Sunday, April 20, 2014


You know those pairs of photos that appear now and then on the internet: the first one depicts an award-winning baby, cooing and gurgling as she leans out of a perfectly chiseled pumpkin; the next one is an attempted replica - a grizzly infant looking like he's just been bottle-fed lemon juice and fish oil, covered in the disintegrating gloop of a mismanaged cucurbit? This kind of thing. The moral is: if you're not a professional baby/pumpkin wrangler with a top-notch camera and a lot of clean cheesecloth wherewith to conceal the less photogenic aspects of your house, do not try citrouille au enfant at home. And if you do try this at home, do not display your attempts on the internet, unless you want to propagate international mirth, which is quite a reasonable desire. (Alternatively, the moral is: do unto babies as you would have done unto your good self on an equivalent scale, which might mean not imprisoning your naked infant within a giant fruit.)

So, this is one of those blog posts. I show you someone's stylish craft project, and then I show you my surely-I-can-do-that attempt, which, of course, falls pretty flat.

Here is the stylish craft project, Easter egg candles, ftw, all the way from Lithuania:

Artful photo of pastel vegetable wax candles in eggshells from here.

I saw these candles in my daily Etsy digest a few weeks ago, and realised immediately that not only did I possess a goodly supply of eggshells (thanks, Shirley Chook, our champion layer of the month), and a goodly supply of wax (thanks, bees), and a goodly supply of devil-may-care crafty can-do pluck, but I also had an Easter coming up, and various dear relations, who would surely appreciate receiving some stylish, handcrafted Easter table decor, made from eggshells and beeswax. Because nothing says hope and resurrection like an ovum membrane filled with stuff from the abdominal glands of insects.

It turns out not to be very easy to hold a bit of wick right in the middle of half an eggshell while pouring molten beeswax around it, so some of my wicks are sort of akimbo. It's also quite hard (given our amateur wax rendering skills) to completely rid beeswax of all the non-wax gunk that comb accumulates, so my wax is not so much golden, as baby-poo brown - caramel, if we're feeling charitable - and it contains bits and pieces of bee residue you'd probably rather not know about.

So them's my candles. They'd probably look a bit better if posed in the presence of cinnamon quills and raffia, and they'd probably look a lot better if I too had used vegetable wax in various alluring shades of pastel rather than beeswax in various unalluring shades of slumgum. In the end, I decided not to impose them on my dear relations, because I want to keep them sweet for the cat hair textiles I'll be knitting them all for Christmas.


  1. The slumgum was totally my fault since I was the one who decided to melt the wax so I could wax my cheese and I was the one who decided to throw in a spot of bad unrendered wax thinking foolishly that all the mud would sink to the bottom.

    Why doesn't blogger recognise the word 'slumgum'?

    Anyway. My fault. Now that I've admitted to this dreadful crime, can I have some more chocolate?

  2. Ann Geddes has a lot to answer for in the arguably cute baby photos.
    I hear you on the difficulties of keeping a wick straight. And, love your burning candle. A nice twist on 'all cats are grey at night'.

  3. I find Anne Geddes' photography very creepy. Overwhelmingly she portrays babies semi-disguised as nonhumans (they're costumed as flowers, other animals, fruits, etc), functioning as ornaments -- and none of the babies can possibly consent knowingly to being used in this way. I suppose it's no worse than me taking a photograph of the dog with a teatowel on his head, but it does feel very odd and fetishistic.

    Re the candles: it's true! once they're burning in the dark, it doesn't matter that they're not as pretty as I'd hoped.

  4. Snap on the Ann Geddes' front. I read somewhere (I think) that her photos were banned in NZ, as a form of child abuse. And applauded.

  5. Beeswax candles in ochre/beige/camel/fawn: 10/10. Want. Also want that particular eggcup.

  6. You are utterly lovely, kate dale, and you know how to talk up a shade of brown.