So I think I’ve finally gotten it together and by “it” I don’t mean the clutter haphazardly gracing its presence in my living room, dining room and kitchen. Oh no, that “it” is still there where it will most likely be squatting until tonight. I never really understood how I manage to always start with a clean home but by the time Christmas decorations have been strung my place has been turned into a war zone.

Rather, the “it” of success I am referring to happens to be my charming parcels of sweet goodness that kept me awake into the wee hours of 4am today as I obsessively assembled them. Luckily for my family and friends, whether they’ve been naughty or nice they will be gifted with 8oz jars of homemade Vanilla Peach Jam bottled with love because by no means should I keep these treasures to myself; they’re so good that it would be considered a sin.

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To add that warm Christmas touch to the otherwise simple-looking jars I turned to my outdoor Christmas trees for inspiration. One of those trees in particular has been somewhat of an eye sore to me and I have been itching and secretly conspiring to cut it down and use its location accomodate more raised garden beds. As it turned out, that tree was gifted with super powers because it read my mind and miraculously started producing pine cones in an attempt to keep its place in the garden.

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In my heart of hearts I believe that all the other pine trees were in on it as not one of them produced a single cone except that one marked for destruction. But their plan worked because it’s still standing and I have some of the most beautiful bottle toppers to awe my giftees. Now I’m happy and that tree can breathe easy…for the meanwhile.

If using pine cones as an indoor decorator keep in mind that they are somewhat like natures apartment buildings for creepy crawlies. And not your average apartment but more like project buildings where although you may find a few good ones, you see mostly shady characters roaming around.

I simply soaked mine in a solution of mildly soapy, tepid water for about 45 mins then rinsed and cleaned them off gently with an old toothbrush.

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This activated the release and softening of the sap (which happens to look like a disgustingly huge, wet booger) produced by the cones and gave it a gentle glow which accentuated their beauty even more.

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After that I left them to dry for another hour or so after which they were ready to be tied and strung to their new but temporary homes.

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I started off with enough cones for each jar but did not realize how much I would fall in love with them. So in true selfish fashion, I stashed some for myself for creative uses around the house and replaced them with pine branches instead.

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imageKel says they look like the three wise men; wait until he sees the army lined in the buffet awaiting their mission at Sunday night dinner! ?