Fanning the Flames of Friendship -A Full Circle Story by Elizabeth Ellis

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One of my candle customers has become a dear friend and she has written a wonderful review for Full Circle Candles. Thank You Liz for your kinds words. Candles bringing people together. Enjoy reading my first guest blog candle review!!

Fanning the Flames of Friendship: My Full Circle Candles Story – By Elizabeth Ellis

Candle Fanatic and Author of the movie/book review blog The Insatiable Critic 

Scientific research has shown the strongest sense to trigger memories is scent, and French writer Marcel Proust has written about “odor-evoked autobiographical memory.” Maybe this is why I’ve always loved candles so much – the right one can take me back to happy moments in my life. One candle I got as a child called “Oceans” produced by Pier One reminded me of vacations at the beach. Anything cucumber melon-related takes me back to my high school days when that was the “premiere” new scent at Bath and Body Works (and has recently been brought back this month as a featured “throwback”).

I also am a big advocate of shopping local. I love Farmer’s Markets and supporting personal entrepreneurships. When I moved to the small town of Monteagle, TN from New Haven, CT in the summer of 2014, I was delighted to find the existence of the large Chattanooga Market about 40 minutes away that specialized in all manner of goodies from local veggies and cheeses to, well – candles!

Let it be known I am a bit of a hippie. I love nature. LOOOOVE nature. And eco-friendly products are a huge draw for me. So “naturally” I was drawn to Full Circle Candles table at the market. Debbie greeted me with a smile that was genuine and spoke without a trace of a southern accent – something that made me wonder if she was a transplant like me. One of the first candles I picked up was “Summer Nights” – Honeysuckle Jasmine-scented – and BOOM, there I was back in my grandma’s backyard, enjoying the fireflies on a warm July night in Virginia. She had a huge honeysuckle bush that I used to “sip” on as a kid. Of course, I had to have it.

When I took it home, I was impressed not only at how long the candle lasted and how clean the soy-based wax burned, but how glorious it smelled – all the way down to the last quarter-inch. When I discovered she also had the burner tarts, I had to go back for more. The tiny charms tied around the candles, butterflies or hopeful messages like “love,” “grace,” and “friendship” reflected the care she obviously takes in developing her product. It was so impressive, and I soon found myself seeking her out and spending longer and longer at her booth at the market and at other festivals in the area, sharing my stories about what her scents reminded me of, narrowing down my ever-changing list of favs (currently Summer Nights, Soul Friends, and Rising Buddha), and finding common threads like our love of the great outdoors and animals. My intuition about her accent was right – she is originally from the Northeast, and growing up in the tri-state area we commiserated on the challenges and perks of moving to a new place. In April 2015, hanging out at her booth at The Trails and Trilliums Festival held annually in the spring in Monteagle where we both live, I realized to my surprise that we had officially become friends.

Debbie inspires me in so many ways, not only with her spirit of professionalism in her work and her product while balancing family and personal obligations, but with her supportiveness and genuine kindness towards others. She followed her dream of creating this company despite setbacks and naysayers and she’s made it a thriving reality because everything she does is done with passion, and that comes through in her product – every candle is handmade and unique in its own right, right down to the customized charm. I will be forever grateful her product brought us “full circle” together as dear friends.

Full Circle Candles

Full Circle Candles Joined Whole Foods!

Over a year ago I was shopping in Whole Foods Chattanooga. My daughter and I stopped in the candle section to smell candles. She looked at me and said “Mom, why don’t you see if they will take your candles here.” I shook my head with a no, shrugged my shoulders and expressed my nervousness to do that. Then she said “The worst they can say is no.” I pondered more as we walked around shopping and then I stopped, looked at her and said “You know, you are right.” I got up my nerve, asked for a manager and the answer I got that day was “bring in some samples.” The rest is history. There was much paperwork, learning curves, but all worth the wait. The support from my local liason was incredible and we just kept going forward till those special candles hit the shelf.

It is one store, a beginning and I will be applying to more. I have learned that the worst anyone can say is “No.” Good lessons to learn. Overcoming fears and believing in oneself. I love all the support and good things people have to say about the candles. A following is occuring and it is pretty amazing. I hear how authentic and special they are to so many people. It is more then the soy candle. It is a story of never giving up. It is a movement with meaning. Full Circle has made it into Whole Foods! We are celebrating still. And So It Is!

Debbie Blinder, Owner, Full Circle Candles

www.fullcirclecandles.com

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Candlelady Travel Blog – Twin Falls – Rock Island State Park

One thing I love about running my candle business is my flexiblity to find time and travel around TN to new places. As I have expressed before, Full Circle Candles was born out of my falling in love with Tennessee, from farmers, crafters, customers, folks in my town and of course I adore the hikes, trees, streams, lakes, waterfalls, lush green grass, beautiful blooming flowers, animals and so on, and so on. These places inspire and help create newness for many. So enjoy some small tidbits on places I visit around TN and surrounding states. I will be reporting about great restaurants, people I meet and natural places.

I begin with sharing a few videos of Twin Falls (and more falls) at Rock Island State Park. We took a road trip this past weekend to go on the search to find these very impressive falls.  Rock Island Park is located in McMinnville, TN. The rolling hills of the country make the drive even more beautiful as you go towards Twin Falls. The winter trees are still in place, but I am sure spring will be making itself known soon. Enjoy the sounds of the waterfalls and visit if you can!

Debbie (a.k.a candlelady)

www.fullcirclecandles.com

 

 

 

 

 

What is Paraffin, Soy, and Bee Wax?

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Full Circle burning bright..soy wax candle with orange chili pepper phthalate free fragrance.

Why care about what kind of candle you burn in your home? It seems more and more people are interested in not only the food they are buying and eating, but also in products, such as candles and detergents, for the home.

I walked away from heavy perfumes, parrafin candles with metal wicks, and detergents years ago and I tell you it makes a big difference now in my life. I used to walk around congested most of the time. I would wipe black soot off of my walls where candles had been burning as I bought cheaper candles while in my younger years. When I switched to soy and bee wax candles, I noticed a big difference in my home air quality.

Here is information I found out about some different waxes and where they come from and then let you decide what is best for your environment.

Paraffin – Paraffin wax actually started off as a plant based material, but after millions of years it is broken down and turns into crude oil. In order to protect themselves from adverse weather conditions plants produce a layer of wax on their leaves and stems. Material from dead plants 100-700 million years ago accumulated in large quantities and eventually became buried beneath the surface of the earth. After a long period of time, forces of heat and pressure turned the slowly decaying plant material into crude oil, otherwise known as petroleum. actually started off as a plant based material at first, but after many many years it is broken down and turns into crude oil. Petroleum companies “harvest” the crude oil and process it. They refine the oil, separating the different properties into Gasoline, Kerosene, Lubrication oil, and many other products. So when burning a Paraffin candle, you are burning processed crude oil. Add fragrance that has hydrocarbons (phthalates, which I will explain in another blog) combined with a metal wick and that is what is in your home atmosphere as you burn it. Some come to my craft table and say they can get a cheaper candle at dollar store or Walmart…I can’t change people’s minds but the reason it is cheap is petroleum is cheap and can pump out lots of wax from the crude oil. Other waxes that are sustainable cost a bit more, but are much better and healthier to burn.

Soy Wax – This wax is made from the oil of soybeans. Beans are harvested,  cleaned, cracked, de-hulled, and rolled into flakes. The oil is then extracted from the flakes and hydrogenated. Leftover hulls are used in feed for animals. What I love is soy is completely renewable. While the global reserves of oil shrink and paraffin prices increase, the only limit to the soy supply is how much we choose to grow. It is known to be eco-friendly, renewable, American grown, sustainable, carbon neutral; the list goes on and on. I know there is the GMO questions about Soy but I also know candles are not to be ingested for food, but I am always on the search for non-GMO soy wax. I know where my wax is made and is renewable! I add my phthalate free fragrance, infuse when I can with essential oils, with natural wicks and there ya go!! A much healthier candle to burn in your environment! So far, I have seen no soot on my walls to wipe off.

Bee Wax – Bee Wax is one of the best waxes to burn but also the most expensive as harder to get in large quantities. Simply, it is produced by the honeybee for use in the manufacture of honeycombs. Beeswax is actually a refinement of honey. It is highly regarded to burn in the home and if unscented has a honey smell to it. It is a more challenging wax to work with at times, but pretty amazing. I like making small glass jar containers of Bee Wax candles and am learning to carry more to my craft fairs. Also using in my new lip balms! It is a fascinating wax to work with and I look forward to learning more.

So there you have it. This is why I started Full Circle Candles. It was to make a healthier candle for my own home, surprisinly  turning into a great business adventure. Shop wise for your home in detergents, candles, etc. It makes a big difference in your breathing and energy of home for your family.

Peace

Debbie Blinder, Owner

Full Circle Candles

www.fullcirclecandles.com

Autumn Joy – Inspiration through a child

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I remember being so young. Memories of my youth fill my head from elementary school through college. Experiencing life, joys and hurts. I never knew then what it would be like to be the role of mom.

However, 10 years ago life would change this for me as I became a mom. Her name of course reflects my most favorite time of year. She was born in April but took on the Autumn energy. I didn’t know what kind of mother I would be. I just had to take it day by day as I learned a new part of my life. One decision that came out of having Autumn was becoming a work from home mom. I worked for an online company when pregnant then went into running my own businesses as my joy of being a mom took me by storm.

I created the freedom to take Autumn anywhere with me and be extremely present in her life. Along with learning about what it meant to be a mom there was the discovery for a great passion for the entrepreneurial spirit. If it wasn’t for Autumn I don’t know if I would have found this passion. In my ten years I have tried many things. I owned my own bookstore in Florida and created a kid section so I could bring my daughter with me to work. From there I created an online eBay business which I did part time for awhile while teaching dance classes. With this way of living I created Adventure Fridays where Autumn, myself and sometime friends went out and about having fun for a day.

I am grateful for where I am today as the skills I have gained help me to keep working for myself. There have been many trial and error moments but all well worth it. When first moving to Tennessee I had to waitress part time and start over again with my dreams. I am proud to say I recently was able to let go of that job to pursue my home candle business, classes, workshops, and other small passions such as petsitting. All these areas help me take care of my daughter, able to take family time or time for myself such as going on a hike in this beautiful area I live in.

Autumn has taught me as much as I have probably taught her. Sometimes she looks at me and says she might own her own business someday. I let her know whatever her choices make sure they give her great joy in life.

This is how I came to name one of my favorite candles of this season. Autumn Joy, which is Pumpkin Spice. It is named after my lovely daughter to celebrate her. She also loves this candle burning in our home.

The joy of being a mom…this is for all those moms out there. Keep on forming those strong relationships, spend time with your children, find the joy together in life. It is sacred.

Autumn Joy Candle

Believing in Ideas – The Story of an Accidental Candle Company – Sunny Day is born!

 

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Sunny Day on Etsy

Full Circle Candles was not meant to be a business. I was new to Tennessee and my joy for living here was over the top. I had traveled to the Tennessee/Georgia area for many years. Camping, Hiking, White Water Rafting, and longing for more and more visits. I never thought I would have moved here. However, I was surprised when a door shut in Florida and the door that opened started with the words “how about just moving to TN”. After garage sales and saying goodbye to amazing friends I closed the chapter of Florida, got in that Uhaul, and crossed the border into TN not as a visitor, but as a resident. Although challenging in many ways, it was and still is the best decision I made in life.

New to living here I began discovering even more joys. Farmer Markets and local crafts. It was, and still is, a deep belief to support local, buy local, eat local food. Local. Local. Local. My gifts for family and friends were becoming mostly local and my cooking moved from microwaves to learning and growing with homemade, wonderful foods using seasonal goodies from farmers markets. I taught myself bread making even to the point of creating homemade bagels!! I knew I was living in the right place for my soul.

While all this is happening I realized that my health wasn’t the best while burning candles. At this time I did not know much about soy and I was still using candles from stores that contained paraffin wax such as Glade or even the famous Yankee Candles. I always felt stuffed up, sneezing, coughing but I loved having illuminating light all around. So one morning (literally) I woke up and felt the urge to learn how to make a candle. My research began. I learned of how damaging parrafin candles with lead wick candles can be for the environment and I was supporting petroleum companies which went against my environmentalism beliefs at heart. I began learning of soy waxes and bees wax and essential oils and or high grade fragrances infused with essential oils. All I researched could be made petroleum free. So I decided to make a batch of candles and one of my favorite smells is lemon. So, four years ago in my little kitchen, I created a Lemon Verbena candle, made out of 100% soy and with an eco based wick. It turned out beautiful and I couldn’t believe I learned to make my own candle! Now I had my own candles to burn and I also shared them with new folks I was meeting. What happened next was shocking. People were delighted how it burned and the aroma it gave off, so they wanted more. I realized I had stumbled into my very own crafting home business. It all matched what I believed in. First of all I was in an overflowing supportive crafting community. Second, making the candles brought me joy, Third, it was better for the environment all around and finally I do believe in the entrepreneurial spirit. It was a win win!

So I named the lemon verbena candle, which is still one of the most popular sellers today. The Sunny Day Candle was born. I also had to give life to my new candle company. I kept seeing circles and realized that many times in life we come Full Circle, don’t we? My love for TN/GA, the mountains, camping, hiking, rivers, waterfalls, creeks, local critter I could only enjoy on short camping visits and now here I was. Living in the dream, calling it home. Full Circle was perfect and Sunny Day led the way.

If you are a work at home parent and have deep desires I say keep on following your dreams. Keep creating. Believe in your business ventures. You never know where you will wind up and how you too will come around Full Circle…Peace to you!!