Henry County Extension Holiday Bazaar

Roberts finds market for soy candles

She discovered their therapeutic
benefits while battling illness

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

NEW CASTLE, Ky. (November 2004) – When Linda Roberts experienced health-related problems last year, she found soy candles to be a therapeutic answer. Long known for their health benefits, soybeans comprise a candle product that Roberts markets from her home in Henry County.

Linda Roberts Soy Cadles

Photo provided

Some of Linda Roberts' soy candles.

Soybean products are low in cholesterol, high in fiber and full of vitamins and minerals. Roberts viewed a woman from Louisiana making soy candles on cable TV and decided this was a hobby she would enjoy very much. After suffering two heart attacks, Roberts closed up the beauty salon she had run from her home for 16 years and ended her 28-year career to embark upon a new one.
Knowing she could “no longer do what I used to do,” she now fills her time creating soy candles in her kitchen. Having something to do that she enjoys and that others enjoy as well, “gives me a better outlook (on life),” she said.
Roberts will be one of more than 30 crafters displaying their wares at the 12th annual Holiday Bazaar in New Castle. Sponsored by the Henry County Extension Homemakers, the bazaar will be Saturday, Nov. 6, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Henry County 4-H Fairgrounds building on Hwy. 421 between New Castle and Pleasureville.
As a fund raising project, the senior citizens from Tri-County Community Action Agency will provide breakfast and lunch items. “This bazaar is a way to encourage the community to spend money locally,” said Henry County Extension Agent Maryellen Garrison. The event is a cooperative effort between local crafters, the Extension Homemakers and senior citizens in the community.
It’s a great chance to Christmas shop, said Garrison. It provides an opportunity to purchase unique handcrafted gifts without ever having to set foot in a crowded mall.
Items for sale will include music boxes, gourds, holiday décor, jewelry, wooden bowels, oil and folk art paintings, furniture, wooden toys and kitchen items. The bazaar began as a fund raiser for the Extension Homemakers and as a community economic development activity to allow Henry County craftspeople a local venue for selling their creations, said Garrison

Linda Roberts Soy Cadles

Photo provided

More of Linda Roberts' soy candles.

Robinson decided to take part in the bazaar this year, comparing last year’s experience to “a reunion.” After being cooped up in the house in her beauty salon for so long, Roberts now enjoys “getting out.” Because of the good crowd attendance, Roberts said she did outstanding last year for her first time participating in the bazaar.
“I’ve always been a candle addict,” she said. Roberts started making soy candles last fall, and named her business, Four Leaf Candle Works. “Many people don’t realize the chemicals that are in other candles that are harmful,” she said.
Soy candles are non-toxic, biodegradable, chemical free and burn longer than wax candles. Using six to eight pounds of wax, Roberts can produce a batch of soy candles within five hours.
She begins with soy wax flakes, which she compared to falling snow. This soft, loose wax cannot be made into votive or pillar-type candles, said Roberts. After securing the wick to the bottom of a jar, Roberts melts the wax, then adds color and scent, heats it to a certain temperature, cools it to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, then pours the soy candle into jars.
In the beginning, Roberts put her candles in odd or fancy containers. But then she struck upon the idea of putting them into canning jars, and this idea stuck. “It seemed strange to me,” she said. “When I see a canning jar, I see work.” But customers prefer the country look of the canning jars, she said.
Most of the candles are scented with floral and cooking scents. Grandma’s Kitchen seems to be a favorite among customers. “It immediately brings to mind memories of Grandma,” said Roberts. “Everybody gets something different out of it.”
A new scent is “Odor Eliminator”, which has no definite scent. It has a clean, fresh smell and is geared for homes with pets. Other scents include Cinnamon Bliss, Angel Whisper, Log Cabin and Strawberry Shake.
Roberts has a favorite scent for each of the different rooms in her house. When compared with wax candles, “I know they’re more healthy to burn in my home,” she said. A small, 4 ounce candle burns for approximately 12-15 hours and costs $4 or 2 for $7, while an 8 ounce candle burns for 36-38 hours and costs $6.50 or 2 for $12.
Another popular fund raising project associated with the bazaar is the annual Teddy Bear Tree. Ruth Earl Harrod of the Town and Country Homemakers said this is Henry County’s “answer to Louisville’s Angel Tree”. For the later project Christmas trees are placed in area malls with names and a Christmas wish list for needy children attached.
The Teddy Bear Tree began as a fund raising way to buy a chance on one item, but has now grown to two baskets full of items. For a $1 chance, customers can win a basket filled with Christmas items, or a second basket filled with miscellaneous items. The baskets are valued at $200. “This is our club’s way of donating back to the community,” said Harrod.

• For more information on the bazaar, call Garrison at (502) 845-2811.

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