Winbourne Road participated this year for the first time. 3 of us sold luminary kits to several neighbors. Unfortunately every one of them blew out, fairly quickly into the night, they were re-lit and snuffed out again; some tipped over so we need more sand. This was a dissappointment. Did others have that problem? And is there a solution? There were set up exactly as directed. Regards to all, MacClurg

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MacClurg,

We ran into the same problem on Melrose.  At first I thought it was the wind but it was not as windy as it has been some years when we were not having that problem.  In spite of the mild breeze I also found I had to add extra ballast to the bags to have them stay upright.  Was there less salt in the kits this year? The lights also seemed dimmer.  I spoke with Landy and he thought the wick and wax may not have been well matched and that the wick was being consumed and drowning in the wax.  That would also explain the dimmer light.  I Remember when relighting mine several times that I noticed the charred wick looked very short and thin.  It was almost completely in the melted wax.  Somebody somewhere saved a penny (or more likely a yuan) by buying cheaper wick material. 

We are going to have to make sure we order the candles from a reliable source and test them well ahead of time next year. 

Thanks for your observations John, yes I noticed the wicks got real thin and short within a minute of being lit as we relit them 2-3 tims, and the wax probably did overtake them. I hope I can convince my neighbors to try again next year!

We've been experimenting with battery-powered t-lites but they aren't very bright inside of bags, especially if you get the sturdier bags.  I'm wondering about putting them inside of glass jars (spaghetti sauce-size).  I helped John Curran with the lights on the UR pedestrian bridge and, because they were t-lites, they were still going at 9 p.m. when we took them down.  But it still didn't have the "presence" you'd hope for.  John set those up in cut-out plastic milk containers with a sticker about MLK on them. The candle was placed in potting soil and now the containers will be re-used for the sunflowers he offers to kids at the WFM.  He's such a crafty guy!

I do think the quality of t-lites is an issue.

We've done paper bags, ice luminaries and glass jars. the only paper bags that worked for us were the sturdy, heavy duty 'gift type' bags with a fair amount of sand inside - we also put a 'logo' on these bags (photos somewhere on this website and it looked nice!). The ice luminaries are really 'cool' but have some challenges in terms of time intensity to make them, store them, set them up, etc. This year we purchased 1/2 gallon glass jars and 'large' tea lights. they were perfect in that they're relatively easy to set up and not one candle blew out. I think we'll do the glass from this point forward as they seem to be the best option in terms of the variable weather we have. Most of the 'regular' white bags tend to have issues and every year we've seen some of them burn up!

I appreciate all these ideas and will keep thinking about this. With appreciation for all your thoughts.

I drove by Margy's around 6:00pm as I rushed home to set up and her luminaries were already out and lit.  After visiting some of the houses on Melrose I stopped by Margy's at 8:30 just as she was picking up her luminaries for the evening.  All the ones I saw were still going strong and the large tee-lights she had in the jars looked like they still had several hours left.  These sturdy jars could be useful during the summer on the patio etc.  The only thing that I would suggest is to slip a diffuser around them so that the light is more effectively used.  As it is much of the light radiates up into space and you just see the bright flame, a ring of light hitting the snow around the jar and some scattering at the neck of the jar.  The diffusing paper bags make for a bigger softer looking light. There is plastic diffuser material that would probably work well for this and not fall apart when wet.

The irregular surface and thickness of the ice luminaries Margy had in previous years also made for a more interesting light pattern, but these are a lot of work to make and it has to be cold enough.

The bags seemed stable enough but the tea lights didn't last very long.  Better quality tea lights, as someone else noted, would be good for next year.

 

Leslie

I purchased a dozen canning jars for around $10 and used those (with votive candles).  It was incredibly simple and I'll be using them every year... just tuck them away in the attic.  Goodbye bags and sand!

I am intrigued by the idea of puting glass jars inside the white bags for more reflection, I do like the look of the white bags at night in the snow. Great ideas from all, thanks!

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