Saturday, September 13, 2008

Homemade Pine Cone Fire Starters

The autumn and Christmas seasons are just around the corner. This year, start early so you can relax and enjoy the season with the rest of your family and friends. Also, if you get these great ideas in place and give them time to "do their work," your whole house will be saturated with sweet Christmas smells well before the season kicks in. I enjoy wrapping my Christmas presents with old Christmas carols playing in the background and the house smelling of banana nut bread and cinnamon!

Why not make some pine cone fire starters? Just take a trip out to the woods and gather all sizes of pine cones. Be sure and take a sack or plastic laundry basket to collect your goodies. The only other ingredients you will need for your pine cone fire starters are candle wax, fragrance oil, food coloring (red and green for Christmas colors) and fireplace matches. These pine cone fire starters make GREAT hostess gifts too. Take a basket along for your favorite hostess during the holiday seasons and she will rave over these unique pine cone fire starters!

Using the "double boiler method," melt old candles or paraffin wax to begin your pine cone fire starters. To make a double boiler, simply place a pyrex or metal container inside a larger container of water on the stove and heat up. Place your old candles or paraffin wax inside the "dry" container. This is a great time to collect all those half used candles lying around the house and revitalize them for new uses. When the wax has melted to a liquid form, be sure and remove all old wicks before continuing. You can reserve these wicks for other recycling projects during the season. Then add 2 drops of red or green food coloring for that Christmas look. After this, add 3-4 drops of your favorite fragrance oil and stir to blend. Cut down the fire. Then, using tongs, dip each pine cone slowly into the liquid wax until completely coated, and voila! Instant pine cone fire starters! Allow the excess to drip into the wax container until it stops. Then place the pine cone fire starters onto wax paper and allow to completely harden.

Arrange the pine cone fire starters in a pretty basket. I scour all the thrift stores in the area for my holiday baskets. You can pick up great buys anywhere from $1 to $3. All these baskets are unique and BIG too! Also, I have found a great online store for fragrant oils. All their 1 oz bottles are under $5 and they have over 1500 scents to choose from. You can access their website by clicking on the banner below this recipe for pine cone fire starters. Don't forget the fireplace matches. To use your pine cone fire starters, simply place 1 or 2 on top of kindling and light the edge of one of the pine cone petals. When the smell dissipates, simply add another pine cone fire starter to keep that Christmas smell wafting through the house. You can also individually tag these with gift tags and raffia and include 3 or 4 in gift baskets that you are making up for the holidays. You can simply label the Christmas tag "pine cone fire starter - place me on top of your firewood for a sweet smell" or something like that. I include these in my gourmet coffee gift baskets, my homemade cakes and pies baskets, and you can throw a couple into your carry out basket that you pack your Christmas gifts in for traveling to the grandparents' house! Below is a list of the top fragrant oils that I use for the holidays. When you click on the banner below, simply plug the names of these fragrant oils into the search for box and hit enter. They will pull up instantly for ordering.

For autumn scents, I like: Acorn harvest, baked bread, pumpkin pie, amish friendship and apple cinnamon.

For Christmas scents, I like: Baked pie, holiday pine, pumpkin spice, vanilla cinnamon, all spice, 7up pound cake, all berry, amish friendship, apple cinnamon, apple crisp, apple pie, pumpkin pie, honey cinnamon, almond biscotti, baked bread, banana bread, blueberry muffin, butter cookie, butter rum, butterscotch, candy cane, caramel apple, carrot cake, cherries and chesnut, cherry cobbler, chestnut brown sugar, Christmas Cheer, Christmas Eve, and the highly requested Christmas scent of apples and oak (Sounds weird but it is touted as one of their most requested).

Some of my favorite coffee smells (for those gourmet coffee baskets) are: amaretto, hazelnut, chocolate raspberry, mocha cappuccino, and chocolate mint.

The list goes on and on. If you enter the keyword fragrance oils in the search for box, it will pull up the entire list from A-Z. Browse around the site because you can see I only made a partial list through the "Cs". The list continues right on through Z!

This is a fairly inexpensive and unique way to personalize your Christmas holidays. Also, these fragrant oils are potent enough that 2-3 drops is all you need to flavor the whole pot. The only real problem you will have is deciding which fragrant oil to use! Browse through the rest of my blog for more ideas to fragrance your home through the holiday season. I think you will have a lot of fun making up these great pine cone fire starters. Enjoy and May God Bless your Holiday Season!

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