Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Create your own pine cone turkey decorations for the holidays

Here in Florida there are several native pine trees.  All are long needled pines and provide us with nice pine cones for craft projects.  We have the elliotii or slash pine, palstrus or long leaf pine, clausa or sand pine and taeda or loblolly.  None make good Christmas trees since they have long needles and do not grow compact. The largest is the loblolly which can grow up to 150 feet!
In South Florida, most of the native pineland areas have been bulldozed for development.  They are not protected.  I found these trees growing in back of a nursing home and senior living facility.

The trick to getting nice pine cones is to hunt before landscapers come and cut the grass.  The mowers shred the cones beyond recognition.  The next obstacle are squirrels.  They enjoy feasting on the pinecones.
The squirrels just leave the core.  It looks like an ear of corn after we eat them. Just the corn cob remains.   When I go pine cone picking, I need hundreds of them. I have to go to a couple of areas to get all I need for the holidays.  Often areas are picked clean before I get there from other crafty people.
I take a small cloth bag and fill it up.  Then I walk back to the car and fill up a big garbage back up with the booty.

To make your very own pine cone turkeys, you will need a glue gun, feathers, felt and pipe cleaners.  Cut the pipe cleaner into three pieces. This creates the head and neck.  Make a fish hook out of one end, about 1/4 an inch long.  Bend it into the pipe cleaner and roll it a bit down.  Bend the neck a bit and place the end into the pointed part of the pinecone.  Keep the pine cone horizontal.  Cut two small triangle shapes for the bird beak.  Place a few feathers at the flat end of the pine cone.  Make sure you do not place the turkey head into its bottom.  (That always gets a chuckle from one of my alert seniors.)  I let the seniors do all the work, and then I use the glue gun to finish it all off.

They love being creative and enjoy taking something back to their rooms after class.  They enjoy sharing their crafts with family.  Many take pride in telling me their turkey was a decoration at their Thanksgiving dinner.

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