In our home, we are preparing for Candlemas. The name Candlemas comes from the tradition of churches blessing their candles for the coming year. There are more religious aspects to this festival, but I like to focus on the seasonal ones. On February 2nd (yes, also Groundhog’s Day) we will be at the midway point between winter solstice and spring equinox. Candlemas is a time when we have the promise of the light returning fulfilled and we prepare to welcome spring. This is also when hibernating animals come out of their slumber to test the weather outside. Spring cleaning comes into play as we clear out our old winter decorations and debris to make way for spring’s new growth. Of course, there’s the making of candles! Be it melting down old stumps into new candles, or creating new ones to use during the year for your family.
Spring cleaning has been going on here in small, simple ways. I do what I can with my little helpers and they enjoy working alongside me. Most of our cleaners are some mix of vinegar, baking soda, water, and essential oil. If you want to keep it even more simple, just give your child a wet rag and let them wipe down whatever surface they please. My children also love to sweep and point out any spots that I miss when I’m cleaning. Ahem.
Yesterday, the kids and I did some wet on wet watercolor paintings to use for star lanterns. I usually only put out one color to share, but for this occasion I put out three. It was a bit more hectic with all the color changing, dipping, and rinsing. The youngest hardly got any paint on his paper due to all the dilution from the cleaning water. When painting for the purpose of star lanterns, I would warn to not dilute your watercolor paints too much. The more vivid the colors, the more beautifully your lantern will glow. I went back and repainted my own paper after I had made lanterns from the boys’ paintings. They are eager to make more lanterns, so I’ll let them use stronger colors on our next round.
I have to admit the photos are a bit misleading. In the second photo, I show a votive candle. The final photo of the lantern lit, is with a tea light candle. The tea light is more appropriate for this project as the votive is just a bit tall. I just didn’t think to go back and take a photo with the tea light unlit.
If you’d like to make your own star lanterns, there are two excellent tutorials that I know of. I started with this one. I like the way she does the second set of 1/2 page folds by folding the paper over to wrong side facing down. It helps the final shaping along really well. However, I couldn’t figure out the final steps from her tutorial, so I switched over to this one and was finally able to get it! The first blog is down with the exception of the tutorial. The second blog, Home Baked, is lovely and worth checking out beyond the tutorial.