Dotting a few candles around a room, especially at this time of year, always makes me feel joyful. Life is just a bit more magical when you add in some soft, flickering candlelight. So it’s good to know a few simple tricks for when there are inevitable candle wax spills.
As a general rule, you will either want to apply heat or freezing temperatures to the wax to help remove it. If you can fit the item in the freezer (and it’s not going to damage the item!) the best option is to let the wax freeze and then break it off. It should come away cleanly leaving little residue.
The key is to warm the wax enough to be able to wipe it off or gently scrape it off without damaging the wood. Use a hairdryer at a distance to heat the wax and something like stiff card to scrape (avoid using anything too hard as it may damage the wood). If the wax leaves a residue then using your regular wood polish should help to remove it.
Baths and sinks
You can be a little firmer with the surfaces of sinks and baths. Use an old bank card or shop reward card to scrape the wax away once it has hardened. Knives and metal objects may cause damage so it’s best to avoid these.
The best way to remove wax from a carpet is to lay a paper bag or a few sheets of baking parchment over the spill and go over it with a warm iron. Press down gently and as the wax melts the paper will soak it up.
If the fabric item is small enough then it’s best to put it into the freezer to let the wax harden and then break off as much as you can. After this you can use the same method as for carpets. (Or go straight to this step if you’re not able to fit the item in the freezer.) Applying gentle heat and pressure with a warm iron until the wax is all picked up.
First of all try to scrape as much of the wax as you can from the wall using something stiff like a bank card that is not going to damage the wall. After you’ve removed as much as you can, use the warm iron method from above. You may need to try a few times and use kitchen paper for extra absorbency depending on the type of paint on your wall. If a greasy stain still remains then try gently blotting the wall with a mix of 1 part white vinegar and 3 parts warm water.
It’s that time of year again where we’re gearing up for the autumn/winter party season. And it all kicks off with Halloween, which means it’s pumpkin carving time!
So here are my tips for cleaning out your pumpkin to give you the perfect canvas for your Halloween masterpiece.
The best time to clean out your pumpkin is as close to the time you’re going to carve as possible. A warm pumpkin is much easier to cut into so start by bringing your pumpkin to room temperature by leaving it out in a warm room for a few hours, or overnight if you can. Next using some warm soapy water, clean the outside of the pumpkin and dry off thoroughly using some kitchen paper. This will reduce the bacteria that can get into the flesh when you start cutting and should mean that your masterpiece lasts a little longer.
Using a serrated knife (a kitchen one will do the trick), carefully cut a decent sized lid out the top of your pumpkin. Once you’ve removed the lid you can get at all those lovely insides. Pull out as much as you can with your hands and put the fibres and seeds to one side in a bowl (check the recipe below for a tasty reason to keep these!). With an ice cream scoop or sturdy metal spoon, firmly scrape the remaining seeds and fibres away from the flesh. Scrape away lightly at the flesh and get the inside surface as clean and smooth as possible. Don’t forget to do the same for your lid and make sure there are no stray fibres hanging around there either. It’s all about giving your pumpkin the best chances at survival.
Now your pumpkin is ready for carving. If you’ve not decided on a design yet then The Pumpkin Lady has some great printable templates that are free to download. Usually a combination of kitchen utensils is all you need for carving but you can get some great carving kits from local supermarkets at this time of year. Which is a great idea if you’re getting the kids involved!
Once you’ve carved your design keep the pumpkin as cold as possible and spray with a solution of bleach diluted with water. This will kill the bacteria that gets into the flesh through the cuts you’ve made and should make your perfect pumpkin last a little longer.
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe
Remember those seeds you put to one side earlier? You can make a tasty snack, soup or salad topper with them. Nothing goes to waste in this house!
- Preheat your oven to 180
- Wash the pumpkin gunk off the seeds
- Dry the seeds thoroughly
- Toss in your choice of seasoning (my favourite is vanilla sugar which makes them perfect for adding to cereal in the morning)
- Spread out on a baking sheet
- Bake for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and mix them around a little, then bake for a further 6-8 minutes (keep a close eye on them if you’re doing a sweet version as they can catch easily)
- Remove from the oven to cool
- Store in tupperware or a jar, or start snacking – depending on your level of willpower right now
Good luck with your pumpkin carving and have a great Halloween!
Next time – how to get those stubborn fake blood and face-paint stains out.