Handmade Holidays::Ice Luminarias

December 7, 2011

Holiday decorating is always a joy of the season, and I feel most connected to the rhythm of this time of year when I use natural materials to decorate, both inside and out.

I lived in the suburbs of Chicago from the time I was 6 until I was 12, and one of the our most treasured holiday traditions was to line our driveways (and sometimes streets) with brightly lit luminarias on Christmas Eve. It looked so magical as we would drive away to midnight mass, and it embodied the return of the light that this season celebrates.

This year we are hosting a winter solstice/advent spiral in our home, and for each of the 8 children present, there is a candle along the spiral for them to light. Last year the candle was set in the traditional apple, but this year the boys wanted to create ice luminarias along their path.

We experimented with milk cartons and coffee cans, but finally settled on two decorative brioche pans as the molds that I would use for the candle holders. We played with a few different ways to create the hole for the candle; using a standard can, a dixie cup and finally a 4 oz freezable ball jar.

The jar worked out perfectly, as it is can withstand extreme cold, is reusable, and allows for the maximum amount of light to filter through the candle holders.

Now I think we are ready to let the children walk the spiral, return to their center, and awaken renewed.

I can not wait to lay the evergreens and celebrate the return of the sun, the promise of brighter days, and the light that shines in each of us.


Ice Luminarias

A mold of your choice (I used stainless steel brioche molds)
4 oz ball freezer safe jar (If using a tall mold, you may want to consider an 8 oz jar)
Candles for each luminaria
Decorations for each luminaria; cranberries, star anise, evergreens, sliced oranges, apples, etc.

Place your 4 oz jar in the center of your mold. Fill the mold up half way with ice cold water and fill with decor of your choice. If the temperature is below 32 degrees you can leave the molds outside to freeze, or place in the freezer.

Once frozen, fill the mold to the rim of the freezable jar and once again add your decor. Freeze once more. Allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, unmold, place a tea light into the jar, light and enjoy!

Of course no celebration of the return of the light would be complete without a sun catcher (I used the instructions from Amanda’s book), and they are the perfect way to put to use any left over fruit, cranberries, star anise, etc. that you might have left over.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

adkmama December 7, 2011 at 1:56 pm

I love these so much. Totally stunning and beautiful.

Love you.

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Faith Pray December 7, 2011 at 2:37 pm

What a beautiful way to light the winter! I am ooh-ed! Lovely blog!

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Linda December 7, 2011 at 3:54 pm

These are just wonderful Heather, thank you:)
Love
Linda

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Meryl December 7, 2011 at 4:39 pm

I always want to make these, but the weather doesn't cooperate….maybe this will be the year?

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Stephanie December 7, 2011 at 5:35 pm

I made these the one year and my son and I loved them! But unfortunately we've had unseasonably warm temps here lately. They'd never freeze! Hopefullyl we'll get to make these again soon!

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Adrie December 7, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Gorgeous! I always want to do these – maybe this will be the year :)

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Denise December 7, 2011 at 1:09 pm

they are beautiful. I just read about these in Amanda's book actually.

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a little crafty nest December 8, 2011 at 3:10 am

Heather, These are so enchantingly beautiful! I appreciate your advice on how to make them just so. I admit to having wanted to do these, also, and now I am more inspired. Thank you!
xo Jules

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Sara December 8, 2011 at 4:29 am

Just gorgeous! I love the fruit that you added. We made these last December with leaves and other bits of nature (http://loveinthesuburbs.com/wordpress/ice-lanterns)” target=”_blank”> ” target=”_blank”>(http://loveinthesuburbs.com/wordpress/ice-lanterns). It never occurred to me to use fruits though.

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Nina - Tabiboo December 8, 2011 at 1:52 pm

They are beautiful Heather. I really must give this a go with the kids – when it gets a bit colder over here that is – I really love the ones with candles.

Nina xxx

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Shivayamama December 9, 2011 at 1:08 am

Thanks Nina, they are a ton of fun to make.

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Shivayamama December 9, 2011 at 1:14 am

Oh I love yours! So beautiful Sara. Thank you for sharing that link, I will have to try that way as well. When I was looking into it, I found that there were some very complex techniques that could be used.

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Shivayamama December 9, 2011 at 1:18 am

One possibility is to freeze one or two in your freezer, and then use them at night. I have a friend in California who makes small ice sculptures, and she says that it holds for a few hours.

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Maeghan December 9, 2011 at 1:29 am

I am loving these. Henry and I might have to try these next week while Cameron is in school.

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kate December 9, 2011 at 3:06 am

we just had our advent spiral. I cried the whole way through– so moved by the passage of time– we started going to the walk with one child, age five…now 12, 7, and almost 4 moved through, without needing my hand to hold or path to guide them. Good gravy, I'm such a holiday sap this year. Anyway, we often make ice mandalas, but never have made them as luminaries– I'm swooning! Do you put your ball jar upside down in the mold's center? (sad, but true, my craft vision has all but vanished. argh.)

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kate December 9, 2011 at 3:07 am

never mind– duh– right side up!

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molly December 11, 2011 at 4:32 am

heather, these are so, so beautiful! we've no snow, yet, but cool enough temperatures that we may be able to swing these, very soon. and! cranberries in the fridge.

a very happy holidays to you and yours,

xo,
m

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geek+nerd December 11, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Gorgeous! It's been so unseasonably warm in New England this year – I doubt I could try this before Christmas. But I'll file it away for another (colder) day.

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Kirsty@BowerbirdBlue July 1, 2012 at 9:05 am

I made the luminaries for our winter solstice night at school, and have blogged about it. They were just lovely and lasted for hours. I might have a go at making your suncatchers next.

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