In a Vase on Monday: Windin’ the Candle

IMG_3727The material for today’s post was in the balance until yesterday afternoon until I finally decided to leave the Paperwhites in the greenhouse for another week and reached the conclusion that the three buds optimistically picked from a lone Rudbeckia ‘Rustic Dwarf’ on Saturday were not going to open. Plan C was to be some sort of table decoration but I didn’t really want to go down the relatively easy holly and ivy route.

IMG_3730The beautiful stems of the three cornus that have been moved from pots to the new hedge border really glow at this time of year and make far more of a statement in their new home than they did before. Although still small plants, I was able to judiciously snip a few of the longer side stems from all three of them – C sericea ‘Flaviramea’, sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ and alba ‘Sibirica – and wound them around one of the glasses that I use to make candles (should have made the candle first of course!). Twigs of  twisted hazel Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’) and rose hip stems from ‘Parkdirektor Riggers’ were then woven vertically through the rings and a further three cornus stems plaited and tied into a ring as a prop.

The candle itself is made from soya wax and essential oils with fragrances vaguely chosen to give a Christmas ambience – mandarin, cinnamon, ginger and rosemary. Although the fragrance gives an ambience, the oils also have a therapeutic effect triggered by the olfactory nerves in the nose sending messages to the brain and this can be a physical, psychological, emotional, mental or spiritual benefit. When applied topically in a carrier oil as in massage or other hands-on therapies the effect is gained by absorption through the skin. Amongst other properties, mandarin is gentle and calming, cinnamon can ward off colds and flu and help alleviate depression and lethargy, ginger warms and strengthens the emotions and rosemary aids meditation whilst keeping the mind clear and alert. Although largely chosen intuitively, this all bodes well for a happy Christmas!

IMG_3729Taking advantage of a relatively bright day, the photographs were taken outside, using a starry fabric that forms a ‘runner’ on our table  during the Christmas season (on top of a red cloth with a tiny print of holly leaves) as a backdrop. The candle will burn for many hours in total as the soya wax melts to nothing,  at least 40 hours perhaps if the wick is trimmed after each use, and the subtle effect will linger even after the candle is extinguished – and all completely natural.

If you can find time to join the Vase on Monday meme today then please do – it is lovely to see what people can find in their gardens or forage from elsewhere, and today I am a little out of the box with the candle so remember it doesn’t actually have to be a ‘vase’. Just leave links to and from this post so we can share in your creation too – look forward to seeing you!


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34 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: Windin’ the Candle

  1. johnvic8 says:

    A most interesting idea, Cathy. I’ve been a bit too fastidious and have not left the rose hips. I’ll have to remember that next year. My weekly offering is at

  2. Well this is lovely and I love the idea of making my own candles….and I love using essential oils so this goes on the play list….I find making creative things is a form of play. And your display is so lovely and seasonal. You have given me much food for thought around this meme now.

    We had a foot of snow so I went out and foraged for lots of things to add to a vase….I like the look, but I need to think of some other ideas….I am pulling out a few new vases, but am not quite satisfied yet with my’s my link. Sorry it is long.

    • Cathy says:

      Hi Donna – if you would like any info on making the candles let me know. I always use them in my meditation groups or therapy sessions. Well done for looking out new vases – I still have so many I haven’t used yet – but it has to be the right vase for the material, doesn’t it?

  3. Pauline says:

    You have given your display a novel theme, I like it very much. I can almost smell your candle just thinking of all the lovely ingredients

  4. Jane Strong says:

    It is the time for candles, isn’t it?

  5. Elizabeth says:

    A lovely idea Cathy and if I had any rosehips in my garden I’d be copying it too. I haven’t been out in the garden for a few days now … fighting an infection … but still enjoying the vase I put together last Monday. Hope to participate next Monday all being well.

  6. Kris P says:

    You make your own candles! And scented ones at that. I’m impressed to say the least, especially when you add Cornus stems to the mix. Thanks for hosting through your winter season, Cathy. As today is also Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day, I merged that and my vase post this round:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks for your kind comments Kris. I did consider combining it with GBBD but it would have taken me too long to double up on the post and I don’t like to leave it too late to post my vase so others can link in.

  7. Chloris says:

    A lovely idea, both your home made scented candle and the novel use of Cornus stems. Very effective.
    I have joined in this week, I tend to pick flowers more in winter than I do in summer because I spend more time indoors. And of course it is more of a challenge.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Chloris – and I do like a good challenge. Throw down the gauntlet and who knows what I would do (sensible challenges only though…)

  8. Christina says:

    What a fun idea, I’ve only once made candles when I was looking after a godchild, I think. I remember it being a bit terrifying because of the hot wax and a smallish child. Love the sound of your naturally scented ones as I hate the chemical smell of most that you can buy and prefer to have unscented rather than nasty smelling ones. No vase from me today as I’m travelling, but if I’d been home I would have used the lovely Iris that I shared last week on wordless Wednesday so I hope you can imagine that in a vase with maybe some Elaeagnus foliage again. Hope to participate next week, if I arrive in time, if not I’ll do a late one. I really missed not doing a vase today and feel somehow cheated!

    • Cathy says:

      The soya wax is much safer to use, I would think. I wouldn’t have scented candles in the house at all if I hadn’t found out how easy it was to make these and then learned aromatherapy. Can’t stand the concept of artificial air fresheners! Mmm, I am imagining your hypothetical vase – lovely 🙂 Are you on your way to the UK now? Don’t forget to let me have your address so I can send those sunflower seeds – no white cosmos, I am afraid though 😦 Safe travelling! ps I know I would feel cheated too if I didn’t do a vase

  9. Julie says:

    I am so impressed that you can make candles Cathy – I love to have candles burning at this dark time of year but have never considered making my own! I love your use of cornus stems – I will make a note of that as I have a few bushes that are starting to settle in, but I have not cut from them yet. I also have a twisted hazel which is just about big enough to take a few twigs from and rose hips still on the bushes – so I might just copy the whole idea! Also I don’t think you have emailed me your address yet – if you send it to I will get that pot in the post to you.

    You can find my contribution for this week at

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Julie – I used the twisted hazel and the cornus several times in my early vases, and the cornus lasted from vase to vase, although won’t do this time now I have twisted it 😉 Will email you pronto!

  10. Amy says:

    Love the candle effect, Cathy, and the fabric runner is just right with it! I have to run along, but I DID manage to put a vase together this morning so here is the link:

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  12. Cathy says:

    That’s a lovely idea – seasonal too! I love the sound of that mix of essential oils in a candle. Something to try out perhaps… My vase today has a few rosehips in it too:
    Thanks Cathy!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Cathy – the rosehips add a splash of colour and come in such variations of stem pattern, doubles & singles & trebles. Lots more of them out there still too!

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  14. rickii says:

    That last photo puts me in such a cheerful, bouncy mood…lovely! Here’s mine:

  15. How wonderfully creative of you, Cathy! And your description of the candle’s scents and their benefits is great. I surprised myself by mustering up a bouquet today!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Kimberley – and I am pleased people found the information about the oils interesting. Apologies for being later than usual checking out your comment and vase

  16. Anna says:

    Oh how pretty and festive Cathy. I feel relaxed just reading your post. Would be interested in hearing how you make the candles. Maybe too late for this year but I have some friends who would appreciate such a seasonal gift.

  17. bittster says:

    Impressive! Homemade candles and such an innovative arrangement. I’m glad you didn’t go the ivy and holly route, but I’m likely to copy this idea, intentionally or not 🙂

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