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Handprint Christmas Ornaments
December 10, 2010 - Marj Kline -- Toni Johnson
Blogger's Note: Alex is a fellow Leader-Herald employee who wanted to share her homemade Christmas project with us. Being that she is a busy new mom, she might not be a regular contributor, but hopefully we will hear more about her projects with her adorable daughter, Crickett. - Marj & Toni
As the mother of a 10 month old baby girl, Christmas is an especially exciting time for me this year. Christmas, with all of it's warmth and wonder, family, friends and good food is going to be better than ever! My little girl, Crickett, is an especially animated baby and I can't wait to see her shining cheeks on Christmas morning.
Of course, as the first grandchild and great-grandchild on my side of the family, she receives LOTS of attention. She is the new TV. We often wonder what we talked about or did pre-Crickett days. So as the holiday season rolled around, I wondered what I could do for all of her grandparents that love her so much. Pictures are always a wonderful keepsake, but something homemade just seems to fit the bill. So when Toni suggested I make hand-print ornaments from salt dough, I jumped on it. What a wonderful way to capture her sweet young age and give something from the heart. First off, I mixed my dough. The recipe is very simple:
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Cups Salt
3/4 Cup Water
I also decided to add Cinnamon for color and scent.
You can add as much or as little as you like.
I would have loved if Crickett could have been more involved with the actual making of the ornaments but she is still too young to really get it. She did watch from her highchair and enjoyed a snack while Mommy mixed and kneaded. After kneading, I scored my ball of dough into 6 sections, as I needed six ornaments. Scoring is a good way to evenly distribute your dough and make sure you have enough. I rolled each section into a ball and placed them on wax paper, then used the flat part of the bottom of my mixing bowl to neatly press them into round disks.
Then came the hard part.... pressing Crickett's little hand into each ornament. I didn't think of it as the hard part until I got there but my daughter already has a mind of her own and was not happy about having to do this. It made me feel somewhat bad to know that she was not into it, but I take comfort in the knowledge that she will appreciate them someday. Growing up I have always loved looking at the homemade artifacts of my youth and enjoy the fact that they are proof that I myself was once small and innocent.
So after a bit of carrying on, I had my six hand-print ornaments. I then used a toothpick to put a hole in the top of each one that I would later thread ribbon through. I baked them on a cookie sheet for about 2 1/2 hours on 325º. The temperature and time can be varied but be sure to keep an eye on them to prevent browning.
After baking, I left the ornaments to sit overnight and the next day I got out my paint. I had decided to use a paint with a metallic finish to it because I thought it would shine nicely against the lights of the Christmas tree. I picked out a bronze colored paint and matching ribbon to go with it. The paint went on very nicely and really made her little hand-print pop. Next I threaded my ribbon through the hole and voilá! I had my beautiful ornament.
This project was so simple and easy that I plan on making it a tradition and I really look forward to watching Crickett put her own ideas into making these homemade ornaments. You can put your own twist on it by using any of the following: food coloring, glitter, glue, stencils, puffy paints, beads and even carving tools to etch into the dough before baking. The possibilities are endless and anyone with children will find this an excellent Christmas project. Have fun and may everyone have a wonderful holiday season!
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Crickett watching on and having her snack.