How To: Turn Used Candles Into Vases

I have a bit of a candle addiction. I love them so much that my neighbor gave me one for Christmas because she sees that I even like to light them in lanterns in the garden. How sweet is that?! I’ve been hoarding the glasses of used candles because they are perfect sizes for tiny floral bouquets. (Another guilty pleasure of mine? Fresh flowers every week.)

Here’s how you can recycle your candles:

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1. Place your candles on trivets or hot plates while you boil water in your tea pot.
2. Pour boiling water into each of your candles and fill to the top. You’ll start to see the wax melt and travel to the top of the candle holder.
3. Wait for wax to solidify. Once it gets solid (may still be a bit gooey) take it out with your hands and discard. Be careful – the water can still be hot!
4. Once you remove the wax pieces, wash with soap and water.

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Voila! It’s that easy! The whole process takes about 15 minutes. Now I have a ton of small vases that are perfect for low arrangements for dinner parties.

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Dining Room Sideboard

This Conant Ball sideboard is probably one of my favorite pieces in our house. We bought this sideboard on Craigslist almost two years ago for only $100 because it was stained, in rough condition and smelled like pee. Thankfully Ryan and I have “vision” and were able to see/smell past it’s existing condition. (I love a man that can get just as excited by a piece of vintage furniture as he does for a football game!) Once we took it home, we used several cans of Lysol on her and let her sit outside in the sun for a few days. Ryan is a genius when it comes to refinishing furniture. Seriously. I never thought he would be able to get this piece to feel so smooth. When he put the last coat of poly on it, I think I sat and pet it for a few minutes.  Now we use it to store wine glasses, wine, china from his Grandmother, candles and mail. Storing mail in here is probably weird, but I hate piles of paper and it’s right near our front door. (You can see the “before” photos here of the room. This sideboard is on the right wall opposite that ugly old recliner. ick.)

Above it I hung a collage of photos that are special to us: wedding photos, the London eye from our first vacation together, the water at Niagra Falls, and a still life Ryan’s mom gave me. Although getting all these pictures to look “carefully undone” took hours but it was worth it in the end. I’m kind of spastic when it comes to hanging pictures so there are about 4 “practice” holes behind each of those photos, I’m sure. I thought this post by Joanna was interesting about having family photos in public spaces in your home. I feel like having personal photos in your public spaces is even more important so you can show your family and friends what is important to you. I can’t tell you how many times people comment on these pictures. My Mom especially loves the Rorschach print by Andy Warhol.

After we got this piece inside Ryan looked online to see what similar pieces were going for and they were going for thousands (!) of dollars… some even for $6k. Not a bad deal considering we got this for $100! Another reason it’s one of my favorite pieces in the house. :)

Conant Ball Buffet Before

Conant Ball Sideboard

Conant Ball Buffet

Photo Collage

Water Pitcher on White Tray


Oh, and of course I always have a bowl of lemons and water on it waiting for guests. Obviously. :)

rudolph the red nosed light bulb

This past Friday was our annual Christmastime sleepover with our nephews! Every year we have them sleep over to make christmas ornaments, cook a delicious dinner, stay up too late and spend some quality time without any parents around. :) Without their parents listening, Alex can be comfortable to tell us that he broke up with his girlfriend because she was mean. (He’s 7) …And Tyler can whisper to me, as I prepare dinner, that he has a crush on a girl in his class. I can teach them how to chop a tomato carefully, I can teach them what a painting palette is, and I can inspire them to love arts and crafts as much as I do. These little things make feel so lucky to have this special role in their lives.

This years ornament was made with painted recycled light bulbs, googly eyes, and pipe cleaners. I love that it repurposes household items and has that fragile, traditional ornament quality. By the end of the night, the kids were so sleepy and asking to go to bed. As I tucked them in and kissed them goodnight, they both sighed the deepest sigh and whispered, “I love you so much, Aunt Lisa”. It was dark so they didn’t see the tears in my eyes. I don’t want to blink because their growing up too fast.

DIY Christmas ornaments - Rudolph the red nose reindeer light bulb supplies

Alex painting the DIY Christmas Ornament - Rudolph

Ryan and Tyler painting DIY Christmas Ornaments

The boys painting their DIY Christmas ornaments

DIY Christmas Ornament - Rudolph light bulbs painted

The artist and his DIY Rudolph Christmas ornament

Rudolph DIY Christmas ornament on the tree

Rudolph DIY Christmas ornament on the tree - Tyler's

melted wax

It’s no secret that there was a hurricane this past weekend on the east coast. While other people were buying a lifetime supply of water, I also stocked up on crayons and window shades to keep us occupied. Ryan installed window blinds in every window, and I created this art below to keep our minds off what was going on around us. (The crayon art inspiration originally seen here.) At first I didn’t know if I loved it, but the shocking colors are growing on me. I’m not sure if this is it’s permanent home, but I like having art in the house that I created.

Now that’s not to say we weren’t prepared for Irene. Ryan created a “survival kit” and was taking his job of being the man of the house very seriously. The area where we live in New Jersey did not get hit too hard – other than a few downed trees and some water in neighbors basements. Luckily we just moved in recently and don’t have too much stored in the basement and whatever was actually down there was propped up to prevent damage. I’m just so thankful that our friends families are safe!

Crayola crayons melted on canvas

A little fun fact about me: Everyone always says how my Volkswagen smells like crayons. Do you know anyone’s car that smells like crayola? :)

photo booth memories

While unpacking, I came across these old photos Ryan and I took over the course of our relationship. Going to the boardwalk when we first started dating was one of our favorite dates, and taking these photos in the vintage photo booths quickly became a tradition of ours. In a way to personalize our family room, I framed these photos (one for each year we dated) and hung them in our family room. Before I framed these, the space felt too serious and formal and this is a nice way to add some personality to the room where we’ll probably spend most of our time.

Photobooth pictures framed

Vintage photobooth pictures as art

Vintage photobooth pictures framed

It’s funny to see how much we’ve grown up, and how our looks have evolved. (Hello bangs!) We just went to the boardwalk this past weekend and they no longer have the vintage photo booths because everything has gone digital. Knowing this, it makes me appreciate them even more. This is probably my favorite thing in the entire house!

works in progress

The past two weeks I’ve been in a funk. I don’t know why or when it exactly it started, but I’m thinking it has something to do with the most recent major change: moving. I absolutely love the new house, and do not miss living in a studio whatsoever, but seeing all the little projects and “to do” lists neatly typed in my iPhone has started to get to me. It doesn’t feel like home yet so I’ve been spending time trying to personalize the spaces to make them more comforting.

To get away from my honey-do list, this past weekend I took a trip to the beach to visit family. Well… they’re the family I used to nanny for in High School but they’re more like family. When I was sitting on the beach trying to figure out what’s been bothering me, I had a bit of an epiphany. I sat there watching the kids, thinking of how time goes by so quickly… how it was just 11 years ago I was there watching them learn how to walk and learn to say my name for the first time. (They call me “LaLa Car” still. Something about associating Lisa and Lisa’s car.) Then I started thinking about how I only enjoy the before and afters, and don’t take enough time to enjoy the “during”. This can be applied to my workout routine (non existent) or weeding the garden. Instead of rushing to get all the things done for the house, I want to take more time and actually enjoy what I’m doing. I need to step back and stop wishing for the future and enjoy the here and now.

These are the projects that we’re working on now:

Photo collage

The gallery wall in the dining room over the buffet. Ryan’s in the process of refinishing a Russell Wright buffet we bought on craigslist for only $100! More on that soon.

Hallway table

The upstairs hallway that I’m personalizing with a wall of family photos. I love the little nook at the end of the hall and will add some art above the console soon.

Beige Gray Chaise Lounge

The very empty corner of our bedroom that needs work. I’d love to get bookshelves, or install floating shelves on the wall for my books and small art pieces. Right now it feels really empty and need to think of what to do with this space. (Such a huge difference from the very beginning.)

The chaise is the IKEA KIVIK to be added to the sofa we have in the family room once we move to a bigger place in the future. We’re using it in the bedroom for the time being for a reading nook.

Weedy grass

The grass “BEFORE”. It was prickly and a wildflower graveyard so Ryan and I killed the grass and tilled the soil to plant new seed…

Weedy grass - before

This is what the yard is looking like now. Half dirt, half grass (weeds). Ryan planted seed last night in hopes that we’ll have some sprouts for our Labor Day BBQ. I love the way the yard looks at night when I like candles in those little black lanterns on either side of the benches.