We have been making these lovely things for four years now and still love it. We had a day of making them with Becky from Butterworth Photography and Chloe Adlington from Adore recently and here are the results…
We use recycled containers, natural ingredients, and it’s also very budget-friendly if you make your own. Sounds like an all around winner, yes?
In case you wanted to buy some – we sell them for around £12 for a vintage teacup candle and they are really popular for dressing wedding tables or they can be a sweet additional gift for your bridesmaids. A few brides have asked us to make them using the fragrance from their flowers and colour them to match their decor.
We use all kinds of containers – glasses, jam jars, sugar bowls, trifle bowls, teacups, shot glasses, kilner jars…the list is endless. If it can hold wax, we’ll use it!
We use the best quality soy wax flakes which are eco friendly, last longer than traditional paraffin wax and the product is so soft that it is very easy to wash out with soap and warm water – something that isn’t possible with paraffin.
We have found a super duper supplier of high quality oils which offer a beautiful range of fragrances to choose from. We tend to stick with light, floral and feminine fragrances that can be burnt together without one over powering the other. This type of fragrance works perfectly with the vintage containers that we use.
What you need….
- Soy wax flakes.
- Cotton wicks with a metal disc on the bottom.
- Wax dye chips if you want to colour your candle.
- Essential oils. Please ensure you buy candle wax oils, not soap or home fragrancing.
- A large pan.
- A large metal bowl.
- A thermometer (I use a food one).
- Lots of newspaper to minimise the mess (if possible!).
- Wooden spoon.
Cover every available surface with newspaper. Melted wax gets everywhere. Wear an apron for the same reason!
Weigh your wax. From hours spent experimenting I now use one pound of wax to four tablespoons of oil. For me this is the perfect ratio, but you might find a different one works better for you. Just be warned that if you put too much oil in there, you will have greasy “wet” spots on the top of your candle and it may ignite.
Pour boiling water in your pan, sit the metal bowl on top and pour in your wax flakes. Simply melt wax in this double doiler method.
Heat the oil to 180 degrees.
Take the bowl off the heat and add your dye chips if using. They are usually very highly pigmented so you only need a very small amount. Stir, stir, stir.
When the temperature of the wax has dropped a little, pour in your oil. Stir, stir, stir.
This is really important as you want the dye and the fragrance to be even throughout the life of the candle.
When it has cooled to around 150 degrees you can pour into your containers.
Pop in your wick and balance it in the middle of the container. I use small chopsticks, pegs, teaspoons – whatever fits!
It will take a few hours for the wax to fully set.
Trim the wick to 1/4 inch and that’s it!
I think it is worth me mentioning a few pitfalls – because we have been making them for a while now, you can have the benefit of our hours and hours of experimenting!
- newspaper everywhere.
- don’t get any water near the wax.
- watch the temperature of the oil as if it heats too high it could ignite.
- don’t be tempted to add loads more oil to make a stronger scented candle. The ratio of wax to oil is important. Too much and you will have “wet” spots on the top and it might be dangerous.
- stir, stir, stir.
- if you find that the candle sets and there are little air holes on the top, or it is uneven then don’t worry,
- just blast it with a hairdryer to melt the top and it will set fine. (the best tip ever for candlemaking!!).
- always trim the wick to 1/4 inch, this applies when you are burning it too.
Hope you find this helpful – it would be nice to hear from some of you who have given it a go.
Thanks to Butterworth Photography for our photographs
Thanks to Chloe Adlington for organising us!
I love cake, I love corsets and I love being involved in a charity event.
Astra from Timeless Couture has a close friend, Robyn, who has recently been diagnosed with cervical cancer. She is only in her mid 20′s. One of the charities who has been very supportive and helpful to Robyn is The Mercedes Curnow Foundation who promote awareness of the early detection of cervical cancer in young women and funding private screening & hpv tests. They are fighting to lower the age of cervical screening in England from 25-20. This is something Robyn feels passionately about.
To show support and love for Robyn, Astra decided to organise an event that would involve her family and friends and to hopefully raise funds for The Mercedes Cunrow Foundation. Corset design is a love of Astra’s and her exquisite, bespoke pieces combine vintage inspired details and modern contempoary shapes. She partners Rachel at Timeless Couture and together they create beautiful bespoke wedding dresses, two of which you can see in the main photograph above . Robyn was one of the models in our photoshoot with Timeless Couture earlier in the year, see the gorgeous girl on the telephone above…so it seemed perfect to combine a corset photoshoot with afternoon tea at a special venue.
It was a ladies only day (for obvious reasons!, as Astra put it “no smelly boys”) and all the guests had the opportunity to be involved in the photoshoot.
This idea grew into producing a corset calendar which would be sold to raise further funds.
Stancliffe Hall in Darley Dale offered us the use of their venue, completely free of charge, which was an incredibly generous gesture. It is an outstandingly beautiful privately owned Hall, set in over 50 acres of stunning parkland in the heart of the Peak District.
The photography and styling for the shoot was left in the hands of Emma from Ms Honey Boudoir, who also owns Emma Cleveley Photography. She donated her time, talent, sexy props & experience for the day.
Tineke kindly supplied all the flowers for the day and there were lots of raffle prizes donated by local businesses.
Darby & Joan provided the afternoon tea for the ladies and we donated two days to set up the venue and supplied our vintage china.
Some of the ladies were hesitant about stripping off and posing, but before Emma knew it there was a queue of ladies desperate to be transformed into a sexy siren for a couple of hours. It was credit to Emma’s skill and easy going presence that made the shoot such a success, guiding the girls through poses to flatter their figures and enhanced their best bits. Hopefully we can share some of these photographs with you soon.
Another charity who had been tremendously supportive of Robyn was MacMillan Cancer Support. Most people are familiar with the amazing work they do on a daily basis, providing practical, medical and financial support and push for better cancer care. A spokesperson from the charity attended to talk about their role in helping cancer patients and their families. Some of the funds raised on the day were donated to MacMillan.
Pimms, afternoon tea, a room full of great ladies having a well earned sunny Sunday afternoon to themselves, a beautiful venue, pants and bras flying around everywhere, laughs and tears and raising money for two amazing charities.
A good day.
Photograph of Robyn – Yvonne Lishman Photography
Main image – Emma Case Photography
Apologies for the pun on the title of this post – I am cringing myself, but it is better than the others I thought of…
Darby & Joan were invited to cater for an afternoon tea party at Kedleston Hall at the beginning of this month. The guest list was made up of 125 textile artists from the Second Turning Textile Group. The group had just opened their new exhibition at the Hall which is open until 22nd September.
Very broadly, the work & exhibition was inspired by the architecture, collections and landscape at Kedleston Hall and showed how rich, lively and versatile textiles can be.
Our menu was what we do best – finger sandwiches, teetering high layer cakes, fresh out of the oven scones, rich chocolate brownies and lots of tea. A simple menu, but one that we knew would be enjoyed and appreciated.
We had two areas to serve. We set up camp in the Orangery and had a handful of guests seated with us in there and the rest of the group were served in a marquee.
The weather was kind, the guests were very lovely, the atmosphere gentle and it was another great success.
Thank you to Kedleston for inviting us to work with you – it doesn’t get much better than working with The National Trust.
Not forgetting a huge thank you to Emma Cleveley Photography for capturing the day so beautifully.
Saturday 7th July was a good day.
These events are always amazingly well organised, are filled to bursting point with the best suppliers in the area & are always good fun & the venue really is very special. Over the past couple of years I have got to know several of the exhibitors & it is always nice to catch up with them, especially those who make their own products & who have a real passion & talent for what they are doing.
Rachel from Tattered Rose was there with her beautiful handmade jewelery, art & keepsakes.
Becky from Butterworth Photography was exhibiting & took some great photographs of the day for us.
For those who really love to be crafty, Chloe from Adore by Chloe was there to offer advice to brides to be, party planners or aspiring domestic goddesses.
As always, the girls from Polly’s List were there with their kids corner, providing some entertainment for the younger customers.
Finally, there was one lady there whose products helped me through the day & provided much needed support when help was needed – a special thank you to Clare from Clarette Wines who was superbly positioned next door to the kitchens…!
Please contact this amazingly knowledgeable girl if you are interested in wine, like drinking wine, want to learn more about wine or have equally strong feelings about Port or Champagnes. She has spent a decade working with the best of the best in London & has just set up her own wine consultancy.
I had the busiest couple of weeks I have ever had (ever) in the run up to the day…baking, packing, planning, ordering, baking, storing, wrapping, baking…I had three or four mornings where I crashed into bed at 4am & I will admit that I lived on coffee, the occasional wine, adrenaline & very little sleep for the week leading up to the market.
Deb had invited me to play a big part in her market way back at the beginning of the year & despite thinking “aaaaaaah, this is the biggest thing I have done & can I do it??” – my philosophy since starting Darby & Joan has always been to say yes to any opportunity that looks exciting, fun & will push the business forward – so it was an immediate yes & over the subsequent months I plotted & planned how to put it all together.
On the face of it, our tea room provided tea & cake – how hard can that be? But the Fabulous Places are always incredibly well attended & we were offering refreshments to a lot of hungry & thirsty shoppers – a lot!!
There was a huge area to fill – the library at The Roundhouse is an impressive space – but luckily there was a large work area “pod” that we used as our serving station which worked perfectly. I took lots of our old furniture, props & accessories as well as our serving & eating china.
I had a good idea of how to set it all up and the next thing on my list was to find the right staff. And I definitely did. Their attention to detail, customer service, sheer hard work & always having a smile truly made the day run smoothly and made it the success that it was.
The cakes…I wanted to offer good old fashioned layer cakes, cupcakes, brownies, flapjacks & rocky road. I hoped there would be something for everyone on the menu yet keep the menu list brief.
Natalie from Yummy Little Cakes made our cupcakes & Lisa from Food Fairies made our Coffee & Walnut & Carrot cakes (which flew off the cake stands!) We made the rest of the menu & hope that we got it right.
The doors opened at 10am and the event went on until 5pm.
We had a full house with queues of up to 30 people from 10am until 5pm.
Thank you everyone who came to the event, the other fantastic exhibitors, to Deb for inviting us to be such a big part of the market, to our customers & our staff.
Forgive me blog for I have sinned – it has been far too long since my last post.
At the end of May we worked on a two day wedding at Kedleston Hall, for the most gorgeous couple who wanted something a little different for their celebration.
Our vintage china & accessories were used for their 100 guest wedding and we dressed the tables.
These photographs speak for themselves, all I will add is that I had an incredibly busy, fun, brilliant, exciting & memorable couple of days. I am not exaggerating when I say I caught my breath when I saw Aelia, you are a lucky man Stu!
Oh and a behind the scenes collection of images would have been very entertaining too…me washing up for three hours at the end of the first day until midnight in a small, manically busy kitchen filled with waiters, me being locked out of the Hall at 10pm and desperately trying to find a way in, a tractor being needed to haul out the gate keeper’s stuck car from the mud after he let me in, unpredictable weather, an ambulance & not forgetting the escaping sheep.
Congratulations again Aelia and Stuart – you make such a wonderful couple and thank you for asking us to be part of your celebration.
Photography – James Melia
Table flowers – The Blossom Tree
Venue – Kedleston Hall
Vintage china & accessory hire, styling – Darby & Joan
Wedding cake – Choccywoccydoodah
The clock is ticking – it is 1.52am on Friday morning and I am still baking in preparation for the Fabulous Places Summer Market.
Have a read of the blog on the Save the Date website here about the event http://www.savethedatemagazine.co.uk/2012/07/summer-food-gift-market-by-fabulous-places/
Hope to see you there.
I love working with Cathy & Susie from Vintage Chic Wedding Fair, their relaxed & feminine style is perfect for what Darby & Joan offer. Their 6th wedding fair was held last Sunday at The Centennial Centre in Birmingham. I have to say that I was exhausted when my alarm went off at six that morning as the previous day had been manically busy & the last thing I felt like doing was packing the car up again & driving for an hour. My aching feet, sore knees from wearing heels all day (I must be getting old!) & slightly fuzzy head all disappeared when I arrived at the venue. Wedding fairs are such light hearted, happy events & I had a fantastic day sharing stories with exhibitors & talking with brides & their families.
It was great to see many familiar faces as a few of the exhibitors have shown with the company before, Meeni, Whimsical Wishes, Passion for Flowers, Cotton & Crumbs & Vintage Twee were amongst the gorgeous companies showcasing their inspirational services & products.
For the first time, I am Staggered were exhibiting. I can’t imagine that many (or any!) men will be reading this blog, but for you brides who are, tell your man about this website & service. Invaluable, funny & relevant advice for grooms-to-be.
The overall feel of all of Vintage Chic wedding fairs has always been to offer brides ”vintage with a modern twist” inspiration & ideas. This is just our cup of tea.
The Centennial Centre was the largest venue the company had used & it was a big hit with everyone. It was light, bright & airy & it was transformed once the exhibitors got to work with their gorgeous styling ideas. Everyone had worked hard to promote the fair & as the doors opened at 11am, there was a steady stream of brides, grooms & their families. Yey!!
There were demonstrations throughout the day, Le Keux Events & Sarah Russell were busy with hair & make up, Fishee Designs brought along a brilliant photo-booth with props, My Craftea Day got crafty, My Dance Birmingham showed us all how to do the balloon dance (well worth seeing!). As always, Simon Partridge was there during the day singing, ensuring a mellow, relaxed & happy atmosphere.
If you missed attending the fair then you really did miss out as it was just fab.
Looking forward to the next one! xx
The Eve Appeal gynaecological cancer research charity is asking women to Make Time for Tea during Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in March. They suggest that we a tea party to celebrate the revival of all things vintage to help save the lives of the women we love. This year’s campaign, now in its seventh year, has a vintage theme and what could be better for Darby & Joan.
In the UK we drink 165 million cups of tea every day so next time you put the kettle on please think about the 4,400 mothers, sisters, grandmothers, aunts and daughters lost to ovarian cancer this year. The Eve Appeal would like to make 2012’s diamond jubilee year the best yet –aiming for 500 tea parties to help them reach their target of £150,000.
Darby & Joan have invited a group of lovely ladies to join us for our tea party on Friday 2nd March: close girl friends; mums from the school gates; neighbours; other wedding industry suppliers;customers; mums and grandmas. If you would like to come along, then please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you some more information. Everyone is welcome, children too. We have a playroom where they can run wild and make a mess!
We will put on our vintage aprons, set out a vintage tea party table laden with layer cakes, scones, cupcakes, rocky road, shortbread and there will be an endless supply of tea. A pretty fabulous way of raising money don’t you think…
Elton Old Hall is a beautiful Grade II Listed Manor house in Derbyshire,very close to Chatsworth House. They offer luxury self catering group accommodation in their amazingly gorgeous property. You can choose to do as little or as much as you like there, from the kid’s treasure trail to the Elton walking guide, from visiting beauticians to Go Ape – there’s plenty to make children, and big kids, smile. The owner of the property, Juliet, can recommend suppliers & companies who can come to you to offer a host of lovely things to entertain you.
Darby & Joan are happy to come to you at the house to prepare a vintage tea party. Have a look at our website for menu ideas and our gallery page to give you an idea of what we are about & how we work.
We can promise you won’t be disappointed!!
Good morning all. It was a good old week for Darby & Joan last week, a pretty amazing start to the year with lots of exciting project to be involved with.
I had a meeting with the lovely Deb from Fabulous Places to discuss the next event she is organising – a date for your diary – Saturday 7th July at The Roundhouse in Derby. Just the most perfect venue for a shopping event, I am sure a lot of you reading this know exactly what I am talking about!
Since January 2009 Fabulous Places has been holding food & gift events around Derbyshire. The aim behind the events is to offer you a unique opportunity to visit an event that has been carefully put together. Deb organises events that she would choose to attend…there is always an attention detail, the venue is always stunning and there’s absolutely no compromise with the stall quality as each and every stall is handpicked by her.
Darby & Joan have been involved with Fabulous Places for some time now and have exhibited at several of their events. They are always the highlight of our year, and, whilst the preparation leading up to the event is pretty hectic, the excitement and anticipation far outweighs the inevitable string of evenings when we are working until 2am!! You can just see our stand in the midst of all the people in the photo which was taken at the Christmas Fair 2011.
Deb was looking for something a little different to add to her catering for this summer’s event, and that’s where Darby & Joan come in. We are going to have a Vintage Tea Rooms so that you can all sample a selection of our Afternoon Tea menu and enjoy tea and cakes served on our vintage china.
Our staff has been picked, our menu is being tweaked and added to and I am bursting with ideas – some probably far too OTT, but I can dream!
It is early days I know, but I am so so excited about it I wanted to share it and pop it on the blog.