Inspired by Pinecones No.1

It is absolutely no secret that I can find
inspiration in even the most ordinary of things,
however, the pinecone is anything but ordinary,
especially Sugar Pine cones!

 Have you ever wondered where those enormous pinecones, that cost about $6-$10 a piece, come from? I know you've seen them, in perfect seasonal splendour, wooing you from some old world basket at your local nursery or decor store.   It happens to me too, and it gets me every year! You might say I have a collection by now (drives my husband nuts!), so I thought I'd show you how I use them throughout my home and garden from late fall, right through to the new year.  

So where do they come from?
The Sugar Pine (Pinus lambertina), is the largest pine tree in the world - massive in fact, growing upwards of 60m with a 3m trunk diameter. It is native to the west coast of the United States, from California to Oregon and is even found as far north as British Columbia (yay Canada). 

The cones are very woody, and like the tree itself, massive. Most are around 30cm, but some reach sizes of 51cm or more. The more pristine the cone, the higher the price in some cases, however, most retailers price them the same, so choose the ones that inspire you the most!

3 ways to use them in November:

1) Increase your curb appeal
The temperature is dropping and yes, winter is fast approaching. We will inevitably soon be covered in snow for the next 6 months (sigh), but before this girl starts decking the halls for the holidays, I first transition from Halloween to winter and never forget to add a few poppies. It is my quiet way to remember how fortunate I am to live in Canada and to honour the brave men and women who died to uphold the freedoms my family and I enjoy.
To make a welcome November arrangement such as this one on my front door, you will need:

1. Flat backed basket. 
I've used a wicker bicycle basket with leather straps (screwed to my door) that I purchased at Penney & Co. in downtown Whitby. It's a perfect size for so many creative arrangements, quirky enough to always start a conversation when guests come by (my hubby thinks it's ridiculously big and hates when he has to bring something through the door that is larger than a grocery bag - I think it's hilarious to watch!)
2. Everlasting (artificial) Poppies, pussy willow and crab apples. 
Available at Michaels and other quality retailers that sell artificial flowers for arrangements. I put mine out from Nov. 1 until Nov. 11th, when I transition to winter berries instead.
3. Pine stems.
I use synthetic pine stems in my front door arrangement, to avoid the need to water. I found the nicest ones at Sheridan Nurseries Ltd. I've had them for about 3 seasons now and they still look beautiful and so realistic, with no fading or change to their appearance. 
4. Sugar Pine and other mixed pinecones.
And last buy not least, I couldn't give you a list of items without the main attraction now could I?  You'll want to pick cones that will fit snugly into your basket. You will be opening and closing your door (and squeezing past hubby) many times a day. You also don't want to lose your $$ investment on windy November days! 

2) Embrace the art of 'Hygge' aka living cosily! 
You don't have to ask me twice! Evergreen boughs, twinkle lights and pinecones are enough to make anyone feel warm and cozy! At my house, you'll find those 3 elements in almost every room (yep, even the loo) until the new year. Once January rolls around, I pack away the twinkles, then the cones, until early spring transitions with tulips and crocus' mixed with the boughs...but that's a different season and a future post altogether!
I got these realistic white pine boughs at the Markham Fairgrounds "Home For The Holidays" Christmas show, a couple of years ago. Always such a great day out with my sweet friend Kelly!
The twinkle lights or 'fairy lights' are made by Luna. I got mine for under $20 at Sheridan Nurseries. They come three different wire colours: silver, gold and copper. Copper is my fave, because it blends in with the natural accents of the pine. They run on battery power, so you can literally have twinkles anywhere! If you prefer, they also come in a plug in style. Just click the timer switch to have the lights turn on at the same time each day for six hours. Your pinecones will never look more sophisticated, as they do all lit up with your effortless twinkles.

3) Cheap and Cheerful Art

One of the oldest and simplest decor tricks around, is to use nature to decorate your interior. Most of us have enjoyed fresh blooms from season to season and also woody scented evergreens come the holidays. Another take on this natural idea, is to take down your everyday art and hang a few natural elements instead.
These Sugar Pine cones in my family room are an easy item to hang in November and even easier to remove in the new year. Simply pack them away for the season and rehang your everyday art.
I'm not a huge fan of glitter that goes everywhere or out of the box shades at Christmas. Natural tones take top spot in my home, but bedazzled cones would work equally well with this application. Whichever style is your idea of perfect,  I hope you've been inspired!

I'd love you hear thoughts and your ideas for making these enormous beauties a part of your November/ holiday decor! Drop me a line or add a comment to share your inspiration with the world!

Happy November,