Saturday, December 20, 2014

Tutorial: Make Your Own Scented Pinecones

Scented Pinecones by the Fire

When we visited Hilton Head, South Carolina over the summer I noticed giant pinecones on the ground while hiking in the Sea Pines Nature Preserve. I felt a stab of nostalgia on seeing them, because my mother and grandmother each kept big baskets of pinecones by their fireplaces throughout my childhood. They always wanted really big ones, which are hard to find, so whenever we would see them somewhere we children would be dispatched to gather the biggest ones. I did not pick any up, or send my children into the undergrowth to look for them, in part because my daughter went around a curve in the path and came face to face with an alligator while we were hiking! We have a gas fire as well, so we can't use pinecones as fire starters.

However, a few months ago I found an old metal waste basket with a Pennsylvania Dutch design painted on it in a thrift store in Lincolnton, and I just had to have it. My grandmother had the matching dust pan when I was little, but hers was copper rather than green. I bought it, I really don't know why because I didn't have anywhere to put it. On the drive home I started to think how cute it would look sitting next to the fireplace. Then I started to think about how nice some pinecones would be inside it. Then I really wished I'd picked up some of those big pinecones this summer!

Luckily for me, we returned to Hilton Head in October, so we went back to the trail where we saw the pinecones to gather some. I found to my dismay, most of the really big ones were old and rotten. Evidently you need to pick those up in summer. We got the biggest we could find. Since we can't use them in the fire I decided to scent them with essential oils. The heat of the fire will bring out the scent.

I used Young Living oils to scent the pinecones.

I blithely brought the pinecones in and had them sitting on the kitchen counter as I prepared to scent them. Then I noticed a tiny baby Palmetto Bug crawl out of one! "Palmetto Bugs" are the euphemistic name given to giant flying and rather aggressive cockroaches who populate the South, from around Greenville, NC on down. I definitely don't want those in here! A quick Pinterest search turned up the tip that you should bake them at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour to dry them out and kill any vermin hanging around inside. Make sure to watch them so you don't end up with a fire. Baking them will also cause any closed cones to open so you can scent them more thoroughly. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and bake the cones on that.

After The pinecones are baked and cooled place them in a zip-close plastic bag. Add about 10 drops of the essential oil of your choice. I used 8 drops of Young Living Thieves and 2 drops of Young Living Christmas Spirit oil  blends for a cinnamon and clove scent with a touch of orange. Close the bag and shake. Then open the bag and spritz with water using a spray bottle. Close the bag and shake again to thoroughly coat the pinecones. I added several cinnamon sticks and whole cloves to my bags to scent them even further.

Leave the pinecones in the closed bag and shake them up again every few days for 4-6 weeks. Even inside the closed bags, ours scented the whole side of the house near our laundry room where they were "steeping". These make a terrific gift for anyone, especially those with a fireplace, since pinecones are flammable enough to make great fire starters. This method is much easier than scented wax-dipped pinecones I've tried in the past.

We are really enjoying our yummy-smelling pinecones and our fireplace in these cold, dark days, and I hope you will as well! As always, contact me to order your own Young Living products.

Keep cones in the bag 4-6 weeks, shaking every few days.

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