A trip to Costco last night had me shaking my head and muttering “bah humbug”. There are already rows and rows of tacky gift baskets, lawn reindeer and holiday lights. Lots and lots and lots of lights. Retailers are trying to
separate me from my money “get in the spirit of the season” and I’m not buying it. I will not even think about Christmas when I have not yet savored Canadian Thanksgiving, Halloween, Dios de los Muertos or Good Ole’ American Thanksgiving. I want fall to tiptoe in with all of its color, aroma and flavor.
I need to be seduced into the season with mood lighting. Instead of buying a new candle, I love this festive DIY. One of my hippie-dippy-granola friends showed me how to do this years ago but I was only reminded of it after seeing this on YouTube and something similar on Pinterest. All you need is a mandarin orange or clementine, vegetable oil, cloves and a sharp knife.
Slice the mandarin around the skin’s equator. Gently remove the fruit ( you may need to use a spoon to separate it from the skin). Try to keep the center pith attached to one half of the mandarin, this will be your wick.
Add 2 tablespoon vegetable oil to the mandarin half with the pith wick. I used some olive oil that was already past its prime. No need to use anything fancy.
If you break the pith because you’re a brute like me, don’t worry. Open the fruit and pull out a piece of the center pith. Dip the pith in the oil and finesse the pith to stand up in the oil, you may have to bend it . Cut a vent in the top half of the mandarin. Cut the vent large enough so that the flame does not burn the top. Stud the mandarin with cloves to increase the yumminess of the fragrance as the tea light burns.
My tea lights burned for about an hour and a half with a 1 inch wick and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. If your wick is difficult to light, you may need to dip the tip in a little more oil. Or you can try letting the skin/pith air dry for several hours before adding the oil for a quicker light. Place the mandarin tea light on a heat safe plate. Do not leave tea lights unattended while burning.
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