Have you walked into your local grocery store lately and been overwhelmed by the scent of cinnamon? Then chased the smell through the aisles until you located the giant box filled with cinnamon scented pinecones? Listened to your subconscious scream in your ear, BUY ONE? Yea? Me too. However the $4.99 cost might seem like not much to you, but it is a lot to me. Today, I invite you to come along with me in an experiment to make scented pinecones at home.
Step 1: Collect pinecones. This idea to make my own pinecones occurred to me during a failed fishing trip. The fish had deigned not to join me on the ride home and as we were hiking back to the car I noticed the thousands of pinecones surrounding the trail. I did what any skunked fisherwomen would do: I decided not to go home empty handed. Of course, the only thing I had on me was a tackle box, a fishing pole, two guys, and a net. Nothing to carry the coveted pinecones in. What to do? I made the guys fill my empty fishing net with pinecones. I pointed out the acceptable cones and they fetched and carried. (I feel compelled to tell you one thing about this mode of pinecone transportation: Once a pinecone is inside a net? It really doesn’t want to come back out.)
Step 2: Gather together your necessary equipment: Pinecones, cinnamon sticks, and cinnamon essential oil. That is what the internet says. If for some reason you are unable to get cinnamon essential oil (I could only find it online and it was quite expensive – costing more than a word that rhymes with benty dollars), my suggestion is you rack your brain until you figure something else out that you think will work. (I don’t know actually know how this is going to work, since I have never done it before). I located to possible alternatives: A) an apple cinnamon scented concentrated fragrance oil (craft dept at W*lmart). My thoughts on this find were two-fold, one was that it didn’t smell very strong and secondly that it was apple-y smelling (not a bad thing just not very cinnamon-y. And yes, I will probably make up more words as this experiment continues). B) While perusing the spice area (they don’t really have aisles or organization at Big L*ts), nestled behind some crap I didn’t need, I found cinnamon extract,which has a strong cinnamon scent. My thought on this find was that it probably may not have any long-term scent-y staying power. Thus I decided to combine them. Also in my supplies list my ancient iPod, to help me focus on the task at hand. (Another warning: if you fill your iPod with all your Nickel Creek albums, do not be surprised to find you are overwhelmed with the urge to learn how to play a fiddle.)
Step 3: Cover your dirty, old cookie sheet with a piece of foil. Rinse off your pinecones, removing any dirt, spiders or fishing bobbers that may be present. Layout your pinecones on the foil and bake in the oven at 200 degrees for one hour. You are probably wondering why we do this. I have no idea. I did it because the internet told me to and I believe everything I read on the internet as gospel truth. It could also be to dry them out completely and to ensure they are fully opened. Or to kill any spiders you missed. Just do it.
Step 4: Entertain yourself for an hour. I chose to use the time pampering myself with a shower, a mini pedi, and some DIY TV while eating bon bons folding laundry, making the bed and trying to get the S letter on my laptop to stop popping off every time I used it. (Ever realize how many words use the letter S? ALOT.)
Step 5: Realize you need more supplies than listed in step 2. Hunt around for a squirt bottle (required). Put on appropriate attire, say a lovely apron from ApronFrenzy (not required, but STRONGLY suggested). Your house will now smell like roasted pinecones, which is an added bonus. Remove the cones from the oven and allow them to cool.
Step 6: In the squirt bottle mix your fragrances. I used a very small bottle and filled it with water. I then added about 3/4 of the cinnamon extract bottle and a good dollop of the fragrance oil and shook it up well. Liberally spray your pinecones, turning often, to saturate with the water mixture.