Fire Starter DIY

fire starter

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.

Pinecone Firestarter


  • 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.

melting wax

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.

fire starter process


Best of the Season: Wreath Edition

Even though some houses have wreaths on the door year-round this is still the time of year for wreaths to shine. Here are some stunning examples.

When I see wonderful examples like the moss and bottle-brush tree wreath below I’m reminded that faux elements can be used really successfully mixed with natural greens. This strikes just the right blend of whimsy, charm and simplicity.

bottle brush wreath

I have no idea what material was used in the wreath below… grass? hay? Whatever, it’s stunning.

grass wreath

How pretty, how lazy, but how perfect. This example was found on a UK website coxandcox (click here for link) but the lights are readily available in lots of retailers locally.

naked wire wreath

The right mix of greens is essential. Texture and colour contrasts make this example from bhg (Better Homes and Gardens) a standout.

Mixed green wreath

My all-time favourite wreath example. Just stunning in the choice of greens, the fruits (kumquats?) and the slightly asymmetrical and exuberant feel. Found originally on the Saipua site here.

mixed green wreath

I usually shy away from red/green colour combinations at Christmas but this is one of the most stunning wreaths I’ve seen. Is it the deep, deep red used? Is it the wonderfully frothy greens? The luxurious but perfectly, slightly crumpled ribbon? Or is it the contrast of the gorgeous wreath and distressed wood background? Don’t know what makes this perfect but I know it is.

red and green wreath

OK, can i hear a hallelujah for simple unadorned wreaths on majestic doors?

antique doors

In my dreams I spend Christmas in a cottage where the snow gently falls and this hangs on my gate to the ocean-side garden.


The web site where this was found is simply lovely and bright. It’s like Christmas in a snow globe. They sell this ribbon here.

red and white wreath

Again… here’s another example that would hang in that ocean-side cottage at Christmas. Found on a beautiful blog here.

hanging bells

I ‘m pretty sure  I’ll never be sophisticated enough to lead a life where this fits in but it doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the beauty. See it here.

Carolyne Roehm

I normally don’t post photos that I cannot link back to an original creator. For some of these photos I searched high and low for attribution but have been unable to find it. However, I wanted to share this incredible creativity that I admire so much.

10 Song Choices for a Mellow Christmas

mellow christmas

When I’ve compiled playlists in the past I have made a point to list only East Coast Canadian artists but for this list I’m featuring my favourite smooth and mellow Christmas music. If you’re having a quiet evening at home and don’t want any soaring choirs or dance-along songs this is the list for you. I made an East Coast Christmas playlist last year here.

I’ve Got the Blues for Christmas Russell deCarle Find it here

The Christmas Waltz She and Him Find it here

Christmas Lights Coldplay Find it Here

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Dave Koz Find it Here

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow David Ian Find it Here

Angels We Have Heard on High Doug Smith Find it Here

Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer Jack Johnson Find it Here

Merry Christmas Baby K-Ci and JoJo Find it Here

Auld Lang Syne Matt Anderson Find it Here

The Christmas Waltz She and Him Find it Here

Grab a glass of wine, light the fire and add these to a playlist to mellow out the season.