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PINECONE GOOSE (OR DUCK, PHEASANT, ET CETERA)


One of the few creations men enjoy as much as women, this one
got raves from everyone who saw them ... When I took them to
Mail Box Etc. to be wrapped, the employees and other customers
actually clustered around trying to _ORDER_ them.

My recipients loved them, and keep them on permanent
(year-round) display.

Although somewhat tedious, these are very easy and inexpensive
to make. (If you do not have pinecones available in your area,
you can either order them by mail or swap with someone who
_does_ have pinecones ... e. g., sea shells, tiny cobs of
Indian corn, peppers, or any nuts/cones/ pods available in your
region.)


MATERIALS NEEDED:
Commercial wooden decoy or handmade papier mache "decoy"
Black paint
Cones (pine cones, spruce cones, et cetera, in different
sizes and shades)
Brown linoleum paste, glue pot, or fixative of your choice
Wood finish or matte or high gloss polyurethane varnish *
Felt (preferably brown or black) to cover base of decoy
Wired moss green silk and/or organdy ribbon (approximately
1 1/2 inches wide)
Small sprig/cluster of dried or silk flowers and/or berries

* Although a wood finish is more realistic, I much
prefer the beautiful shine achieved by applying
high gloss varnish to the cones


PROCEDURE:

-- For the base, use either a commercial wooden decoy or make
one of papier mache. Paint it black. Set aside to dry.

-- Place the decoy over the felt (or fabric of your choice) and
trace around the base. Cut out the felt pattern. Set aside.

-- If you have collected the cones yourself (rather than ordered
them by mail), boil each one for a few minutes in a pot of
boiling water and set aside to dry thoroughly before using.
This will remove the pitch and bugs. (Although many people
prefer baking them in the oven, I would be afraid of bugs
trying to escape and subsequently dropping onto food.)

-- Keep the different types of cones separate - e. g., all pine
cones together, all spruce cones together, et cetera. If
there are radical differences between the sizes of the cones,
separate those as well (e. g., the jumbo pinecones from the
minuscule ones).

-- Break the "petals" off of each cone (again segregating types
and sizes of cones).

-- The petals will be used to simulate feathers covering the
decoy. Look through your supply to see which sizes and
shades would look best in each area of the decoy (e. g., the
smallest covering the head, and the largest for wing or tail
feathers). Bearing in mind that both sides must match (e.
g., both wings identical), ascertain that you will have
enough of the desired shape to cover both sides of the decoy.

-- Leaving the eye and beak areas untouched, use craft sticks to
spread dark brown linoleum paste (or fixative of your choice)
over the remaining head area.

-- Beginning at the top of the beak, and with rounded sides
toward the tail and each layer overlapping to hide the
cut-off pieces ))))))))), press small cone petals onto the
head area to simulate feathers.

-- Leaving the base, eye, and beak areas untouched, continue
spreading linoleum paste or glue onto the decoy and covering
with cone petals to simulate feathers. Alternate shapes and
colors so that those on the wings are slightly different from
those on the head, back, tail, et cetera. Make certain that
both sides and wings match (e. g., same type, shade, and
size of cone).

-- Set aside to dry.

-- Spray lightly with either woodtone, matte, or high gloss
polyurethane varnish. (Although the former gives a more
realistic appearance, I much prefer the sheen achieved by
coating the cones with high gloss varnish.)

-- Glue the felt base to the bottom of the decoy.

-- Tie two strips of wired moss green 1 1/2 inch ribbon around
the goose's neck into a bow. (Although I have tried other
colors, the green seems to best offset the colors of the
cones.)

-- Place a dab of glue at the tip of a small sprig or cluster
of dried or silk flowers and/or berries and insert into the
knot.