Hello! My name is Shannon Taylor. I'm a long-time writer and editor from Minnesota surprised to find myself on an island in the Pacific Northwest with my husband, three younger children (the oldest is attending college in Chicago), and two dogs.

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Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life—learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
+ Robert Fulghum

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Winter Fun

DIY Pinecone Fire Starters

I spotted these pinecone fire starters in Hallmark’s The Christmas Book by Heidi Tyline King. Even though they looked simple enough (there was just a photo and some loose instructions), it took me awhile to get everything together. Which is why I’m posting about the fire starters after Christmas instead of before. But now we have a head start for next Christmas, plus I think these would make a great hostess gift any time of year—for the fireplace in the winter and for bonfires the rest of the year.

I’m sure there are different methods and materials you could use, but this is what I did and our fire starters work like a charm. So here’s what you do:

Step 1: Gather your materials
pinecones (I got the last two bags our local Walmart had this year)
paraffin wax (from Cub grocery store)
white twine (from Home Depot)
large glass canning jar (I used a huge Mason jar)
cupcake liners and cupcake pan and/or ramekins
Pam spray

Step 2: Make the fire starters
The first thing to do is put as much paraffin wax as you can fit into the glass jar. Place the jar into a pan of simmering water until the wax melts. Meanwhile, prepare the pinecones by wrapping a length of twine around them. The twine should be long enough to go around each pinecone about three times, with at least two inches of twine hanging loose from the pinecone at the end.

Next, place the pinecones into cupcake liners (placed in a cupcake pan) if they’re small or a ramekin lightly sprayed with Pam if they’re large. Carefully pour the wax over the pinecones. I first poured the melted wax into a glass measuring cup to make the process a little less messy. When the wax has dried, you can tear off the cupcake liners and remove them from the ramekins.

Step 3: Packaging
I packaged the fire starters in cellophane bags tied with ribbon because that’s what I had around. But for next year, I’d like to try to find little vintage wooden boxes like the ones pictured in the Hallmark book. The wooden box was wrapped up with a big white ribbon with long matches tied on. I also noticed, when I looked at the book to get the author’s name just now, that her pinecones look like they were dipped into the wax (instead of having the wax poured over them) several times so they turned quite white. I might try that method, too, just to compare.

Have fun and good luck!

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