Archive for August, 2012

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I’m Not Here

If you don’t see me for a couple of days, I’ll be at the Minnesota State Fair.  Starting…now!

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Caramel Apple Candles by Auntie B’s Wax

I just unmolded a batch of beautiful candles with the scent of Buttermint Candies.  I love them!  As I was examining and sniffing them I got to thinking about candles and the misconceptions people have about them.  As someone who’s been making candles for over a decade let me share with you the things I’ve learned.

There is no such thing as a wickless candle.

By definition, a candle is “a long, usually slender piece of tallow or wax with an embedded wick that is burned to give light.”  So-called “wickless candles” are in fact not candles at all.  They are chunks of scented wax put into a melter and heated to release the fragrance oil they contain.  I take offense to giving this product the name “candle.”  They are not lit with fire nor do they produce fire, unless of course the wax is heated to a temperature exceeding the flash point of the wax or fragrance oil, in which case a very large fire will ensue.  They are more aptly named tarts.

There is no such thing as a smokeless candle.

All candles have smoke as a byproduct.  It’s the nature of fire.  However, there are several ways to reduce the smoke output of a candle.  A good candle maker will make the candle with a properly-sized wick which will reduce excess smoking.  Avoid “triple scented” candles as too much fragrance oil can cause smoking.  Keeping the wick trimmed to 1/4 inch while burning will also keep smoke to a minimum.

There is no such thing as a scent-free candle.

Certainly there are candles made without the use of fragrance oil, but every type of wax has its own aroma and that scent will emanate from the candle when it is burned.

There is such a thing as a cleaner-burning candle.

Of all the waxes I use beeswax is the cleanest-burning.  As a rule the natural waxes (beeswax, palm wax, soy wax) burn cleaner than paraffin wax.  However, a well-made paraffin candle burns cleaner than a poorly made candle of any type of wax.

There may or may not be such a thing as a dripless candle.

Dripping candles can be caused by several factors ~ drafts, inappropriately sized wick, lack of trimming wick, length of burning time, etc. It’s best to be prepared whether your candle is doomed to drip or not. Always place pillars on a plate or in a holder that will catch unexpected drips. When burning tapers use bobeches to save your candelabra and table from wax. Votive candles should always be burned in a cup. Put a small amount of water in the cup, enough to just cover the bottom, before placing the votive in it. This will keep the wax from sticking to the cup. Also, place container candles (including votives) on a plate or trivet. The wax won’t drip out of the container, but the container itself can become very hot and may damage some surfaces.

Candle season is coming up so be armed with the knowledge you need to provide a warm (and safe) ambiance.

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I’m distracted.

Why?  Because in two days it begins.

Yep, in two days the Great Minnesota Get Together begins.  Twelve days of livestock, food, games of skill, food, people watching, food, haunted houses, food, spinny rides, food, and of course food.  I’ll be spending a few days at the Minnesota State Fair indulging in all it has to offer.  My first visit will be Friday, and I’ll be armed with my camera, packin’ on the winter fat, and reveling in all the chills, sights, sounds, smells, and tastes the fair can dish out.

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Yesterday Kathy, author of Lake Superior Spirit, wrote a post that kind of struck a chord with me.  She talks about being a people pleaser and being too sensitive, especially when it comes to blogging. 

There’s something inside every blogger that wants to get some kind of recognition.  Don’t deny it.  We all sneak peeks at our stats and count comments now and again, if not every ten minutes.  Face it, if we didn’t want to get noticed our blogs would be diaries, journals, or to-do lists in a spiral notebook hidden in a locked drawer for no one to see.  We’re on the internet for crying out loud.  In one way or another we want to make a splash (or simply a kerplunk) in cyberspace.

Yet, when we are noticed we are subjected to the criticism of others.  We can’t be too surprised if some of that criticism is negative.  Again, this is the internet.  There is a universe full of people who don’t get what you’re saying, or are chronically contrary, or are just plain crazy with narcissism thinking your blog should be exactly as she/he wants it to be for her own benefit.

Kathy’s post expresses her angst in a light-hearted way regarding the conflicting comments she gets on her blog.  She also recognizes that she can’t please everyone even though every fiber of her being wants to. 

So, in response to the comments she has received: “post more pictures,” “post more writing,” “post more nature,” “post more spiritual,” “post more serious,” “post more funny,” etc., I say to Kathy “I like you, just as you are.”  Be as versatile as you want on your own blog because guess what?  It’s your blog!   With that I present to her The Versatile Blogger Award.


Some of you know this honor was recently bestowed upon me by the lovely Lorna of Lorna’s Voice.  I’m spreading the love to Kathy because she is indeed a versatile blogger. 

Congratulations, Kathy! 

As for the rest of you, check out Kathy’s blog at Lake Superior Spirit.  And don’t expect a rigid format over there ~ versatility is Kathy’s shining virtue!

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