I should have had more kids. I need a staff! I love beautiful things, but they take time to make or create. I always notice a lovely flower arrangement or a well-balanced room design and I take this sensibility to party hosting. There’s nothing better than throwing a party with fabulous food and beautiful little accents – if you can manage to put it all together. If I had a few kids around the house, I would perhaps have enough hands to help with more than the food. If I don’t set the table before the party, we’re eating à la buffet, if I don’t do the decorating the day before, we rely on the old standby of candles on the table. Hosting and cooking and decorating is a lot of work. Martha makes it look so easy… I’m sure the staff hiding in the wings is a big help.
Last night we threw a little “Mexico in Minnesota” soiree, and wouldn’t it have been a perfect compliment for the guests to be greeted by warm dancing candlelight inside a frozen hurricane lamp? Unfortunately, I didn’t think to put these out front until today. I made them back in November, got busy, went away for a few weeks and forgot about them under the snow. For the party, I did manage to get flowers into a vase, and coincidentally received some lovely orange candles from my dad that paired nicely. I love those kinds of coincidences, but the centerpiece was still a little boring. Getting all the pieces together for a party is tough and a skill I am still practicing.
The ice hurricanes are pretty easy to make if you have a couple of big plastic containers. I used some five gallon leftover sheet rock “mud” buckets that Jeff had stored in the garage. I filled them four inches with water and let them freeze. After the bottom was frozen, I used a smaller plastic container to create the opening. I weighted down the small container with rocks and filled the sheet rock buckets with water. We used some rubber golf balls around the rim of the inserted plastic container to keep it from tipping from one side to the other. The walls of the hurricane lamps are about one inch thick. I have used plastic mop-buckets with food storage containers – anything that will create this shape. Once they are frozen solid, run hot water inside the insert tub to slide it out and then around the outside of the big tub, so the lamp releases.
If you have lots of time for decorating, float cranberries, orange slices or pine boughs in the water for added visual appeal.
Another cool way to make ice lamps is to use water balloons. You will want to use a large balloon. Fill it with water and set it out to freeze. Check it often because the idea with those is to leave the inside unfrozen. Once the outside freezes to about an inch. Take a screwdriver and break a hole into it. Remove the balloon and the remaining water. You need just enough space to insert a tea-light candle. Here’s a link with more directions.