With a gust of crisp autumn air, she walked in the house and straight to the kitchen where I was cooking dinner.
"Look what I found for you."
She held her cupped hands low to the counter and gently released her treasure.
These were some real beauties.
If you're into pine cones.
I'm into pine cones.
In fact, just a few days earlier, I'd mused out loud to that very same daughter that after thirty-plus years of making a handmade ornament every single ding-donging Christmas, I'd never based a design on the humble pine cone, and I wondered if maybe this should be the year.
My daughter decided to turn that daydream into action.
From the moment those perfect pine cones rolled out across my kitchen counter, all the construction details fell right into place:
Bake them at 200 degrees for an hour. Because pine cones are one thing but the bugs that live in them are quite another.
Carefully paint their tips.
Attach a small wooden bead to the base, then thread some looping gold wire.
Tie a bow around the bead.
While I'll be the first to say that these are not the most unique or elaborate ornaments I've ever designed, they are full of simple charm.
Which, of course, is one of the nicest things that a Christmas ornament can be.
If you would like to have one of my pine cone ornaments for your very own, you're in luck. I have a few extras.
Just message me your mailing address, and I'll send one off.
And I may just enclose a note that says, "Look what I found for you."