I find this time of year to be a bit depressing. Those of us in the northern hemisphere are still having some of the shortest days of the year, yet we have stored away all that remains of the various “festivals of lights”, which make dark and dreary December so joyful. So I thought that Dora and I could focus on making a bit more of our own light to help get us through the next two months of winter doldrums and cabin fever. The first project I chose for us to do was to decorate some pillar candles with Stockmar decorating wax. Having worked with Stockmar modeling wax quite a bit, I did not think to look up how to do this project. The wax was much stiffer and thinner than the modeling wax, so I got the impression that we should use punches, our nails, and knives to cut out shapes, which we pressed on to our candles. Dora and I made the candle above together, which Dora designed and I cut out the wax for. The design is of Dora and I in a boat at nighttime. Dora wants it to be known to everyone that she is actually the larger person in the boat. I’m sure Freud would have a jolly day psychoanalyzing that one, but I opted to smile and say “sounds good to me!”.
After we made these candles and I had a moment to do some follow up research and assess what went well and what went not-so-well with this craft project, I learned that the candle decorating wax can be manipulated more like the modeling wax than I realized. It can be cut and punched, but we probably should have warmed the wax a bit more, before trying to apply it to the pillars, so that it would have blended in a bit more. I also saw in the book, Crafts Through the Year, where people actually used knitting needles and other pointed objects to blend the wax in to the pillar, such that it ends up looking like the candle had been painted (the approach is much like needle felting). They even managed to have the wax color fade in and out, which I found to be very impressive. I definitely want to try this project again, as does Dora.
Unexpectedly, Dora has gotten the most joy from lighting these candles and roasting marshmallows over them to make s’mores (with adult supervision, of course). Our fireplace uses natural gas and has a glass screen in front of it, we have no fire pit, and never go camping, so this was actually her first experience with roasting marshmallows. Some of our older kids/young adults even got in on the marshmallow-roasting action! Really, who can resist roasted marshmallows (except for those of us who were missed out because we weren’t home when the action was going on – no I’m not bitter at all, just because I haven’t had a real s’more in years and years, why would I be bitter?!?!).