Monday, December 5, 2011

Scented Pine Cones for Christmas

Dear holiday decorator,

Every year I pass by displays of bagged pine cones, their cinnamony scent wafting by me alluringly.  But buying pine cones isn't exactly a priority so I've never got around to bringing them home.

Mr H and I went on a hike a few days ago and the ground was littered with huge, beautiful cones.  He suggested I pick up a few and bring them home for decorations, probably because I am always whining about how cool pine cones would be for decoration ... he went to get the car and when he came back I had a whole paper sackful.

When finding pine cones, choose the lighter, brighter colored ones.
The cone on the right is slightly fresher and sturdier than the cone on the
left.  Older cones have a more greyish-brown hue and their little tabs will
fall right out when you pick the cone up.  
"That isn't quite what I meant," he said dubiously.  But in his infinite wisdom, he did not argue with Woman.

And now ... we have scented pine cones to decorate our house for Christmas!

Scented Pine Cones 
It is surprisingly easy to make this wonderful Christmas decoration.  These don't smell quite as powerfully as the ones in the grocery store, but they are very fragrant and beautiful nonetheless!  You can give these away in baskets, or display in your own house with or instead of potpourri or candles! 

You will need:
Pine cones
Hot water and soap
Baking sheet and foil
Plastic zipper baggies or paper garbage bags

Essential oil (approximately 2 ounces per pound of cones), such as cinnamon, apple, orange, peppermint, nutmeg, pine, clove, Christmas blend, cedar, etc.
Spices (optional), such as cinnamon, cinnamon sticks, ginger, nutmeg, whole or ground allspice, orange peels, eucalyptus leaves, whole or ground cloves

1. Wash the pine cones in hot, soapy water to remove as much foreign matter as possible.  Insects, dirt, stray needles, etc.  Some of the sap will come off but not all of it - that's okay.

2. Shake the pine cones off and line them up on a foil lined baking sheet.  The foil is important unless you love picking sap off of pans.  Bake at 200 degrees F for approximately one hour; check occasionally for safety (no forest fires, please!).  Remove from the oven and let cool so you can handle them easily.  The sap will be melted and hardened into a shiny gloss, so they will no longer be sticky.

3. Place the cones in the plastic baggies or large paper sack (the plastic baggies are better as they are more air-tight.  We want to seal in the scents, here!).

Option A: Spritz with essential oil + a little water from a squirt bottle, or brush with a paint brush.
Option B: Drip with essential oil (this is what I did).

If you wish, sprinkle with spices.  I sprinkled ground spices on mine, and then threw in whole cloves and allspice.

4. Seal the bags or fold the paper bag tightly closed.  Shake to distribute the spicy, aromatic goodness.  Let sit for 24 hours (they will smell good) or longer (a week or more, they will smell amazing!).  The longer they steep, the stronger they smell.

My pine cones, after five days in the bags, smell fragrant and Christmas-y.  I am still steeping them, but I wanted to get this post up quickly so you could get yours started for Christmas right away!

What other essential oils, spices, or fragrances can you suggest?  Post ideas in the comments below, and also let us know what you tried and how it worked!

It's beginning to smell like Christmas!

Mrs H

Where there's Rosie,
there's free stuff!
Free Downloads 

Holiday Décor E-book ... Getting the house ready for Christmas?  Download this free e-book full of handmade holiday décor ideas.  Read about it here or jump straight to the PDF here

Book Giveaway ... Did you enter the giveaway on this very self-same blog? You could win a book for yourself and save it till Christmas ... or maybe give it as a gift!  Contest ends Saturday, December 10th, 2011 at midnight.  Enter the contest here.  



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