Friday, December 2, 2011

Candle Making 101

       It was years before I realized not everyone's dad made candles and did the Christmas decorating. The candle making process was quite an ordeal, if I was my mom I think I would have killed him for the mess he generated. Follow along with the process, you may want to make you own! Prior to Christmas mom would save large, medium and small milk cartons, as many as she thought dad would need.

      First step, you load up your 6 year old pigtailed daughter in the truck and head to the hardware store ... this is the only store my dad new how to find. Once there you purchase boxes of paraffin (yes, boxeS) they came 4 or 6 bars per box and dad made a lot of candles. You also buy some heavy white kite string and glitter, lots of glitter - the more glitter the bigger mess one can make.

     After you assemble your supplies you head to the kitchen, the heart of a woman's home, oh man now it's going to get really messy. You get a big pot and throw in all the paraffin to melt. Meanwhile dad's assistant - mom is spreading newspapers on every available space and setting the assorted milk cartons in position for the "pour." Carefully daddy would lift the pot of hot wax off the stove and pour it into the various cartons until it was gone. Guess who gets to clean the pot? Yep, Dort, that's what daddy loving called her. Dort he would say "here's the pot." How she got the wax out of there I have no idea, but she did, year after year!

    The kite string has been tied to cut up coat hangers the length of the cartons and dropped into the cooling wax, after all, every good candle needs a wick! Now they are ready for the fridge. In the cartons went to set up and get hard. While this is being done dad began mess #2. Remember the big pot? Ya, well it's on the stove again and he's melting more paraffin, just enough for a certain amount of candles. Once it's melted blue, red or green food coloring goes into pot, these are the colors of all our candles ... every year.
The pot would come off the stove and the whipping begins, BIG mess. It was fun for me to watch as the liquid began to turn frothy like whipped cream as the process evolved. Meanwhile mom is tearing the cartons away from the set candle blocks getting them ready to be frosted. Quickly daddy would begin frosting the candles with the frothy mixture, they reminded me of lemon meringue pies that grandma would make!
          Step #3 - While the wax was still warm the glitter would be flying and hopefully some would actually land on the candle. This was an assembly line event. Mom and dad did this dance around each other, both knowing what their roll was in making the magic happen for Christmas. I'm guessing here but I I think there were a minimum of 12 candles once they were done.
          After daddy was done and left the kitchen it was up to mom to clean up after him. Hardened wax everywhere, food coloring, torn boxes and lets not forget the GLITTER. I don't ever remembering my mom complaining about it, she just cleaned it up and got ready for the next event - cutting up the "extra" pine tree for decorative uses. Tomorrow's story, where do all those candles go????

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