Thursday, December 24, 2015

Another Baltic Christmas - Day 24 and ice lanterns

During these darkest days of the year it is natural to want to celebrate light. With the marking of winter solstice the days have started to get longer, but there are still many months until spring returns. We’ve already shared our ice mandalas, an icy craft that adds a festive touch to the holidays on these cold days, but we’ve left our ice lanterns for last – to bring light to your dark nights this holiday season.

This might be the easiest craft yet, and you’ve probably got all the necessary materials already. One morning I dug out the half-empty latex balloon bag from the cupboard and we retreated to the kitchen to fill them up. If you don’t have balloons you can use any bowl or container – you’ll just have an open-top lantern.

After filling them to the point where they were large enough to hold a tea light, we tied them securely and put them in the freezer. If you live in a more northerly climate you could leave them outside to save freezer space. It took somewhere between four to eight hours for them to freeze enough to use as lanterns; you want the exterior shell to be solid but the inside liquid. Make sure to remove the balloon over the sink as the remaining water will gush out once the balloon is removed. Hopefully the top (where the air bubble was) will not be frozen; one of our balloons was obviously smaller than the others and I had to gently break through the weakest side to provide ingress for the candle.

Photo credit Sarah

If you’re using regular containers like our friend Henri, make sure to put a smaller container in the middle (where the candle will go) and weigh it down before adding water. Container lanterns can be decorated with cranberries, evergreen branches or other festive decorations, similar to the ice mandalas. There’s an easy tutorial on the Pickled Herring blog

It wasn’t cold enough here in the Upstate to enjoy our ice lanterns for long, but these would make wonderful outdoor decorations for a New Year’s Eve party. Imagine a line of them lighting the way to your door upon returning from the Christmas Eve service, beckoning you to the warmth and coziness of your living room and a festive evening yet to come.

This is what I wish each and every one of you this year; may the holiday spirit find you this Christmas season, and may 2016 bring health, happiness and adventure to you and yours. Thank you for joining me in counting down the 24 days until Christmas – this is Femme au Foyer wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


  1. How beautiful Liene !
    Just lovely! Wishing you and yours a very Happy Christmas and all the best for 2016!
    I just happened to look on my comments page and noticed you made a comment on a recent post. I'm so sorry I didn't see this.....the comments aren't coming through to my email. I hope I haven't missed too many!
    Atkal...Priecigus Ziemmassvetkus

    1. Paldies Dzintra! Novēlu Tev un Tavējiem arī priecīgus Ziemassvētkus un laimīgu Jauno Gadu!

  2. Cik skaisti! Bus reiz jaizmegina... Ziemsvetku apkampieni jums visiem!

  3. Very lovely writing, lovely project! It hasn't been cold enough here "up north" either, but I'll have to try this out in our new freezer in the basement....!


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