Sunday, 30 October 2011

Making winter week



The temperature reached 19 C in the Southeast of England today, around 8 degrees higher than average for this time of year. It does not feel as though winter's nearly here. Yet the clocks changed back to GMT this morning, marking our passage into the new season and bringing dusk forward by an hour. 

There was a definite sign of winter last week. Hundreds of redwings and fieldfares flew over and into our village as they arrived in the UK from Scandinavia. It was a dramatic sight (you can see beautiful images of it here).



Starting today, Mrs Thriftyhousehold and I will be hosting Making Winter week around the beginning of each month until February. We'll be sharing what we've been making and baking. I will be dragged outside for lovely walks, apparently. We may knit things. She will be trying to convince me that this season has good things to offer. 

The ceremonial first lighting of our open fire is, I have to admit, quite a good thing. Recently I remembered Diana's beautiful homemade pinecone firelighters. I was lucky enough to receive some in the post from her a year or two ago and I was keen to make some for myself. Mrs TH had beeswax, old candles and an astonishing array of essential oils. I had a huge bag of pinecones. 



We melted the wax and added a few drops each of clove, orange and black pepper oils,



dipped the pinecones and left them to dry on some newspaper.

They smelled wonderful, as Diana says they looked rather 'frosty' after their dipping and the whole process took just half an hour.



Yesterday there was a nip in the air and I built a fire using our homemade lighters. The pinecones flared up, crackled and the smoke was scented. They made made the whole process a joy.



It was a good start to the new season.



These pinecones firelighters make such good presents (I was thrilled when I received my little bagfull). I think they would be great used to light small campfires and outdoor firebaskets too. Huge thanks to Diana at Pebbledash. She shares a full tutorial here.









I have been taking a few other steps to embracing the approaching winter:  

Kristina has been helping me to find a cowl pattern suitable for knitty beginners.
I spied and tried a warming and delicious Nigel Slater recipe last week
I baked Rebecca's apple cake recipe and will be doing so again. It's perfect for the cold weather. 

More on these stories later...

The Making Winter flickr pool is beginning to look rather seasonal and lovely.

If you'd like to share any creative wintry doings this week then I will be posting a linky list in a day or two. That way we can all hop over for a peep.


29 comments:

The Coffee Lady said...

I can teach you how to drink whisky under a blanket.

Thrifty Household said...

Ooh, can I join in that tutorial!!!!

Menopausalmusing said...

Sniggering at Coffee Lady's comment.... Shall enjoy these posts Emma.

Anonymous said...
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greenrabbitdesigns said...

Those pine cones sound a wonderful idea, thanks for sharing Emma. :)
Vivienne x

Anna at the Doll House said...

What a great idea this is. I have two wood-burning stoves that keep The Doll House warm when the winter cold takes hold and will certainly try this recipe. Well, I suppose I had better go to the woods and start collecting pine cones.

Anna

Locket Pocket said...

Those pine cones sound fabulous - I am trying to think where I could go to find some so I could make them too. Dot has managed to motivate me to start quilting my little winter quilt from Syko's lovely book so I plan to sit under it tonight quilting a few stars and then picking up my knitting. :o) Lucy xx

Belinda @ Wild Acre said...

We went for a woodland walk today, and i picked a bag of fircones, only to read your post tonight - whoop, it is scented pinecones for christmas presents this year, and for our jotyl stove as well! Thanks so much for the idea! xx

Karen S Booth said...

I shall be joining in and I have added your badge to my sidebar to remind me where to go!! LOVELY idea, and I just wish that it was colder, TOO warm for this time of year!

Hoola Tallulah said...

teehee the coffee lady really made me chuckle. I am already traumatised by this evenings darkness, so eagerly jumping aboard your making winter shenanigans. The pinecone fire lighters are lovely!
I am going to reinvent and old wool blanket (the witney kind) to join in the fun...

Rachel said...

It will be good to see your posts on this - the idea of the scented pine cones is a great start!

lou said...

sooo very envious of your fire!. I have lit some candles tonight so I can get some kind of flickering flame. x

pebbledash said...

Lovely post Emma, and thanks so much for linking to me! Your fire looks so very inviting....

Diana x

driftwood said...

hurray for making winter! we don't have a fire but these would make great gifts so I'm going pine cone hunting soon x

Annie said...

If only it felt like winter ... 18 degrees here in North Wales today!! Far too warm ;D

I've added your button to my sidebar and my first picture to the Flickr group.

Pomona said...

Following your good example and posting tonight!

Pomona x

millefeuilles said...

Hello Emma!

A wonderful, heartwarming post which has got my toes all a-tingling! ;-)

Although I have posted tonight (about a delicious dilemma) I shall be posting on this fabulous venture in my next post.

I am very excited about this.

Stephanie

Magic Cochin said...

I love the idea of the pinecones - and have the ingredients too :-)

Yes, we saw the flocks of Fieldfares when we were walking in the Fens last week - I almost couldn't believe what we were seeing!

I'll definitely be adding some Making Winter magic to my blog over the coming months.

Celia
xx

Knitlass said...

What a great idea. I can make some with my chiddlers to give to my parents for Christmas. Did you know that dried orange/lemon peel also makes a great firelighter too?

harmony and rosie said...

I remember Diana's post and remember thinking how lovely it all looked and sounded. Thanks for the refresher, I am definitely going to have a go this year. We enjoyed some roaring fires over the HT break, and some fragranced cones would have been just the ticket.
Will be following your doings religiously and if I can get my act in gear will post something too.
Have a great week x

Julie said...

I love the pinecones. I've spotted them in shops but never been able to bring myself to spend money on them. I think I'll try making them with the kids too.
I've just written a related post.
I'll look forward to blog hopping when everyone is linked. Juliex

wonderwoman said...

i love the pine cone firelighters - will definitely have to give that a go! Will be joining in with some receipes and bits and pieces too!

Cottage Garden said...

Like you Emma I have adored the warm 'summery' autumn so much. But winter is definitely on its way. Pity those poor souls in America!

I will therefore be reading of your winter warmer adventures with interest and will attempt to embrace the season too.

As a follow on from last year's Splash of Colour I really like the concept.

Jeanne
x

Tara said...

I love this "Making Winter: idea, Emma. I think I really need it this year. I am not at all mentally prepared for it but I know it is coming very soon. This may be the first year that I am not even looking forward to the first snowfall. I need to embrace this season quickly! Love the pinecone idea.

kristina said...

Oh how I wish we had a fireplace. Sigh. But I'll have you addicted to cowls in no time! K x

charlottesplot.com said...

What a fabulous idea. I'll take a big bag for pine cones on tomorrow morning's dog walk - trouble is Sybil loves chewing on pine cones, so I'll have to fight her for them. I'm really looking forward to the rest of your MW posts - can't believe you don't like winter!

planetcoops said...

I'm sure I have a tutorial for how to make pinecones burn different colours somewhere. I'll have to seek it out!

julie said...

Your making winter idea is a super one and I'd love to join in too. I actually quite like those winter days when it's clear and crisp and bright but the long dark evenings and damp dismal days do need a bit of cheering up and I think you've hit on the perfect way of doing just that!

Peeriemoot said...

I'm enjoying this already, and haven't even had a chance to look at the Flickr pool yet. I wish I had a fire - might make some of those firelighters for my parents though.