Not many days to Christmas now, have you got everything sorted? Christmas is a rather low-key thing in my house these days, but I do like to light up these darkest days of the year and make the Christmas period a bit special both indoors and outdoors. I made a couple of ice-lanterns the other day, and I thought I would share with you how to make these very easy, decorative lanterns as this is something you can do in minutes and freeze overnight. The result is pretty spectacular :-)
First thing first, if you live in the southern hemisphere and are now enjoying summer temperatures and are basking in the sun at the beach; this is not for you! But if you have outdoor temperatures well below or close to freezing, this lantern will survive outdoors as long as the day temperature doesn’t go more than a few degrees above zero. Here in London we have had a few days with really cold weather, but it seems we are in for a mild Christmas so it might be a risk that my lanterns will melt pretty fast! I am keeping mine in the freezer for now and I am planning to put them back in the freezer during the day and have them outside only for a short period during the evening. That way they will hopefully last for the 3 days I am planning to display them.
I use a tea candle with my lanterns, so you need to make the ice lantern wide enough to allow a tea candle to burn without melting the sides of the lantern. You need two glasses or bowls to go inside each other to make a lantern. They need to fit so that you will get about 1cm of water between them, and you need something to hold the whole thing steady in place while it freezes, to make the inside glass straight. I used a jug for the outside, a pint glass for the inside, 3 corn-on-the-cob holders and a measuring spoon to hold the inside glass in place, but have a look in your cupboards and see what you can use.
Here it is, all in place. You need a bit of water in the inside glass, to weigh it down, or it will float and be difficult to pin straight. Don’t fill it too full or it will sink all the way to the bottom. You need a bit of water under the inside glass, to make a bottom for the lantern too. Freeze overnight and use warm water, not boiling, to release first the inside glass, then the outside from the ice lantern. Place on a suitable plate or place straight in the snow. Use a tea candle.
Here is the finished ice lantern outside close-up.
And here is the ice lantern placed next to my gate, welcoming people to my house. A quick and easy thing to make that lights up in the dark and puts a smile on people passing by :-)
And what about my garden? To be honest, I haven’t been out there for a whole week! For all I know, all sorts of things could be flowering…but the days are so short now and it gets dark so early that before I know it my garden is covered in total darkness and it is too late to see anything. This time of year I just long for sunshine, warmth and being able to sit outside. Not long to go now, 2 more months and everything will feel very different! Until next time, take care :-)