how to: make tea-tin candles

I have this horrible tendency to hang on to way too many things, vintage tea tins being one of them. Which is why, in the course of the past week, my kitchen has been transformed into a veritable tea tin candle-making factory. If you, too, find yourself in a last-minute gift-making frenzy, here’s the how-to.


 Miscellaneous vintage tea tins—all of mine were from thrift stores, where you can find them easily, priced anywhere from 25 cents to $2.

 Microwavable soy wax—a four-pound box of microwavable soy wax ($10 at Michaels’s with a coupon) flakes made three average-sized tea tin candles.

Wicks of the extra-large variety (tea tins are pretty big in diameter, so you need a fat wick)—also available at Michael’s

Silicone chalk (for the tins that are not water-tight)

Wick holders (optional)

Newspaper (not optional)



1. Test your tins. Fill your tins with water to see if they leak. If you find some are not water-tight, seal the inside bottom rim, corners and sides with a silicon chalk. Do not be an eager beaver and skip this step! (Unless scraping a counter-full of wax off with an old credit card sounds fun—then by all means, skip away!) Follow chalk dry time instructions before moving on to step two.

2. Cover your work space with newspaper. (Again, please learn from my mistakes!) Center your wicks in the middle of your tins, making sure the bottom of the wick is flush with the base of the tin. I prefer to use wick holders to accomplish this. (If you don’t want to buy holders, you can dip the bottom of the wick in melted wax and then stick/center in the bottom of the tin.)

3. Melt your wax—fun! I melted four-plus cups at a time in my glass liquid measuring cup. Four cups took about 4-5 minutes to melt entirely, quite a bit longer than the box o’ wax predicted. If you have a thermometer to test the temperature (per package instructions), feel free to do so. I did not and everything worked out just fine.

4. Fill your tins on up with wax, but not all the way up, just close to it. Wicks will need adjusting after you pour the wax; this is totally normal. It’s also normal to run out of wax before a tin is full. Just get going on nuking the next batch right away and add it when it’s done.

5. Leave your tins alone for 45 minutes to an hour. Go watch a Golden Girls episode, read a magazine or take pictures of your cat…I’m not one to judge.

6. After an hour or so has passed, poke a few holes near the wick, going all the way to the bottom of the tin. This allows air to escape and makes for a more evenly topped candle. Top off your candles with a little more wax.

7. Leave them alone again, this time for a while. In a few hours time…boom. Tea tin candles are ready to go. Cozy on up and enjoy your handiwork.



holiday how-to: apple-cinnamon infused jameson

Hi there, and happy Monday!

You can disagree all you want, but in my opinion, homemade Christmas presents are the most fun, both to give and receive. Which explains why this recipe for infused whiskey caught my eye when I spotted it a few months back. Who wouldn’t love to get a wee bit of spicy whiskey in the middle of a dead-cold Minnesota winter? I sure as heck would! Anyway, with Thanksgiving coming up, I figured this past weekend was probably a good time to get a’going on making this, especially since it takes a couple of weeks to infuse.


5 one liter bottles of Jameson Irish Whiskey

3-6 cinnamon sticks

6 Granny Smith apples

6 apples of another variety (Braeburn, McIntosh, Honeycrisp, Jonagold)

A large glass or ceramic container(s) for storing


1. Pour bottles of Jameson into a container.

2. Add cinnamon sticks and sliced apples. Cover.

3. Infuse for 12-18 days depending on exposure to heat/light.

4. After infusing, strain and pour back into original bottle or into gift-able bottles or jars.

To make an apple-y hot toddy, mix 1-2 shots of the infused Jameson and hot apple cider in a mug. So stinking good!

This recipe was created by A.J. Crotty, manager of Charlie’s Irish Pub in Stillwater, Minnesota and will appear in the winter 2011 issue of Minnesota Meetings + Events magazine.

I hope your Monday’s are off to lovely starts, my dears!