Saturday, 12 January 2013

Pinterest challenge - Pincone firestarters

I love Pinterest. The only problem with it is that I currently have about a million projects pinned. Oh, and I'm constantly pinning new ones. In an effort to make some progress on the backlog, one of my New Year's resolutions is to complete at least two pinned projects each month. Not that 24 projects will really make a dent in the number I have pinned, but it'll make me feel less guilty about pinning more!

A project I found on the internet long before Pinterest is firestarters. I really wanted to make some for the cottage during the colder months; before we close up after a weekend up there we always clear the ashes out of the wood stove and lay a new fire, all ready to be lit as soon as we arrive the next time. But most of the directions I found for firestarters included dryer lint, egg cartons, and great vats of scalding hot parrafin wax. Very scary sounding, and not so attractive a product, to boot.

Then last fall I discovered a tutorial for making firestarters from pinecones and tealights at Kate's Creative Space and pinned it. This afternoon Cal and I tackled it.

Back in December, before it snowed, we spent an afternoon walking Tessa and gathering pinecones from around the neighbourhood. Luckily, several nearby schoolyards and parks provided us with a source of free cones. We had to do a fair amount of hunting to find pretty ones, as many of them had been stomped on by hordes of small children and had a lot of broken scales.

Instead of messing about with melting vats of wax, this project uses tealights. Because the wax needs to encase the bottom of the pinecone we first removed the tealights from their metal casings. It was pretty easy to peel away the metal shell. Even Cal could do it, although I held my breath the whole time, convinced that I was setting myself up for a trip to emerg to stitch up a little finger. He surprised me, though, and made it through unscathed.

The next step was to pop the tealights into lined muffin tins. Because I wanted the wax to cover as far up the pinecone as possible, we used small paper cupcake liners. Cal carefully pulled the wicks up to stand tall from the candles so that they would be easy to move to one side after the wax melted.

Then we popped the tealights into a 250° oven until they were completely melted. In the meantime, Cal picked out a dozen of the best looking pinecones we had and lined them up in preparation for the next step.

Using tweezers, I pulled the wick to one side of the cupcake paper and Cal dropped a cone into the wax. 

We waited until the wax cooled, peeled away the paper, and had a dozen really pretty firestarters.

Much more attractive than the egg carton/lint variety, n'est pas? I can hardly wait to try them out; it makes me really wish that we had a functioning fireplace here at home!

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