Christmas Theme on a Budget: Preserving Pinecones

Christmas theme on a budget: Preserving pinecones for decor
I’m changing my Christmas theme to Winter Wonderland this year. We had blue and silver for a couple of years, then red and gold, then just red, and the last two or three years have been red and black. I wanted to change my theme last year, but didn’t have the time.  Well, this year, I put our artificial Christmas tree up early and started crafting away to get the look I wanted. {I prefer a real tree, but my oldest daughter and I are allergic. Major sadness!!} I pride myself on being thrifty, and knew I could accomplish the winter wonderland theme, on a minimal budget.

When I think of winter wonderland, I think of nature. And I just so happen to love the look of pinecones. Unfortunately, the store bought ones are mostly scented and my hubby can’t stand them!!  Plus, we are doing this on a budget, so, my youngest daughter and I set out to find our own pinecones.

PHASE 1: Locate Pinecones

Keep your eyes open for pinecones whilst driving around.  We spotted some, parked the car, grabbed our bags, and moshed slight wilderness to get our goods!! Once we found the most perfect pinecones, discarding the moldy, broken ones and the ones with ginormous bugs, we brought them home.

PHASE 2: Clean Pinecones

Put your darlings, and the neighbor kids to work, by picking pine needles and any debris you find, out of your delightful pinecones. Don’t let the bugs alarm you.  And there will be a lot.  *shudder*  You can also take a dry paintbrush to the pinecones to brush off dirt and sand.

PHASE 3: Bake Pinecones

aka: kill all the bugs!!!

bake pinecones to preserve them

Line oven racks with aluminum foil.  Preheat oven to 250°.  Place pinecones in oven.  Bake for 45 min.  You think you’ve gotten all the bugs, but OH MY SQUIRMY GOODNESS!!!!  Watching bugs crawl around my oven was nightmarish, but seeing their melted carcasses on the foil made it worth it!! Yeah, I’m a bit morbid!!

melted bugs via baking pineconesThe neighborhood kids, including mine, thought it was pretty cool!!!

PHASE 4: Comfort and Joy

Your home will now smell so fantastically cozy, it will surely bring the Christmas spirit in a flash!! It truly is happiness with the comfort of an aromatic hug!!  Unless you are like me and forget your are allergic to pine, but don’t remember until you are itching behind your eyeballs and snot is running down your face.  Ooops.  However, the dead bugs and the smell was worth it!!!  True story.

Another bright idea would be, if you have company coming over and you don’t have a festive candle to light, just throw a pinecone in the oven and boom! Instant Christmas aroma!!!  It’s quite fantastic!!

Phase 5: Deck the Halls

Now you are ready to decorate with your preserved, bug free pinecones!!

Spray paint the pinecones…
spray paint pinecones

…or use them in their natural glory.

pinecone decor

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!!

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