As the news of the spreading Wuhan coronavirus increasingly occupied the news over the past several months, the pinecones rained down from the ponderosa pines that comprise the Hidden Forest in the foothills of the Rockies south of Denver. Back East you raked leaves; in Colorado you blow away pine needles and harvest pinecones. What to do with them? They are a pretty bauble of nature. Seems a waste just to put them in the trash, and we already have plenty of mulch.
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My lovely wife, former Girl Scout Troop Leader and Queen of Arts and Crafts, came up with the idea to make artwork from them: wreaths, stars, crosses, and Christmas tree ornaments. Cheap, creative, and not Made in China! Bake the cones in the oven for 20 minutes to rid them of resin and critters. Spray-paint them with luscious colors, attach string and pretty bows, and attach them to metal and burlap frames with hot glue. Hang them on the doors and walls for friends and neighbors to see. Perhaps we will start to sell them for a fee!
My wife is also an expert seamstress. Online she came across a sewing pattern for making facial masks from remnants of cotton cloth and elastic string. The masks, which are washable and reusable, could be donated or given to family and friends. With the materials collected and cut, she found that she could make a mask in 15 minutes. But she ran out of elastic, and there was none to be bought in the usual stores or online. Evidently many others are also making these at home. She put out an appeal to the ladies in her neighborhood book club, and by day’s end we had several donated baggies full of elastic. In several hours of work, Ginny had made several brightly colored and patterned masks. They are too precious to sell; only worthy of gifting to keep others well.
Editor’s Note: The coronavirus pandemic has many of us shut up in our homes for now. That can be isolating and frustrating. But it can also be a chance to catch up on things we let fall away during busier times. So we’re asking our writers and readers: How are you spending your time amid the shutdown? We’re open to anything that will make us laugh or think and help us share what will be a difficult time for many. Please send contributions of 250–400 words to firstname.lastname@example.org.