Last night I decided to spend the evening with buttered peas and Radical Face. A splendid time was had by all. Somewhere in between Entertainment Tonight and my laptop freezing, I decided to light a candle, as I do nearly every night. I don’t light candles out of some romanticized ritual, I light candles as a way to whittle my concentration. It’s my jam. It’s just a tiny flame in a glass jar, but my eyes pick up on its presence and my brain interprets it as signal to get to work. It’s like, CRAP THERE IS A FIRE IN THE ROOM. Quit looking up Muppet movie propaganda on Pinterest and get down to work! So that’s my serenity tip for you, dear reader, lighting a candle = getting stuff done.
Of course, my Olympian level procrastination skills could not prevent the onslaught of a much contemplated craft project; I could not just light a candle, I had to dress up the matches first.
Do matches in a shot glass with a sandpaper bottom even count as a craft project? Probably not. But they look better than the matches you keep in the medicine cabinet, so in the name of “up-cycling” Imma call this a craft.
Before we get to this I want to say something about matches: Matches are harrrrrrrrd to find these days. I know you think they are everywhere, but seriously, around here, they are not. I have been looking all over town for decent wooden matches for months, MONTHS, and the only place that sells them is the Enya playing florist gift shop for $7 a box. Everywhere else under the sun carried lighters-a-plenty, but matches, good quality matches appear to be going out of style or something.
I thought I had seen them in the grocery store next to the napkins, and hardware store next to the camping gear, but to my surprise, I couldn’t find them. And don’t act like I wasn’t looking because I asked in several stores – management informed me they carry lighters, or that matches come out come BBQ season, and until then I could get a free book up at the front counter. Not wooden matches but practical matches, which are not what I wanted but I appreciated the gesture.
Up until a few years ago you’d still see lead crystal bowls of wooden matches on the hostess stand at some restaurants and bars, but that practice appears to have the wayside as well. Maybe you find that in other places, though. Smoking inside bars or restaurants in Illinois is illegal so it makes sense they cut out the cost of supplying books of matches just to end up in someone’s medicine cabinet. That’d be like me going to the beauty salon and expecting salad dressing. Okay not really, that was a bad comparison, but you get the point. Matches are hard to find!
Lucky for me, I reached out to you guys on Facebook and got the scoop – Dollar Tree. This surprised me as I am in Dollar Tree at least once a month, but never once noticed they carried these 8 packs of 32 count matchbooks (in the kitchen section beneath the sugar tongs).
My plan was to just keep a box of matches on the coffee table next to the candle, but these aren’t exactly what you’d call ‘looker’ matches, so they needed dressing up. Last night was the night. This was even better than a box as I could pile them put them all in a shot glass and leave them out on the coffee table near the candle.
We had a neighbor growing up who used to keep a bunch of tall matches in a shot glass by the fireplace. The glass had a picture of California etches on the side that she’d strike the match against the etching and it would light. I thought that was a California thing but apparently some matches will strike a light when rubbed on most anything with texture. These matches are not like that. They need strike paper or extra fine sandpaper, so that’s what I glued to the bottom of my shot glass. The rough sandpaper didn’t work, so it’s a good thing I tried it first. Dang, way for me to be smart like that.
If anyone else knows of a no-fail source for wooden matches, please let me know. These will run out in time and I’d like to find some less teensy ones. Cigar shops are next on my list, or maybe this’ll be a good excuse to enter the world of BBQ accessories. I’ll keep you posted. It doesn’t get much more exciting than matchbook retailers!
Sandpaper on the bottom!!!! OMGee that’s clever! Love how it looks.
Whoa…no matches? I’m not as dedicated a firebug as you but I keep an ugly box of the wooden ones here in my home office to light a candle. I’ve had this box for ages; so long, I don’t remember where I got it. I’m already worried about running out of chocolate due to climate change. Now I need to worry about matches!? If I remember this weekend, I’ll ask my brother, who smokes, when I go to Iowa.
Deb, I’m not even kidding. That’s the problem – everyone has that one giant box of matches they have been working on since Jesus wore short pants, and it never runs out. Until it runs out. Then we are all screwed!
Walgreens will give anyone a pack of 20 tear-away matches, but I don’t think they’d hold up very well in crisis.
“… since Jesus wore short pants” I actually LOLed!! One of the many reasons I follow you 😀 But not in a stalker kind of way!
The same thing happened to me with corn shucks. I saw a recipe last fall that used corn shucks in muffin pans to hold the filling for tamale bites. So I cheerfully tripped on over to the grocery store(s) and couldn’t find any. Finally at Trader Joes I learned why. It seems corn shucks are also seasonal. The grocery stores don’t stock them until right before Thanksgiving when people start making tamales for Christmas. Who knew.
Huh?! Around here they are year round for sure. There is a large hispanic population in Chicago so I think the tamale market carries year round.
Random story; i once had a long-term houseguest who made a living selling tamales in bars out of a giant pickle jar. He’d get home at 3am and start slow cooking meat for the next night’s batch. They were excellent. His secret– add dark chocolate to the meat drippings.
Recipe, please! I would be a hit at home if I could make those.
I get my wooden matches (the length of my little finger) at the hardware store. I live in Canada in an area that allows wood heat, so ymmv. They are Redbird brand. And I promise you they were bought well after Jesus attained adulthood 🙂
You Canadians have everything. Healthcare…affordable education…wooden matches…color me jealous!
Yes, but you are almost in the same zip code as the Flamingo factory.
If I didn’t have a jam-packed weekend (comedy at the O2, overnight hotel stay, football match, 3 course steak dinner) I would definitely make this. I am a smoker (I know, shame on me…) and sometimes I run out of lighter so end up lighting a candle so I can light up over the evening. If I have this nifty jar I will have a back up! I guess for my millions of scented candles too…
I’m jealous of your weekend. What fun! Steak! And you won’t hear anything from me on smoking….i quit ages ago but I can’t watch an episode of Mad Men without chewing on a pencil. I don’t think that’ll ever go away
My grandmother used to have felt-sequined-glitter covered match boxes on almost every surface in her house. Back then everyone smoked. It was in Kentucky after all. I remember thinking these were the epitome of the glamorous life. These are on Etsy…a little sedate compared to Nanny’s but nice to see they still exist. https://www.etsy.com/listing/115199068/set-of-6-vintage-felt-covered-match?ref=market
Oh. My. Goodness. Those are amazing. Those would make nifty little Christmas tokens too. I wonder if I could use those as Christmas cards or something. Doubt the postal service would like them.
Deb in Oklahoma
Yep, barbecue season. Best time to find boxes of wooden matches at Home Depot. I can’t believe tracking down those things is so tough. You might try fireplace supply stores, though; they have patio fire pits and andirons and hearth tools, so maybe they also have supplies of matches, like the fancy green or blue tipped ones, too.
And I always suspected Jesus wore short pants–that’s the best way to show off his sandals!
Is there such a thing as fireplace supply stores? I never even knew! Dang, I am behind the times.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peaches, we get our matches from WalMart. They’re usually in the canning/organizing/kitchen doodad area. I love that idea, but could never pull it off. Without fail, I would turn the holder upside to strike the match. I LOVE the long skinny fireplaces matches that look like incense sticks, in shiny decorative boxes.
Up here in Toronto, every hardware store I know carries matches… same aisle as the bbqs in summer and the woodstoves in winter. But I buy the long ones, the hefty big box of ‘Red Bird’ matches or the teeny ones (also Red Bird, usually) at the Dollarama. They are cheapest that way.
That fireplace – woodburning stove place is a good idea. Cigar stores should also be a good resource AND, if you are inclined, ask if they have any empty cigar boxes to give away or sell for a reasonable price (like $2 or so). Our ABQ store has the board boxes and wooden boxes (because they empty the cigars into humidors) and end up sending the boxes back to the providers for a refund. The store is just as happy to sell them to people for the same price ($1 for board boxes, $2 for wooden) — it’s less for them to ship back.
target! i had to ask 3 people ad look in 3 places but I did find them. The LARGE box of large wood ones…el cheapo also!