Being fifty-something, you’d think I’d have learnt to keep my big mouth shut.
When I went public on this Nothing Like a Candle in the Wind blogpost about my fetish for Fowlers Vacola jars, I should have known I’d get more than I bargained for.
And so it was.
My sister K responded with an offer of an entire Fowlers Vacola bottling kit, which was gathering dust in her garage.
When Mum passed away in 2005, K was voted the Sister Most Likely to Bottle and accepted the challenge of stewardship of Mum’s preserving kit.
It’s eight years on. The urge to bottle hasn’t kicked in for K (or any of the rest of us) so I now have guardianship of the Fowlers Vacola manifest … with the family’s blessing to do with it whatever I feel best.
Obviously, that means upcycling.
The challenge is on … I have the big sterilising pot (or, as we refer to it: “the cauldron” – we love a witchy reference), a bag full of multi-sized lids, clips, rings, instruction booklets, tongs, bands and the bottles/jars. More than one hundred of them. Yikes! That’s a lot of candles in the wind.
I have a mountain of upcycling ahead of me.
Here are my first two projects. You will notice, I have picked off the “low-hanging fruit” to begin with, while I give some thought to how I can make meaningful use of ALL those bottles.
#1 Fowlers Vacola Upcycle – Rhubarb
This makes perfect sense in our family. Mum and Dad were mad, keen gardeners and always had a thriving bed of rhubarb under cultivation.
Rhubarb is undergoing a resurgence in the foodie world. I checked with the horticulturist at our local nursery and discovered that rhubarb is a very pot-friendly vegetable (yes, it’s technically a veg) and that there were seedlings in season, ready-to-go.
Mr P drilled some drainage holes in the base of the cauldron, panel-beated the lid out into a saucer shape and I planted it up.
There we have it … an upcycled cauldron of rhubarb-in-the-making. That’s the original colour of the cauldron (no repainting required) and I’m already loving the pop of colour in the wintry garden.
#2 Fowlers Vacola Upcycle – Tall, tall candlesticks
This simple project took care of four Fowlers Vacola metal lids and helped me upcycle these two turned wood “pieces” I picked up a couple of months back at the Ballarat Trash and Trivia Market for $1 each.
Let’s call them wooden legs, just for the family in-joke reference … see The Peculiar Language of Families.
Mr P evened the wooden legs with a saw. We then screwed two larger Fowlers Vacola lids to the bases of the wooden legs and two smaller Fowlers Vacola lids to the tops.
A slap of undercoat, a swish of Dulux Antique White, a light sand to add some distress detail, a coat of white wax and these 55cm-tall babies were ready.
With a couple of chunky white candles ($2 each at the $2 Shop … amazing, because very few things in the $2 Shop actually cost $2) these make quite a statement in the hallway.
I’m pleased to have made a start on this over-sized upcycling project that has inveigled its way into my life. It’s an elephant I’m going to devour one bite at a time. I will keep you posted with my progress, bite-by-bite.
In the meantime, be careful what you wish for.