What’s the appeal of a wood fire? It’s lots of things, the smell, the crackle and the warmth. A real wood fire is a necessary part of Christmas. But the hassle of crumpled newspaper and kindling I can do without. Taking a few of these fire starters in a pretty mesh or paper bag as a hostess gift would be a great idea.
I’ve seen homemade fire starters lots of places and have wanted to try my hand at making some. This DIY is an amalgamation of a number of different methods.
- dried pinecones
- paraffin wax
- vegetable oil
- small containers
- natural twine
- double boiler
Search out small bowls that you may have on-hand that will just fit the size of pinecone you are using. Grease them liberally with vegetable oil and set aside. Wrap natural twine around and through the pinecones to aid in lighting.
In the top of a double boiler melt the wax completely. I used paraffin but you can use beeswax as well. Pour the melted wax carefully into the bowls and gently place a pinecone in each. You can add more wax to the bowl at this point if needed.
Set the bowls out to cool and harden overnight. When the wax has cooled completely gently twist the pinecone out and you’re done. You can add essential oils to the wax for a scented starter but I didn’t bother. Natural fire smell is best all on its own.
We’re in full-on summer mode here in Toronto this week – twenty eight degrees and humid. The hot summer season could also be known as icy, frigid air conditioning season too. I made a lightweight, summery scarf recently at a wonderful batik workshop at The Shop, a makerspace on College Street in Toronto. Find them here.
You can certainly find a ton of tutorials on YouTube or Pinterest with instructions on batik, I’ve looked. However, it’s so nice to have someone set everything up and have all the right equipment and experience to show you how it’s done. Seriously… having someone else clean up after you is a true luxury.
Full confession, I’m not a huge fan of traditional batik. I bought some fabric when I was in Thailand years ago and still have done nothing with it. My challenge going into this workshop was to take the traditional craft and make it something I found more appealing which to me meant less fussy and more spontaneous feeling.
Traditional batik can be very complicated and intricate but in a nutshell it is a resist dying method where you apply melted wax and dye to fabric. I applied the wax which you can see still in the fabric below with a large paintbrush in abstract shapes.
Above is the dyed fabric with the hardened wax. After ironing and washing the wax is gone and I’m very happy with the soft, unique pattern seen below.