GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Arts & Crafts with Authors: Scented Candles created by Author Brantwijn Serrah + giveaway | I Smell Sheep

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Arts & Crafts with Authors: Scented Candles created by Author Brantwijn Serrah + giveaway

Over the last year I've been working on ways to make my newsletter more useful and interesting for my subscribers, and in that effort I've discovered the joy of sharing things like my character's favorite recipes, signature cocktails from story locales, and DIY projects like the one I'm sharing today:
Scented candles to evoke the atmosphere of my worlds, for my readers to enjoy.

In the world of The Pact, my supernatural adventure series (Book 2, Into Nostra, just released!), the leads study a style of magic known as rune-weaving, which summons the spiritual nature or ancient symbols to invoke spells in the physical world. Communing with the spirits requires deep, dedicated concentration, and a great deal of mental discipline. Part of the study, therefore, is meditation. And what better way to facilitate deep meditation than by use of aromatherapy?

In the books, characters often burn incense, but luckily the art of DIY candle-making can recreate the same soothing scents my rune-weavers most enjoy. So today I give you a special scent brewed by rune-weaver and mystic scholar Eliza Rose, one of the leading ladies from Into Nostra.

To begin, you'll need these crafting implements, easily found at your local Hobby Lobby, Michael's, or other craft store. Some of the scented oils may be more easily found online.

1. Candle-making wax. I prefer SOY wax, which is recommended for beginning candlemakers and can be heated in the microwave.

2. Scented Oils. For Eliza's meditation, we'll be mixing mainly vanilla and cinnamon, with a touch of orange, clove, and wildberry.

3. Candle container. Could be votive-size, could be a medium-size candle jar, could be a mason jar... could be anything you want, really. I've seen candles poured into seashells! Just be sure the container isn't made of a material that might shatter or warp under high heat.

4. Candle wicks. I've discovered some wicks aren't very good quality and hardly burn at all, so look for ones with no discoloration and with enough length to extend above the rim of your candle container.

5. Measuring cup. Preferably glass, that will hold at least 8 oz. NOTE: I'm recommending a measuring cup for SMALL projects, mainly tealight and votive size. Larger containers will require a double-boiler (which can also be purchased in your local craft stores).

6. Lollipop sticks for candy-making. Sound like a strange item to include? I find them incredibly useful to act as stirrers for scent blends, as well as mixing the hot wax, and for propping up wicks while the wax cools. Plus you can get about 100 in a little bag for really cheap! In a pinch, toothpicks could also work.

Step One:
I always arrange my items ahead of time for ease of use. For this project I purchased soy wax in a "pillar" style but used an old cheese grater to grate it down into flakes. For a tealight-sized candle, I use 8 oz of the wax. I know it looks like a lot but when it melts down it seems like hardly anything.

Step Two:
As noted, the soy wax can be heated in the microwave, so I'm setting it for about four minutes. Just to be safe I usually do two rounds in the microwave of two minutes each, checking it in between. Always keep one eye on the microwave just to be safe, but in general, the process has been very straightforward for me.

While the wax is microwaving, I mix my oils, either directly in the tea-light cup or in another small plastic dish, cap, or cup. I find disposable is always better because if I reuse it, the older scents tend to linger and mix in with new oils I'm working with.
For Eliza's blend, in a tealight, I use the following amounts of oil:
4 drops vanilla
4 drops cinnamon
2 drop clove
1 drop orange
1 drop wildberry

My set of oils came with an eyedropper for simple measuring. If you don't have one handy, add it to your list of items. Makes measuring the scents quite easy.
NOTE: The wildberry scent I used was actually designated for soap-making. You can use soap scents for candles but there's a chance they won't come out smelling quite the same, so if you ever try it, I suggest blending and burning a small "test" block of wax to see if it smells the way you want it to.

Step Three:
Wax is melted, scent is mixed, so it's time to pour the candle and let it set. Make sure the base of your wick is set flat against the bottom of your candle container, and now's a good time to use one of those lollipop sticks, laid across the rim of the container, to keep the end of your wick standing straight while you pour, instead of falling into the hot wax.

I usually add my oils before pouring the wax into the container. Careful while you pour—wax is a nightmare to clean up, and more importantly you don't want to burn yourself!

Once your container is filled, use the lollipop stick to give it a good stir and mix the scent. Careful not to let the wick fall into the wax while you're stirring. Once well-mixed, replace the stick across the rim to continue holding up the wick while the wax cools.

NOTE: It's not recommended to put your candles in the refrigerator or freezer to cool. Just let them do so naturally in a safe, steady place.

Want Color in your Candle? You could buy color tablets at the hobby shop if you like, but I've found that shaving some chips of colored Crayola and mixing it into the hot wax does the job just fine. At first I was leery about this method, since I've smelled plenty of cheap candles that smell like crayon wax, but in the end there didn't seem to be any lingering crayon scent.

And that's that! Once the candle's cooled you can light it and enjoy the soothing aroma of Eliza's meditation chambers. Good for stress relief, yoga, general aromatherapy, and just enjoying your personal space!

Into Nostra (The Pact Book 2)
by Brantwijn Serrah
January 8th, 2018
Genre: Supernatural Adventure
ISBN: 978-1-947128-24-8
Number of pages: 225
Word Count: 84,000
Cover Artist: Brantwijn Serrah
They have opened the door to the apex predator, and now it is hunting them down.

Deals with the devil always have their price. Problem is, the devil collects with interest.

Serenity Walker thought she had the upper hand when it came to her partnership with a demon. D’aej is dangerous, but he was always on her side. Then an old friend lifts the scales from her eyes, and Serenity sees her contract for what it truly is: imprisonment, bloodshed, evil. All done by her own hands.

Now Serenity must pay for her ignorance and work harder than ever to fight a demon who can use her body, fool her senses, even twist every thought in her head. Only one sorceress has the power to teach Serenity what she really needs to know…a sorceress possessed by a fiend even bigger and badder than any Serenity has seen before.

A woman flickered into existence. As if stepping out of some eternal veil, she appeared without warning and made straight for Serenity in quick, purposeful strides. The wide, swooping brim of a black cowboy hat hid her eyes; long silver hair streamed out behind her like a pale, gossamer banner. The lithe curves of a predator couldn’t be hidden underneath her black corset and boiled leather leggings—sleek animal fur lined the tops of her boots, tribal moccasins dyed with deep ink and painted with runic markings along the seams.

Serenity managed to identify the symbols as the marks of a killer, but she had no time to move. All along this fighter’s arms danced a swirling dark energy, a kind of magic Serenity had never seen before: the shadowy swarm of a hundred darkling faces, crackling and howling like flames. Her mind flashed in panic back to the fehu tapestry in Eclipse, guarding the weaver’s blackest arts, and just as the woman raised both fists over her head to bring them crashing down on Serenity, D’aej seized control and ducked the body out of the way.

Don’t stare at her like a cow on the train tracks, he shouted across their bond, his anger echoing off the walls of her skull. Get moving!

About the Author:
Google+-YouTube Channel

When she isn't visiting the worlds of immortals, demons, dragons and goblins, Brantwijn fills her time with artistic endeavors: sketching, painting, customizing My Little Ponies and playing with graphic design. She can't handle coffee unless there's enough cream and sugar to make it a milkshake, but try and sweeten her tea and she will never forgive you. She moonlights as a futon for four lazy cats, loves tabletop role-play games, and can spend hours on end sketching characters and scenes in her secret notebooks.

Rafflecopter Giveaway 
(1) 1st Prize: $50 Visa Gift Card 
(3) 2nd Prize: signed print copy of Book 1, The Pact 
(5) 3rd Prize: The Pact e-book download and swag pack

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  1. Thanks for the great post and love the sound of this series

  2. This completely new to me. It sounds very good. I like that they are being hunted as a result of something they did.