Deathtrap Defeated

***EDIT: Check out this fun bookshelf organization video.  Trust me, it’s more entertaining than it sounds.***

This is my mother’s kitchen bookcase.

As you can see, anyone who chooses a book from any of these shelves runs the risk of becoming imperiled by falling books.

I sat my mother down and made her go through all her books the other day.  My style of organization is purpose-oriented.  The stuff you use, you keep somewhere in the open.  The stuff you don’t use, you either get rid of or you put it in storage.

So anything that my mother hadn’t used in the last six months went into a pile to go into the basement.  It will be her job to sort through it on her own time to decide what she wants to keep and what she can give away.

A much smaller pile of books went straight to a second-hand shop.

This stuff got recycled.

This is what remains, which I sorted by type.

Then of course I got to dust the shelf in a rare state of emptiness.

So of course what is on the top shelf are the books we use the most: Joy of Cooking, family recipe books, the usual.  Also books on baking, just because that’s what I’m doing a lot of these days.

Here we have the all-round cookbooks, ones that cover full meals and a variety of dishes.

Here is the Brazilian version of a Dutch oven, and more all-round cookbooks.

Here are the slow-cooker books and the specialty books, ones that deal with specifics, like marrow bones, pasta, or dumplings.

On the bottom we have soup books and barbecue books, as well as some binders for collected clippings.

Now remember: just because there is empty space here doesn’t mean you have to fill it!

Teacup Candles

This is a cute waste-not idea from Martha Stewart, but it’s been done by many others as well.  Teacups are ideal for this particular trick as they are already designed to withstand high temperatures, but you can use canning jars and other heat-safe containers as well.For my DIY Christmas I spent a lot of time scrounging second-hand stores for things I could use, and one day my mother happened upon a large quantity of beeswax sheets just there for the picking.

And yes, I picked.  I also picked up some old teacups and had some that were missing their saucers donated by my parents.

I had to buy some wicking from Michaels, and I found these handy wicks that were pre-waxed and already had the sustainer attached to the bottom.All I had to do was stand them upright in the cup and I was set.  Easy-peasy.

So you take your old candles, or your beeswax, or whatever, and you chuck it in a double boiler.  I used the equivalent of two sheets of beeswax for each cup.  Just tear ’em up and let them melt!Be patient.  It takes a little while.Make sure it’s completely melted before removing from heat.Now, very carefully, pour the hot wax into the cup. Leave that to sit a while. See that little blip of wax on the side of the cup?  Fuhgeddabowdit.  You can just chip it off once it’s set.If you return your waxy bowl to the still-hot pot you can wipe out the excess wax with a paper towel.This will mean you can experiment with other colours of wax as well.Once your candles are set and cooled you can trim the wicks to an appropriate length and give ’em all away!