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Archive for the ‘Ah, Show Me Everything!’ Category

FYI:  We’ll be at the Paranormal Expo at Fort William Henry in Lake George on July 2 and 3, 2011.  Come and meet us!  There are lots of novelty scents specially made for this event to check out.  We’ll also have some of our newest summer scents.  So, look for the Country Wickhouse Candles table!

Chances are that at least once in our lives, as children, teenagers, or adults, many of us have been involved in some kind of magical or paranormal experience.  And guess what?  Chances are just as high that a candle played a role in one way or another—in the room, on the table or floor, in the clearing or basement.  I’d bet a dollar there was a candle somewhere in the vicinity (if you were doing it right, that is).  Whether it be a pair of high school students in front of the mirror in the upstairs bathroom with the lights out and a candle burning, trying to summon Bloody Mary, or a dozen grown men and women in Madame Zustra’s den trying to call forth the spirits of dead relatives in the throes of a séance, candles are necessary for paranormal activity.  Why?  Believe me, I’m no expert, but as our candle shop grows and we come into contact with many different types of people and personalities, I continue to learn how relevant and ingrained the human connection to candles is, both historically and presently.  There are seriously a million uses for these things!  And we’re not just talking about having a resource to help light our world when the power goes out and leaves us in the dark.  No, candles provide much more meaning to our existence than many of us even know.  

The use of candles in magical ritual or paranormal play, no matter how dangerous, dates back farther than anyone cares to remember.  It seems only logical that candles were initially used in the absence of electricity and the light bulb, but as time moved forward, people continued to use candles despite the technological advances of the day.  You see, candles offer a certain degree of simplicity and warmth that you can’t get by using your iPod to light up a séance table.  Moreover, the candle’s inherent connection to the earth and her elements is universal and timeless.  Besides, candles are just so much spookier than flashlights and laser beams.  

Candle magic is becoming more and more popular as ghost hunting and the fascination with all things paranormal skyrockets.  (Even I’m obsessed with SyFy’s Ghost Hunters!)  The truth is, candles enhance the overall effect of any paranormal activity, primarily because the flame serves as a point of focus or meditation, whereas the actual color of the wax has meaning and can stimulate certain areas of the subconscious mind.  The same applies to scent, which we already know has the power to affect moods, recall memories, and put us in touch with the most ancient part of the brain (see “Man, That Smells…Good!” below).  It is also believed that by adding certain crushed herbs to candles, one might invoke specific feelings or powers.  For more information on the significance of colors and scents in candle magic or other paranormal ventures (like séances, 100 candles, and the like) do what I did:  Look it up on the Internet.  You wouldn’t believe how much knowledge related to this stuff is out there!  

From a purely commercial point of view, we experience our best soy candle sales during the Halloween season and then again in early summer.  Tapping into my extensive knowledge of mythology and ancient religions, I know why this is and am thankful for things like solstices and pagan holidays, especially as a candle maker.  And we take great pains to offer the colors and scents that might be of use to many practitioners of magic or seekers of the paranormal, as well as to regular customers who just want to experience a great scent.  

(Note:  Soy candles, all-natural to the core, seem to be better “spirit batteries” than paraffin candles.  We’re just sayin’…in case you were wondering.)

And by the way, all of our candles are blessed for protection…Call it a mark of the double lives we at the little candle shop known as Country Wickhouse Candles live.  After all, we want to reach everyone, dead or alive!

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For many of us, this weather map is a reminder that we’re still well within the throes of winter. In case you haven’t heard, up here in Northern New York, we’re due for a doosey. Some of you may have already gotten, or are just getting the snow. Either way, the National Weather Service promises us that this latest winter storm will amount to something like a “2100 mile swath of one-foot snow potential” from Oklahoma City to Portland, Maine. Great…more snow. It’s being considered, as The Weather Channel so eloquently puts it, “a multi-day, multi-region potentially historic and destructive winter storm,” that just might affect the lives of one-third of the population of the United States, or about 100 million people.

You know, it’s about this time of year that most of us are wishing again for the pleasantness of spring flowers or the comfort of summer sunsets. But since, as I must continue to remind myself, it’s only February, we all can make the best of it. Why not drop by Country Wickhouse Candles and take a look at our winter scents? Out autumn scents are still up, too, because fall fragrances are popular even throughout winter. We have to move these candles out in order to clear our shelves for the new spring scents that we’ll be posting at our store come April 1. And we’d really like to move something other than snow for awhile.

So, go ahead and take a good, long look at that weather map again, then imagine yourself snuggled up in the living room, bedroom, or den by a warm fire or near the heater, sipping a mug of cocoa and watching the snow fall down the windowpanes. And what’s that burning softly on the coffee table, on the mantle or hearth? Well, now, it looks to me like an all-natural soy candle from Country Wickhouse Candles. Pretty good image, don’t you think? Ordering is easy and secure; just use this LINK, purchase what you want, and let us do the rest. Piece of cake. And never worry…cabin fever has made us even more efficient in getting our orders out.

Hope you stop by because we’ve got a bunch of reasons to make you smile. And, hey, this winter will end, eventually…

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We debated whether we should post the newly released photograph of Jared Lee Loughner, the alleged gunman who killed six and injured 14 in Tucson, Arizona on Saturday.  Initially, we posted it, but have since removed the mug shot.  You can view the disturbing image here, and come to your own conclusions.  We’ve never been ones for controversy, or confrontation for that matter, and we certainly do not want our blog to become a political forum, but that face haunts us.  That face has become a mask of hate, a symbol of how far political rhetoric can push a single individual to lethally attack defenseless people because he believes, and has been made to believe, that our government aims to strip him of his civil rights.  That face is contrary to the ideals and principles that we hold dear.

Loughner’s apparent mental illness, no doubt, exacerbated his paranoia, but the seeds of hate had already been sown in him by the popular media and careless political leaders.  At 22 years of age, he had not only the time to let it all sink in, but also the capacity to make some sort of sense of it.  There will be those who will argue that Loughner was not, or is not, mentally capable of making the distinction between rhetoric and action, that he is incapable of interpreting what he hears and instead lives in a literal world.  But what is he or any other impressionable young person supposed to understand when they hear one of the most visible female politicians of our era instruct her followers not to retreat, but to reload?  Somewhere along the line, the idea took hold that our basic civil liberties are on the verge of disappearing into the mouth of some massive government machine, and we continue to be cursed by its negative innuendo and less subtle calls to “second amendment” modes of action.

Some claim that the negative, paranoia-inducing rhetoric is coming from the far right.  Perhaps it spawned there, but now, unfortunately, it’s everywhere.  Hate groups have formed that don’t know the difference between the left and right, politically or directionally.  They only want to hate and will latch onto any idea that helps them to do so.  It’s a horrifying notion to think that the claims hate groups and other radicals live by are coming from political leaders and multi-billionaire newscasters.  When one says, “This president…has a deep-seated hatred for white people,” the other counters with, “…all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson.”  Where is the accountability, and how do these people sleep at night?  Limbaugh tells us, “We need segregated buses…This is Obama’s America,” and Glenn Beck, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, claimed that, “the only [victims] we’re seeing on television are the scumbags.”  And we need not forget the memorable words of a past vice presidential candidate and former Alaska governor, when she announced with glee, “Don’t retreat, reload.” 

But if we take a good, long look at Loughner’s face again, we finally come to terms with the fact that that face, like negative political rhetoric, doesn’t advance the American Dream, it destroys it.  That face doesn’t protect our civil rights, it threatens them.  That face doesn’t save lives, it ends them.  The proof?

  • Christina Taylor Green, 9, third-grader, student council member, deceased;
  • Gabe Zimmerman, 30, community outreach director, deceased;
  • John Roll, 63, US District Judge, deceased;
  • Dorothy Morris, 76, neighbor, secretary, deceased;
  • Dorwin Stoddard, 76, husband, savior, deceased;
  • Phyllis Schneck, 79, mother, grandmother, deceased;
  • And the 14 other victims lucky enough to have survived Loughner’s senseless rampage, and whose lives have been scarred forever. 

Jared Lee Loughner now sits in an Arizona jail wanting us to believe that he is a victim, that our government is manipulating us, while US Representative Gabrielle Giffords, shot through the head at point-blank range, lies in a Tucson hospital bed learning how to scratch her nose again.  Look at Loughner’s face, then look at what we, as Americans, are allowing ourselves to become.  “Don’t retreat, reload.”  Seriously?  The rhetoric is misguided, dangerous, idiotic, and contagious. 

Sometimes it is very difficult to make someone smile.  But we’ll keep trying.  Like Fitzgerald wrote in The Great Gatsby, “To-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…And one fine morning—”

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What’s all of our holiday cheer worth, anyway?  How many dollar signs can we really hang on the season of gifts and giving? 

We were just chatting the other day at Country Wickhouse Candles about how commercial the holiday season has grown over the past decade.  Of course, this is an age-old dilemma and discussion; I remember my own parents complaining about how much things cost when I was a child.  But whether you embrace Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, or some other special holiday, there’s no doubt that sometimes all of us get caught up in the material world.  So, we went looking for a holiday message that might bring us back to the true meaning of this time of year, no matter what our religious or secular beliefs may be.  We hope that you enjoy Robert Frost’s classic poem, “Christmas Trees,” included below, and that you can share this message of friendship and meaning with your loved ones.  We’ve lit a candle for you here at the Wickhouse, and we want you to do the same in honor of all the good things in your life.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Country Wickhouse Candles!

 

Christmas Trees

Robert Frost
(1920)

 

THE CITY had withdrawn into itself
And left at last the country to the country;
When between whirls of snow not come to lie
And whirls of foliage not yet laid, there drove
A stranger to our yard, who looked the city,
Yet did in country fashion in that there
He sat and waited till he drew us out
A-buttoning coats to ask him who he was.
He proved to be the city come again
To look for something it had left behind
And could not do without and keep its Christmas.
He asked if I would sell my Christmas trees;
My woods—the young fir balsams like a place
Where houses all are churches and have spires.
I hadn’t thought of them as Christmas Trees.
I doubt if I was tempted for a moment
To sell them off their feet to go in cars
And leave the slope behind the house all bare,
Where the sun shines now no warmer than the moon.
I’d hate to have them know it if I was.
Yet more I’d hate to hold my trees except
As others hold theirs or refuse for them,
Beyond the time of profitable growth,
The trial by market everything must come to.
I dallied so much with the thought of selling.
Then whether from mistaken courtesy
And fear of seeming short of speech, or whether
From hope of hearing good of what was mine,
I said, “There aren’t enough to be worth while.”
“I could soon tell how many they would cut,
You let me look them over.”

“You could look.
But don’t expect I’m going to let you have them.”
Pasture they spring in, some in clumps too close
That lop each other of boughs, but not a few
Quite solitary and having equal boughs
All round and round. The latter he nodded “Yes” to,
Or paused to say beneath some lovelier one,
With a buyer’s moderation, “That would do.”
I thought so too, but wasn’t there to say so.
We climbed the pasture on the south, crossed over,
And came down on the north.
He said, “A thousand.”

“A thousand Christmas trees!—at what apiece?”

He felt some need of softening that to me:
“A thousand trees would come to thirty dollars.”

Then I was certain I had never meant
To let him have them. Never show surprise!
But thirty dollars seemed so small beside
The extent of pasture I should strip, three cents
(For that was all they figured out apiece),
Three cents so small beside the dollar friends
I should be writing to within the hour
Would pay in cities for good trees like those,
Regular vestry-trees whole Sunday Schools
Could hang enough on to pick off enough.
A thousand Christmas trees I didn’t know I had!
Worth three cents more to give away than sell,
As may be shown by a simple calculation.
Too bad I couldn’t lay one in a letter.
I can’t help wishing I could send you one,
In wishing you herewith a Merry Christmas.

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Country Wickhouse Candles wishes you and yours the very best this holiday season!  We spend the year interacting with some of the most creative, interesting, and supportive customers there are, many of whom are just discovering the joys and advantages of soy candles.  So, in honor of our customers and people all around the world, we’d just like to take this chance to tell you how much we appreciate all of you, and to express glad tidings for the new year. 

We’d also like to pause a moment to remind you of the benefits of burning soy candles, just in case you’re thinking about taking advantage of the great gifts soy candle products make…

  • For starters, soy wax is safe and biodegradable.  It’s made from pure, 100% natural botanical oils with a soybean base.
  • Environmentally friendly, soy candles promote the growth and care of the environment by using plants, a renewable resource.  So remember, when you’re enjoying soy candles, you’re supporting America’s farmers!
  • Soy candles burn at least 50% longer than candles made from paraffin wax, and produce about 90% less soot than paraffin candles. Soy wax is a favorite of environmentally conscious people because it’s not made from petroleum, like paraffin candles, thus there is virtually no soot or smoke generated through the use of soy candles. The incorporation of soybean oil lowers the melting point of the candle, which translates into cooler burning candles and faster scent dispersion throughout an entire room or area.
  • Unlike paraffin wax, soy wax can be removed from furniture, carpets, clothing, and other surfaces simply by using hot soapy water.  
  • And don’t forget, soy wax is also a great natural skin moisturizer!  Rub what’s left of your soy candle wax into dry skin and cuticles. 

If you’re thinking about giving the gift of soy this holiday season, Country Wickhouse Candles has just posted their WINTER scents online.  Below are some quick descriptions of each scent to help you choose from all of our wonderful scents!

  • Bayberry – Bayberry is a signature favorite for the holidays.  Enjoy this woodsy scent infused with sweet berry notes.
  • Christmas Tree – Christmas morning comes to life all throughout the holidays and winter with this delightful pine aroma.  Spruce notes are combined with subtle wood tones to create this smooth yet strong scent.
  • Christmas Cookies – Made with sugar and vanilla, these tasty cookies are fresh from the oven.  You’ll want to enjoy warm, delicious sugar cookies after lighting this candle!
  • Cranberry Citrus – A blend of cranberries, red grapefruit, tangerine, orange, lemon, and lime, this delightfully classic mix is sure to wake up your senses this holiday season! 
  • Eggnog – Enjoy the classic aroma of this traditional rich and creamy holiday cup.  This fragrance is swirling with pleasant scents of sugar, milk, cream, and light rum. 
  • Gingerbread – Our gingerbread candles combine warm vanilla and spice notes to recreate the pleasant scent of homemade gingerbread cookies.
  • Sugar Plums & Berries – Lose yourself in this dreamy combination of plum, raspberry, pear, and clove scents!
  • Spiced Pear – Spice up your holidays or any day with the aroma of juicy pears, brown sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, and a touch of cinnamon.
  • Under the Mistletoe – Who’s that kissing underneath the mistletoe?  Sweet berries and green apples come together with the festive scent of Siberian pine needles.  Enjoy subtle notes of fir needle, cedarwood, fir balsam, and tree moss, too!
  • Winter Wonderland – Surround yourself with the peacefulness of fresh snow, festive lights, and cozy winter spices!  Indulge in warm notes of cinnamon, clove, vanilla musk, and mulberry with hints of fir balsam, pine, and cedar.

And don’t forget our entire line of AUTUMN scents, the list of which is still available on our website.  These scents include Candy Corn, Caramel Apple, Country Cider, Fireside, Football Field, Happy Harvest, Hot Cocoa, Nutty Banana Bread, Pumpkin Latte, and Pumpkin Pie.  For complete scent details, check out the website at Country Wickhouse Candles.  And, of course, all our COUNTRY scents are available throughout the year on the website as well, so take your pick!

Once again, Happy Holidays from Country Wickhouse Candles!  May all your days be filled with happiness and blessings!

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Every now and then, we get questions at Country Wickhouse Candles about our “production model,” or the process by which our candles are made.  I’d invite anyone interested in watching our manufacturing process to drop by our megalithic, six-story, 90,000-square-foot factory, but we don’t have one.  True, we are remodeling a studio apartment space above our garage so we can move our operation out of the kitchen and into its own space, but you won’t find a Country Wickhouse factory or plant anywhere in the world.

So what does this mean?  It means exactly what our website claims about Country Wickhouse Candles:  Handmade, hand-poured, all-natural soy candles.  Every candle you order from us has been handled multiple times by an actual human being.  And we can do even better than that—your candle order has been handled by only two people, me or my wife.  Wax is melted, scent is pitched, and dye is added all on the white Whirlpool electric range in our kitchen.  Tins and molds are filled and wicks are pinned on the counter next to the double-basin kitchen sink.  Wax is set and released with the aid of the freezer in our Kenmore side-by-side refrigerator.  All very technical and impersonal, right?  Unfortunately, machines and robots can’t make a handmade, hand-poured, all-natural soy candle intended to leave our country kitchen and live in the warmth of your home, no matter what the container looks like.  We don’t care what Yankee, Party Lite, or Scentsy want you to believe.  It’s impossible to mass produce personality.

In the end, one thing is resoundingly true:  Every Country Wickhouse candle, from the label, to the packaging, to the soy product, is carefully, thoughtfully, and personally created, not in a “production model,” but in our kitchen.

Keep smiling…We are! 

P.S.  We’ll post pictures of our new “factory” for our grand opening.  Our 90,000-square-foot plans had to be cut down to 680 square feet due to budget concerns!

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Interesting and fun facts about candles aren’t exactly the subject of Trivial Pursuit or the evening news, but there are some very intriguing pieces of knowledge associated with the commodity nonetheless.  Seriously.  Just the other day, I was browsing the National Candle Association (NCA) website (yes, there really is such a thing, and at Country Wickhouse Candles, it’s kind of our job to keep abreast of industry news) and I happened across a page full of facts and figures related to candles and the candle industry.  You wouldn’t believe, for instance, how much candles are intertwined with our very existence.  I know, that sounds extreme, but it’s true.  You can check it out for yourself on the very page I read, or you can read on.  For your convenience, which is most important to us, I’ve listed some of these facts below, taken directly from the NCA website (this statement and its corresponding link reflect my best attempt at a citation via a blog article).  Truly, you’ll be amazed.

Did you know…?

  • Candles are used in 7 out of 10 U.S. households.
  • Manufacturer surveys show that 90% of all candles are purchased by women.
  • Candle industry research indicates that the most important factors affecting candle sales are scent, color, cost, and shape.
  • Candles are principally sold in three types of retail outlets:  Specialty or gift shops; department and home décor stores; mass merchandisers (discount stores, drug store chains, grocery stores, etc.).
  • Approximately 35% of candle sales occur during the Christmas/Holiday season. Non-seasonal business accounts for approximately 65% of candle sales.
  • More than 1 billion pounds of wax are used in producing the candles sold each year in the U.S.
  • Consumers are increasingly purchasing candles as a focal point for their home décor, and for aromatherapy-like relaxation and stress reduction.
  • Fragrance is by far the most important characteristic impacting candle purchases today, with three-fourths of candle buyers saying it is “extremely important” or “very important” in their selection of a candle.
  • The majority of U.S. consumers use their candles within a week of purchase.
  • Nine out of ten candle users say they use candles to make a room feel comfortable or cozy.
  • Candle users say they most frequently burn candles in the living room (42%), followed by the kitchen (18%), and the bedroom (13%).
  • Approximately one in five women says they use candles to decorate the yard, patio, or other exterior areas, as well as the interior of their home.
  • Both men and women consider candles to be an always-acceptable and highly appreciated gift for a wide variety of occasions.
  • Candle purchasers say they view candles as an appropriate gift for the holidays (76%), as a house warming gift (74%), a hostess/dinner party gift (66%), a thank you (61%), and as adult birthday gifts (58%).

Interesting, huh?  Just when you thought you knew a lot about candles…If these facts and figures have piqued your interest or inspired your warmer side, stop by our candle shop and take a look around.  You can find us on the web here (click the link). 

Thanks for reading!  We hope to see you browsing our soy candle products!

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