Why I gave up candle making

Grandma Kc wrote this on January 17th, 2014 19 Replies

This is a special memory from my own childhood.

Up until now most of my childhood stories have been about when I was a little girl but I was inspired by my friend Lisa’s post about candles on Wednesday to fast forward to this one. I hope you don’t mind.

It was 1969; I was 19 and living in Hollywood with my mom, sister and my best friend. 1969 in Hollywood! One block north of Sunset Boulevard in this huge apartment!

That day I had the apartment to myself. I was making candles out of paraffin and using crayons to color the wax. That was very in back in the 60s. I had set a tin coffee can on the gas burner and had added a few slabs to start melting.

Meanwhile, I was also very in to embroidery. That was very in back in the 60s, too. I was in the middle of outlining this beautiful ram’s head on a friend’s pair of jeans. He was an Aries! I may have lost track of time working on it because when I stood up and looked over into the kitchen there was my little coffee can with this little flame coming up out of it!

I panicked! I completely panicked and everything I ever know about fire went flying out of my head. I threw a glass of water at it! I am pretty sure there was a loud boom! The flames were HUGE and there was lots of smoke! I ran to the hallway because I knew there was a fire hose out there – but I didn’t know how to get it out or what to do! I really was in panic mode. I turned and looked back into the apartment and my little flame had returned! This time I knew what to do and I grabbed a plate and put it on top of the coffee can. Oh and I turned off the burner, too! Hadn’t thought to do that.

I was feeling such relief; my mother would never have to know. When for some reason I looked up. There on the ceiling was most of my wax. It was in beautiful gray swirls, I guess because of the smoke. There was no way she wouldn’t notice. I used the step stool and a butter knife to try to scrape it all off. What a nightmare. I succeeded in getting a very sore neck but I sure didn’t get all of the wax off. In the end I think my mom took pity on me.

I gave up candle making after that.

19 thoughts on “Why I gave up candle making

  1. Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs

    How scary, Kc! Thank heavens you were okay and the fire didn’t grow further.

    I have a very similar story I’ll have to tell you sometime. The story of the FIRST time I attempted making wax tarts like those I wrote that post on… the time I learned, just like you, of the boom and wax explosion that occurs when throwing water onto candle-wax fires. Oh, the gray swirls on my kitchen ceiling are a faint yet powerful reminder. (Shhh… Don’t tell anyone.)

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      You mean I wasn’t the only one who panicked and threw water? I knew we were a lot alike! I would love to see your ceiling!

      Reply
  2. sarah christian

    Oh, wow, that is a scary situation, considering what could have happened if you had not been able to get the fire out! I am so relieved it turned out all right, and I could definitely see a mother feeling sorry that you had to go through such a frightening crisis. Life lessons are sometimes difficult! Thanks for sharing. Your write so beautifully!

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      The scariest part for me was knowing that if I burned down my mom’s kitchen she was going to be really mad. Never thought to be worried about my own safety!

      Reply
    2. Grandma Kc Post author

      The scariest part for me was knowing that if I burned down my mom’s kitchen she was going to be really mad. You really didn’t want to make her mad. Never thought to be worried about my own safety!

      Reply
  3. Sandy

    I never tried candle making, & it’s a good thing because I never knew about the explosion thing with wax! What a scary experience for you! So glad it all turned out ok.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      By the time you were 19 it wasn’t the crafty thing to do anymore. I am pretty sure it was making aprons for your big sister. A much safer thing to do!

      Reply
  4. Joyce

    Whew! So glad that story had a happy ending! I do remember when candle making was the “thing to do.” I made plenty of my own, but would never have known what to do in the event of a fire. I’d have gone for the water too! Yikes! Somebody had to be looking out for us both!

    Reply
  5. Sarah ~ Magnolia Surprise

    This is probably why I’ve never made candles — that and the fact that I can’t smell them anyway! Glad everything turned out OK with you — and that you didn’t get TOO much trouble with mom!

    Hollywood in the 60s! How yummy is that :)

    Reply
  6. Judy@grandparentsplus2

    I never tried to make candles but for many years I kept the better candle companies in business. Back in the early 1980′s I had a large candle lit on top of the old huge console TV. I suddenly looked at it and it had melted completely out of the holder and had run down the front and side of the cabinet. What a mess. Then when we moved to New England and into a a house that was built in 1840′s candles may come out at Christmas for decoration but they don’t see a flame.

    Reply
  7. Launna

    oh my goodness Kc, it’s lucky that you head took over and remembered to turn off the burner and cover the fire to get it to stop… just very lucky you were not injured… I think I would give up candle making too :)

    Reply
  8. Kristi

    Wow–that’s an exciting story!

    You know, I just remembered hearing an idea about having children or grandchildren illustrate our family stories. Amara is quite the artist–maybe she could illustrate your stories and you could compile them into a keepsake book! The colorful ceiling in this story would make a great picture.

    Reply
  9. debra@ HOMESPUN

    oh MY !!!!

    Well, I once started a fire in the oven. I’d put the pizza box in there ( with the pizza leftovers ) for a wee bit till I finished spring cleaning the kitchen…washing walls and such.

    Forgot ALL about it / turned the oven on to cook dinner later, it caught on fire / I used the fire extinguisher and guess who had to clean a lot again :)

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I can remember this big orange candle that looked like the face of the sun – I melted it on top of the TV!!

      Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      It just may happen but a bit safer this time. I got Amara a candle making kit for Christmas but it came with sheets of wax already colored – no melting involved!

      Reply

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