Old Thumbwick Candles Newsletters
This page highlights some the best articles
from our old email newsletters. These old newsletters were
written and distributed by me when I ran Thumbwick Candles, my
home soy candle business. I have quoted the sources of my
information where applicable. You are free to borrow these
articles providing you:
1) reference Margaret Palecek, Thumbwick Candles
as the original author,
2) provide a link back to my
3) preserve all
referenced sources and links within the article.
you thinking about your garden yet?
year we are growing soybeans for the
first time. They grow similar to bush beans, but have a longer
time to maturity of the beans. They are known as Edamame to the
Japanese, and are eaten as a snack. The whole pods are boiled,
and eaten by squeezing the pods which ejects the beans. A
recipe can be found here: http://japanesefood.about.com/od/bean/r/edamame.htm.
are extremely tasty and packed with protein, vitamins A, B,
potassium and calcium as well. The variety we are growing is
called Green Pearls (Hakucho) from Burpee seed company. They
are starting to sprout after only seven days. I’ve noticed
that you can’t keep the seedlings too moist or they will start
to mold. I’ve also read that they don’t transplant well, so
I’ve held back half the seeds to sow directly in the soil when
the weather is warm, which will also give us a longer harvest
you the kind of person who loves gardening so much that you
wish you could just make a living at it? Take a look at this
to see what one man has done. His website is extremely
interesting to read and loaded with free gardening
information. I never realized before that I could just take
cuttings from my existing shrubs to grow more shrubs for my
yard, and even to give to my family and friends. What a great,
your home and yourself a new outlook – Reduce
recently gave our living room a mini-makeover. We straightened
the built-in bookshelf, removed the books and knick-knacks
from the top of the entertainment center, and replaced them
with a simple candle holder arrangement. We re-arranged the
pictures on the walls to be more eye-pleasing. We moved a
cabinet from its old cramped location between the sofa and the
piano, put a simple table in its place, and used that cabinet
against a far wall to hold the stereo, old records and some
magazines instead. Then we added an art-deco shelf on the wall
above the stereo to neatly hold our CD collection and some
carefully selected display objects, and got rid of all the
extra magazines we wouldn’t read. The only new items added to
the room were the shelf above the stereo and a new oriental
rug to replace an old worn out rug. Otherwise the other
changes were all reorganization to reduce clutter. Afterward
the room had an entirely different feel. It felt more relaxed
and inviting, and when we were in the room WE felt more
relaxed. The change was actually quite striking.
a look around your home and see where you can reduce clutter.
Aim towards creating more open space and simplicity. Remove
large groups of knick-knacks and replace them with small
groupings and single focal pieces. You may be surprised
at the change you feel when you create more harmony in your
environment. Here are a couple websites to get you started
with some frugal ideas: http://www.rentaldecorating.com/wilson/decoratingideassmallspaces.htm
the search term “reduce clutter” to find other helpful tips.
your New Year’s Resolution to the Environment
2007 why not resolve to make a small difference in preserving
our natural environment. Here are some ideas to get you
started. Together we can all make a huge
you are thinking about buying a new vehicle, why not look at
the new hybrids, or think of getting a vehicle that will run
on Ethanol fuel.
your thermostat down a couple degrees in the winter, and
throw on a sweater. Not only will it conserve energy, it
will make a noticeable difference in your heat bill as well.
Don’t forget to keep the house a couple degrees warmer in
the summer to use less A/C or central air energy.
to eco-friendly products in your home, like laundry
detergent and household cleaners which don’t contain
chlorine, phosphates and other dangerous chemical
substances. These toxins enter the atmosphere and waterways,
causing both environmental and wildlife destruction. Also
look for cleaners that don’t contain added fragrances or
dyes. Companies like Seventh Generation, Aubrey Organics and
Natural Value are examples of companies that offer
environmentally friendly cleaning alternatives. The
following link has information about
environmentally-friendly cleaning products and recipes: HomeFamily.net.
Not only are these products better for the environment, they
are also better for your family’s health. Don’t forget about
buying soy wax candles too!
reuse and recycle. You’ve heard it a million times, but now
make a conscious effort to reduce waste, reuse items
whenever possible and recycle plastic, glass and aluminum.
Think about joining a “free-cycle” group (just use the
search term freecycle to find
one near you) to find people who can use your old
appliances, clothing and household items, instead of sending
them to the
are the benefits of using natural soap on your
of what we think of as “soap” is actually detergent. It is
often labeled as a “beauty bar”, “cleansing bar”, etc.
Detergents and soaps are both surfactants (that is, they are
chemicals that effectively cut the surface tension to allow
the water to spread and soak into a surface). True soaps are
made with natural products (fat, either vegetable or animal
and lye) and require very little energy in the production
process. Detergents are made from synthetic chemicals
(although some of their ingredients may be natural). Most
detergents are made from petrochemicals, because they are less
newer, environmentally friendly laundry detergents are made
from oleochemicals, which are fats and oils, like coconut or
other plant based surfactants, and are a renewable resource.
The main gist of all of this is that detergents made with
synthetic petrochemicals are often heavily fragranced to cover
the unpleasant smell. They also contain preservatives and
antibacterial agents to prevent spoiling. All of these things
can cause allergic reactions, or skin sensitivity. In addition
to that, the solvents and grease strippers often found in a
“beauty bar”, can remove the skin’s natural oils from even the
lower layers of skin, and leave your skin feeling dry, tight
and itchy. True soap gently cleans only the top layer of your
skin, leaving the natural oils intact to let your skin protect
and repair itself the way it is supposed to. Many people who
have eczema, dermatitis or dry skin, are really just using too
many harsh cleansers that irritate and over dry their skin.
Try a natural, vegetable based soap for yourself. You’ll
notice the difference right away.
there any drawbacks to using soap? Why would I ever use a
and detergents behave differently in hard water. Soaps can
form a scum in hard water and this scum will not rinse away
easily. Detergents react less to minerals in hard water and do
not leave this residue. This difference is minimized
considerably with soft water.
can you do with a glass jar?
we purchased some glass jars that don’t work for the use we
intended. With shipping prices what they are, by the time we
paid to send them back for a refund, we might as well have
bought them anyway. That got me to thinking: What other uses
are there for a 15 oz. glass jar? I did some research, and I
thought I’d share the ideas that I found with
family pictures on the outside of the jar, fill with candy,
give to grandma: http://familycrafts.about.com/cs/decoupage/a/012201a.htm
with layered colorful beans and lentils, plus a packet of
spices to give as a healthy soup recipe. Add a pretty ribbon
and cooking instructions to the top.
your own sprouts. Cut a new sponge the diameter of the jar
bottom and place in jar. Moisten sponge and spread radish or
alfalfa seeds on it. Place in a warm, bright area, but not in
direct sunlight. Leave the top open to let in air, and keep
sponge and seedlings moist with a spray bottle. When
sprouts are ready, pull them all off the sponge, rinse
well and eat or refrigerate. Plant a new crop of seeds on
a new or sterilized sponge.
it with pressed, dried flowers: http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/dried_flower_crafts/37186
it with bath salts, cotton balls, tea bags, dried rice, pasta,
nuts, well you get the idea – but not
an eco jar: http://www.geocities.com/rainforest/vines/4301/jar1.html
we don’t use essential oils in our candles:
who enjoy scented candles want them to scent strong enough to
fully appreciate the fragrance. We have found that essential
oils just don’t have as good of a fragrance diffusing ability
as synthetic fragrance oils do.
is defined as “The use of selected fragrant substances in
lotions and inhalants in an effort to affect mood and promote
health.” It is believed that the aroma of certain essential
oils directly stimulates the brain or that the oils are
absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream, where they can
affect the whole body. Aromatherapy benefits from essential
oils are gained by the oils either being absorbed by the skin,
ingested or inhaled, but the amount of fragrance released by a
candle scented with essential oils would not be enough to
produce true aromatherapy benefits. That is why we have
chosen to use synthetic fragrance oils, including those that
replicate certain essential oils, in our soy candles. We use
synthetic fragrance oils that have the least amount of
petroleum-based solvents possible, by choosing fragrances with
a soybean oil base. Our scented candles release aromas that
can have pleasing psychological effects on the body and mind.
This is referred to as Aromachology – a blending of the words
"aroma" and "physio-psychology" – which is the study of the
influence of odors on behavior.
displays aren’t just for pillar candles.
can jazz up your jar or tin candles in a similar manner. Don’t
just burn a candle – make it a focal piece in your room. Here
are some ideas for creating beautiful candle displays with
your scented soy jar or tin candles from Thumbwick
a plate or platter with a layer of fine sand, add several 16
oz. scented soy jar and/or 6 oz. tin candles with coordinating
scents, and arrange polished river stones in the sand for a
peaceful Zen rock garden arrangement.
a shallow bowl with 1 – 2” of water, set a 16 oz. scented soy
jar candle in the center, and float fresh flowers or rose
petals on the surface of the surrounding water. The reflection
of candlelight off the water is stunning.
a grapevine or a floral swag into a circle to surround the
base of a 16 oz. scented soy jar candle, for a simple, yet
several jar and tin candles down a table runner. Using the
current season or holiday as a guide, arrange items among the
candles to create a festive table display. Here are some ideas
to get your creative juices flowing:
Spring: Small plush toy chicks, ducks and bunnies; decorated
Easter eggs; small vases of tulips and daffodils; even candy
strewn around or in small dishes.
Summer: American flags; seashells; mini bouquets of flowers in
vases; fresh fruit.
gourds; pine cones; ghost and goblin figurines; candy corn;
school supplies; children’s class pictures in tiny
Winter: Pine boughs; pretty Christmas ornaments; candies or
cookies; crocheted or paper snowflakes; strings of popcorn or
Bug Problems: Some home remedies to tackle houseplant and
Soap for house or garden plants:
have an English Ivy houseplant that began going downhill about
four years ago. Many of the leaves dried up, and then began
falling off. Upon close inspection, the leaves were covered
with fine cobwebs and tiny little white dots. I posted a
question to an online plant expert and was told that my ivy
had a severe case of spider mites. I was told to keep it very
moist, but that I would probably lose it. At the same time I
read about a simple homemade plant insecticide in my
two tablespoons of dishwashing liquid with one quart of water
and put in a spray bottle.
decided a two-pronged attack would be best. I carried my ivy
outside and sprayed it thoroughly with the hose. Then I mixed
the above recipe and sprayed the plant all over, including the
undersides of all the leaves. I won, and the spider mites
lost. To this day I still have a beautiful, healthy
keeping mosquitoes down in the yard try these
1 cup each of Listerine™, liquid dish soap, and water. Add 2
[i.e. bottled from concentrate]. Spray on lawn and around
plants. Apply in the morning and if it rains, reapply.
Otherwise, treat lawn once every two weeks. Burn citronella
candles around badly infested areas and patios where you sit.
Remove any items with standing water. A bird bath must be
emptied and cleaned at least twice a week. Kill mosquito
larvae in ponds by sprinkling in plain powdered coffee or tea,
just enough to change the color of the water. Caffeine makes
mosquito larvae uncoordinated, and they can't come to the
surface to breathe.