Fall Fun Series: Craving Cranberry

20171108_123040Possible name change in order, from FALL Fun to WINTER Fun Series, at least here in the Midwest where record breaking cold temps moved in this weekend. Winter’s frosty grip reached out a hand as flakes flew on Friday and our early Saturday morning Speech tournament commute started out at a balmy 13 degrees! Though I was startled to see such abruptly bare trees and drifts of strewn leaves outside, I look forward to the upcoming festivity of the Christmas season. Side note, any friends interested in a Winter Fun series next year?ūüėȬ†

Chilly days, bare trees and busy weekends in November must mean the holidays are approaching. With them, an about-face from fall staple scents of pumpkin and apple, to the cozier comforts of peppermint and cranberry.¬†20171112_120328I don’t think I’ve ever actually craved cranberry. I like the fruit, as far as berries go it’s ranked above the summer berries. However, in wax, it usually takes the same syrupy sweet turn that’s failed to impress. There have been a few exceptions, the cranberry and oak of Scentsational’s Crimson is my favorite Walmart wax, reviewed last year, I don’t think it was re-released this Fall as it’s not on the website. Bath and Body Works’ Cranberry Woods is another stand-out. I’ve learned I need a well-blended formula that isn’t berry-heavy to enjoy a cran scent. I took a chance with an early September pre-order for¬†Bento Wax’s Cranberry Zucchini Bread.20171108_123309Bento Wax– These instantly recognizable sushi roll wax shapes are unique in the world of vendor wax. They’re also fun to watch melt as the “wax sandwich” layers liquefy into pretty pools. A 3-pack cost $4.50.

Cranberry Zucchini Bread: Unopposed¬†to the bread/baguette fragrances, I find they are usually true-to-life, and this gal loves to eat some true-life bread. CZB has that unmistakable¬†freshly baked zucchini bread aroma. Cozy and warming with hints of toasted almond, crunchy grated zucchini and¬†a spicy barrage of cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg.¬†The cranberry is tart and acidic with a distinct cherry note to it, which doesn’t agree with me. However, my husband loved it and commented all day on how good the house smelled.¬†Potent, room-filling fragrance from half a sushi roll, I’d cut this one into quarters in the future.20171111_164608I had another cranberry wax blend planned, but my Sniff My Tarts Fall custom order was lost somehow and I’m still waiting for the wax to arrive. Cranberry scents may not fill my stocking this year, but there are numerous other ways I enjoy the deep red natural wonder:

Potpurri-Specifically this simmering¬†Williams-Sonoma Christmas potpourri recipe which I’ve used in my own house and my parents’ during the holidays. If you keep an eye on the water level, 8+hours of all natural festive fragrance could be yours, no wax burner required.

The side dish- I’m a fan of cranberry sauce, whether, whole, canned or relished. One of our favorite easy weeknight dinners during this crazy time of year are Turkey Cranberry Swiss grilled cheese sandwiches. Who says you have to wait till Thanksgiving?

The beverages- I shared this Cranberry Apple Cider recipe during last year’s Fall Fun Series I. It was such a hit at a friend’s party, I must make more soon. The lazy version is the Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash, which after a refreshing 10 year run, seems to have been discontinued:(20161111_183831The cocktails- Half-Baked Harvest creates some incredible dishes and recently got into the foodie cocktail game. Especially intrigued by this Deathly Hallows Cocktail, I only need one more ingredient and an obligation free weekend to test this inspired recipe. You bet I’ll update if I do.

The dried berries- I could snack on dried cranberries constantly. They make an appearance in salads, yogurt and granola on the regular. Mmmm.

The vase filler- bursting with natural texture and color, cranberries make a stunning jar filler for candles or flowers.

How do you crave your cranberry? Or is there another Fall-Winter transition fragrance that you gravitate to this time of year? My craving for Marshmallow Fireside has kicked into high gear along with the chill, think I’ll met that today.

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New vendor: Gypsy Monroe Wax Co.

20171109_081433In many areas of life I can be downright practical. When it comes to turning away from sparkly, glittery pretties, however, I’m worse than a magpie. On such occasions, my husband will refer to me as Jeremy, the distracted crow from The Secret of Nimh. I do gravitate to shiny bits, although he’s just as bad, gleefully looking forward to retirement when he plans to pick up a metal detector to locate buried loot. It was this sparkly-spotting tendency which caused me to pause mid-scroll through my feed as I came across the shimmery wax offered by The Gypsy Monroe Wax Co. How can you blame me? As far as I can tell, the shop opened in January 2017 and has gained plentiful popularity. My order shipped within a week for $6.25. I was unable to find oz. information for most options.20171109_075350 (1)Minty Fresh Fluff¬†spearmint + toasted marshmallow ($6.30)

Bright, fresh and as unmistakable as an emerald creme de menthe cocktail, or mint topping drizzled over a dish of melty vanilla ice cream. It actually smells fluffy if that’s possible, airy and finespun, the mint frolics forward but doesn’t offend as some spearmint oils may. The sticky marshmallow lacks a toasted quality, similar to pillowy mallow fluff, not singed marshmallows. Using a thin layer of shards, less than an ounce, produced strong throw. What you see is what you get with this melt. Cool, minty, intense. I think it would be fantastic with an added something to ground it, possibly a Flannel type with bergamot and musk, or a vanilla waffle cone. Thanks to these perfectly portable wax shards, I can use it as a go-to scent blender.20171109_082930 (1)Black Magic WomanBlackberry Jam + Cotton Candy + Barbershop ($6.30)

Wow is this syrupy sweet! I admit to not usually going for this scent type, it was the barbershop addition (obsession) that drew me in. Bursting with tangy seeds, flowers, vines, the whole berry bush may have been thrown in there. Mouth-puckering tartness appears at first sniff, a slightly metallic note follows. Thick plummy jam is the overriding scent. Moderate throw on warm where cotton candy peeks out, adding to the sweetness. I threw in a mini-cube of Rosegirl’s Shaving Cream which toned down the sugar, but it’s still too saccharine for me. Passing this on to a fruity scent lover.
20171109_093243Winter– Pine + Warm Spices + Oak Moss + Clove + Allspice ($5.39 for 4.3 oz)

This stunning tartlette shape with the shimmer, now that’s the twinkle I’m talking about. I adore the triple layers, fluted edges and 3-dimensional snowflake embed. Labeling a scent Winter seems like a tall order to fill, I believe it to be a dupe for the Bath and Body Work’s candle by the same name but I don’t have one to compare.20171109_094340Though not exactly like walking in the woods on a crisp winter morning, it is reminiscent of those orange-clove pomanders that were popular air fresheners during the Victorian era. Martha Stewart is always making them for the holidays too and I can see why. A festive fragrance possessing a blast of beautiful citrus-spice that warms the room. Capturing the stimulating essence of pine needles with a hint of cold air, the bright orange is rolled in a smattering of subtle clove, cinnamon, nutmeg and possibly ginger spice. One fourth of the tart made a cheery melt with loads of throw which put me in high holiday spirits.20171109_092520Dream Weaver– lavender + coconut milk + marshmallow cream + white musk ($3.19)

This lavender smells familiar, clean and astringent; made new by the foamy swirled coconut milk. I’m crazy about the luminous muskiness right from the top, as the creamy smooth mallow softens the lavender’s pungency. Very keen on this blend, but wish for a higher ratio of coconut cream to lavender.¬†

Samples:20171110_081632Black Raspberry Vanilla- Without hidden scent surprises here. A no-muss, no-fuss basic berry vanilla combination, not as tart as Black Magic Woman.

Baby It’s Cold Outside- No description, but there’s a delicious candy cane mallow cream going on and a really good one. I’d definitely purchase if available.
20171109_092706Sweetly packaged including pour/cure dates and crystal lunar label motif, I know I’m not the only one whose head has been turned by Gypsy Monroe. I even missed one of the scents that caught me eye, Mermaid Snack, as it sold out within hours; this vendor’s star is rapidly on the rise. Gypsy Monroe is restocking this Sat, Nov 11th at 2 EST and there’s a special custom wax giveaway entry with any purchase.¬†As usual with Etsy, import taxes may apply for my international friends. I expect lots more loveliness from GMW in the future.¬†

Handmade in Florida: Wax Sampler

20171105_134528This is the wax preorder that led me to break my July shopping ban. I’d heard tantalizing word-of-mouth from Julie at The Redolent Mermaid but when I checked out the shop a few times, it seemed Handmade in Florida was infrequently open. Widely known for creating beautiful signature soap, and although I’m becoming a frequent user of handmade soaps, it was the wax I yearned to try. When I saw the preorder sampler announcement on the ‘gram, it didn’t take much convincing to suspend the shopping ban. Further checking revealed a choice of categories were available for customer selection, including earthy, bakery, fruity, etc., and all my remaining resolve was gone. My Earthy ‘surprise-me’ sampler included 10 scents and 2 samples, approx. 25 oz. of wax for $30, plus $7 shipping.¬†

From the packaging to the wax decoration, this has been the most elegantly designed wax I’ve received yet. I sincerely appreciate the inclusion of scent notes, pour dates and weight. Also love the distinct styles offered from shapes to cups.¬†20171029_113345Cosmic Caramel-a medley of sweet and spice starring warm caramel and clove. An unpretentious combination that was simply delicious. Note, I don’t say that lightly. It is a rarity for me to recommend any caramel scent, usually finding them too sweet. In fact, I questioned the inclusion of caramel in an earthy sampler, wondering if a bakery melt accidentally slipped in. Happily, Cosmic Caramel was included and it’s the favorite I’ve tried so far.20171029_114121Warm golden glaze, thickly scented with butter and toffee. I could actually smell the sugar crystals caramelizing as if melting on the stovetop in front of me. By no means cloying, nor overly spicy, as the clove appears as a smattering of buds dropped into the simmering caramel adding small bursts of aromatic depth. Strong, long-lasting throw, however I did use the entire 1.5 oz melt cup.

Coconut Curry-an enticing blend of freshly picked curry leaf, warm ginger, lime, vanilla, creamy coconut milk.¬†A fan of curry and spiced foods, but not always of it’s appearance in fragrance. (I loathe some curry spices found in Yankee’s ginger scents) This is a savory version but is natural without feeling like you are eating takeout food. Brittle, pungent curry leaves bloom in velvety coconut cream, well-balanced between the two top notes, punched up by the zesty hit of lime. Whopping throw on cold, will update after melting.20171029_120935Meditate-warm notes of incense, amber and sweet vanilla.¬†These notes embody a divine trinity of my favorite scents. Pearls of vanilla form a glossy bed of fragrance cloaked in dusky sweet smoke, crowned by delicate golden amber. A mellow dream of a scent prevails.¬†

Pretty Patch-a blend of sweet vanilla, dark-aged patchouli, amber and musk.¬†Excited for this on cold, unfortunately it didn’t work for me. This patchouli appears more harshly than in the others (is dark-aged much different?)¬†It melts very floral heavy with a touch of oiliness to it. Deeply layered, I wish the sweetness of the vanilla and fresh musk would outshine the sharp flowery patch. Half a cup threw medium strength.¬†¬†

Sensual Suede-warm blend of soft suede, vanilla, sandalwood. I’m grateful this earthy sampler doesn’t contain a lot of cologne types. Not even sure how the connection between ‘earthy’ and cologne came to be, never have I walked through the woods and run into a cloud of unisex fragrance. The suede exhibits a feminine floral character, but isn’t perfumey either, perhaps light iris and dulcet green tones. A soft and tender nuanced feel, similar to donning a cashmere cardigan on a cool cloudy day. As with all of these blends, I only wish the sandalwood was more prominent.20171029_110630Ritual Lavender-lavender, sage, rosemary and woodsy smoke billowing from the sacred ritual of smudging.¬†In the words of a friend, this lavender curls the toes and makes the eyes roll back in the head. That may be dramatic,¬†but it is incredibly different from any other lavenders I’ve had. Not too woody; powerful, yet green and herbal with a confident blend of sage and rosemary, truly spicy herbs, leaning slightly peppery and cinnamon dusted. Ritual Lavender elicits feelings of majestic forests, endless Autumn days and woodland ceremonies surrounded by smoke and mystery. In contention for my favorite melt this fall, and one of this year’s best, but will reserve that judgement for after melting, if I can bring myself to use the one and only cup.¬†

These intricately designed wax medallions weigh 3.2 ounces and are nearly too pretty to slice. Upon seeing a photo I posted, an online friend commented they remind one of beautiful vintage pendants, and pondered how incredible-smelling they’d be adorning the neck. I must agree.¬†20171029_112450French Vanilla & Oak-sensuous¬†blend of oak, sandalwood, benzoin, French vanilla. Zahida, the wax creator, must have read my mind with this scent. Any time a brand holds a blend contest, I include oak and vanilla in the mix. I find the notes comforting but unique, which is this blend exactly. The balsamic benzoin resin adds an exotic touch complimenting the creamy French vanilla. A freshness found in expensive body care lends a soap-like aspect grounded by the bitter woodiness of oak. Light-moderate throw.¬†

Tea for Two-green tea, bergamot, patchouli, amber, vanilla, jasmine, musk and smooth woods. There’s no cake to this unexpected tea blend. Cool as a glass of iced tea brewed from a sophisticated loose leaf mix. Bergamot imparts a light citrus note, not as overwhelming as lemon, but containing that characteristic sharp green tea edge. The tannins just rounded out by the soft vanilla and honeyed amber. I like this scent, I’d probably drink it as a tea, too.

Third Eye-exotic blend of incense, teakwood, sandalwood, patchouli, and cardamom. I haven’t enjoyed powdered scents as much lately, however this is an exception. Light, feathery powder tickles the nose, while herbal patchouli and peppery cardamom spice uplift the mood, teak and sandalwood relax the senses. A perfectly pleasant incense blend. Medium throw.¬†20171105_115603Enchanted Woodssultry blend of dark-aged patchouli, musk, sandalwood, myrrh.¬†This scent sounds incredible but sniffing the package clued me in that it wouldn’t offer much aroma. The only disappointment in the bunch. I did get something upon melting two cubes, but it reminded me of the scent of my vinyl baby dolls from childhood, so not horrible, but not what I want in a woodsy melt. I removed it from the strong plastic clamshell and placed in a bag to cure awhile. Will update if it improves.¬†¬†

Samples: Two full cups bedecked in Halloween trimmings. Rarely do I like all the samples I receive, but I adore these.20171105_102449Sweet Serenity-a touch of confectioner’s sugar, blended with lavender, eucalyptus, mint essential oils.¬†Mint essential oil? Sign me up! Cool, frosty spearmint refreshes as the powdered sugar is infused with abundant herbs, producing a concentrated sugar rim to the spirited combination.20171105_102936Pistachio Cake-a fragrant cake scented with rosewater, pistachio, cardamom, and freshly whipped cake.¬†Pistachio can be a love it/hate it scent for some, I think, but it’s a take it or leave it to me. I would take this wax cake version three tiers tall if possible. Moist and fluffy pastry covered in sugar-coated fondant, dressed in rose petals and dusted richly with cardamom. If pretty¬†had a scent, this would be it.

No regrets over my broken shopping ban, I’d say this preorder was worth the wait and every penny. Looking forward to Handmade in Florida’s next opening.

20171022_121035

Bonjour Wax Co. Stranger Things sampler

What you should know about Bonjour Wax Co.: An order from Bonjour is more than wax, it’s an experience. Mandi cultivates a treasure trove of cool ideas that she turns into reality. Especially winning are her pop culture-themed samplers, everything is spot on, from the scent interpretation to the packaging. Mandi also considers her customers’ feedback, reworking and fine tuning her formulas and recipes, not to mention, constantly planning and sharing her process with us. It’s these details which stand out as special and make Bonjour Wax very popular with a loyal customer base. 

  • Mandi assures that she uses sustainably sourced palm wax w/o petroleum by-products, which releases easier from melt warmers.
  • Shipping is a flat rate of $7.50 (awesome) though International doesn’t appear available.
  • Restocks are typically every other Friday at 12 pm EST, and many products will sell out. That time doesn’t work for me, luckily she also offers occasional preorders such as the one below:

The World is turning Upside Down sampler

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I mean come on, the packaging alone is reason enough to purchase, AND a free bookmark? Be still my geeky heart. Containing 9 Stranger Things inspired scents for $20 of major wax melt eye candy.20171008_141646There is a sweetness to the show due to the characters’ interrelationships, but also an undercurrent of brokenness, an edge of pain and pang of misery to their lives, even Steve’s (who redeemed himself, yet I still can’t help thinking a return to douchey behavior is imminent. UPDATE: or maybe Steve will become a wounded but hilarious sidekick). These scents are sweet and edgy, based on iconic moments from season one and previews of the upcoming season two, premiering tomorrow night. 20171008_141158.jpgEleven-vanilla crunch waffles covered in maple syrup. Representing the mysterious interdimensional traveler, El, whose powerful telekinetic abilities are equally useful for helping locate missing children and procuring Eggo waffles. Light, buttery batter swirled with vanilla extract topped off with pools of maple syrup floating inside all the little ridges. Not into maple scents this season, I melted one, recommend two for light-medium throw. Evenly composed of maple and vanilla, not overly sweet. 

Mornings are for Coffee and Contemplation-coffee beans & cinnamon sugared donuts. A straightforward coffee scent with a light spicy note. Based on the morning motto of haunted Hawkins’ Chief Hopper, who I’m not gonna lie, is my favorite character and this, my favorite quote from season oneI literally live by this motto. Not as potent as dark roast but still a comforting cup of familiar warmth. A crunchiness comes out reminiscent more of graham crackers than donuts. Smooth, balanced classic American coffee that one can swig (or sniff) all day. This medium scent had major longevity, I used 3 mornings in a row for around 8 total hours.20171025_134355The Pumpkin Patch- pumpkin, ginger, brown sugar, patchouli & clove. Featured in a preview of a season 2 episode, there’s more going on than pumpkin picking. Patchouli introduces an earthy tone and musky finish underlying the sweetly spiced fragrance. The hidden creamy pumpkin just peeks out, or was that a pollywog? Light throw. 

One of the most clever and cult follower generating aspects of Stranger Things is it’s homage to pure geekiness. The young foursome at the show’s heart are unapologetically geeky; AV club members into strategy gaming, ham radios, and electromagnetism. Their curiosity and conspiracy theories provide comic relief and nostalgic innocence. The following scents are unapologetically sugary and brightly colored. They’d surely be eaten up as the boys gamed away their weekend.20171008_142724Demogorgon-blood orange & patchouli. This scent is as powerful a mix as the demonic Demogorgon is a monster. Wickedly bright and juicy orange with a hint of grapefruit, actually more sweet and tangy than tart. Effervescence emanates, creating a fizzy backdrop to the pungent patchouli highlighting the radiant citrus. This is a stunning combo that has grown on me more and more. 

When I asked my husband if the Demogorgon was a creation of the show or actually appeared in the Dungeons and Dragons game, he answered with “It’s real (in D&D) and it’s alignment is chaotic evil.” So there’s that.

The Flea and the Acrobat-black licorice, mandarin orange, sugar cane and fizzy soda. Intrigued by the blood orange above, however, this is similar to opening a fizzing orange soda, gulping it down and grimacing as the bubbles travel up the nostrils and the tang burns the throat. It’s akin to Mentos candy popped into a bottle of Coke, maybe crushed Smarties in Fanta, either way, too much for me.20171008_142853Dragon’s Lair-Creme soda, Skittles, sweet and salty popcorn. I cannot wait for the arcade scenes this season, such a perfect 80’s homage interlaced with seriously scary footage brewing outside. Careful fellas, those video games may just lead to real danger. As spot on as this scent is capturing junk food offerings at arcade snack counters, Dragon’s Lair may cause a toothache. Fruity grape soda and buttered popcorn, totally gag me with a spoon;)

The Upside Down (netherworld, Vale of Shadows) Guess which are my favorite scents? These embrace the darkness of the show, the lurking horrors, spooky goings on in the woods, the shed, and, gulp, the swimming pool.20171008_144335 (1)The Vanishing of Will Byers-autumn leaves, patchouli, balsam, vetiver. Fall in Hawkins, Indiana is a spooky, atmospheric place. This scent captures crisp autumn nights, crackling twigs and leaves, resinous balsam fir. Stillness descends on the woods bestowing a sleepy stupor of cooling calm. A creamy sweetness comes through when melting, just wish the woody notes were stronger. 

Thessalyhydra-dark amber, exotic guaicwood, cedarwood, cinnamon, burnt sugar maple. The biggest, baddest shadow monster happens to be my favorite, who knew? A complex blend of as many scents as the creature has legs. Here the maple has crystallized from syrup to a yummy burnt sugar glaze atop the crisp cedarwood. The spicy guaiac wood carries sacred oud and incense, alight with sharp cinnamon bark and warm fiery amber resin. Saving this one to melt for the premiere. 

The Upside Down-smoky woods, patchouli, a pop of effervescence. Darkness closes in around like a veil with no escape from the thick musky patchouli. Heady, disorienting, the fragrance almost reaches out and takes a bite. Perfect. 20171008_145925Mandi always delivers in the little extras and the sampler was no exception. Thanks for the candy and sugar skull samples!20171008_140422When pre-ordering, I  had to take an opportunity to grab a few cups from the 80’s nostalgia single scents. No show pays tribute to the iconic movies from the 80’s more than Stranger Things.20171008_132433I’ll Be Right Here-Moon shadows, cedar, oak, amber, vanilla and musk. Admittedly, E.T. was never my fave, my 6 year-old brain couldn’t relate. I relate to these scent notes though. On cold, an ethereal musk is all that appears. I’ll update after melting,  and maybe rewatching.

This House is Clean-Cleansing white sage & fallen leaves. Spoiler alert: my house will never smell this fresh and clean. Fortunately, Bonjour Wax does spa scents so well, it will never need too. I admit to getting this for the name and label, but totally love it. Crisp, clean and uplifting, the white sage oil has a subtle cooling musk and is the fresher version of the smudge sticks. Must get more.

Cabin in the Woods-fresh air, cinnamon, nutmeg, amber, sandalwood, white cedar, and vanilla. This Sprucey, woody blend is amazing, verdantly herbal, possessing beautiful depth when warmed.20171008_132942 As the 24 hour countdown begins for Stranger Things’ 2nd season, I have high hopes it delivers as superbly as the first. I love to discuss, but won’t be binging the entire season, we might have time to catch 2 episodes this weekend. No spoilers!

If these scents caught your eye, Bonjour Wax is restocking this Friday, the 27th noon EST and is rereleasing many from this sampler. Also, there’s a new minty Barb inspired scent! #neverforget

 

 

 

October-Band of Bloggers


Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, it was a dark and stormy night. So dark and stormy, in fact, the power had gone out, and you had naught but a handful of scented three-wick candles with which to light your way. As you crept down the darkened hallway of the cabin in the woods along the picturesque shores of Crystal Lake that you and your randy teenage friends rented from the eerily helpful maintenance man back at the abandoned service station with all the weird pelts hanging outside, you caught a glimpse of movement out of the corner of your eye. Whirling madly about, you brandished your glass jar of Pumpkin Cupcake Crunch, set to square off against any number of undead, masked killers with nothing but the three-wick in your hand and your own blazing moxie. Then, with a chuckle of embarrassed relief, you realized it was just your lucky Chucky Doll figurine – must have fallen off the shelf when that puzzle doodad covered in all the bizarre symbols you found in the basement behind the walled-up root cellar tipped over. Pressing a hand to your fluttering heart, you shook your head as you contemplated the massive, flammable waxcident that nearly was – heavens, THAT certainly could have been messy!

And then THAT’S when one of your friends came banging through the swinging door of the kitchen, catching you square in the back, throwing you forward and the candle up, and out, and then eventually down, where it exploded in a geyser of molten wax, covering everything in the livingroom with burnt orange pumpkin spice, including the creepy two-way mirror and the snarling wolf head affixed to the wall. Congratulations; now you’re really in a horror movie!

Oh, we’ve all been there, and not just waxies, but anyone who enjoys a hobby that occasionally errs towards the messy and dangerous (jest not, glitter glue burns are a real thing!) So this month, in honour of Halloween, we’re taking a look at our most monstrous pastime nightmares – the waxcidents and beauty blunders and crafting calamities that haunt our hobby dreams. What’s the worst hobby hazard you’ve ever suffered? And do you have any magical tips for cleaning Pumpkin Cupcake Crunch out of carpet fibers (or wolf fur)?

How I wish I had a corresponding tale to the brilliant send-up of at least 6 (?) horror movies in the above prompt written by Sandra, the story-spinning virtuoso of Finger Candy blog, and fellow BoB. However, I don’t have enough crafting experience under my belt to rack up many calamities. Up until last December, I can remember having done zero crafts; though surely as a child? Nope, coming up empty. The crafts I’ve since done on visits with my niece have gone fairly well. I even shared one, the little mason jar snow globe scenes we did last Christmas, on the blog. Of course, they’re sweetly flawed in a handmade way and there may have been 1 or 2 minor glue gun burns, but nothing qualifying a hobby hazard. I’ll be featuring another quick and cool craft we completed in an upcoming post, but no big blunders then either, though there was a lot of flying wax…

20171005_083838Like any waxie worth her salt, I’ve suffered a few waxidents over the years. I remember¬† knocking over a cooling red candle onto the griege carpet of¬†our first newlywed apartment causing wax splatter, but I also have a vague memory of my husband cleaning it up for me. It must have been okay, because we were refunded our security deposit. Sorry, not much help there. This past July, I did break my wax burner dish as I dropped it while removing from the freezer (is that everybody’s go-to method?). I substituted with the hanging bowl from a tealight warmer for a bit. It worked, but the thinner curved bottom got extremely hot and burned the scented oils from the wax so quickly, I felt I was wasting my melts, especially my lovely longed-for custom blends from Sniff My Tarts. I finally bought a replacement warmer just for the bowl because I’m really attached to my little Yankee owl warmer.

I’ll be sure to wax on and craft on in the future and post the inevitable mishaps.20170708_185109-1

If you have a story to share about the worst hobby-related catastrophe you’ve ever suffered, please leave a cringe-worthy comment in the section below! And we hope you’ll visit these Band of Bloggers blogs and help support the blogger community.

Amanda at Thrifty Polished

Jaybird at The Candle Enthusiast

Julie at The Redolent Mermaid

Lauren at LoloLovesScents

Liz at Furianne

Sandra at Finger Candy

If you are a blogger and would like to join us for our monthly Band of Bloggers posts, please feel free to contact us.

 

Willow Wax Craft Haul

To my fellow fragrance lovers; have you ever felt as if you met your kindred wax making spirit? You know, the vendor, wax or candle, large or small, with the scents and style that you would create as a vendor yourself? My recent order from Willow Wax Craft is the closest I’ve come to that experience. In need of a new favorite, as one of mine recently closed shop, which makes this a happy haul indeed.

Perusing the fragrance list at Willow Wax Craft‘s¬†Etsy shop elicited a smile from ear-to-ear. The scents are inspired by literary and pop culture references. Two of my favorite subjects combined with my home fragrance obsession and I’ve struck gold.¬†

Samantha, the wax creator, reveals, “I¬†build fragrance that reconstructs what the inspiration means to me.” “My interests are too varied and ever-evolving to commit to any kind of formal “fandom” collections, but if you get any of my references as a fellow fan, we’ll share a knowing wink and a nod, yes?…” Well, a sly wink, furtive nod and secret knock back at ya’ from this fan. She offers a mix of traditional fragrance inspiration too.

Autumn classics with a twist:
20170918_100739 (1)Pumpkin Spice Latte– “It‚Äôs officially the season of that omnipresent autumnal coffee drink- sweet pumpkin, rich coffee, fall spices (cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and clove), all topped with mounds of whipped cream and drizzled with caramel. Cozy up.”¬†¬†

Bold, but natural smelling roasted beans waft in like aromatic gold. Deep spices, fruit and foodie notes that sing through the coffee, of caramel, nuts and custardy cream. One cube threw strong in the kitchen, also melted alongside Anarchy’s Child, creating a delicious duo. Is it possible I’m turning around on PSL scents? Now that would be buzz-worthy.

Harvest Hayride–¬†“A¬†perfect fall day for the Pumpkin Festival- bright cornflower blue skies, lots of sunshine, and just cool enough for your favorite sweater!” Take a hayride to the patch and pick that ideal pumpkin-crunchy leaves, crisp apple cider, pumpkin, and salty-sweet kettle corn.

I wish I had tried this for the Fall Fun series apple post because I lamented that many apples are overly sweet and artificial, yet here is a perfectly unique blend. Crisp skins and juicy flesh meld with mulling spices of cinnamon, clove, lemon, orange and nutmeg brewing a heavenly cider. Soft hay, light leaves, caramel-kissed woods, both spicy and complex, this is in the running for a favorite fall melt. One cube gave medium strength.

The melancholy mood of Poe’s prose captured in wax melts:20170918_093850 (1)Ghoul-Haunted Woodland-“A dreamy walk through gloomy woods one lonesome October night-propelled by spirits or demons-where?” Cool shadowy conifers, hint of rain, withering leaves, apples and lavender.

Night unrolls, beckoning soft steps upon a moss carpeted forest floor, what will be found in this dark wood? It turns out, nothing too scary. A light bright green fragrance thanks to the apple addition. I love all classes of cedars, cypresses, firs, and pines and this carries an airy blend of such. A soothing scent, with a touch of woody lavender and patches of damp woods, very pretty. Unfortunately, it’s the lightest of the WWC melts I’ve tried. Two cubes threw lightly in the living room.
20170918_094937Ulalume’s Tomb-“At the end of your wandering you arrive at the legended crypt of your lost love.” Haunting blend of rich vanilla, white pepper, black tea, cold stone coated in dust and a whisper of funeral lilies.¬†

Upon opening the tomb bestrewn with wilted bouquets, a gasp of faded perfume emerges. Apprehensive it might be too floral, but not so. Alight with the aromatic spice of incense, the floral heart is shrouded by vanilla. A mellow, relaxing fragrant oil blend that leaves an air of tranquil repose. One cube threw light-medium in my kitchen.20170919_071922.jpg

Fragrance celebrating rebellious misfits? Heck yes!20170920_101849 (2)Anarchy’s Child-¬†a Halloween scene for all the freaks and geeks. Not too young to raise hell and not too old to canvas the neighborhood for candy.” A blend of nougat-y candy stuffed into a pillowcase, smashed pumpkins ūüėČ and fall leaves.

My inner late 90s fangirl almost lost it finding this ode to Freaks and Geeks, but I told myself, “Slow down, cool breeze.” Just as Lindsay professed, “Not all good looking people are cool,” not all cool looking wax melts are good, so how is Anarchy’s Child? Like every yummy treat from Halloweens of youth, wrapped in scent. Honeyed toffee marshmallow candy layered with a savory sweet spice mix, reminiscent of carrot cake.¬†Freshly carved pumpkin, cool night air and fallen leaves crunching under Doc Marten boots brought about a jumble of nostalgic 90s feels. One cube was light, two threw medium strength. GOOD STUFF.20170920_102532Legend of the Lost Inferno-“Hey you guys! Go on a treasure hunt for the rich stuff with your best misfit friends, and be sure to watch out for booby traps! The scent of a long lost pirate ship: bay rum, a twist of lime, spicy ginger ale, the memory of musk, murky water, and wet wood planks. It‚Äôs your time down here.”

Playful and bubbly, I enjoy the thought put into the interpretation, but fizzy scents are hit-or-miss for me. Those mica-dusted sunken gold bouillons are perfect, however, and what child of the 80s could pass up a Goonies-inspired scent? I’m hoping the musk and wood notes are released upon melting.

The above clamshells are the Fall Duo collection, each pair costs $10 with 15% off Labor Day¬†sale making the duos $8.50. I also grabbed a 4-clamshell sampler bundle, regularly $20 on sale for $17. The scents are choose your own, a scent shot sampler is available too.20170920_093533Walnut Creek Orchard-“By the bushels and pecks-apples everywhere!” Fresh pressed cider, gooey caramel apples, spiced apple butter, cider donuts, and flaky apple strudels.

Reading these notes, I must have been blinded by the description to order something so bakery. Freshly dipped caramel apple notes dominate, yes it’s juicy, but too sticky sweet for me. Can’t do it, but all Cider Lane fans should love it.20170920_094901Liber Arcana-“Peruse dusty wooden shelves and ancient tomes of forbidden knowledge-the library has the answers you seek!” Old leather-bound books, rare herbs, and hints of cauldron smoke, all with a refreshing pumpkin beverage in hand for a long night of studying (or mischief!)

There must be some magic afoot in this library because this is the first leather-focused scent I really like. The leather is sweet and supple, not aged and brittle. Crackling logs lend an atmospheric mood along with sensual musk, smoke and suede, creating a comforting blend. There’s even a creamy note that’s quite unexpected, the pumpkin? A toasted nuttiness exists too, I’m genuinely impressed with the blending skills present in Liber Arcana. One cube is all you’ll need.20170920_104114.jpgSleepy Hollow Day-“The kind of day where the sun never seems to rise, with grey skies and a chill that creeps into your bones.”¬† Petrichor, moss and vines, distant woodsmoke, wet wood, and a damp persistent drizzle.

Ooh petrichor, that refreshing earth after rain smell when the grass is still warm and wet. A distinctive scent that awakens childhood memories; running back onto the softball fields after a needed cloudburst, exploring the backyard, drawing with sticks in warm clay, scrambling up wet woodpiles, smoke drifting as a neighbor burns green wood and wet leaves, something sweet and wild has been unearthed in the loam. One of the most unique blends I’ve tried, only earthy scent lovers should apply.¬† P.S. This happens to be inspired by my favorite scary story of all time, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

Bonfire Stories-“Caramelized marshmallows, crackling fire, sweet woodsmoke, all the tales they weave.”

The smoky edge in the forefront reveals more than the typical marshmallow fireside fragrance, and I love that! Resinous woods intrigue as campfire smoke curls, the flames have licked the edges but the marshmallow centers remain gooey. With all mallow oils, but this one especially, I detect a jug of spirits has been passed around to help ease the fright of dark and spooky bonfire tales.20170920_103018Samples were tucked inside a darling linen string bag with a bit of candy.20170920_103358 (2)Stay Golden- Sea spray and shady pines, mimosas on the lanai, and a complementary blend of sultry magnolia, gentle tea rose, and bright orange blossom.

The Golden Girls are beloved, but it’s too vegetal for my liking. No, I wasn’t expecting cheesecake, but orange blossom is slightly bitter to me and magnolia cloying. A clean soap appears upon melting and a fizziness. Sparkling, uplifting and slightly bitter? Why, this is The Golden Girls.

Cabana Cake- A taste of the tropics anytime. Brown sugar, pineapple, and yellow cake, all topped with flaked, sweetened coconut. A tropical coconut cake is one I can do, yum!

Samantha showed quality customer service as I raised a shipping question in an Etsy conversation to ask if it was correct. She responded quickly that Etsy’s calculated shipping isn’t always accurate and she refunds shipping costs over $1.00.¬†I’m glad I reached out, she not only put me at ease, but provided a free shipping code if I wanted to combine another order.

I can’t express enough how much I’m delighted by this wax haul (clearly, I can. See above). Did I mention Willow Wax Craft is based in Ohio, and created by a librarian? The packaging, descriptions, inspiration and most importantly, blending abilities, make WWC a stand-out. I’m already plotting another order, Mechanical Heart (Edward Scissorhands)… Espero (The Shawshank Redemption) and many more…

Any brand expressing your wax heart’s desire recently?

Halloween Mystery Sampler- The Bathing Garden

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About a month ago, I was hanging out with my sister when she casually mentioned that The Bathing Garden was making a Halloween sampler. Not a member of the facebook group, I had no knowledge of the announcement, but when asked if I wanted to split one, I surely wasn’t turning down the offer. Incorrectly assuming it was a preorder, I left the ordering up to her. Unaware of the rush to purchase samplers, limited amounts, or rounds of restocking until I caught up on social media the next day. Whew, there seemed to be a little fallout over availability, but she managed to nab it at the later restock.

After a few delays including a mid-vacation evacuation from the Florida Keys, my sis received our sampler and passed it on to me for the following preview. 20 scents were included with a fragrance card plus one sample scent. Cost $17.00, shipped for $7.50. 

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 *new scents

Gourmand:

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*Banshee Dreams–¬†Frosted pumpkin cupcakes, dark espresso, crystallized coconut shavings, vanilla marshmallow. Very much a coffee scent with added pumpkin spice topped with marshmallow whipped cream. Extra creaminess from the coconut but it’s fruity, not milky.

Black Magic Laboratory– Orange chiffon, black velvet cake, chocolate shavings, cr√®me filled cookie bites. I don’t normally go for orange scents and never chocolates, yet this is delightful. Warm bakery notes with sweet chords of orange spice, not sharp or tangy. Well balanced, this hint of chocolate shouldn’t put anyone off, it’s delicious.

Colossal Pumpkin Lantern- Chocolate frosted brownies with vanilla cream pumpkin brulee. Unfortunately, for me, this chocolate is more prevalent. Not rich and cakey, more of a chewy nougat center wrapped inside marshmallow cream with caramelized sugar coating. Negligible pumpkin scent on cold.

Pumpkin Butterscotch Chip Waffles- Sweet pumpkin waffles swirled with butterscotch chips. Bakery fresh and fluffy. Classic pumpkin spiced waffle scent substituting the caramel note for sticky butterscotch toffee bits, improving it nicely. Creamy bakery lovers should enjoy this, my niece already called it for herself.

Potions: (beverages, tea/coffee, cider)

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Eye of Newt– Fresh frozen water, clean air and crystallized peppermint candy. Strange to my nose. These scents are in my wheelhouse, but frozen water isn’t the same as sparkling snow type I enjoy, it’s well, more watery. The peppermint is subdued, like mellow ribbon candy and doesn’t merge well either, this one’s a miss.

*Phantom Queen-Black citrus tea, cinnamon coffee and a bag full of Halloween candy. I’m in lust over this scent. Pairing tea and coffee is a revelation. Uplifting and soothing as a mug of warm spiced brewed tea. Sugary lumps of hard candy flavors tucked inside, sweetening the pot.¬†

Poisoned Apothecary-hot mulled apple cider with a woody undertone. Ooh, PA got a little woodier than I remember when melted last year. Dry cedar and cypress crackles as the heat of the mulling spices creates a bold aroma. This scent spreads a tingly warmth throughout the room.

*White Magic-shaved cinnamon, orange tea, hints of spicy patchouli. Beautiful tea leaf essence with a decadent bouquet of spices. The citrus is sheer, but highly fresh and sweet. I enjoy this even more than Tea with the Queen of Hearts, but is does have a similar profile, substituting the floral with spice. My sis may have to arm wrestle me for this.

Earthy:

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Faerie Bonfire- complex bonfire scent with notes of leaves, vanilla, sandalwood, and brown sugar. Reviewed here in January.

Haunted Hayride-¬†tart granny smith apples, caramel, cinnamon, pumpkin, hints of hay. Grassy¬†hay is dominant, slightly bitter. Crisp apples accented by cinnamon bark makes a mouthwatering melt. Combinations of earthy, sweet and spice create a pleasing outdoorsy fall fragrance. My sister’s favorite.

Netherworld Zombie- freshly shoveled graveyard dirt, espresso, lime essential oils, scotch whiskey, chocolate shavings. Can’t get much earthier than this, an indelicate scent but not unrefined, once your nose gets used to sniffing dirt and lime at once that is. Similar notes to TBG’s Toxic Earth, but not heavy on coffee. I understand the graveyard/Halloween connection, but this is one of the perkiest fragrances I’ve come across, more of a Spring garden, fresh-tilled soil vibe. I surprisingly love it, even the rustic, less decorated look to the pumpkin fits.

Lush-inspired:

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Cemetery Keys– vanilla tonka bean, lime citrus, and sugary sweet white floral. Received as a sample and reviewed here. I like nearly everything about this except for TBG’s white floral, it causes a headache. Very tart lime softened with powdery-sweet tonka bean.

Charm & Ruin–¬†Lush vanilla citrus swirled with fruity pomegranate base. I constantly mistake this for a floral scent because it opens with a creamy rose note. Reminiscent of fruity floral bubble bath. A creamy, luxurious bubble bath but still not a fruit scent to me.

Hades & Persephone– citrus, cognac, musk, hints of patchouli. Not a specific Lush dupe, but similar to soapy, floral lush notes. Heady spice from the potent patchouli, with a slight boozy character. Pretty and powdery finish, I enjoyed this sensual fragrance more than I thought I would.

Hoarfrost Tonic-¬†a refreshing scent with lime, cypress, mellow pine and cool air notes. Unique¬†and astringent. Strongly soap-like, with an icy crisp laundered finish. Due to the drink reference on the label, I expected fizziness, however I didn’t notice any. Another headache inducer unfortunately.

Fruit:

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Pagan Moon–¬†an apple and pear grove under blood red strawberry moon, kissed by fall leaves. Subtle complexity from the leaves, a juicy fruit blend with light strawberries. No single fruit dominates, making a muddled compote. Classically fall, I have to melt a crisp tart fruit at least once this season and I adore this scarlet and gray combination

*Season of the Witch– spicy pumpkin, cinnamon apples, ripe berries, sugar dipped oranges. There is an off note right from the top but I can’t identify it. Strawberry leaf is a wild guess, something green and twiggy that has a bitterness, could just as likely be a harsh spice. It doesn’t work for me, but others may like it.

Tombstone Dust– green apple cinnamon cupcakes, with marshmallow brown sugar caramel glaze. Caramel apple lovers might rejoice, but it’s not sticky as some can be. Cinnamon sprinkled lightly on top of delicate meringue. Sweet, though lacking heavy cloying bakery notes. Enjoyable, even with my aversion to bakery scents.¬†

Candy/Sweet:

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Death Becomes Her- spun sugar, white vanilla buttercream, peppermint cookies, and a sprinkle of rock candy chips. Cotton candy creates an airiness out of what could be a heavy buttercream frosting. Cooling peppermint cuts through the sweetness creating a refreshing top note with an extra creamy base. Divine.

Mummy Mademoiselle– candied rose jam, sweet sticky saltwater taffy, creamy white vanilla. The first note to surface is the saltiness.¬†Lush rose jam is present but holds more depth than others I’ve tried, a sour note appears giving the blend a sweet/sour candy-like cream fragrance. Since I can’t stop sniffing it, yummy¬†Mummy may be my favorite.

Monster Candy- the 2-D pumpkin cutout sample. A very sweet pink berry blend. Sticky strawberries, candy corn possibly, but no chocolate. Updated notes: watermelon candy, sugar dipped orange slices, and kiwi cherry mimosas.

These melts are all gorgeous to the eyes with a muted pastel color palette. Most of them make the nose happy too. My sister pointed out the lack of a true pumpkin scent, without coffee or chocolate, and I would have preferred that to the numerous Lush scents. However, the range is impressive and thankfully without too many floral tones. I’m excited to see what else Shannon has in store if this is a preview of what’s to come. ¬†A Christmas sampler would be a joyful thing too!

Favorites and surprises from each category:

  • Black Magic Laboratory
  • White Magic
  • Netherworld Zombie
  • Hades & Persephone
  • Pagan Moon
  • Mummy Mademoiselle/Death Becomes Her *tied

Good luck to those ordering this week and let me know what you like!

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