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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Giveaway Announcement and Christmas Garland Ideas

*Cue drumroll and cheering*  The winner of Love Lifted Me is Janet Sensenig.  Thank you to everyone who entered!

As I have said before- Christmas is my favorite time of the year.  I love the carols playing, cookies baking, store-fronts decorating, presents accumulating, snowflakes falling, nativities appearing…  Each year, I enjoy transforming the house into a Christmasy wonderland; so I am always on the lookout for great decorating ideas.

My recent project was making salt-dough ornaments.  They will supposedly stay good for quite a few years; although I haven’t personally tested that theory.  I used the recipe from “Freutcake” and copied it here for you to try too!  You can visit her blog and get the recipe there as well…http://www.freutcake.com/art-design/diy-art-design/how-to-make-salt-dough-ornaments/

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Salt Dough
2 cups all purpose flour- plus more for the board
1/2 cup salt
3/4 – 1 cup water (you may need less)
food coloring (optional)
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and line a few baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In an electric mixer combine flour and salt and mix well.
3. With the mixer on low speed add in the water slowly until dough comes together in a ball. You may need as little as 1/2 cup of water or as much as 1 cup so pour slowly and stop when the dough comes together and feels like cookie dough.
4. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 10 minutes to firm up.
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5. On a very well floured board, roll dough out to 1/4″ thick. Cut out ornament shapes using various cookie cutters.
6. Transfer ornaments to prepared cookie sheets and poke a small hole in each using a toothpick. Make hole large enough for an ornament hook or ribbon.
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7. Bake for 30 minutes. The ornaments should only harden but not brown.
Optional Colored Dough:
If you want to color your ornaments, add food coloring to the water in step 3 before mixing it into the flour and salt. Adding food coloring to the dough will result in splotchy ornaments.
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To Decorate:
1. Apply white craft glue to the front side of your ornaments.
2. Dip in glitter, nonpareil, sequins or beads.
3. Allow to dry completely before hanging.

****My personal notes
  • I had to bake my cookies for about 15 minutes longer.
  • I used glue to attach glitter, but then it took a lot longer to dry.
  • I also used sharpies to decorate some of the cookies.
  • A straw worked better than a toothpick for making the holes in the ornaments.
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My brother had a complete fit when he saw me making “fake” cookies as he called them, but now I think he sorta likes them too (although he will never admit that;)

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Once the ornament cookies were ready to go, I strung them on twine, along with regular ornaments from the dollar store.


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I also had tried a gingerbread ornaments version, but that did not go very well.  The cookies just wanted crumble.  Next year, I think I will use the salt-dough version and use food coloring to make a brown dough
 for the gingerbread men and women.

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I also did up some pomanders using oranges and whole cloves…I love the warm, spicy, wintry smell of cloves.

Next on the agenda- drying apple and orange slices and baking pine cones (to get rid of the bugs) to mix with cinnamon and cloves for a holiday potpourri!  And I think I’ll string some popcorn yet as well to complete the old-fashioned country Christmas feel=)

Have fun preparing your home for Christmas!