Sunday, December 30, 2007

And No One Was Injured

Last night was a fun night for me. I managed to not stay in my room all night, as is my usual Saturday night activity. Instead I went to my friend Erik's apartment and we did nice wholesome things like throwing desk parts out of windows, watching South Park, eating marshmallows and coconut cake, and making candles. Does it sound much more interesting than sitting home alone knitting socks all night? I think so.
Candle making is a rather lengthy process. This was the lesson we learned last night at Erik's. He wanted to try his hand at making candles and I wanted to not be bored, so sometime around 10:00 PM, we began. (On a bit of a side note, do not begin your candle making adventure late at night. Trust me, it's better to start early) First, we melted the wax in a makeshift double boiler, using a large thermometer to make sure we had the proper temperature. The instructions were quite clear that we shouldn't let the wax exceed a temperature of more than 225 degrees Fahrenheit, lest we risk flames or explosions. And who would want to cause one's own apartment to explode? No one, that's who.

Next, we performed the first pouring of the wax. The wax is poured into the whatever mold is being used and the wicks are then set in. The random game of pick-up sticks at the right is really just to keep the wicks from falling entirely into the wax. Balancing the wicks and the sticks in a manner that would stay in place was by far the biggest pain in the ass of the whole process. After the candles set, it was smooth sailing for the subsequent pourings as far as the wicks were concerned.

After the wax set for about half an hour, we reheated the wax for the second pouring. This was similar to the first pouring, except less wax was used and those pesky wicks were already in place, making it so much easier than the first time around. As the wax cooled (this time for two hours), a deep well formed in the middle of the candles. This is the best shot of the wells I could get. Somehow, I failed to take a picture of the finished product...just imagine the well filled in and the wick sticking out like it's supposed to and you'll have a good idea of how the finished candle looks.

And here is Sir Erik displaying an object that was once granulated wax and was transformed into a thing of usefulness. He looks kind of mystical there, holding a ball of fire. I got several shots of him looking as if he's conjuring the element, but this one was the first and my favorite of the bunch. His casual demeanor belies the excitement he'd previously expressed about transforming raw materials into something that can be used. He was thrilled at the concept. I told him I felt the same way the first time I made a pair of mittens.

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