50. How to Make a Winter Tea Light Holder

Make a winter tea light holder from an old drinking glass

This episode is subtitled: ‘Is Caitlin actually smiling…?’

I was stunned. Petra wafted into Tulips with a £50 note in her hand.

‘The flowers were divine, Jenny. Keep the change.’

I hadn’t expected to be paid at all for the arrangement I’d delivered for her dinner party the other week, let alone get a tip. I made a mental note to pass the additional £5 to Jaz since she was the one who’d created the ‘divine arrangement’. But then I realised the ‘tip’ was a bit of a bribe.

‘Actually, Jenny, would you be a darling and have Caitlin for a couple of hours for me? My friend Vicky’s just phoned in a terrible state. She thinks Clive is having an affair. I can’t leave her on her own so I said I’d meet her at the spa.’

The spa? How could they go to the spa in a crisis? Now, Jenny, don’t be so quick to condemn – maybe they needed to drown Vicky’s sorrows in a glass of  champagne by the pool.

Could I cope with Caitlin? Of course I said yes, but I wasn’t skipping. Caitlin is six years old and we’d had a bit of a run-in last time we’d met but maybe she’d matured a bit, so I tried to be open-minded when Petra brought her into the shop before setting off on her rescue mission.

Firstly she turned her nose up at the smell of the lilies, and then went round the displays of Christmas decorations prodding and poking and generally being bored. ‘Our tree decorations are from Harrods this year,’ she informed me. Clearly I wasn’t as impressed as she was expecting so she started reeling off items that would be there for her on Christmas morning. On the whole, I had no idea what she was talking about.

Oh dear, we had another hour or two of this before Petra was due to pick her up but before that I had to deliver a bouquet and I really couldn’t face having Caitlin with me in the van.

‘Gillian, would you mind keeping an eye on her while I deliver the bouquet?’ This really was above and beyond my expectations of an employee but Gillian was keen to oblige and I was relieved to escape from the unhappy atmosphere.

When I got back half an hour later she was like a different child, beaming at Gillian, listening to what she was suggesting and then eagerly continuing with her crafty project. Gillian had found my packet of chalk marker pens and routed out an old glass jar for Caitlin to make a tea light holder.

She was spoilt rotten with designer clothes and electronic gadgets but what made her happy was someone taking the time to give her some one-to-one attention and help her to create something from nothing. Maybe I’ve been a little hard on her.

salvagebox.co.uk - Blue's pawI’d like to say that the snowman was Caitlin’s handiwork but I’d just be trying to cover up the fact that I’m not very good a drawing. Caitlin took her jar home with her and I was so struck by Gillian’s idea that I made one myself that evening, using an old drinking glass that had been scratched in the dishwasher and was way past its best (okay for a snowy scene, though).

Here’s the scratched glass.

Make a winter tea light holder from an old drinking glass

Remember the chalk marker pens we used in episode 39? They are great for glass and ceramic. If you apply them to a non-porous surface you can wipe the design off with a damp cloth. Perfect.

Make a winter tea light holder from an old drinking glass

I started by drawing a snowman’s body and head and the snowflakes (you can’t see the snowflakes very well because of the spotty mat) but it’s great to be able to use a white pen for a change.

Make a winter tea light holder from an old drinking glass

That dried quite quickly and I was able to add the rest of the details – arms, face, clothes. I know, brown and a black pens would have been useful but I don’t have those colours in my pack.

Make a winter tea light holder from an old drinking glass

Then all you’ve got to do is drop a tea light in.

Make a winter tea light holder from an old drinking glass

Make a winter tea light holder from an old drinking glass


  • Never leave a lit candle unattended.
  • If you make a mistake, just wipe it off with a damp cloth.
  • An old jam jar would work, too.
  • Have a look at some other designs from Tea and a Sewing Machine.

Salvaged Items:

  • Old scratched drinking glass

You could even use brand new glasses for this and just wash your design off at the end of the season. And a quirky gift for a creative friend could be a set of glasses, a packet of pens and a few tea lights!

I don’t know what I’ll be making next week but I will be back with something creative for you then.


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