Cheryl Hughes: Crafty
One afternoon, my granddaughter, Sabria, overheard me tell her mom, Natalie, that I was shopping for a new kitchen table. The old one suffers from the effects of a gazillion crafts and science experiments performed upon its surface. It is marred, scratched and scarred from all the cutting, gluing, painting and candle-making that have taken place there over the past 30 years. I told Nat I was thinking about replacing it with a bar-height table with matching bar stools.
“NOoooooo!” came the cry from a nearby room. Sabria’s blonde head arrived in the kitchen, shaking its protest from side to side. “Don’ do it Gee!” she pleaded, “We won’t have a place to do crafts if you get rid of this table, cause you know you won’t want to do crafts on a new table!”
“Sabria, you won’t always want to do crafts,” I said.
“Yes, I will,” she said, “and don’t forget to order us some more candle making stuff for the next time I come over…we need some different scents.” She was right of course, so I relented and kept my old table then pulled up Amazon and ordered an eight pack of Christmas candle scents.
I will have to give my stepmom credit for instilling in me a willingness to let my kids and my granddaughter use my kitchen table for every creative project that came into their little heads. When I was a child, our kitchen table was metal with a Formica top. The material was a bit more forgiving than my current one, which is wood with what’s left of a couple of coats of Polyurethane. Mom let us paint and color and make snakes and elephants out of modeling clay on that table. We dyed Easter eggs, set up jars of grasshoppers and lightening bugs for our viewing pleasure (she punched holes in the lids for air) and dumped out paper bags of multi-colored rocks onto its surface. For some reason, she was always in a good mood when us kids were into something together at the kitchen table.
On Saturday, Sabria decided it was good candle-making weather (only she knows what that is) so I gathered our supplies and set everything up on the kitchen table. I presented the new Christmas scents I ordered, and she busied herself with opening, inspecting and commenting on all eight. We put wicks into the small glass votives, and I told her to select a color and a scent while I put the pan of water on the stove. We have a small metal pitcher that sits on a wire rack inside the pan of boiling water. Sabria measured out the white wax chips then added her color (red) and scent (peppermint) and stirred it all together in the metal pitcher. I put the pitcher into the boiling water where the white wax chips, the red wax chips and the peppermint scent mingled and melted into a festive liquid. I poured the melted wax into the votive holder, and we moved on to the next candle (apple-cinnamon).
The process sounds pretty straight forward, doesn’t it? It would be for anybody but Sabria, who, like the musicians of yore who insisted their masterpieces included both theme and variations, decided her candles need variation.
“I’m going to tilt the next candle holder to the side while you pour the wax into it,” she announced. I learned long ago not to argue with her—it wastes time and energy, as well as uses up brain cells I can’t afford to lose. She tilted the glass votive. I poured the liquid wax as the wick moved promptly to the side of the glass.
“Gee, you’re going to have to hold the wick in the center while you tilt the glass until the wax gets hard,” she said. “I’m going to work on the next color.”
Do you know how long it takes liquid wax to harden? That’s right, too long. I did as I was told, however (see the afore-mentioned paragraph on lost time, energy and brain cells). As I was holding the votive and the wick, I noticed Sabria adding a different scent to the new color.
“You might want to stick with the same scent,” I said, “I don’t know how peppermint and apple-cinnamon are going to smell together.”
“It’ll be fine,” she said.
We melted the second batch and poured it into the votive with the tilted wax. It was really pretty, although the mingling of the two scents was an assault on the senses.
I talked her into making a brown candle, scented with hot cocoa. It smelled so good, I insisted she take it with her to keep me from eating every piece of chocolate in the house.
After Sabria and I put everything away and her mom took her back home, the candle scents still hung in the air. That night for dinner, I fixed peppermint, apple-cinnamon, hot chocolate, gingerbread stir-fry. At least, that’s what it tasted like to me, as did my Pop Tart the next morning at breakfast.