Home and Garden: Let there be light

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Candles make a house a home

By Jill McLaughlin

Living on top of a mesa, and for many who have relocated to work in Los Alamos, sometimes finding small ways to reconnect with home can make a difference.

Filling a house with photos and memories can help. Scents from your childhood and a neighborhood garden can also work to fill in the new with the old.

Homesick Candles offers a candle for every state, each with layered notes meant to stir olfactory memories of the purchaser’s hometown.

To see how close to home these reach, I check into New Mexico’s candle. The description says it is filled with scents of chile pepper, cactus and spicy notes of clove, bay and nutmeg. They also add in cedar, sandalwood and musk. Hard to say if these would hit the scent on the nose, but it sounds interesting.

I have also lived in Oregon, so I took a peak at that one. The Oregon candle sounded more spot-on, with maple, pears, roasted almonds, fir needles, pine, sandalwood, vanilla, musk and cedar.  

They offer a candle for each of the 50 states and several cities.

The company also offers memory candles, including its First Kiss, New Job and Friday Night Football candles.

Check out this eclectic shop at homesickcandles.com.

The white candles are all-natural, hand-poured soy wax and made in the U.S. They also come in colorful and cute boxes, which make for perfect gifts. They burn up to 80 hours and weigh 13.75 ounces. The cost can vary but on the company’s website, the price for a state candle is $29.95 before shipping.

Another trend I have loved lately is the wooden wick candle. These crackle like a wood fire when they burn. This is a trifle pleasure, but wonderfully satisfying when drinking tea and reading a book in my favorite overstuffed chair.

These candles can be found many places. Try visiting Pinterest for ideas, or woodwick.yankeecandle.com.

For those who want to keep up with the latest in home trends, the National Candle Association is tracking a few hot ideas to follow.  

Creating an experience by pairing candles and home colors is a big trend this year, according to the association. My mother sent me Chesapeake Bay’s “Balance+Harmony” candle from Amazon.com last year and this candle was a winner. The aroma is a combination of pear and peach blend and fit perfectly in my small living space to inspire relaxation after the holidays.

The hottest color and candle scent pairs are white and vanilla, brown and oriental or woodsy, green and fruity or gourmand, blue and ocean or blueberry, pink and citrus or flowery, red and spicy, and yellow and tropical.

Second on the list for trends is making a statement with iridescent candles or flashy candle holders. Add a pop of color to any room with a flashy candle, like Living Coral, the 2019 Pantone Color of the Year, the association suggests.

Connecting with nature is also a hit with candle fans in 2019. I recently went to Albuquerque for a haircut and the place was burning one of their newest candles. The minute I stepped inside the glass doors at the Nob Hill shop, the woodsy-pine aroma sent me back 20 years, and I was hiking through the trees along the Columbia River Gorge.

Pairing the scent of nature with a candle that also focuses on sustainability or uses recycled materials is also big with candle fans this year.

One company that I recently discovered is James & Maria Organics Co. This couple makes hand-poured soy creations in Texas and they have become one of my all-time favorites. The company’s mission is to give 20% of its profits each year to those less fortunate around the world.

“We raise thousands of dollars a year plus give 20% of our profits to help educate under privileged kids in third world countries by giving them uniforms, materials and means of transportation,” according to the website.

Beyond the knowledge that my money will go to a good cause, the scents are organic, clean and quickly fill a room. My favorite is the Fresh Cut Gardenia, but they also sell many others, including Pumpkin Spice Latte, Tonka Bean, Ancient Sedona and “A Shave and A Haircut.”

They sell their bright white candles in simple glass jars with screw top black lids in a 12-ounce size. The simplicity of the product is another reason I love them. They can periodically be found at Tuesday Morning, but also visit the company site at jamesmariaorganicco.com to buy direct.

And to round off the list of trends this year, candle makers are also pushing the bounds of prim and proper to come up with trendy and unusual aromas.

The newest experience candle in the Homesick Candle lineup is the “Four Twenty” candle, created to help spark up memories of “long nights filled with deep conversation and laughter, outdoor concerts in the park and summer days in the sand. A cloudy room, drifting to the tune of your favorite album. Light it up and don’t worry about a thing.” The candle has scents of cannabis, bergamot and cedarwood.

Other makers are marketing barbecue-smelling candles, champagne fragrance, the smell of old books (frostbeardstudio.com), snuggly sweater (Home Scents), and a bacon and bourbon candle (silverdollarcandle.com).

Whether the mood invites light hints of orchids or the vanilla aroma of bacon and cigars, just remember to be safe and don’t leave a candle burning unattended or near anything that can catch fire. For candle safety tips, visit candles.org/fire-safety-candles/candle-safety-rules.