Entry: Happy Crafting! Nov 23, 2004



The holidays are creeping up on us. I am definitely making photo cards (featuring a photo of my daughter from last christmas) this year for friends and family. I needed 60 last year and expect to need at least 75 this year. The hardest part is selecting which photo from last year to use. I try to have the Christmas cards ready to go on Thanksgiving Day and I include a message from my family on each card so that I don't have to sign each one and I can include a personal message only if I choose to.

Next on my agenda is to select a menu for Thanksgiving dinner. Traditionally, my family serves Turkey, gravy, cornbread dressing, Ocean Spray cranberry sauce, collard greens or green beans, corn on the cob, candied yams or a sweet potato souffle and a cobbler or cake for dessert. If I serve turkey for Thanksgiving, I will serve a ham for Christmas. I love the holidays. This year I am going to try extra hard to get things done in advance and not get overwhelmed at the last minute with gift buying and housework. I will start tonight.



Here are some more ideas that I am considering using this year for holiday treats and/or gifts: ORNAMENT DOUGH RECIPES

BAKER'S CLAY

Dough art can be cut, shaped, etc. It doesn't usually crack and can be painted or used in it's natural state. I have made this dough in the past and found it acceptable. However, during the baking process, my angels became a bit puffy. Turned out really cute though.

When the baked piece is cool, paint with acrylics as desired. Brush or spray on a finishing coat of polyurethane to seal and protect piece.

Recipe

4 cups white flour

1 cup salt

1 1/2 cups water

Paste food coloring (optional)



Mix flour and salt in bowl until well blended and smooth. Add 1/2 cup of water and continue to mix for a few minutes. Slowly add remaining water while turning the dough in the bowl. Gather the dough in a ball, working in any dry flour and salt left at the bottom of the bowl. Knead dough for about five minutes. Knead in food coloring if desired.

Shape dough, as desired, and place on a foil-covered cookie sheet. Bake in a 250-300 degree F (120-150 degree C) oven until hard (about five minutes for 1"-2" pieces).



BREAD DOUGH

I haven't used this recipe but have heard lots about it. It can be pinched, rolled, ruffled, and stamped. It is a delicate dough, ideal for jewelry and other small pieces. Bread dough will keep for weeks when tightly sealed and refrigerated.

Bread dough does not need a protective finish; unsealed, it resembles bisque. For a soft sheen, brush the piece with a mixture of equal amounts of water and glue. For a high gloss, brush with the glue-water mixture and let dry. Then give the pieces several coats of lacquer, letting dry between coats.

2 slices white bread

4 Tbs. white glue

Tempera paint (optional)

Remove crusts from bread and discard. Tear remaining bread into tiny pieces. Place in a bowl and add glue. Stir with a spoon until the mixture forms a ball. Knead until smooth, adding paint as desired. Shape piece; place on a foil-covered cookie sheet and let dry.



SALT DOUGH

(taken off of a website - I really want to try this one)

Salt dough has a sparkly texture. It is heavy and strong and is especially suited for large or standing pieces, such as plaques or trivets, or as foundations for other, more delicate craft doughs. Salt dough keeps indefinitely when covered and refrigerated.

2 cups salt

2/3 cup water

1 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup cold water

Food coloring, tempera, or other water-base paint

Mix salt and 2/3 cup water in a pan. Heat until quite warm. Remove from heat. Mix cornstarch and cold water together and add to mix in the pan, stirring constantly. Return pan to stove and keep stirring until mixture forms a smooth mass. Turn out on a plate and cover with a damp cloth until cool. Work in coloring if desired.

Shape on a foil-covered cookie sheet and let dry thoroughly - several hours in a warm oven or several days at room temperature. Smooth away rough edges with a nail file.

3 cups flour

3/4 cup salt

3/4 tsp alum

1 1/4 cups water



Mix and knead until smooth. Coat rolling pin with spray oil and roll dough out to 1/4-inch thick. Spray cutters with spray oil before cutting shapes and use a straw to cut hole for hanging.



CORNSTARCH DOUGH

(taken off of a website)

This chalk-white dough is extremely malleable and is not subject to distortion or puffing. Because it is more brittle than baker's clay, it is best suited for projects that will not be subject to a lot of handling. Cornstarch dough keeps indefinitely when refrigerated in a plastic bag.

When cornstarch dough has hardened, it can be painted with markers, tempera, or acrylic paints. To protect, glaze with a thin coat of white glue.

2 cups baking soda

1 cup cornstarch

1 1/4 cups water

Food coloring



Mix baking soda and cornstarch together in a saucepan. Gradually stir in water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat while dough is still easy to stir. Do not overcook. Turn out on platter and cover with a damp cloth. When cool enough to handle, knead until smooth, adding water if dough crumbles. If desired, knead in food coloring.

Shape dough on a foil-covered cookie sheet. Let dry until dough is very hard. Drying time will vary, depending on humidity, taking as long as three to four days. You can shorten the time by placing the shaped dough in a very slow oven (200 degrees F or 95 degrees C) for an hour or two. Smooth away rough edges with sandpaper.

CINNAMON-APPLESAUCE DOUGH

(taken off of a website)

3/4 cup smooth, very thick applesauce (not watery)

1 to 2 cups ground cinnamon (buy in bulk as high quality is not necessary)

1 tablespoon ground cloves

1 tablespoon ground nutmeg

**Spices are optional. Add others if you prefer.**

2 tablespoons white craft glue (such as Elmer's)

Drinking straw

Combine 1 cup cinnamon and any spices you want to use in small mixing bowl. Add the applesauce and glue and mix until thoroughly blended. Mix until smooth, firm, pliable, and no longer sticky. If too wet, add a little more cinnamon. Shape the dough as desired on a cinnamon dusted surface. Roll dough 1/4-inch thick. And cut with cookie cutters or use cookie molds. Dust molds with ground cinnamon. Firmly press small balls of dough into the mold until it is firmly packed with dough. The thicker the shapes are, the less likely they are to curl when drying. Use straw to cut hole for hanging. Air dry, dry in oven, or food dehydrator.

{I have made ornaments with this recipe. This was a lot of fun to make and smelled wonderfully. My daughter and I decorated the ornaments with plastic "jewels" and beads. I haven't checked for this year but they still smelled good in the spring after the holidays. UPDATE: I am currently making new ornaments with this recipe. It has my whole house scented up and the ornaments look great!}





MORE COOKIE RECIPES



Snow Drop Cookies

Ingredients:



1 cup butter

1/2 cup confectioner's sugar plus 1 cup for dusting

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup finely chopped almonds or pecans

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour



1. Cream butter in a mixing bowl.

2. Gradually add sugar (1/2 cup) and salt.

3. Continue creaming until light and fluffy.

4. Add nuts and vanilla extract.

5. Blend in flour gradually. Mix thoroughly.

6. Shape into teaspoonful balls.

7. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

8. Bake at 325 F. for 15-20 minutes.

9. Sprinkle some of the confectioner's sugar over cookies while still on the sheet. Cool before removing from cookie sheet.

10. Place some confectioner's sugar in a bag and place some of the cookies inside. Gently shake well so the sugar completely coats the cookies.



This one sounds yummy! I am going to continue "experimenting with the cookie recipes and will use my co-workers as tasters.

Happy Holidays... and until next time, Happy Crafting!

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