DIY Candles.

I was compensated for this review. All opinions are honest and my own, as are all of my reviews. Thank you for visiting!

DIY Candles from Uncommon Goods at thesoutherninstitute.com

I have been wanting to make my own candles for quite awhile now. I wasn’t sure how much wax to buy however, or which type of wax would be the best to use. Not only that, but when I went online to look at wicks and containers, the only options I saw to buy were large quantities in bulk, and I didn’t really want to purchase that many. I wasn’t sure if I was really going to enjoy candle making once I started, and didn’t want to be stuck with a lot of supplies if I didn’t. Lucky for me I found a way to make candles myself that took all of the guesswork out of the equation, a DIY Soy Candle Kit from Uncommon Goods.

DIY Candle supplies

The DIY Soy Candle Kit came with just enough of everything I needed, including clear instructions. It was perfect! It even came with lavender essential oil, which I was really pleased with, although I have plenty of that here at home, and many others to choose from as well, for future candle making endeavors.

DIY Soy Candle Kit

The instructions made this fun little project so easy, and really quick too! The part that took the longest was waiting for the wax shavings to liquify. Once they were ready, it took hardly anytime at all to pour the candles and place the wicks.

DIY Soy Candle Kit

While the candle wax was cooling and hardening I went ahead and completed the labels that came with the kit. I love that this kit came with printed labels with space for me to write my own name and the date that I made the candles! This gives such a personal touch if giving the candles as a gift, which I plan on doing. I think the gift receivers are going to love them!

candle lids

From start to finish, making my own candles with the DIY Soy Candle Kit from Uncommon Goods took about 24 hours. The actual candle-making part took under an hour from opening the package to setting the candles to cool (I know because I opened the box about 45 minutes before I had to leave the house to pick my sons up from school). The rest of the time was cooling time. So this is a fun and easy project which is made even easier by the fact that all of the supplies are completely ready to go! I loved it! You can find that kit and many more fun personalized gifts on their website.

DIY Soy Candle Kit

A little bit about Uncommon Goods… they are such a cool company! I was introduced to them years ago through their catalog, and it’s always a happy mail day when it arrives in my mailbox because it’s just so much fun to look through. Did you see my post on my Literary Scarf? It is from their Gifts for Women section of the website…so cute! You would not believe how many compliments I get when I wear that scarf.

One of the things that I love the best about Uncommon Goods as a company is that the “Goods” not only refers to the products that they sell, but also the work that they do. Because Uncommon Goods is an independently owned business, they are able to support causes that they believe in. With every purchase, they are proud to donate $1 to your choice of their not-for-profit partner organizations. Since they started their Better to Give program 15 years ago, they have donated over $1,000,000 dollars to charities around the world! That is amazing! And so is the work that the non-profits that receive that support are doing. Here are a couple of those organizations:

Women for Women International: Women for Women International provides survivors of war and other refugee women the tools and resources to move from crisis and poverty to stable self-sufficiency. By creating a safe space to bring women together for learning life, business, and vocational skills, Women for Women International is helping women become independent. Their newly acquired skills not only benefit themselves, but also help build stronger families and communities.

Reach Out & Read: Reach Out & Read is a network of thousands of doctors and nurses working to promote early literacy, language skills, and school readiness to young children in all 50 states. Their methods of integrating children’s books into well-child visits and encouraging parents to read to their children help lay a foundation for early educational success. Reach Out & Read is out newest partner and we are thrilled that over 18,000 customers have already donated to this amazing organization.

Next time your looking for an fun project (like DIY Candles perhaps), or shopping for a gift, visit Uncommon Goods. Support a company that is doing tangible good for others and feel great about where you shop!

DIY Ninja Costumes.

Maybe you’re getting a little bit anxious because Halloween is right around the corner and you don’t have a costume for your little ghoul yet. That’s where I was at this point in the month a couple of years ago, but lucky for me Luke and Levi wanted to be Ninjas! You know I’m all about making things EASY.  The most popular post on my blog is my DIY Superhero cape tutorial which requires no sewing at all.  Apparently there are other moms out there who likes things easy too because it has been pinned thousands of times!  I thought I’d share another super easy costume idea with you all (and it’s no-sew too!)…

My boys love ninjas, so when they asked if we could buy ninja costumes I said what every craft blogger would say, “No…but we can make them!”  So I set out to find the pieces that I would need, black pants and black shirts (because ninjas are stealthy).  You can sew the shirt or pants yourself if you are so inclined, you’ll find a great pants tutorial here and an awesome shirt pattern here.  For the sake of time, I went to Walmart and bought the shirts and pants super cheap.  I spent about $13 on each boy’s costume… not bad compared to store bought ninja costumes that will run you well over $20 each!

All you need to make awesome ninja costumes is a pair of black pants (soft and comfy is the name of the game) and two long sleeved black t-shirts.  What makes the outfit is the “hood”.  It’s created by one of the long-sleeved t-shirts, by tying it around your child’s head like so…

This could not be easier to do.  Your boys will think you are the coolest when you show them how to make a ninja hood out of a t-shirt!  Paired with the black pants and black long-sleeved t-shirt you have the perfect ninja outfit.  I would suggest putting the clothes on first, then the doing the hood.  If you want to you can create a throwing star to accessorize!  I cut two out of cardboard and painted them with a few coats of silver spray paint.

Here’s Levi, my littlest ninja!

DIY Ninja Costume Tutorial at www.thesoutherninstitute.com

DIY Ninja Costume at www.thesoutherninstitute.com
DIY Ninja at www.thesoutherninstitute.com

Levi thinks he is the absolute coolest in this outfit!  I love that it’s an easy dress up play outfit and that he can wear the pieces by themselves any day of the week!  Bonus! One thing to remember is that if this costume is being worn on Halloween, and you trick or treat after dark, you will definitely need to add some reflective tape.  I think it would look cool integrated into the outfit by adding some to the bottom of the shirt and a stripe down each side of the pant legs.  That way your little ninja will be visible while he’s out knocking on doors.

Thanks for reading!  Have a great time with this costume and don’t forget to check out more Halloween projects at The Southern Institute.

DIY Ombre Ties.

I’m so delighted to have an old blogging friend here!  Please welcome Julie from richardsonshine.  Julie and I have known each other for awhile now.  Her blog is a place that I often visit for design inspiration (and pics of her adorable children).  I think you’re going to love her.  She has a great tutorial for us today for DIY Ombre Ties!  

Hello, Southern Institute readers!

When Jenny and I first “met” through our blogs, I think we quickly realized we liked or enjoyed many of the same things: fun fashion, sewing projects, etc., but most of all, putting family first. It’s been fun to follow Jenny at The Southern Institute and get to know her darling family.
Now…I’m sure you’ve noticed the world’s ombre craze. Yes, of course you have! From clothing and accessories to shower curtains, furniture, walls, wedding cakes and even hair (!), the fashion, craft, and design world is eating it up. Well I decided my boy needed an ombre tie. Or two.

After searching far and wide for easy little boy tie tutorials, this one by Sharing the Wealth is my favorite. She mentions the sizing is best for 1.5-2 yr olds, but I think it’d be just fine for a 3 or 4 yr old as well. My son just turned five and it’s short for him, but we made it work!
So. Before you read on, go download the tie pattern here.

There are two ways to create this ombre tie:

1) sew the tie first, then dip in the dye, OR,

2) dip the unsewn tie pieces first, then sew the tie together afterwards. 

We’re doing the latter method, but remember I’m dyeing two ties here, not just one. If you’re a bit nervous about dyeing fabric, start with just one color and one tie.

You’ll need:

your dye of choice,
your large tie pieces,
(front and back for two ties shown here, 
and not the piece that goes around the neck)
water, 
salt,
(if your dye calls for it)
rubber gloves, 
and buckets or large bowls.

Depending on how concentrated your dye is, you may want to use more than one bucket or bowl. The yellow wasn’t too dark, so I kept it to half a bottle of dye in one bowl of water. The navy blue (which turned out slightly purple) was super dark, so I poured some into smaller bowls, diluting the dye more and more each time. It just takes some experimenting!

All right, wet your fabric before you dip.

Taking the top of your tie pieces, dip them in your dye very quickly, 
as far up as you’d like the color to go.
Then dip again, submerging less of the tie in the dye.
Then dip again, submerging even less of the tie.
You get the idea…
Eventually, you’ll get to the bottom of your tie pieces!
The tips will have already been dyed longer than the rest of the tie,
but hold the tips in the dye for a bit longer anyway – maybe just 30 seconds or a minute.
I’m not exact around here, and this dyeing literally took seconds!

Now this is where you might want to have more bowls with diluted dye.

The blue color was so dark and the dye was so concentrated, 
it was basically like tie-dyeing the fabric (no pun intended),
and was NOT the look I was going for.

So, divide the one bowl of dye into two or three others 

and dilute them with more water,
Dip your tie pieces in the MOST diluted or least concentrated bowl of dye first.
Submerge the fabric as high as you’d like the lightest shade of color to go.
Then submerge not quite as high in the next bowl.
Then submerge again…
You get it, right?
Hold the tips in for a bit longer…

…then rinse and hang them up to dry!

You can see my first attempt (far right),
where the dye was way too concentrated.
Once I divided and diluted the dye,
it was easier to get the ombre effect (far left).
That yellow tie is just hanging out in the middle, 
cheerful and happy. He was the easy one. :)

Once your fabric pieces are dry,

iron them and continue on with 
the tie tutorial!
(Again, found here. Download the pattern here.)

It was super fun to experiment with ombre dyeing,

and as you can see, my son’s delighted!

Happy dyeing,

and cheers from Richardsonshine!