Now that Halloween is over, I start to think more and more about Christmas. I still haven't taken down all my fall decor yet, just so I don't get tempted to put up the Christmas ones. I think we'll be decorating after Thanksgiving this year. That will mean a trip to the storage unit for me, because we have no room in our house to store the Christmas bins. Yes, I said bins. I have about 5-8 HUGE rubbermaid bins (I purged a lot when we moved here, so I can't remember the exact amount that I have) full of Christmas decorations and decor, and that's not including all the trees. We have a four 2 foot ones for the kids, and I have a 4Ft tree, a 1 ft tree and a 7.5 ft tree! Remind me to tell you all about the 1ft tree another time, I have a great story about it.
Anyway, with the Christmas season, comes Christmas crafts. The kids and I are big on crafts. One of my favorite websites is MakeStuff.com. Over the years, I have made quite a few of the crafts on there. These are our two favorites, Bakers Clay and Cinnamon ornaments:
Cinnamon Christmas Ornaments
The recipe that I use is
* 1/2 cup ground cinnamon,
* 1/3 cup applesauce, and
* 1 Tbs. Tacky glue
Mix in bowl and stir until well blended. Work mixture in hands for three minutes to form a ball. If it is too dry, add applesauce, if too wet, add more cinnamon. Knead ball on cinnamon-sprinkled surface until it holds togehter well. I roll this out and use cookie cutters for the shapes. I also use a drinking straw to cut a hanging hole. These can be air dried for 24 to 48 hours. Turn several times. They can also be baked in a slow oven.
Baker's Clay Ingredients:
* 4 cups flour
* 1 cup salt
* 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cup water
Mix together and knead until smooth. Add food coloring if desired. Make shapes and bake at 300 degrees until set and golden (1/2 hr to 1 hr). For a more golden appearance, paint with a beaten egg when it is almost done baking and looks dry. You can paint with egg twice or three times for a darker golden color. Don't use egg on colored dough. For colored dough, paint with shallac or laquer after baking. If cracks appear, patch with some slightly moister dough and continue baking. Christmas Tree Ornaments: Kid Project!
Making decorations with Baker's Clay is limited only by your imagination. It's just like working with clay!
1. Make shapes.
Two of the easiest decorations for kids to make are the snowman and the teddy bear:
Snowman - roll three balls ranging in size from small to large. Attach head to belly by "scoring" lightly (make very small scratches in surface of clay) and brushing with water, then press the two pieces together gently. Attach belly to bottom in the same way.
Teddy Bear - roll two balls, one small and one medium. Attach as above. Roll four small cylandar shapes with flattened ends for the arms and legs. Attach to body as above. For the ears, pinch the top of head with thumbnail.
2. Wire hook - Use needlenose pliers to bend the end of a 2" piece of wire. Insert straight end of wire into the top of your shape, leaving the hook and about 1/4" showing at top.
3. Bake - Place shapes gently on cookie sheet. Bake at 300° until set and slightly golden.
4. Paint with a beaten egg when almost done baking for a golden look.
5. For colored decorations - use food coloring in the dough. (Don't use beaten egg on colored dough.) OR, simply paint with acrylic after baking and cooling, then use shellac to seal. You can also shellac a plain ornament, and then spray with gold or silver spray paint for a sparkling appearance.
If properly sealed with shellac, your ornaments should last for years. Be sure to store in a dry place.
I really enjoy making them, though I would have to say that the cinnamon ones are my favorites. They are so aromatic, and look darling on the tree. We usually do gingerbread and tree shapes, and hang them with a red ribbon.
I am looking forward to making these with the kids. I'm itching to make them, but to make it more special, we're going to wait till after Thanksgiving. I've found that if I over-do Christmas, I get burnt out, so it will wait. But that's ok, right? It gives us tons of fun stuff to do in December. We get to decorate gingerbread houses, make cookies and candy, make cinnamon oranements, decorate, go see Santa. It will be a fun month! I can't wait, it is my favorite time of the year!
*I am going to try to have at least one Christmas related post a week. I said "try", but I really love Christmas, so this shouldn't be a problem*