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    Getting the Most From Your Candles

    By Sharon Jacobsen

    I love burning candles. I have them all around the house. Long ones, short ones, fat ones and thin ones, in all different colours, and in lots of different holders. I burn them in the evening when I'm relaxing, I burn them at mealtimes, and I burn them in the bathroom. Any excuse to light a candle really!

    But candles don't always fit the holder, and sometimes they burn down too far and the wax gets stuck! It's at those times that candles aren't quite as much fun!

    Here are some candle burning tips I've picked up through the years:

    - Cold candles will burn slower. Pop candles into the fridge for an hour before lighting them, but wrap them in foil or cling-film first to prevent the wicks from absorbing moisture.

    - When burning pillar candles, let them burn long enough each time to create a pool of wax that almost covers the diameter of the candle. This will ensure that the candle burns evenly each time you light it. If it doesn't create a large enough pool you'll end up with a tunnel through the candle and eventually it will either melt through one side, or you'll no longer be able to light it.

    - Never stand a lit candle in a draft. Drafts create a larger flame and uneven burning.

    - Never expose candles to sunlight or indoor spotlights. They will fade the colour, and if left for too long, the candles will bend.

    - If your candle is too slim to fit snugly into the holder, wrap cooking foil or tissue paper around the bottom of the candle to make the base thicker. Don't worry, the tissue paper won't burn even if you do allow the candle to burn right down into the holder, as the melted wax will soak the paper. But it's never a good idea to allow candles to burn right down; they should be extinguished when they're about 2 inches over the holder.

    - If you have allowed the candle to burn right down and the wax is stuck in the holder, put the holder into the freezer for a couple of hours and the wax should be easier to dig out.

    - If you like votive candles, try to buy the type that have metal cases as these are easy to remove from holders after use. If you only have the uncovered type, pour some water into the holder before lighting the candle. When it's extinguished and the wax has hardened, it should be easier to pop it out of the container.

    - Spilled wax should be allowed to solidify. Once hard, cover the area with brown paper and gently press with a warm iron. The wax will be absorbed into the paper.

    - Extinguish candles by pushing the wick into the liquid wax (don't use your fingers!). Leave for about a minute, then re-center the wick. Using this technique both eliminates smoking from the extinguished wick and covers the wick with a layer of wax making re-lighting easier.

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