Saturday, September 13, 2008

Homemade Fire Starter Ropes

This is a unique idea to display on your fireplace mantle during the Holiday Season. I call them homemade fire starter ropes. I live in the North Georgia Mountain area, so apple orchards are abundant around these parts. Every year, I trek out to my favorite apple orchard and get "free apple wood branches" from my connection, Mr. Stover of Stover Apple Orchards. When I first met Mt. Stover, I told him that he was missing a fortune by burning up all his felled apple trees. He laughed, scratched his head, and asked me to explain. I said never mind, but if you will let me take all the apple wood branches I can get, I will save you the trouble of burning them! When I did some research on the internet, I was amazed that fragrant apple wood sells in "gift" packages for more than $10 a bundle. I read that apparently apple wood is the most aromatic of all the scented woods, and it releases a smoky apple smell when burning. And it does too! When I built my new home, I christened the fireplace with my first fire burning of apple wood. Anytime I walked outside to get some more wood, and the wind was blowing, everywhere I sniffed, I could smell apples. It is still such a beautiful memory. So I got this great idea...

Now, I know that not everyone is blessed to live in God's country with apple orchards out your back door, down the road in the country. So here is what you do.

In the blogs below, there are banners for a great online fragrant oil store I found. The 1 oz fragrant oils are all under $5 each! Yes! And just 1 or 2 drops will last quite a long time. The whole bottle will last through several projects, I believe. If you scent oak wood branches (or any other firewood) on your homemade fire starter rope with these oils, the smell will really be released as soon as it hits the top of the burning firewood! The effect is just the same as real apple wood burning. So we will label these oak branches scented with apple oil the same wood. And actually, the smell is going to be quite stronger than the real McCoy too.

Start out by making 5 or 6 bundles of apple wood branches about 12 inches (or one ruler length) long. Include about 5 or 6 branches in each bundle, no more than a finger width in diameter. Now make sure you pick branches that are uniform to this measurement for a pleasing effect. Lay out your branches horizontally. Next, take raffia and wrap around each bundle tying a knot behind. Now to string these together, place them on a work area horizontally, one above the other, with about 2 inches between each "rung", with the backside (or knotted side) facing up to hide the ugly knot marks. You have to knot your raffia twice to connect the pieces, otherwise the whole thing will fall apart when you cut each section for burning. Make your connecting raffia "rope" about 6 inches long to account for the double knots, one knot around the lower bundle, and one knot around the upper bundle. String the raffia all along these bundles until you have a rope effect. Then hang the homemade fire starter rope on your mantle. When you are ready to start a fire, simply cut a bundle from the rope and place it in with your kindling. Your fire will be scented with the sweet aroma of apples. When you run out of homemade fire starter rope, simply replace it with a new one.

If you take oak branches and place 2 drops of fragrant apple oil onto each branch, the effect is still the same! Plus, the aroma will permeate the house while it is hanging by your fireplace, especially if there is a nice, warm fire going to "heat" up around the area of your homemade fire starter rope. With real apple wood, you cannot smell it until it is burning, so these "doctored" apple wood branches will smell much stronger, even hanging by your fireplace.

Just an idea for Christmas. You can get the same effect if you just bundle up these scented twigs in a decorative container sitting on your hearth. There are lots of ways to wrap the package...raffia is just one. You can also wrap up oak wood bundles with Christmas ribbon. But the scented wood on the fire...boy...that is an added bonus. If you click on the banner below this blog, and type in fragrance oils in the drop down box displayed, the list of oils will pull up alphabetically, from A to Z. Such aromas include apple cinnamon, banana nut bread, Christmas Eve, amish friendship, and apple crisp pie...the list goes on and on. Try this for this holiday season. It is a unique idea!

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