Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Handmade Christmas

     This Christmas I am going for a more homespun feel.  I am wrapping my presents in kraft paper, and making many of my gifts. I decided to carry this through to our Christmas tree, and make a popcorn garland and ornaments by hand.  It didn't hurt that our movers lost all our Christmas stuff during the move to Rhode Island, and we now are starting from scratch. It is working out fine, though. I have to say, I love the look of a handmade Christmas. 
     I made some of our ornaments using an old fashioned recipe of applesauce and cinnamon.  They are so cute, and the smell in our house is divine!  Here is the recipe I used:

1/2 cup applesauce
1 container of cinnamon
extra cinnamon
1 Tablespoon flour

     I mixed the applesauce and cinnamon in a bowl with the flour until it was a nice dough-like consistency.  You will have to do this by "feel."  You do not want it to be too sticky or too crumbly.  I know cinnamon can be a little expensive if you buy it at the grocery, so try finding it at the dollar store, or some place similar.  I found mine at a local store called the Christmas Tree Shops for 89 cents.

 Roll your dough out on wax paper after dusting the paper with cinnamon.  Dust the top of the dough with cinnamon as well. This will keep your dough from sticking to your rolling pin. (Flour will discolor your ornaments.)  Use cookie cutters to cut shapes into your dough.  You will need to poke a hole in each ornament with a straw to thread ribbon through it later.
     Bake shapes in your oven at 200 degrees for 2 1/2 hours.  I know this sounds like forever, but it will make your house smell awesome! When the time is finished, place on cooling racks.  They may need to dry a little bit more before you hang them up.  Note: If you wish to forego the oven method, you may lay out the ornaments for several days on drying racks.

     When your ornaments are completely dry, run some ribbon through them, and hang on your tree!

I hope you are enjoying getting ready for the holiday like I am!
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Photo Ornament Tutorial (Gift Idea for Under Two Bucks!)

     These ornaments are the perfect homemade touch for your tree, and would be a great gift for the grandparents.  Plus, they are simple and cheap to make!

First I started with plastic bulbs I bought at Michaels.  They were on sale for $1.49.  They look just like glass (which make them hard to photograph!), but they are sturdy plastic, so they might actually last a while!

I took a photo of each our boys and cut a 3" circle of each.  I then punched a small hole in the top and tied a string through it.  When I put the top back on, it held the string in place ensuring that my picture would not be floating around the bulb.  I rolled the picture up to fit it through the hole in the top of the ornament.

I cut an entire 8 1/2" x 11" piece of scrapbook paper into (roughly) 3/4" x 3" strips, and rolled them on a toothpick to make little paper "shavings."  I placed these paper pieces in front and behind the picture to hold it in place.

I replaced the top, and tied a cute ribbon through it.  There you have it! A festive little goody! This is one of the gifts I included in my mom's 12 Days of Christmas. Here are some more pictures.

Ornament: $1.49 at Michaels
Picture: $.12 at Walmart
Ribbon and Paper: I had on hand

Total for each bulb: $1.61!

Time: 1 Hour

Monday, December 5, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Gift Idea

     My mom is an absolute nut about Christmas.  She carols her neighbors every Christmas Eve, shops for presents all year long, and keeps a nostalgic childhood Christmas tree up all year round.  This year will be the first that none of her children are home for Christmas day. I wanted to do something special to lead up to the big day when her grandkids would be knocking on her door.  She has always loved, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" song, so I did a little spin on it to personalize it for her.  I picked out some of her favorite candy, made some sentimental goodies, and bought some items for the holiday festivities. Here is what some of the packages look like.  If your special person lives close, you may want to consider delivering a package each day.  You could leave it in their car, on their doorstep, in their mailbox, etc.  My mom lives a long ways away, so I will box everything up, mail it, and hope I can trust her to open one at a time!

I love the kraft look, so I wrapped my presents in brown paper bag wrap I found at my local Dollar Tree. 

 I cut out some snowflakes the old fashioned way, and others I cut with my Cricur machine.  I also cut tags and numbers with my Cricut.

 I love baker's twine!  The floral piece on this package also came from Dollar Tree.

This snowflake was cut out with my Cricut.

Here are some ideas for your 12 Days of Gifts:
Picture albums
Bath goodies
A CD of holiday music
Favorite recipes
Cookie cutters
A small piece of jewelry
A calendar for the coming year
Handmade ornaments
Anything else you can imagine!