Whimsical and Homespun Art Creations with a Little Rural Living Thrown In

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Thrifty Finds ~ Beeswax Candle Supplies & Vintage CO OP Feedsacks

At the Baraboo Show in the Women's Center, there was a wonderful lady dressed in period clothing that set up her Beeswax Wares.  Don't you just love the candles? :)  We had quite the discussion about how beeswax candles are made.  She was such a world of information on a subject that I have always wondered about.  The pic below shows some examples of her creations.  The baskets held all of the candles that were for sale.  Her 6 inch tapers (when lit indoors out of the wind) will burn for 6 hours.  All of the candles were made of pure beeswax. 

She also created brown primitive style beeswax candles.  I asked her if their was a historical origin of the now popular "grunge" style candles.  She explained that back in the pioneer days settlers raised bees in hay hives.  (And I am sure found them in a few local trees!)  The newer honey was a beautiful yellow comb and the older honey combs were dark and dirty in color.  When liquefying the beeswax, the clean beeswax would float on the top and the older dirty beeswax would sink to the bottom.  Back then the motto was "Waste not Want not", so nothing was thrown away.  And with all the other duties on the prairie, cleaning the beeswax was not top priority to a candle that's sole purpose was simply meant for light.  So as the candles were made, they got dirtier and dirtier in appearance.   This flaw in appearance did not effect the performance of the candle, so all were used on the homestead.  Also, the cleanliness of hands due to the lack of indoor plumbing was not up to our current standards, and this also caused varying amounts of dirt to be transferred to the newly created candles.  As you can see in the photo, she had many candles made with beeswax of varying ages.  (She also had two displays of honey combs to show the aged versus the new.)  It was absolutely fascinating!

So after chatting with her for quite a while (and loving every minute of it!), I noticed that she had a candle mold for sale with wicks already threaded.   It would create 8 six inch tapers.  I have always wanted to try my hand at making candles, and it was so closely related to working with ceramic molds that I decided to take a stab at it!  So, the candle mold and a lump of her stamped beeswax ended up in my possession. 

As I went back to visit with some friends of ours that were set up in the flea market area, I noticed that the vendor next to them was a local apiary.  They were selling a variety of soaps and some large amounts of wax.  Yep, beeswax!  So over at their tent, I purchased a lump of beeswax at bulk price to create my candles.  I think that I will save my pretty stamped block to display with my candle maker.  When it is not in use of course!

I cannot wait to get caught up with my art commission and give this new venture a try.  You should have seen the fear on my hubby's face, when he heard there was another hobby entering the household. LOL  He knows that I run in all directions with my current ones, and I assured him that this was one would only be occasional.  I mean... how many candles can one person burn?? ;) 

My other big purchase was CO OP feedsacks.  Some of the older ones still had the instructions on them for laundering off the ink.  I found a lady that had oodles of these at her booth.  My hubby (who encourages my current hobbies but fears me adding any more!) told me to ask for a price for the whole lot.  Yikes!  This lady had a lot of sacks... even for my hoarding tendencies.  So, I purchased 10 sacks to use in the creation of some primitive designs that I have been working on. 

As we walked around the flea market, my hubby kept wondering if I should have taken the time to get more.  They get used up fast in creations and are so much harder to find at an affordable price (I refuse to cut up any feedsack that is displayable or unique).  After walking a few rows, I went back to the feedsack booth, pointed to her largest stack, and started to deal.  What you see below is the pile I hauled back to the Jeep.  Plenty for all of my crafting needs.  There was still quite a few left at the booth, and she had those sold by the afternoon!

I just love the colors in these feedsacks with the red, muslin color, and blue.  And for my purposes, I did not have to go through my haul at the time of purchase to look for pristine ones.  They were all in great shape and did not smell musty.  Big plus!  They are feedsacks of different feeds: chick feed, poultry concentrate, hog enhancer etc...  There are little chicks, pigs, and cows incorporated into the design.  Plus, they are 100 pound bags.  Translation: loads of workable fabric!!

I will be adding a few of these to my selling blog.  So if you are interested, click on the header above this post for the Pumpkin Hollow Flea Market.  I will be loading more vintage items on there after I finish my drawing commission this week! :)

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