prepared superbly month after month.

Delicious desserts and coffee are also part of the menu. Caffee Affogato is a favorite, a scoop of ice cream served with an aromatic coffee poured over the top. One of the favorite desserts is the three chocolate mousse served with crème anglaise and raspberry sauce. 

Many of the patrons are long-time regulars that are well acquainted with the employees, the managers and the owners. Service is certainly much better than in other more expensive restaurants and the food will exceed your expectations.

Buggati; an Italian tradition serving over a dozen classic Italian pastas, pizzas and other Italian favorites. Their pastas are creamy, full of flavor and not fat free. A quiet comfortable place open everyday for lunch and dinner and on Sundays only for dinner, moderately priced. For reservation dial (305) 441 2545.