By Karen Mansfield

Coins. Trading cards. Stamps. Vinyl records. Antique furniture.

Those are among the most popular collectible items.

But hobbyists invest huge amounts of energy – and, in some cases, income – acquiring items that are not as common, but are meaningful to them.

Washington County residents and natives shared some of their wonderful and collections.

Candles

Over the past couple of years, Kelli Wussick of Burgettstown has cultivated a collection that brightens her day: Bath & Body Works candles.

The 27-year-old owns nearly 200 of them. And yes, her house smells terrific.

Wussick has enjoyed buying and burning candles for several years, but in 2019 she joined a Bath & Body Works Facebook group and her candle collection caught fire, so to speak.

“I love the smell of candles, and I love to burn them. Being in the Facebook group made me realize there are many other women around the world who share the same love for candles,” said Wussick.

Wussick’s favorite scents are fruit- and bakery-scented – blueberry pie, sweet cranberry pie, frosted Moscow mule are among her favorites – but she’s partial to linen-scented candles, too.

Her candles, bearing catchy names like lemon cake pop and merry Madeleine cookie, and sunshine and daffodils, are neatly tucked in a nine-cubby cabinet, and stacked into a pyramid atop the cabinet.

Others are tastefully interspersed throughout Wussick’s lovely home. And here’s a secret: she likes the strong-scented, long-burning Bath & Body Works candles, but Wussick finds Walmart candles offer some delightful scents, for under $5.

While some candle collectors aren’t afraid to spend some serious money on their waxed treats, Wussick rarely pays more than $10 for them. She waits for the store’s yearly $10 candle sale, or uses coupons.

Her largest purchase? In December, she bought 40 candles.

Wussick has formed friendships with other dedicated wax lovers, one of the most satisfying parts of collecting.

“The girls in my group are incredible. I’ve made so many friends. I talk to women from all over the world daily. It’s a great escape for me,” said Wussick. “I’ve gotten all kinds of candles sent to me, and I’ve sent them to women. If they’re looking for a scent they can’t find and I have one, I’ll surprise them and send it to them.”

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