My burning passion

Posted Nov. 14, 2008, at 8:11 p.m.
Last modified March 20, 2011, at 3:28 a.m.

And now, for the understatement of the year: My homemaking skills leave something to be desired.

Dust bunnies multiply like, well, rabbits in my presence. The floors in my house are clean enough to eat off — if you’re a dog. And before I met ShopGuy, my fridge looked like a science experiment, albeit one with beer and lots of condiments.

I like the idea of nesting, but I’m not so great at feathering my nest — which is weird, because accessorizing is usually my thing. Still, this time of year, I find myself drawn to candles that smell like gingerbread, spiced cider and autumn leaves, which smell way better in a chandler’s interpretation than they do moldering in your front yard.

The other day, I even went into the Yankee Candle store in the mall, which I avoid like the plague because it always gives me a headache. Still, there was something so alluring about candles in the scent of spiced pumpkin, harvest and the spicy-sweet fall festival. Plus, everything is on sale and the accompanying autumn-themed votive holders would look great on a holiday table.

Between Friends Gift Shop on Center Street in Brewer has a lusciously scented line of primitive-style candles. My favorite is the deep mulberry, but they all smell good. In Orono, Judy’s Scrappin’ and Stampin’ has increased its gift offerings, and candles in scents of the season are a focal point — everything from pumpkin and apple to poinsettia and “We Three Kings” (for the record, this doesn’t smell like three guys who have been walking across the desert for days).

Recently, I stumbled over Banana Republic’s “winter” candle, which smells so good I almost wish it would snow. Almost. The scent is a mixture of pine and cinnamon, and it is intoxicating. The $24 price tag is a little steep for my taste, but if it makes my house smell good, who’s counting? I can use all the help I can get.

Speaking of which, this year, the amazing fragrances of Slatkin & Co. candles at Bath & Body Works caught my eye, or my nose, as the case may be. I’m wild about Slatkin’s “Leaves” fragrance, which is fruity and warm, with spicy cinnamon notes. Plus, the frosted-glass votive holder it comes in is very pretty. And I have been burning Slatkin’s giant Spiced Cider candle for weeks.

Now, every time people walk into my house, they comment on how great it smells — and this is highly unusual. Can a candle turn me into Martha? Perhaps not. But it’s a step in the right direction. Just don’t look under any carpets. And if you have dog hair all over you after you sit on my couch, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

ShopNotes

• With stores competing for fewer and fewer shopping dollars, customer service is more important than ever. Do you have any tales of great — or not-so-great — service that you’d like to share? Drop ShopGirl a line at kandresen@bangordailynews.net or by U.S. Mail at: Bangor Daily News, attn: ShopGirl, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor, ME 04402-1329. You can choose to be anonymous or let me know if it’s OK to use your name. Anecdotes will be used in a pre-Christmas column.

• The Gifted Hand Craft Show and Sale is in full swing at the Holiday Inn in Ellsworth this weekend. For details and other Web-exclusive shopping news, visit the ShopBlog at http://shopblogbdn.blogspot.com/

• Hit the road! The Center for Maine Craft is open at the new service center in West Gardiner, located near the junction of I-295 and the Maine Turnpike (Exit 103 on I-295 South; Exit 102 on I-295 North; Exit 51 on the Turnpike or, for the locals, Route 126). The center, run by the Maine Crafts Association, will feature the work of 225 Maine artisans on opening day, as well as an exhibition of handcrafted holiday ornaments by MCA members. For information, call 588-0021 or visit mainecrafts.org.

ShopGirl would love to hear from you! Send questions, comments or suggestions by e-mail to: kandresen@bangordailynews.net, by U.S. mail to Kristen Andresen, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402-1329, or by fax to 941-9476. For exclusive online shopping tips, visit http://shoppingblogbdn.blogspot.com.

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