Easton’s Lego store will please enthusiasts, new fans of building-block toy

As a child I was often frustrated by build-it-yourself toys like Erector Sets and Lincoln Logs. It was hard for me to create something out of nothing. The toy pieces usually ended up in a pile mixed with Lite-Brite pegs and model-car parts. (Maybe that’s why I’m a writer and not an engineer.)

Today’s generation of children seem to be much brighter – bright like the bold, primary colors of Legos, another toy that requires lots of tiny pieces to build something larger.

I recently joined dozens of other parents and their children at the new Lego store at Easton Town Center in Columbus. The 2,000 square-foot store at 4004 Gramercy St., only the second in Ohio, opened in July. A sales representative said they’re already doing a brisk business.

Kids gawk at Lego box sets of pirate ships, houses, trains and a variety of other objects stacked nearly to the ceiling on two walls. Some are themed in popular television shows such as SpongeBob SquarePants, or movies including Star Wars. One showstopper is the 5,197-piece Millennium Falcon of Star Wars fame. At $500, it’s the most expensive set in the store. Each toy has a recommended age range marked on the box.

Some Lego creations are displayed in the store like museum pieces. The more routine pieces stand behind round Plexiglass covers in the wall, at child level. For instance, you can look through a porthole and see little Lego people seated in a movie theater.

You can even customize your own mini Lego people. They’re called MiniFigures.

True enthusiasts can buy Legos by the brick in the bulk section behind the checkout counter at the back of the store. There are lots of colors and shapes in various sizes to choose from. I’m not sure how you’re supposed to reach the pieces at the top level. That was over my head.

Now that I have children of my own, I feel like I want to steer them toward intelligent toys that build motor and problem-solving skills. On a recent Saturday afternoon at the Lego store, many parents apparently shared that feeling, although I didn’t see anyone pony up $500 for the Millennium Falcon.

Maybe they’re saving up for Christmas.

For more information, visit www.eastontowncenter.com.

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Concoct a customized scent

I perused the names of more than 120 candle fragrances at The Candle Lab in the Columbus suburb of Worthington: “Georgia Peach,” “Snickerdoodle,” “Tomato Leaf.” My goal: to choose two perfect fragrances that represented my husband and three-month-old son, and thus create the perfect candle.

The Candle Lab, with three central Ohio locations in Worthington, Grandview Heights and Gahanna, is a specialty store where customers can buy pre-made, scented candles, or concoct their own. Fragrance selections vary by season, and customers can choose up to three scents. They combine the scents with pure soy wax, which co-owner Steve Weaver says burns long and is environmentally friendly.

The process of picking a scent, mixing it with liquid wax and allowing it to harden takes a little over an hour. A 12-ounce candle costs $12.

“The customers who are happiest with their candles are the ones who have a meaning behind the scents they’ve chosen,” said Weaver, who co-owns The Candle Lab with his fiancée, Katesha Freeman.

Weaver said a newlywed couple recently visited his store after returning from their honeymoon. They recreated an aroma they remembered from a spa they visited using the fragrances of lemongrass, rosemary and mint. Other customers, Weaver said, just want to create a personalized gift.

The Candle Lab also is a popular spot for candle-pouring parties, especially among teenage girls who enjoy prepping the candle, then spending the hour it takes for the wax to set doing something else. Some opt for a quick manicure or pedicure at the Elli Nail Spa next door. Others seek out a cone at nearby Graeter’s Ice Cream.

Weaver says The Candle Lab has hosted dozens of parties for Girl Scout troops, who also enjoy a lesson on the shop’s eco-friendly products derived from renewable resources such as essential oils and soy. Typical parties include 8-12 people. (Those who are interested in having a candle party should reserve the space two weeks in advance.)

Popular fragrance recipes among the younger crowd include mixing “Bubble Gum” and “Watermelon” to produce a scent resembling watermelon-flavored Bubblicious chewing gum. Another mixes “Campfire,” “Toasted Marshmallow” and “Dark Chocolate” scents to yield a s’mores-scented candle.

I settled on a scent called “Dad’s Den,” which smelled like cigars and spices, and one called “Baby Powder” that smelled like, well, baby powder. The Candle Lab’s fragrances are stored in amber bottles with white labels. I poured each of my selections into a bartender’s jigger, like a chemist. Then I emptied the concoction into an 8-ounce tin filled with soy wax and a wick. Voila! In an hour’s time, I had my own personalized candle that reminded me of my loved ones.

For more information, visit www.thecandlelab.com.

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