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Posts Tagged ‘ornaments’

Continuing with some more of my Christmas projects…

We used the small tabletop tree this past year hoping Simon would not attack it or kill it, and we waited until the last minute to put it up. It was a good thing we waited because he tried to climb it; he chewed the lights; he chewed the cords; he chewed the tree; he chewed the ornaments; he batted at the ornaments… I guess he did pretty well meaning this was his first Christmas with us.

I wanted something different to put on the top of the tree this year and found a Finnish star project online here. Mine is plain and white, but hey, I like it.

Funny thing about the tree… We were having to defend it from Simon and were scared to leave him home alone with it, but when we got up the next morning after we had it up and decorated, the top string of lights was not working. Naturally, I thought Simon was to blame, but after much searching we found a loose bulb. Simon wasn’t to blame after all. I apologized to him, but I don’t think he understood. Remember, he IS a cat… 🙂

Happy Gardening and may our pets always know how much we love them!

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Now that Christmas is over for 2011, I will share some things I was busy with before Christmas. With all of my postings so far this year it seems that I may have signed up for the 365 366 post challenge, but I haven’t. I am trying to catch up on some things I wanted to post last year—it seems that I am always playing catch up.

I love to make and decorate Christmas ornaments ever since I was a little girl and would receive ornament kits-the kind that came with 100s of sequins and beads. Over the years, I have dabbled in different types of ornaments, but in the fall of 2010, I saw a project using paint pens on colored ornaments in a craft magazine. I loved the way the designs looked. Well, I bought some solid colored ornaments and two paint pens-at different stores and at different times in 2010. Of course I misplaced the pens and could not seem to get all of the items for this project together (there are only 2 items needed—pens and ornaments :)). When I was getting things out for Christmas 2011, I found the pens (I was so excited) and decorated a complete box of ornaments before I thought twice about it.

This is not the best one I did but I love the way the gold stands out. The tip of the pen is too wide for my taste. A smaller tip would work better but the smaller ones tend to clog quicker from my experience. I made two ornaments for the girls with their names on them and the rest are painted with flowers and leaves. It was so much fun.

These are some favorites made in more recent years… I love how the lights make the ornament glow.

Happy Gardening and may your life always be filled with beautiful surroundings!

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There is nothing like making Christmas ornaments to put one in the mood for this special time of year. And, the smells of the season help us to encapsulate a sliver of time that will last as a memory for years—perhaps a lifetime. Some of the smells that activate good Christmas memories for me are seasonings such as cinnamon. I think that is why I like making these ornaments. This is more than a children’s activity though with proper supervision, it proves to be a fun thing to do with kids.

I bought these cookie cutters years ago to make sugar cookies, but they did not work very well no matter what I tried so I have been using them for cinnamon ornaments for almost 15 years now. I love the way they turn out. This is the process I use.

I use a ratio of 1 cup cinnamon to 1 cup plain applesauce. I usually double or triple this amount each time.  Note that extra cinnamon is needed for dusting the cutting board and cookie cutters. I protect my cutting board with foil and use wax paper or plastic wrap on top of the dough to protect my rolling pin.

I measure and then stir ingredients until well blended being sure that there are no dry or wet pockets. I tend to mix with my hands to finish. I then dust my board with small amount of cinnamon adding a bit to the top of the dough. Next, I roll out dough using wax paper or plastic wrap as a shield until the dough is about 1/3 inch thick. By this time I have my foil lined cookie sheet ready to go. I cut shapes being sure the cutters are packed full, then releasing to cookie sheet. I repeat until I have enough ornaments or when dough becomes too dry. I use a straw to make a hole at the top of each ornament for a ribbon hanger—this is important.

After the shapes have been cut and begin to dry, they will tend to curl, so I turn them over a few times a day transferring them to wire cookie racks when they have dried a bit. It takes a few days for them to dry completely. This year is the first time I have used the oven to help me dry the ornaments. If you use this method, don’t heat higher than 200 degrees for more than 2 ½ hours. I noticed some uneven shrinkage, so I will return to the no-heat method next time. This photo was taken before drying.

After the ornaments are dry, I insert a ribbon hanger in each and then package individually.

Other tips:  I dust the cutters with cinnamon between each cut. After I cut each ornament, I smooth the edges of each shape and usually date the back, but I skipped adding the date this year. If I have to break away like I did this year, I cover the bowl containing the dough ball with a wet towel. Here are the ornaments packaged and ready to be sold. These are for the church’s restoration fund.  Each one has a note that says to be sure not to eat and to keep away from children-decoration only.

Happy Gardening and may you enjoy all of your adventures this time of year!

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