Hello, chickadees! Just wanted to touch base, because I've been away for so long. I'm planning a holiday post to show you a few pictures of the new house all decked out for the season, but today I thought I'd share a teeny sneak peek of a little bit of the tree plus a pinecone wreath I made from the gazillions of them we have in our backyard. Some people might not like having to pick up all those cones, but I consider every last one of them a gift from our massive white pine. And when I say massive, I mean it's branches begin higher up than the the tops of many of our other trees.
I promise not to post a tutorial on how to make the pinecone wreath. Why not? Well, because when I set out to make mine, I did a Pinterest search and a Google search (I like to be thorough) for pinecone wreath tutorials, and guess what? There are almost as many pinecone wreath tutorials online as there are pinecones in my backyard, so you don't need me to add to the pile. I will say this: while a pinecone wreath is simple to make, it is time-consuming, and it takes many, many cones to create a full wreath. Oh, and yards and yards and yards of wire. I used a very thin gauge wire, so I didn't hurt my fingers too much, and I used a grapevine wreath as the base. Some tutorials I read said to sort the cones by size first, but I just eyeballed them as I went along, using larger cones for the outside ring, smaller cones for the inside ring, and cones somewhere in-between for the middle ring. This approach seemed to work well with the longish cones of the white pine. If you had shorter cones, you'd be making a very different kind of wreath with very different results. Equally pretty, but quite different.
Okay, I said no tutorial, but the above paragraph was starting to veer into tutorial territory. Sorry about that. I just get so excited about Christmas. It was my father's favorite time of year, and it is still a magical time at my mother's house. Last weekend, Mr. Magpie and I went and bought a tree for my mother to have outside on her back deck where she can see it when she's in her kitchen as well as when she pulls into her driveway. This has become an annual tradition for us. We brace it with twine to hold up during storms, string it with white lights, et c'est tout! Beautiful simplicity to enjoy through the New Year holiday. Of course she has her inside tree, too, and her amazing collection of vintage Santas, all of which I love.
Back here at home, our annual tradition is now to cut down our own tree. If you're local and like wild-looking trees rather than perfectly pruned ones, I'll let you in on our secret: we go to Staples Tree Farm in Windham on Christmas Tree Way, just off Webb Road. It's $30 for any size tree, no matter how tall, and they have gorgeous specimens to choose from, plus handmade wreaths and kissing balls at prices well below any others I've seen in the Portland area. True, some get a little Dr. Seussical, as you can see in my Instagram photo, but that's just part of the fun!
I'll be back soon with holiday musings and other news, but in the meantime, I wish you a Happy Holiday Season, whatever you celebrate, and however you celebrate it.
P.S. I'd love to hear from you about your favorite annual holiday traditions, especially the ones that kind of snuck up on you and became traditions without your even realizing it at first.