Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ushering in the Fall Season II

Collecting Pine cones

   Pine cones; the things you can do with a few. Every since my first child could walk, we have gathered pine cones. Since they come in such a variety of shapes and sizes, they yield themselves to great focal points for many different activities. Every age and skill level can participate in these fall pine cone projects.

Ten things you can do with pine cones:

1. Learn about them. Entire unit studies can be done around pine cones. Focus on the type of tree they come from, their purpose, who they provide food for, etc.

2. Display them. Pin cones are a beautiful accent to table centerpieces, fireplace mantles, nature tables; they can be randomly strewn about with leaves or gourds, or neatly arrayed in a bowl or basket.

4. Make place card holders for your holiday table. Stand your pine cone on end (cut the bottom if necessary to make it set right) place your place card in the top. Ribbon or sparkle is easily added for added flair.

5. Create a bird feeder. Tie a cotton cord or ribbon to the top of your pine cone, spread natural peanut butter all around the cone- poking some into the crevices, roll it in birdseed and hang it outdoors. Birds and squirrels will love this treat and you will love the entertainment it brings you!

6. Create scented pine cones for your home or a gift. Using essential oils (or the cooking oils found in the spice isle at your grocery store), drop several drops of oil- scent of your choice- onto the pine cone focusing on crevices, place the scented cones in a resealable bag and let them cure one week. Now add them to your display or decor. These make great gifts and may be used in the fireplace for a burst of scent.

7. Make a fire starter for a fireplace. Melt beeswax or paraffin (adding color or scent if desired), dip your pine cones in- I tie a string around them to prevent us from burning our hands, let them dry on wax paper and package them neatly with some fireplace matches, cocoa and a good book or movie for a cute gift basket.

8. Make pine cone people. Use pipe cleaners, glitter, fabric scraps and pom poms- even leaves and acorns are great- to let the kids create people, pets and all sorts of imaginary creatures. These are cute for display or play- and grandparents love one attached to a simple gift or card.

9. Garland. Use them with leaves (natural, synthetic, paper or felt), acorns, or seasonal fabric, cotton cord or ribbon, and any other holiday shape. The pine cones can be tied by the top or base, hot glued, or- if your handy with gadgets- an eye hook can be placed in the base for stringing. Kids love helping with this one.

10. For you crafty moms, make a wreath. Use a wreath base (grapevine, raffia, foam, or wire) and hot glue, tie on, or add floral pics to your pine cones. Fill in the gaps with leaves, fabric, acorns or other holiday shapes.

   Each of these activities have been done by our family over the years. Even today, pine cones are gathered and scattered around our home. We have some curing in bags, scented with rosemary. Others are in a basket waiting a wreath base (I have to purchase a new one- mine finally fell apart).
   Remember that when doing activities with your family- perfection is not the key. The goal is to spend time together- doing things- sharing with one another. Some of the best conversations happen when we are working together at an activity. Step outside with your family this afternoon, enjoy the beautiful weather and make some memories while you usher in the fall season.


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