Summer Entertaining DIY: Seashell Candles

Image courtesy of Banana Grove Designs

After returning from a family vacation, I always wonder what to do with some of the souvenirs we collect along the way. In the summer, it’s so lovely to walk along the water collecting interesting stones and beautiful shells and I came across a great little DIY project that will make use of the many seashells I tucked away.

Per DesignSponge, where I found this quick, easy and cheap craft: This is my favorite sort of project, one that takes next to no time and very little money. All you need are some shells (I used the leftovers from summer collecting), a few tea lights and something to melt the wax. If you’re lazy and using small shells like I did, you can just melt a few tapers over the shells, but the proper method usually involves making a simple double boiler.

Materials

  • shells
  • tea lights
  • double boiler or a heat-safe bowl over a pot of simmering water

Instructions

1. Remove the wicks from the tea lights by peeling off the silver covers.

2. Place the wicks in the bottoms of the shells. (If the shells won’t lay flat, you can lay them on a crumpled paper bag or cloth to keep them level)

3. Place the leftover (without wicks) candles in the double boiler and melt. (You can also melt them in a non-stick pan. You’ll just need to clean the pan while it’s still pretty hot to get all the wax off.)

4. Carefully pour the candle wax into each shell, leaving at least a half-inch of wick exposed. This step can get a little bit messy, so to avoid wax spills on your table, it’s best to place your shells on a piece of aluminum foil or paper before pouring.

5. Wait for them to dry completely and then set on the table!

Summer Vacation: Hiking Through Acadia, Maine

Image courtesy of apt11d.com

I just got back from a wonderful, and much needed, summer vacation with the family. This year we visited Maine, hiking Acadia and thoroughly enjoyed the Atlantic Ocean and the lakes. It was a great way to reconnect and the time spent outdoors left me inspired.

People have been drawn to the rugged coast of Maine throughout history. Awed by its beauty and diversity, early 20th-century visionaries donated the land that became Acadia National Park. The park is home to many plants and animals, and the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic coast. Today visitors come to Acadia to hike granite peaks, bike historic carriage roads, or relax and enjoy the scenery. I would highly recommend a visit!

Beat the Heat with Homemade Ice Popsicles!

Image Courtesy of Vogue.com

Before summer comes to a close, I like to make the most of seasonal produce and flavors that just aren’t as fresh the rest of the year. The perfect way I’ve found to beat the heat is by indulging in a nice cold popsicle. I found this Honeydew-Lime Pop recipe on Bon Appetit and thought it would be a fun activity for you and the whole family. I also enjoyed this recent article from Vogue about ice pops and their evolution. I’m excited to enjoy these next few weeks of summer with my family and indulge a bit with these refreshing icy pops!

Ingredients

  • 4 cups 1″ cubes peeled honeydew melon
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup mild honey
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Preparation

  • Purée all ingredients and 1/4 cup water in a food processor until smooth. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium pitcher; strain, pressing on solids to extract purée. Divide among molds. Cover; insert ice-pop sticks. Freeze until firm. Dip bottoms of molds into hot water for 20-30 seconds to loosen pops. Remove pops from molds and serve.

How easy does that sound? Do you have any favorite popsicle flavor combinations I should try?

Introducing: NEW Hearth Candle!

Summer is fantastic, isn’t it? The sun, the outdoors, it’s all great, but I have to say there’s something beautiful about the cooler months. During Fall and into the holiday season my home becomes my sanctuary. I live for the hours when I’m free to curl up on the couch and let the warmth of the fireplace engulf me. The smell of the embers are so enticing and relaxing. It seems to lure the rest of my family away from their rooms and down the stairs to the comfy couch and me. That scent is home to me.

With my new few posts here on the blog, I wanted to give you a closer look at each new candle we’ll be rolling out in the coming months. Production is in full swing here and the studio smells divine!

This fall Linnea’s Lights is introducing a new scent named Hearth. For centuries, the hearth was considered an integral part of a home, often its central or most important feature. On brisk nights, find comfort in hearth and home. The candle’s scent will linger throughout your whole house creating a loving and warm environment. Smoky & captivating cedar wood is kindled with sweet amber and leather accords to welcome you.

Available for purchase, Fall 2012. Which season do you look forward to most?

How to Make a Mother-Daughter Business Work

image courtesy of snoringscholar.com

We had the pleasure of speaking with AMEX Open Forum about our experience making a mother-daughter business work. As you can imagine, this topic is close to our heart and something we think about every single day. It’s also quite personal, but we’d love to share our experience and some advice with you, our wonderful readers.

Many of you are yourselves small business owners and whether you work alone, with a family member or with close friends, the challenge is pretty universal. The important thing is that we’ve all built something we’re proud of and when that goes well, this fulfillment brings us even closer to the ones we love.

We’d love to hear about your own experiences with working closely with family and friends. Any advice you’d like to impart? Tweet us your thoughts @LinneasLights or visit our Facebook page to continue the conversation.

Happy Mother’s Day!

image courtesy of bakerswifemadeit.blogspot.com

Happy Mother’s Day everybody! Every year, I always look forward to celebrating this special day with my family. We usually start off the day with a family brunch with cute little finger sandwiches, blueberry waffles, and coffee brewed from my favorite coffee beans.

I always feel that the best gifts are ones that come from the heart. Gift your own unique bouquet for mom – a bouquet of Linnea’s Lights newest scents Rose, Violet, and Wild Honeysuckle. Or feel free to mix and match!

What are you getting for Mom this year?

Happy “Take Our Daughters & Sons to Work” Day!



Image courtesy of our friends at MacKimmie Co. & Storied Lens

Linnea’s Lights is such a family affair with our tight-knit mother-daughter team, and our small staff is just like extended family to us here in Indiana. It seems only natural that we’d love celebrating Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day each year, and I always look forward to sharing my passion with my own daughter, Hannah.

I found out a bit more about the origin of this special day on the Take Our Daughters & Sons to Work foundation’s site and this recent article about how to make the most of the day, over on Forbes. Designed to be more than a career day, the Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work® program goes beyond the average “shadow” an adult. Exposing girls and boys to what a parent or mentor in their lives does during the work day is important, but showing them the value of their education, helping them discover the power and possibilities associated with a balanced work and family life, and providing them an opportunity to share how they envision the future and begin steps toward their end goals in a hands-on and interactive environment is key to their achieving success. Each year, we develop new interactive activities and partnerships that will assist us in taking girls and boys to the future they dream of.

Do you have fond memories of joining your parents for a day at the office? Is this something you’ll participate in with your own children?

Happy Easter & Passover!

Image courtesy of marthastewart.com

With both Passover and Easter coming up this weekend, I’m sure everyone is busy planning menus and prepping for lots of time spent with family and friends. I’ll be celebrating Easter and since I always love a craft project the family can do together, Dyeing Easter eggs has always been a favorite family activity. Today I’m busy getting our crafting supplies in order.

I happened upon this easy tutorial and am intrigued by the Homemade Dyes D.I.Y. in this post from AllRecipes.com:

To make your own natural dyes, boil common ingredients in water with a tablespoon of vinegar until the desired shade is reached. Strain to remove solids.

  • Yellow: Yellow onion skins, ground turmeric
  • Orange: Same as yellow, with added beet juice
  • Pink: Cranberry juice concentrate
  • Red: Beets, paprika
  • Blue: Canned blueberries, red cabbage, grape juice concentrate
  • Green: Spinach and/or kale
  • Brown: Strong brewed coffee or tea

Many of these can be made with ingredients we have laying around in the pantry, so I think we’ll give some of these colors a whirl. How will you be celebrating your respective holidays this weekend?

Joyous Christmas Traditions

Image courtesy of howtodecorateachristmastree.com

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Ev’rywhere you go;
Take a look in the five and ten glistening once again
With candy canes and silver lanes aglow.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Toys in ev’ry store
But the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be

On your own front door.” ~ Johnny Mathis

I love December because it looks, feels and smells just like Christmas. Beautiful Christmas lights are strung across storefront windows, fragrant holly wreaths adorn every door and the sweet, cozy aromas of peppermint-infused lattes and pastries tickle your nose as you walk past coffee shops and bakeries. Every year, my family and I officially ring in the holiday season with a very special Christmas tradition: the decorating of our Christmas tree! We use ornaments that are laced with our family memories mixed in with the fun ones we’ve collected over the years, like snow-globes, candy canes, snowflakes, and my favorites, homemade ornaments lovingly crafted by the kids. This year, we’re making these adorable dangling snowmen ornaments to embellish our tree, and I’m definitely excited to see how they turn out. What are some of your favorite family holiday traditions?

Recipe for the Perfect Thanksgiving

Image courtesy of thelifeofluxury.com

Every year I look forward to Thanksgiving. The smell of turkey, the sweet yet perfectly tart cranberry sauce, the flavorful stuffing, classic pumpkin pie and the assortment of irresistible desserts… these are all things I adore and hold close to my heart. But what I love the most about Thanksgiving is that I get to spend quality time with family and friends as we share a three-course meal, swapping stories over a helping of warm turkey and a generous serving of gravy and fresh cranberry sauce. Thanksgiving is an important day for my family and I as we reflect upon the past year and give thanks for all that we are blessed with.

What am I thankful for? I am grateful for my wonderful family and friends. I am also thankful for the opportunity to make my living doing what I love through Linnea’s Lights. To kick off this year’s Thanksgiving Dinner, I am planning on lighting our signature Pumpkin candle to set the holiday mood as the family and I start our holiday prep. Which scent will you be enjoying in the background this Thanksgiving?