We took the dogs to a woodland near us last week, with pine cone collecting in mind. It's a quiet patch of woodland with wonderful earthy, mossy smells, not well managed by the looks of things but used for pheasant rearing. Harvey was in his element, being the closer of the two to his gun dog heritage. Riley, looks like a Springer, is a Springer but doesn't seem to have quite what it takes to flush out game, bless him. He's pretty good at locating plastic rubbish though, mainly bottles, he found one within seconds and carried it in his mouth for the entire duration of the hour long walk. Whatever keeps him happy I guess! We always take the bottles home, where they are casually popped in the bin. I tell M that Riley is not as daft as he looks, he's environmentally aware... but M isn't buying that.
I was gutted to discover that there was not a single solitary pine tree in the whole woodland. We will just have to go a little further afield next time. It's typical that after several years of hoarding a basket of assorted pine cones, I decided to chuck them all on the chiminea one chilly summer's evening, on the basis that they were just clutter. This year, because we are spending a little more time at home over Christmas I've decided to finally implement my cunning recycled Christmas decorating plan...
I say cunning because it's usually me who climbs up into the attic, climbs over mountains of junk and locates the various Christmas lights and boxes of decorations. It's me who untangles the lights, decorates the tree, throws a wreath on the front door, and then dismantles everything, packs it all back up and lugs it back up into the attic. I know that's not quite showing my Christmas spirit but I think that departed when the children got older and no longer wanted to string popcorn garlands together or smudge paint onto cardboard shapes for the tree. I need to reintroduce that creative approach even if it's just me!
So this year it's all staying up in the attic (except for the lights) while I try a little experiment. I'm going to make all the decorations using recycled stuff, nature finds and wool. I may allow the odd charity shop find too. The plan is to chuck, donate or compost most of it after Christmas.
Naturally I've made a start on the woolly contributions first. I did careful research to find a good pattern for pine cones. There are some free ones out there but I liked this one from PlanetJune. The pattern includes six sizes of cone. It was a bit fiddly at first but after the first one it becomes easier. They obviously look quite convincing in cosy evening lighting because both E and M thought they were real. Now that I have tried a few sizes I'm planning on making a set for the tree, perhaps with rustic ribbon and then some small ones to add to gift tags.