Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Candle Burning Tips

There's nothing more cozy than a room accessorized with burning candles. To make the most of your ambiance and the life of your candles, Auntie B offers some friendly tips.

1. Most important to a quality burn is the practice of wick trimming. The wick should measure no more than 1/4 inch when you light it. Keep an eye on the flame while it's burning - if the flame becomes very long or if you see black smoke arising from the flame, blow out the candle, trim the wick to 1/4 inch, and light again. Be careful of the hot, melted wax when re-trimming.

2. Keep candles away from drafts. This will keep the flame centered and steady for an even burn.

3. Burn a candle for at least as many hours as the diameter of the candle. For example, if the candle is 3 inches in diameter, burn for at least 3 hours. This is especially important when burning a candle for the first time. This practice provides a good melt pool in the candle. A good melt pool provides maximum scent release and an even-burning candle.

4. Always put candles on/in appropriate holders. Votives should always be burned in cups. Pillars should be on a plate or holder at least 1/2 inch larger in diameter than the candle. Bobeches are handy with tapers. They are decorative glass discs that slip over the taper and rest on the candle holder, catching any drips that may occur.

5. Before burning a votive, cover the bottom of the cup with water. This small layer of water will keep the melted wax from sticking to the bottom of the cup.

6. When burning candles in a fireplace, it isn't necessary to open the flue. However, if your fireplace has glass doors, keep them open while burning the candles. Failure to do so will cause excessive heat and will melt the candles from the surfaces as well as from the centers. This could result in uneven burns and a big mess of melted wax on your holders and floor of the fireplace.

7. High-quality candles usually cost more. Avoid "cheap" candles as they could be made from a lower-grade wax which cause excessive smoking. You can usually count on getting what you pay for when it comes to candles.

8. Never, ever leave a candle unattended. Your attention to the burning candles will not only maximize your candlelit experience, but will also avoid most dangerous candle-related accidents.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Beautiful And Functional

Last night Husby and I were sitting at the kitchen table eating leftover pot roast, potatoes, and carrots covered in gravy. It was a typical dinnertime as we ate and shared the happenings of our days. Suddenly, the lights went out.

We’ve lived in our house for eight years and the lights have never gone out, thanks to buried lines. The weather was cold, but clear. There was no observable reason for the power to fail.

As we peeked out the windows we could see dark houses for blocks. The entire neighborhood was out. We looked at each other with a glimmer of excitement. Husby and I scurried about, gathering what we needed to find our way around the house and to keep warm in case the furnace would be out for a while. He went to the garage for a load of firewood and I went to the various closets to gather the half-burned test candles I had forgotten about until that moment.

There were three candles in the dinette area and three in the parlor. There was one in each of the bathrooms upstairs, and one in the powder room. One candle illuminated the bedroom, while another was situated at the landing of the stairs. Seven candles and a roaring fire in the fireplace cast a golden glow in the rumpus room where we sat and talked and laughed at our pioneer-like ways.

We felt sorry for our neighbors who sat in the dark, and sorrier for those who found their way around their houses using cold, blue, LED flashlights while we were made cozy by the light and warmth of many hand-poured candles.

The house began to smell of beeswax and various other scented candles like peppermint, holly berry, mulled cider, and pine. These wonderful fragrances mingled with the aroma of wood smoke from the fireplace.

How absolutely perfect for a candle maker to be caught without electricity. I burn candles frequently for ambiance, but on this night they became functional as well. We sat in the glow of flames, reading and writing in a silence broken only by the crackles coming from the fireplace. We didn’t mind being unable to do chores requiring electricity, nor did we miss the drone of re-runs coming from the TV.

When the power came on two hours later, I felt a surge of disappointment. Husby and I looked at each other and decided to keep reading and writing by the candlelight, foregoing all means of electrical illumination…except for the Christmas tree.

I highly recommend an evening sans electrical illumination. Even if your power isn’t out, turn all the lights off and place candles around the house. You’ll be surprised at how functional you can remain, yet how relaxed you can become. A extra bonus: everyone looks better by candle light.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I'm Famous!

My dad always said, "don't do anything you wouldn't want on the front page of the White Bear Press." Well Dad, that time has arrived. Here is a little article that is on the front page of the White Bear Press, and it features...ME! OK, it actually features the Century College craft show, but there I am, in print, so proud to be mentioned by name.

Here are some of the things you can find at the Auntie B's Wax booth at Century College:

Of course I have beeswax, my favorite of all waxes. This little guy will make you smile:

And this beeswax pillar has the appearance of a rolled beeswax candle, but it is actually solid, giving it a much longer burning life:

Palm wax is a wonderful, all-natural wax that creates a unique surface design during the cooling process. They come in a variety of colors and scents.

The classic paraffin pillar. I use many techniques in order to offer a wide variety of colors, textures, and scents. This one has the spicy aroma of clove:

I offer a variety of magnets featuring the art of vintage paperback novels. You're sure to find one to fit your personality or lifestyle, or those of someone you love.

I have a multitude of bottle cap art pieces. Here are some Christmas magnets. They are also available as pins:

And here are some fun bottle cap magnets with vintage pictures. They, too, are available as pins:

Also included in the bottle cap art is a variety of very clever drink charm sets. They'll have you reminiscing and laughing, and will make your cocktail gathering a hit.
This is just a sampling of the things you'll find at the craft show. So come on down to Century College on November 29th (details on the side bar). We're open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Hob-nob with Auntie B, who finally made it to the front page of the White Bear Press.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Kicking Off The Holiday Season

The days are flying by. I can't believe tomorrow is Thanksgiving, the holiday season kick-off.

I can't help but wonder how many of my little trinkets and treasures are bought as gifts for other people. At the shows and fairs people huddle around the magnets laughing at the silliness of them. They pick up candle after candle, sniffing each one, trying to find the perfect combination of color and fragrance. It's shopping season, and it is more than plausible that the purchases made are intended to be Christmas gifts for friends and family.

When I'm in my studio creating and producing between Halloween and New Year's Day I can't help but think that I am creating gifts. Christmas gifts. And every time I'm in my studio creating and producing those Christmas gifts I have one song looping endlessly through my mind. It's a happy little song, one of which I never tire. We Are Santa's Elves, from the holiday TV show Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. Because during this time of year, I am indeed one of Santa's elves.

Ho Ho Ho, Ho Ho Ho -- We are Santa's elves!

We are Santa's elves
Filling sacks and shelves
With a toy for each girl and boy
Oh, We are Santa's elves!

We work hard all day
But our work is play
Dolls we try out
See if they cry out
We are Santa's elves!

We've a special job each year
We don't like to brag
Christmas Eve we always fill Santa's bag
Santa knows who's good
Do the things you should
And we'll be you, he won't forget you
We are Santa's elves!

Ho Ho Ho, Ho Ho Ho--We are Santa's elves!Ho HO!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Candy Cane

This has got to be one of my favorite candles. I scent the white paraffin candle with an invigorating peppermint fragrance and wrap it with strips of red beeswax. While it burns it will fill your whole room with the sweet and spicy aroma of a peppermint stick. Treat yourself to this holiday delight. It makes a great gift too!

Dimensions: 3" diameter X 6" height $11.00


Palm Wax

Palm wax is an all-natural, renewable resource that is obtained from the oil palm in Southeast Asia. The oil palm produces fruit in bunches which are harvested and sent to palm oil mills where the oils are extracted, sterilized, clarified, and purified into palm oil. The oil is then sent to refineries where it is processed further into palm wax.

Palm wax is a superb material for making excellent burning candles. It resists softening in hot summer months and emits fragrance well. It also produces an infinite array of surface patterns which happens spontaneously as the candle cools during production. Palm wax is environmentally friendly as it comes from a sustainable and renewable source and burns cleanly.

This is an example of a palm wax candle.
The surface designs are a natural occurance.

I offer palm wax candles in three different sizes:
3" diameter X 3" height
3" diameter X 6" height
3" diameter X 9" height
If you would like to know more about palm wax candles, or would like a list of color and fragrance offerings mailed to you, send a request to me at

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Autumn Hype

My craft show season is in full swing. The boutique in Maple Grove, MN just closed its doors, and I extend a big thanks to the ladies over there who did a wonderful job displaying and selling so many things. The Chickadee Boutique is booming and Jacci, I promise to get some more candles over there - if I can. Last weekend was my first show, and it was more successful than I could have hoped. The candles were big show-offs, throwing out their fragrances to the passers-by - they are their own sales pitch. The bottle cap products were a smash! Magnets, drink charms, and pins galore. They were flying off the tables! Thank you all, you marvy little customers out there. Your delight in my craft and the fact that you will part with your hard-earned money to actually purchase something I've made makes me very, very happy. It's really cool to know something I made makes someone else smile.

This coming weekend I'm off to Wisconsin for a little sale which, after ten years in attendance, has become my best show yet. Come over and see me at the Bell Tower Residence all you central-Wisconsinites. Charlotte will be there with me showing her fabulous jewelry and I will continue on with the trend of candles and bottle caps, note cards and magnetic note pads.

In the meantime, I'm working on getting sales going through this blog. Maybe someday I'll become the perfect digital photographer and the perfect computer techie and put it all together right here for your convenience.

Thanks again for all of your support, and remember, Buy Hand-Made!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Do What You Love, The Rest Will Follow

Far too often I get caught up in the everyday grind of things. I get up before the crack of dawn to go to a job which serves very little purpose to me other than to pay the bills. I make a decent living at my day job, but it is a job, not a joy. I come home too tired and stressed out to do much more. I crave more time to do the things I love, like making candles and experimenting with other crafty projects. It has become engrained in my mind that I should take care of the responsibilities of life first, and play second. Candle making and crafty projects are play.

Or are they?

While away for a long weekend I met a man who, after a relatively short conversation, has literally changed the way I look at things. He works at the Grand Portage National Monument in Grand Portage, Minnesota on a seasonal basis. He is soft-spoken and an intense listener. He educated us on the practices of people hundreds of years ago, from the way gardens were planted to making birch bark canoes.

My husband and I marveled at the ingenuity of it all. We joked between ourselves about how important everything those people of ancient times did, and how it made our lives seem so meaningless. Stressing out over “the man.” Plodding through day after day at a job that seems to amount to very little. The tour guide then asked us what we did for our living. After we gave our titles, my husband added, “and Sara has a candle business on the side.”

That’s when the tour guide said three words that changed my whole perspective. He said, “that’s meaningful work.”

We found out this tour guide lives as simply as the lifestyle on which he was educating us. We learned further that he uses no electricity and illuminates his cabin with just two beeswax candles, which he acquires through trade with a beekeeper he knows.

The tour guide said simply enough, “if you love what you do, you don’t need anything else.”

Unlike the pressure we may feel to conform to society's materialistic values, my candle business exists to fill many other needs. It’s not about keeping up with the latest color trends or finding the scents that appeal to most people. It’s about doing something I love to do, bringing beauty people’s homes, arousing the senses, and in some cases, providing the bright light of a flame.

I may never quit my day job, but I wish to extend my heartfelt thanks to Eric at the Grand Portage National Monument for gently reminding me there is more to making a living than earning money – there must also be meaning. And a life with meaning will always be a happy one.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Did You Know? Blooming Beeswax

Did you know that beeswax blooms? When beeswax is stored in a cool place it develops a frost-like appearance on its surface, much like chocolate does. This bloom doesn't affect the burning quality of the wax and is quite easy to remedy, if you should choose to do so. Simply wave the heat of a hair drier or heat gun across the surface of the candle. It doesn't take much heat to restore the deeper color of the wax, so take care not to melt the surface. This process works all beeswax, dyed or natural, and only beeswax. Keep your colors deep and vibrant with a little swish of heat.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

New Start

Hello to all of you newcomers, and SURPRISE! to all of you return visitors. (I saw you looking, Charlotte.)

The Auntie B's Wax blog is taking on a new shape. In order to completely clear the cobwebs, I've deleted all previous posts and will start with a clean slate.

I've been inspired by some other blogs out there and will be taking steps to make this one a journal/gallery/shopping resource for many of my products. At least that is my vision at this point. Stay tuned to see what actually transpires!

In the meantime, the sidebar lists the stores, boutiques, and craft shows at which my trinkets and treasures can be found. Come and see me sometime!
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