Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fireplace Pleasers without the Price

Wood-burning fireplace with burning log.Image via Wikipedia
With Christmas quickly approaching, give a gift from the heart. This is one present that you will spend time on making wonderful. Fire starters are very useful and much desired gifts. If you can commit to an afternoon of gathering twigs and lots of pine cones, your guaranteed a low-cost and eye-catching present for the one you love. Gather up kindling of any kind that you can find outside. Try to find twigs or branches big enough that you can cut into uniform pieces. Take them and place in a bucket of water to clean off debris and bugs. Remove the pieces and put 2/3rd's of the pine cones aside. Put remaining pieces on a baking pan and place in the oven at 200 degrees for at least 30 minutes or until dry. When pine cones open their petals, then remove them from the heat and set aside. You can take a third of the pine cones and place in a 1/2 gallon of water and add 1 cup of borax or Allum. Take the other third and place in 1/2 gallon of water and add 1 cup of boric acid and let these soak for 8 hours, remove, and allow them to dry in a warm place until Christmas. When these are dry place them in a cellophane bag and tie with raffia. They will burn red and green when placed in a fire for a beautiful effect. If you don't have fragrance oils, then go to your local florist and ask for any lavender and rosemary stems. You can add bayleaves, lemongrass and mint. Bundle this together in two to three arrangement and add some cinnamon sticks to each and tie with raffia and set aside. Buy some paraffin wax, candle coloring, and candle fragrance and melt in an old tin can big enough to dip cones. Place tin cans in a double broiler to heat. Use Christmas colors of red and green or your color theme can be blue and white. Submerge pine cones with tongs and set on wax paper to dry. Place in a cellophane bag and tie with raffia. Assemble twigs and branches in separate bundles and tie together with raffia. Arrange bags and bundles in a basket or empty cardboard box decorated with wrapping paper. I like to give this with a Christmas popcorn tin so they can use the tin to put cool ashes in during the holidays. Don't forget to include a box of kitchen matches and your set to provide the lucky recipient with some wonderful nights in front of the hearth.
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