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Light up the night with ice candles

Kneeshaw-LightPic.jpgThis Christmas season, try a craft that requires only water, a balloon, a candle and our Manitoba winter.

To make these ice candles, fill a 12-inch balloon quite full with water, being sure to leave a bit of air in the balloon as you tie it off. Set the balloon in a plastic-lined bowl and put outside on a cold night. After about 12 hours, bring in, puncture the balloon, and using a sharp knife, break through the ball at the top where the air bubble is. The ice seems to be thinner under the air bubble. Pour the water out of the middle and you have an ice ball into which a candle may be placed.

One mistake I made was to pack newspaper around the balloon to stabilize it. The paper insulated the water and the ice was too thin on the sides.

Another failure resulted when I tried to use a hammer to break through the top and the ball cracked in two. Tap a sharp knife into the top — it works better! Make a hole big enough to fit your hand so you can position the candle.

I like to line the bowl with plastic so the balloon does not freeze to the bowl. The ice balls will often freeze onto cement or wooden steps so keep plastic under them until you are sure of where you wish to place them.

If you do not want to be lighting candles all the time, place outdoor LED Christmas lights inside the balls and turn them upside down. Then place some greenery around them to finish off the decoration.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

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