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Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 02:56 am

Go ahead, wax nostalgic

The warm, flickering glow of candles embodies the holiday season


Pillar candles are great for décor purposes, whether on their own or in candlescapes. If they’re going to be used on a dining table, however, make sure they don’t obstruct the view, since they tend to be larger.

This holiday season, the familiar warm glow of candles will be complemented by frosty winter wonderland colors and fragrances.

“There’s a sense of icy, fresh, watery – like a really light snow that’s glistening over things,” says Barbara Miller, spokeswoman for the National Candle Association. “That’s not only in the colors, you also have it in the fragrances.”

Gold candles and metallic decor accents are adding extra shimmer to the holiday season. Yankee Candle is promoting its “All That Glitters” holiday 2012 collection, with candles presented in a gold-accented jar.

“Gold will play a significant role in the holiday season,” Miller says. “So the harvest golds of the fall will turn into metallic golds for the holidays.”

In Santa Claus, Ind., – yes, there is such a place! – the Santa Claus Christmas Store is skipping traditional candles in favor of the flameless, battery-powered variety, which they call luminaria. “This year we’re seeing more of the winter wonderland look, which is our silvers and whites and ice,” says manager Holly Xanders. The luminaria are pillars of lightly scented wax, and they operate on a timer, glowing for five hours at a time. Xanders says the flame is lifelike, and customers appreciate the safety as well as the decor possibilities.

In addition to frosty motifs, candles that beckon nostalgia are also popular this season. At Porch Swing Candles in West Columbia, Texas, owner Diana Schrank says this year’s Christmas candles are all about coziness. “Everything feels so back to basics right now,” she says. Porch Swing’s hand-poured candles will be more muted in color to evoke the comforts of home.

Evergreen smells and gourmet scents are always popular, and this holiday they’ll be enhanced by the frosty theme. Yankee Candle’s “Pine Cone and Lime,” for example, is a riff on a traditional scent. The citrus adds an icy crispness to the flavor.

Many of the newer candle scents this season aren’t holiday-specific, so they can be burned long into the New Year. That also means they make great gifts, and not just for women.

New York City-based Izola introduced a line of candles for men in early 2012. The collection features hand-poured, vegetable wax candles with a masculine design and scents that aren’t overpowering or too sweet. “Magnolia” is ideal for the holiday season, says Ian O’Brien, business development director at Izola. “Magnolia resembles that of the magnolia tree flower, so it has a lemony essence,” he says.

To ensure any holiday candle lasts for seasons, trim the wick before each use. If it’s a scented container candle, place a lid on it after each use to preserve the fragrance.

Candle crafting
“When you receive a gift that’s handmade, you know someone’s put their heart, their time and their passion into making it,” says Cathie Filian, TV host, author and “all-around crafty, creative girl.” Filian’s do-it-yourself transformation of plain pillar candles is an easy way to create a beautiful, handmade present. “The result is a very boutique-looking candle, the kind you would spend a lot of money on,” she says.

  • Light-colored pillar candle
  • White tissue paper
  • Scissors
  • Rubber stamp and ink pad
  • Embossing powder and embossing gun
  • Watercolor paints
  • Paintbrush
  • Parchment paper
  • Small scrapbooking eyelets and candle paint pen (optional)
Cut a piece of tissue paper large enough for the stamp. Ink the rubber stamp, and stamp onto the glossy side of the tissue paper.

Sprinkle embossing powder on the image on the tissue paper and tap off the excess. Heat the powder on the tissue with an embossing gun until the image is embossed.

Swirl a wet paintbrush into watercolor paints and color in the background of the stamp. Make sure the paintbrush is not too wet or the tissue paper will tear. Allow to dry about 10 to 20 minutes.

Cut a piece of parchment paper large enough to cover the image and wrap all the way around the candle, plus an extra several inches of length. Trim the excess tissue paper around the edges of the image, and place onto the candle. The embossed side of the image can face in toward the candle or outward. Wrap the parchment paper tightly around the candle, using the excess parchment paper in the back as a handle.

Move the embossing gun over the image to melt the tissue paper into the candle. You will be able to see the wax melting through the parchment paper. Once the wax melts in one area, move the embossing gun to another area so as not to melt the candle too much. When the entire image has melted into the candle, carefully remove the parchment paper.

Add details to the candle using scrapbooking eyelets and candle paint pens.

Adapted with permission from CathieFilian.com

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