Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dried White Pine - It Was A Good Idea - Or Was It?

In a previous post on my Linda's Blog entitled "The Pine Cone Baskets - Now That's A Good Idea!" I told you that twenty years ago I had a great idea to collect all the pine cones from the lawn to use for making pine cone baskets.  We had a wealth of them that had fallen from the white pine and evergreen trees that year.  So, they were plentiful and free.

During this time I had another brainstorm and thought it would be fun to dry white pine needles and make miniature pine trees. The winter that year had been harsh and we had many, many large branches of our white pines down on the ground. I just thought it would be a waste to just throw all the branches and pine needles away.

So, I decided to cut the branches into manageable sizes and then dry them upside down and hang them from the beams in our cellar. I used elastic bands to tie the branches together and then tied them to wire coat hangers that I then hung from nails I had hammered into our wood beams in the basement.

I let the pine needles dry for several months and then decided I'd try to make a miniature tree. To my dismay the pine sap from the white pine trees didn't exactly dry like I thought it would and I had pine sap all over my hands. Also, to my dismay the pine needles hadn't dried exactly as I thought they would and started falling our almost immediately.

So, to keep them in tack within their little pods I cut them to about an inch in length. I took a 12" foam tree and started inserting them into the bottom of the foam tree working my way up to the top. By the time I was done it actually looked like a miniature white pine tree and I was pleased with the results.

So, I started to decorate it with some small bead garland I had bought and some miniature ornaments. I put a metal star on the top and was satisfied that my tree looked like a real tree.

Unfortunately the tree didn't last and the needles started falling out and turning yellow. I hadn't thought to glue the mini pods with the needles into the foam or to spray the tree either with a preservative or with some green paint.  Duh! That would have been smart.

Plus, to my dismay I learned that white pine branches drying upside down in one's basement tends to attract moths. NOT A GOOD THING.

So, I threw away all the dried branches and resorted to either using pre-dried floral from the craft stores ( which was way too expensive) or use pine cones. I certainly had plenty of them. I had stored all the different pine cones that had fallen from the trees in various boxes which were stored in my basement.

However, I quickly learned that you couldn't make miniature pine cone trees without tiny little pine cones. If I wanted to use the pine cone trees that I had I wouldn't be making  miniature trees. They would be anywhere from 12" tall and up.  That was fine with me - I had plenty of pine cones.

The first tree I made, which is shown in the picture at the beginning of this post, was 13 inches tall.  It didn't take long to make.  The second tree I made, which is shown above in the picture to the right, was 30 inches tall and took a long time to make.

However, I  was pleased with the way they both turned out and put them out during the Christmas holidays.  The large tree sits in the middle of my dining room table and the small tree is on the counter in my kitchen.

The first year I made the miniature white pine trees I had them out during the holidays.  However, as mentioned they just didn't last so they were all thrown away.  I hated to do that, but sometimes you win with an idea and sometimes you don't.  Was it a good idea - probably not!

1 comment:

  1. You're not the only one!! LOL - I did the same thing years ago and what a disaster - they are good for the season and then 'good-bye'. Nice thing about it is - cones and branches are plentiful.

    Have you ever tried making the fire starters with the cones? Fun to do, but oh so time consuming.