Sunday, December 8, 2013

Better Than Rubbing Two Sticks Together

What to give the person who either has everything or is willing to buy whatever he/she wants or needs?   A challenge, to be sure, especially in my family.  Even more challenging when you are trying to make personal homemade gifts.  And mind you, homemade is never a shortcut.  Before the making can even begin, a significant amount of time goes into the researching of ideas and the gathering of materials.  For example, my fire starters required driving miles of back roads to find pine cones that had dropped onto public land for gathering.  Oh, to live in the pine belt would have made this much easier, but our pines are few and far between.

After picking through the cones I collected, getting rid of the ones that were soft or broken, I popped them into an oven at 170 degrees for about 30 minutes to kill any bugs, make them open up all the way, and dry them out completely.  I also put several springs of rosemary from my garden in to dry for scenting my fire starters.

Next I chipped chunks of unscented wax off a large block to melt and pour over the pine cones.

To melt the wax, I dropped the chunks into a mason jar placed in a pot of water and brought it to boil.

As the water boiled, the wax melted.

I placed some wood shavings in the bottom of an old muffin tin topped with pine cones that I strung wicks through.

I also sprinkled some of the dried rosemary over the pine cones.

When the wax was melted, I poured it over the pine cones  which sealed the wick, shavings, and rosemary in place.

After the wax cooled for a few hours, I popped them out of the tin.  Cute, right?

These can be used to light campfires by placing them under kindling and logs and lighting the wick.  They will burn slowly allowing time for the flames to catch.  These are for giving, but I think I'll make a few for Breck and I to use around here in our new fire pit.  More on that new addition to the back yard another day.