Monday, September 4, 2017

New Christchurch: Part 1

Today marks the seventh anniversary of the first earthquake that struck Canterbury early on Saturday morning while most were asleep. Little did we know what was to come! Over the years I have written posts documenting the journey our city has been through, starting with the beautiful heritage buildings that were still standing after the first earthquake. After the second, much more damaging earthquake in February, I decided to do it again. It took a little longer to get access to the CBD to be able to do this, but it was good to see some of the buildings featured in the first post, not only still standing, but strengthened and restored to their former glory. I featured these in two posts, part 1 and part 2.

Now that the rebuild is really gathering momentum, and life is returning to the central city, I have decided to shift my focus to the 'New Christchurch' and give you a taste of how the city is starting to look. This first group of photos I took back in Easter, so more things have happened since then.

The earthquake memorial opened this year just in time for the sixth anniversary of the deadly February earthquake, as a place to reflect and remember those that were lost. I found the siting of it a little poignant, as the building in the background on the right is where I used to work. My redundancy was the catalyst for my journey into self-employment, and the earthquake happened on the one year anniversary of the day I lost my job. So for me it serves of a reminder of 'what was'.

The Bridge of Remembrance was restored and reopened to the public earlier in the year.

The Avon River precinct is being done in stages. This section looking from the Bridge of Remembrance shows the area in front of what used to be known as the 'Strip', a row of restaurants and bars popular in the weekends. This walk along the river used to be part of my daily commute – it was a lovely way to start the day!

The BNZ Centre is opposite Ballantynes, where Whitcoulls and neighbouring buildings used to be. There are several laneways and a courtyard in the middle with food kiosks and areas of seating. I like the different facades that have been used to give the area some interest, and hide the carparks.

The ANZ centre has quite a futuristic (or perhaps back to the future?) feel, with a large atrium and some interesting features. It replaces the triangle centre, and for reference, the Macpac shop is about where KFC used to be.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Behind the scenes: A look at how our hand-dipped taper candles are made

There is nothing quite like the elegance of a tapered candle, quietly burning away. For many centuries they had a utilitarian purpose to provide light, but now they are mostly used to create an ambience with their soft flickering like. I first started making them after I was given several boxes of church candle stubs that a nun had collected and recycled into new candles. I loved this idea, and was keen to 'carry the torch' so to speak, and to continue recycling the used candles into beautiful new ones. Since then I have also developed a soy/beeswax blend that produces the most beautiful creamy colour and texture.

Below is a little insight into the process of creating the taper candles, from winding the wick around a frame, then repeatedly dipping them into a vat of hot wax to build up layers. After each dip, the level of the wax in the vat decreases slightly, making each layer slightly lower than the last and giving the candles their distinctive taper shape. The colour dipped tapers are dipped in coloured wax for the last few dips. Once they reach the desired thickness (after around 30 or so dips), they are then cut from the frame at the base, which leaves them in joined pairs. They are left overnight to properly harden, and the next day the bases are smoothed off. Finally they are packaged and labelled in pairs so you know they came from the same batch.

The essential tools: dipping frame, pliers and wicking

The first step is to wind the wick onto the frame

The wick is then tied and tightened ready to start dipping

The frame is then dipped into the vat of wax to form the first layer

After first few layers of wax, the candles start to take shape

A frame with six tapers starting to get wider

Dipping the candles into the vat...

...then waiting for the drips to stop

Melting the wax for the colour dip with the wax leftover from making the last batch

The molten coloured wax ready for dipping

Colour layers building up on the candles

 Finished candles waiting to be packaged

Adding the ribbon and tying on the labels

All ready to go!

Thanks to Sarah Greig Design and Illustration and Design for taking the beautiful photos while I was busy creating!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Starting small

For some people, their true calling is evident from childhood. Many others don't find it until later in life, but I think I might possibly fall into the first camp...

As a child I loved making things. I have a very crafty mother who taught me many different handcrafts. I always had something on the go, and was quite handy with scissors, tape and old cereal boxes, they could keep me entertained for hours! One school holidays many years ago, my cousin and I set up a shop to sell a few handmade pieces to family members. This got me hooked on the making things to sell bug, and our product range evolved over time. We even acquired a broken cash register to use, just to add that air of authenticity.

Our products were mainly focussed on stationery, but seem to have included a bit of everything. I was quite into making recycled paper at the time, so there were lots of cards, envelopes, bookmarks and key rings made with that. You may also notice a few candles – it's more than 20 years now since I made my first one! A few years ago Mum found the box with all my shop bits and pieces in it, so I took a photo of them for posterity. The shopping baskets now reside in my son's toy box.

Now, more than 20 years later I am living my childhood dream of making things to sell. I'm part of a designer co-op store, Pay it Forward, so you could even say I have my own shop (well, along with the 50 other designers!)

This week you have the opportunity to support and encourage a new generation of young designers and makers. As part of Kidsfest, Pay it Forward is running a Mini Makers market, where up and coming designers and makers have the opportunity to sell their wares. Come down and check out the amazing talent, and take home a unique handmade piece. It's always a buzz when people buy your creations, and is a great encouragement when you're starting out. Here is a sample of what will be on offer:

You can see why I showed you my creations first – these ones are much more impressive!

If you're wondering what my cousin is up to now, she is a visual merchandiser for a well known national retailer, and is busy setting up a new store right at the moment.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Three simple and effective ways to style taper candles

Taper candles are a great way to add a touch of elegance to a room. You can go with a traditional candle holder, or choose a modern one to suit your decor. I love choosing the right one from my collection to go with the theme I'm creating.

1. Modern & Elegant

Here I've teamed a copper candle holder with one of our turquoise colour-dipped tapers and a large vase with some gorgeous pink hydrangea blooms. The flowers offset the metallic, geometric shapes of the candle holder, and were picked from the garden.

2. Industrial Chic

The bright tones of the raspberry pink colour-dipped tapers work well with the concrete candle holders. To achieve this look cluster a group of taper candles together in simple, utilitarian candle holders.

3. Dinner for two

What is more perfect to set the scene for a romantic dinner for two than candlelight? If you're planning to treat your partner this Valentine's day, you can't go wrong with some the creamy look of our soy/beeswax blend hand dipped taper candles in some classic candle sticks. We've added a red rose and some ivy from the garden to finish the look – all it needs now is a bottle of bubbles and a delicious home cooked meal!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Tea Party is back in a new location!

Come along to our Candlelit Tea Party and take a look at our gorgeous range of candles while enjoying a cup of tea and a cupcake on some fine vintage china. There will be a range of lit candles on display, great deals on clearance stock, free gift wrapping and a goodie bag for each attendee.

It will be a great chance to catch up with friends, do a spot and shopping and perhaps even get your Mother's day gift sorted. The Pay It Forward shop will also be open, especially for the Tea Party, so you can also take a look around at all the lovely locally made items in store while you are there.

Sunday May 3rd from 2:30pm - 4pm at Community Space at Pay it Forward, 49 Nancy Ave, Mairehau, Christchurch. Pay it Forward will be open from 1:30pm - 4:30pm.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Five years of candle recycling

It's been five years since we introduced our candle recycling scheme at our very first market! Since then, we have recycled almost 100kg of wax into new candles.

It's also been five years since our first blog post and felt sale. It's hard to put an age on a business that has had a few stops and starts since it very first began as my freelance graphic design business about 10 years ago (which I still do!). So I think this is a good a time as any to say that Rose in Thorns as we know it now is five years old. Because who doesn't like birthdays?!

We have also recently put a candle recycling drop off point at Pay it Forward in Mairehau. You can drop off any used candles to be recycled (any unused ones will be donated to charity, so we encourage you do do that as well). If you take in any used Rose in Thorns candles, you can also receive a discount* on your next candle purchase.

So, in order to celebrate both of these milestones, we are giving a 50% discount on any used Rose in Thorns candles that are returned to us this week. If you can't get into Pay it Forward, at 45 Nancy Ave, Mairehau, Christchurch, then get in touch to arrange posting it to us. We can do free return shipping on any candles purchased.

*conditions apply. More information can be found in our Sustainability and Recycling section.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Our candles enhancing your homes

We recently ran a competition where our lovely customers could submit a photo of one of their Rose in Thorns candles enhancing their home for the chance to win a $60 voucher.

Gill was the lucky winner, with the most popular photo (above). She said "The smell wafting through the house is so lovely, plus it looks so beautiful in the tin. I also love my soy melts, they are great for the bedrooms." Congratulations Gill, we hope you enjoy your prize!

Check out the other entries below - it's great to see how our candles are enhancing your homes!

"Smells divine, even after burning it all the way to the end. It's great to come home to a beautiful smelling room after a long day at uni."

"I love coming home after work, turning the lights off and lighting my Rose in Thorn soy candles. The Rain forest one is divine and after working in a artificially lighted office all day it is nice to have the soft glow of the candles illuminating the room."

"Rose's tea lights have such a lovely subtle fragrance, just beautiful."