My father has thousands of the long leaf pine cones from our state tree. He also has home grown gourds almost ready for harvest. He is semi retired and has farmed all his life. How can I help him sell his gourds? Picking up the pine cones gives him something to do at his age. I want him to stay active working the ground, we are blessed with nature crafts in NC.
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Selling the gourds should be easy. I have seen people selling gourds on eBay. They make great crafts.
My sister-in-law grows gourds. She cuts holes in the front, washes them in bleach water, sands them and we paint them and spray them with clear lacquer. Put a hook in the top and you have a great birdfeeder. She has painted some in really nice looking southwestern colors. They also make good, easy & cheap kids crafts for teacher gifts.
Also, if there is a craft fair going on in your community you might be able to get a table (for a small fee of around $25) where he could sell his natural items to the crafters.
1) Have you seen those pine cones that have been coated with wax that people sell in a bag to use to start fires with during the winter? (They usually use a dark green wax)
2) A second idea: You can put pine cones into a gallon jar & add a mixture of Spruce scented essential oil (don't use pine or it will smell like pine-sol) and rubbing alcohol or 100 proof vodka (the alcohol is to make the oil easier to disperse) ...Then spray this mix of 1/8 cup alcohol & 1 teaspoon of spruce esential oil on to the pine cones & leave them sit for at least 2 weeks in the jar (to absorb the spruce scent).... Then sell these during the holidays or give them away. They are made to be set in a pretty bowl on a coffee table to give the smell of Christmas during the holidays (like potpourri). Just Google "essential oils" or buy them at any Health Food Store. In place of the Spruce oil, you can also use a mixture of Orange & Cinnamon oil or any Citrus oil with any spice like clove or cinnamon (I like to mix lemon oil with the orange oil).... But, be careful with the cinnamon & cassia oils as many people are allergic to them & a little goes a long way!
3) Another idea is to buy Styrofoam or grapevine wreaths at dollar stores & hot glue just plain pine cones all around the wreath & place a quality gold, silver or gingham checked or plaid bow on the top... These make wonderful decorations for any fall or winter holiday (depending on the color of the ribbon) be it Fall, Thanksgiving or Christmas. You can do the same thing in miniature as a table decoration with a tall glass candle in the center. But never use a regular candle that's not in glass due to fire hazard!
---> A WARNING about the gourds... Once they dry out, the insides contains a mold that can be very hazardous to breathe... ALWAYS wear a mask when cleaning the insides of gourds & be sure to bleach the inside as well as the outside... There are many crafts that use gourds these days... in fact, some people use them to wood burn on & others die or paint them & make baskets from them... I bet you could sell them dried to a ma & pa owned craft store or at a Farmers Market.
I agree that the gourds make good bird feeders. I have also seen where gourds are painted to look like swans or ducks or other birds...cute craft for fall.
If you end up keeping the pinecones yourself, you can always coat them with peanut butter, roll in birdseed and hand with a string on your trees for the birds and squirrels outside. We decorate our trees outside for the animals during the holiday season. The kids love this project and so do the birds!
If you have a digital camera, take some shots of them by themselves and perhaps in a pile. Submit them to the Craigslists in Tucson and Phoenix.
I lived in Tucson three hellacious years and driving back each summer from Salem OR, I found and gathered Sugar Pines and sold them for 20.00 each!
The closest these people see to a forest is literally a 500 square acre "forest" of Cactus!
If he has an abundance, he may want to think about donating some to a local scout group or classroom. Leaders and teachers are always grateful for supplies to use for the kids. Plus they might like him to come in and talk to the kids about his years as a farmer or even about local history if he has been farming the same land for a long time.
If it were in this town I would pile some on a table out front with a "for sale" sign & hope nobody turned me in -- a lot of times people can do that here - sometimes a neighbor gets irate about it but not often -- or find a farmers market near you : www.organic.org/
You can try to contact some of the craft shows. They might know of tv host who are willing to purchase the gourds. Also check with the local craft stores. If you decorate them they want to want to use(or rent) for their display. Also local stores might be looking for decorations for their windows. Ask around.
I was just at the dollar store & they were selling a bag of pine cone Christmas tree ornaments. All they did was glue a thin ribbon, yarn or a piece of thick fishing line in the shape of a loop to the top of the pine cone then either spray paint them gold or they sprayed on an adhesive then dipped them into glitter. You can also buy glitter-glue at the dollar store or can also buy spray on glitter at any craft store in the floral supply area. I would recommend Elmer's or tacky-glue or maybe even super-glue to attach the loops to the top. I wouldn't recommend hot glue or a bendable glue like E-6000. Make sure your glue dries clear.
I would think the easiest way to get the glitter or metallic paint on them would be to first glue the loops to the tops, then wait overnight for them to dry, then thread each one on to a dowel & prop the dowel with the pine cones hanging from it between 2 boxes then spray them with the metallic paint. (do this outside)
The same dollar store (Dollar Tree) sold a dozen of these metallic or glitter pine cones in a mesh bag for $1. They also sold a dozen PLAIN, regular pine cones in a mesh bag in the craft area. They just plain pine cones, nothing special. I think they were bagged up for people that don't have access to pine cones or people that don't have the energy to go outside in the cold to pick them up off of the ground themselves. They were sold for gluing or wiring to wreaths & such. The bags they were in looked like the kid of plastic mesh produce bags you often find onions in. To find these bags, just Google "mesh produce bags".
Pine Cone Wreaths
We use to make these from pine cones from my parents property.
Flat round wire wreath. It looks like circles with slight rise in between them from Michaels or craft store.
Large bucket of pine cones.
Put pine cones in bag temporarily. Fill the large bucket about half full of HOT WATER. Submerse pine cones in hot water. They will begin to tigthen up. Once this has happened and water has cooled off take individual pine cones and put the bottom ends at an angle into the wired wreath spaces. Work around the wreath form until you have completed your circle. Let the wreath dry flat a day or so and the pine cones will open up and be snug in the wreath form (NO GLUE NEEDED). It's neat to see this happen and it looks so much harder once the wreath is complete than it actually was. I just can't imagine some of the time spent on the wired pine and nut wreaths.
Depending on the size of your wire wreaths, you can have large or small wreaths in the end. Once dried you can leave natural and add a bow or spray with a clear water based polyurethan, or spray with a little spray glue and add glitter. These store for several years easily. Have fun.
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