Friday, November 26, 2010

Come on Baby Light my Fire

We've been getting some crazy weather here in Vancouver, below freezing temperatures and buckets and buckets of snow, which means inside days. Today Momma Waffles and I made festive fire starters. This is something I read about years ago in the lovely Ms. Martha's magazine.

As there are not a lot of pine trees (and therefore few pine cones) in Belgium, combined with the fact that our old apartment's fireplace was purely ornamental... I had not yet had a chance to test out these lovelies.

Canada however is a totally different story, so since I returned this summer I have been collecting pine cones like a deranged squirrel preparing for winter, H got quite used to me going "off trail" to collect cones. Our post wedding visit to BC's wine region? yup I came home with 2 bags of jumbo cones... and a few bottles of wine of course. A weekend in Whistler? You guessed it mountain hikes impeded by dragging home more cones!

Anyways... today we dragged out my prized cones and got to work turning them into fire starters. First we assembled our supplies.

  • Pine cones (the bigger the better)
  • wax paper
  • old bits of candle wax
  • old cooking pan or a disposable aluminium tray (to melt the wax in)
  • tongs

First up, melt your bits of wax in the pan... not too much as you want only a thin layer of wax to coat to cone, if you have too much wax in the pan and you get a really heavy layer of wax, which when dried, doesn't look as nice (in my opinion).

Now using your kitchen tongs, roll one pine cone at a time in the wax. Once is it covered, place it on the wax paper to dry. remember that the colour of the wax will "tint" the pine cone, so this can be a fun way to add some colour to your holiday decor.

They should look something like this one we did with red wax... see how there is just wax on the tips, and it's covered lightly enough that the cone's detail is still visible.

As the wax begins to cool, you will notice that it coats the cones more thickly. Just re-warm the wax as needed and continue, adding extra wax to the pot as needed.

Once they have dried, you have cute, basically FREE firestarters. Place them in a cute container next to your fireplace for the next cold evening.

- we're using an old mop bucket we found under our cabin this summer.

When you are ready to light a fire, throw one or two pine cones in with your wood and paper the wax on the cones will help keep the fire going for longer, just like in a candle.

In just over an hour, we had done enough cones for ourselves as well as my two brothers... can't beat that!

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