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Pine cones that smell so good, they will thank you!

Y’all, I LOVE scented pine cones and when they hit the stores every year, it makes me very happy. I walk past them, take a deep breath and am immediately transformed to a picture perfect setting...a roaring fire, a thick blanket, steamy mugs of hot cocoa, a plate full of cookies and a blissful evening with Big Daddy. What I don’t love about the store-bought ones, aside from how expensive they have gotten in recent years, is that the scent never lasts.....ever! I am pretty sure it’s a pine cone conspiracy; once they know they have a good home and will not be spending the holidays in a store, they no longer feel that they need to maintain any level of fabulous fragrance.

After a few years of throwing money away on store bought scented pine cones only to have them lose their scent 5 seconds after crossing the threshold of my home, I had a brilliant idea......just MAKE my own! Genius, right? I have to admit, I did do a self high-5 for this idea and it has worked out better than I could have ever expected.

Y’all are now thinking “how on Earth does this awesomely creative woman MAKE her own scented pine cones and will she ever share her secrets with me”, right? Aw, y’all make me blush with your compliments and, of course I will share my secrets! Ready? Here we go:

1. Y’all need pine cones....FREE pine cones are ideal. I get mine from my back yard but I have friends who go to local parks or schools and gather up the fallen pine cones. Ask around in your area and you will find someone who knows somewhere for y’all to get pine cones. Make sure the ones you select are fat, full pinecones and they don’t have any broken, smashed or damaged spots. Clean them off a bit...shake the dirt and leaves from them and pull out any pine needles but don’t stress about it too much.

2. In order to ensure they are properly dried out, their pores are open and they are free of unwanted critters, put the pine cones on cookie sheets covered in parchment paper and pop them into a 250 degree oven for 20-30 minutes until they get REALLY warm to the touch but not so hot that you can‘t pick them up. Remove them from the oven, DO NOT LET THEM COOL OFF, and move immediately to step 3.

3. Using gallon size, zipper top storage bags, sprinkle cinnamon, spice or pine scented essential oil (you do not need expensive, food grade essential oils for this project) on both sides of the bag. Place the warm pine cones in the bag, add some additional drops of oil and ensure the bag is properly sealed. Gently and carefully move the pinecones around in the bag for a few seconds, coating them with the oil. Let the pinecones sit in the bag until they have completely cooled off.

4. Once they have cooled off in the zipper bag (you might see some steam or condensation collect on the bag; that’s ok) they are done and ready to be spreading their fabulous fragrance all over your home! My favorite way to display them is in unassuming, small, brown baskets placed throughout Chez Big Daddy. Experiment in your home with where and how you’ll enjoy them. One word of caution: do NOT place these pine cones in any wooden vessels or directly on anything wood; the oil in the pine cones will stain. If you find they are starting to lose their fragrance, repeat the entire process.

Now that y’all know my secrets, I hope y’all will never again be frustrated by throwing money away by purchasing scented pine cones!

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