First Day: How to make stamped salt-dough ornaments with glaze

On the first day of Christmas…

Salt dough.  We all know it.  We all used it in elementary school or at home (thanks,mom!).  For my family, salt dough meant Christmas ornaments in the shape of little bears representing different years with changing interests.  My family still makes fun of me for the little bear ornament I took little bites out of every year.  A little salt and polyurethane never hurt anyone, right?  So, I knew I wanted to make these dough ornaments with my little guys too.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m not really into cheesy little kids projects involving gluing pre-cut foam pieces together or making yet another egg-crate creature (although I’ve seen a few tempting ones of late).  I like to try new things and learn new skills, so my kids go along for the ride.  They don’t know any different.   They know I’m crazy around here already so nobody is in the dark concerning that.

So, back to the salt-dough ornaments.  Here is the Pinterest pin I was inspired by.  I put my own spin on it by using rubber stamps.

For the dough:

1/2 cup salt

1/2 cup water

1 cup flour

Every craft book I’ve ever known has this 1/2 – 1/2 – 1 ratio.  As seen above, we mixed (pre-measure if you need to for kids) and needed under the dough was workable like pizza dough.  If you’ve never made pizza dough you should.  Basically, it should be elastic and able to be spread apart a bit.

We cut ours in circles just to keep the lines clean in case the kid applied stamps got a little messy.

I think stamping and then cutting would be best next time around since you don’t want to squish the shape.

We’ve collected a few Martha stamps along the way.  These plastic stamps that adhere to the mounted block are the cheapest stamps and the best to store.  You can get a wide variety without spending $200.

For extra stability and for a cleaner look, we added a coat of polyurethane which is just a smelly clear glaze found at any hardware store or paint store.  You could also use Sculpey glaze (made for glazing clay) which is found at craft stores or amazon right here.

After they dried, we added some mommy/daughter signatures and the date.  You could also save that side to use as a gift tag.  It would be super-cute that way.  Hopefully of few of hers will make them on the packages.

The stamps turned out pretty cute with the baker’s twine.  They got darker after the glaze went on.

We threw in a monogram or two.

Also, a few random critters.  I would have loved a better stamp on this one, but you only get one shot!

We are enjoying our break, decorating, projects, Christmas music, and hangin’ with our buddies.

Made a little progress on the tree in the kitchen.

You have no idea how many of my shots he jumps in the middle of.  Weirdo.

Don’t forget to add your Pinterest Christmas projects to the “12 Days of Pinterest”  flickr page!

Check out the Ella Fitzgerald holiday Pandora station while you’re making these…

Christmastime is here!

“I passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest,

through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops,

and then I walked through the Lincoln Tunnel.”

Love me some Buddy(“Elf”, for those of you crazy people who might not know the reference :)).

Yes, it’s that time, people.  We are busy about the birthday celebration around here (you know, baby Jesus, of course) and are having fun.  We have officially started our Christmas break from homeschooling (can I get a woot! woot!)  So thankful for a break!  I don’t even know what I used to do with my time before.  I must have been pretty lazy.  No, that’s not true.  I never did projects during the day when I had one kid in Kindergarten at an outside school.  I do the same amount of projects as I did before I started homeschooling.  Now, I am more organized (didn’t think that was possible) and press the “go” button as soon as the little people are asleep usually whilst my husband is traveling.  I think people who can sew, knit, or do other quiet projects during the day with little kids around should be photographed like Big Foot.  I don’t believe it’s possible because it doesn’t exist in my world.  All day projects are kid projects ’round here!  Such is life with kids that don’t nap and won’t play or color for hours by themselves.

Since this is a “12 days of Pinterest” series, I guess I’ll have to share about Pinterest for the 1/1000 of you who don’t know about it already.  I started using Pinterest last year.  Yes, it has actually been around that long.  This was back when you didn’t have to wait more than like 5 minutes for the invite. True story.  I kept it to myself for a few months because it was still a baby and I didn’t want to send all of my friends to yet another of my creative ventures.  However, it obviously spread because I went from having nobody I know on there to most of my friends.  Pretty cool when it happens that way, especially when it’s an awesome concept.  Basically, you can “pin” things/images from websites  and put them into categories of your choosing. The links to the websites are pulled along with the images for easy tracking.

If you are like me, you’ve been doing virtual pinning for a LOOOOONG time.  It’s called folders on your computer.  The ease of use for Pinterest and the ability to see what everyone else is pinning to their boards is completely unique.  Plus, you can pin their pins too.  I’ve found a few buddies who I didn’t know before Pinterest that I am so thankful for.  They are the people you’ve been pinning back and forth with for almost a year and you finally decide to introduce yourselves.  I love to make new friends.

Here’s my “virtual pin-board” before Pinterest:

Here is my “virtual pin-board” now:

I don’t know why I have 377 people following me.  Crazy!  Happy to share what I love.

So, I’ve made some plans for this Christmas to help further that desire to get stuff done like people with lower energy children…

I’m so pumped to do this series not only because Christmas is my favorite holiday, but because I love to just make.  This month I’m going to take some of the hundreds (actually thousands) of things I’ve pinned and turn them into a reality.  Don’t worry, I didn’t take on too much.  This is something I would be doing if nobody saw me but my only family.  I have always been this crazy.  Yes, yes I have.  The topics are related to anything from edibles to sewing to epoxy glue.  It’s gonna be a blast.  I’m hoping to do some with my friends if I can.  Hear that, friends?

I’m also excited to hang out with some people I don’t know but like to hang out with me.  Hi, people!  It’s good to meet you, don’t be shy :)  Feel free to tell me what you think and show me what you’ve made (from my pins or even from some of your own) on the “12 Days of Pinterest”  Flickr page entitled, “I totally made this and it’s awesome.”

I hope you have fun too!  Start pinning!

I could totally make that

If you’re like me, you see things all the time in stores and in magazines that you could totally make.  This year, with the handcrafted movement ascending to even greater heights, I’ve seen tons.  The decorations are mostly over-priced versions of  popular Christmas-time silhouettes.  A lot are actually made out of good materials so it’s not like buying something that looks great for 5 minutes and then falls apart.  All of the companies, represented above, make a good product.  I just don’t care to spend so much money.  With me?

1. Felted Ball Wreath found at, $39.

This wreath would be easy to make by putting some felted balls together with some glue.  The felted balls are made by using 100% wool felt found at craft stores (I suggest online this close to Christmas because mine are completely wiped of Christmas colors).  You simply form the ball and shrink them in hot water.  It’s like what you may have done with a wool sweater on accident except this time the shrinking is on purpose.

2. Printed Paper Tree from, $48.

Stack some cool old paper (music, manuals, book pages), grab some jagged-y scissors and cut in differing sizes to form a tree shape, and slide them down a paper towel holder.

3. Live Moss Letters from,  $79

Michael’s sells sheets of moss for a few bucks.  You could easily cut out letters from cardboard or buy the “raised” kind from Michaels’ for a few dollars. Just pull out some scissors and glue and go to town.

4. scalloped Trees from, $39-$79

Michael’s sells floral styrofoam which is in the shape of a tree or cone.  You could line these with pieces of split bamboo or driftwood.  You can find either at floral supply stores.  My backyard is crawling with bamboo if you ever need some…

5. Bird Seed Garland from, $29.95

Throw some seeds which feed your local bird life and mix it with a little bit of something sticky, like honey or agave.  Press the mixture between cookie cutters or in muffin tins with a string in the middle of the molded shape.

6. Modern Nutcracker from, $29-$69

Find a cheap nutcracker that’s dressed as a zookeeper or a dolphin trainer, rip off the extra stuff, and spray paint the thing white or red.

**UPDATE**I made the Nutcracker!  Tutorial found here. :)

7. Feather Tree from, last year

Use the same florist cones as mentioned above except add feathers, starting from the bottom.

8. Manzanita Candelabra from, $99

Yes, this is made out of metal and last time I checked I don’t have welding equipment downstairs. However, you could totally use branches.   You can get manzanita (super-sturdy) branches at floral supply stores,  If you live near manzanita trees you could grab some dead ones off the ground.  Dried would be best I think, considering they will be painted.  I’ve been searching for some whilst driving through our local mountains, but I get car sick, you see, and quickly aborted that mission.

I’ve seen tons more since making this list, but it’s a start.

Hope you find something to make :)

I’m getting started with my “12 days of Pinterest”…check it out!

He is faithful

This weekend I am with family, enjoying the privilege we have to relax and take a few days off.  Everyone is in a good mood for the most part as you spend time with people you sometimes only get to see once, maybe twice, a year.  I can’t help but notice older people these days; both the cute couples holding hands, who you imagine have been together for 50 years, and the man with his cane sitting on a park bench alone.   I think about my grandparents and the stories that come with their age.   My grandparents are quiet and yet I know there is a tale in there somewhere, waiting to be told.  I was sitting next to an older man tonight from my Aunt’s family and couldn’t help but think of everything this one person has been through that has brought him to this day in 2011.  He is so dependent on people now and what they offer him physically and emotionally, but at some point he made his own decisions and thought clearly for himself.  Aging is a difficult thing for everyone involved.  Some people age and become “difficult” to deal with while some mentally leave our world, never to return as we have known them.  Then there is the sadness for the people who have parents changing right before their eyes and a swap of the role of caretaker.  In any case, it makes you thankful for the people God has allowed you to have, even if they are changed.  One day you might not have them at all.

I am thankful for the times I had with my other Grandma before she passed away.  I miss her.  I was purposefully thankful for her when she was alive, and am thankful for her now.  I also remember that God is faithful to her.  So comforting to know that my love could never be enough, but His is enough.

$3 wreath. True story.

SO, Miss F and I were looking for a quick project one day.  I had just bought these wreaths for $3 at Joanns.  I knew I wanted to make a banner because banners are awesome.  I make a banner every few weeks for all sorts of things.  If you’re like me, you have a few things you wanted to complete (Pinterest, anyone?) before thanksgiving.  So, go out and do them!

Miss F jumped on board and made hers all by herself.  We used some of my old scrap-booking paper.  Oh, I never mentioned I was an avid scrap-booking from like the 5th grade until my baby girl was about 1 1/2?  Hmmm.  It is a crazy hobby and I’m glad I am now recovered.  For a while there, I would spend hours on only a few pages.  I can’t imagine doing that now.  Anyway, that means I still have a ridiculously large modest amount of scrapbook paper to be used.

All I did was put a dot of black ink down for her to cut towards.  She cut triangles from the paper folded in half.  The triangles were then glued onto the string and left to dry.

Next, we added the embellishments in the form of fabric and fabric flowers.

So, these elusive fabric flowers are super easy to make.  I have tried a few tutorials and never find them to work quite the way I want them to.  The best way I have found to make them is to take a 2 in. wide strip of scrap fabric.  I then fold it in half.  I don’t iron mine the way some crazy people do.  I suppose if you were running a  business, from the flowers turned into jewelry, that would be a great idea.  I, however, am running a tight operation which has a a time budget of, oh, 10 minutes for such a project.  After you fold them in half, you start rolling the fabric from one end.  After a few rolls, secure it with a glue-gun.  At this point, I start twisting the fabric around that secure portion.  It will start to look like a cinnamon bun.  I secure mine with a dot of glue from a glue-gun at each pole (N, S, E, W).  I twist it around and glue continually on the poles until I have reached the last 3/4 in. of the fabric.  Then, I wrap that piece of fabric towards the back are glue it there.

I wrapped some fabric around one side, hung my banner across, and secured a few fabric flowers in a way that made me smile.

Wreath complete!

So, go out and get one before company arrives.  You know you’re crazy like me and go to Joanns for last-minute Thanksgiving projects too, right?

It would make a great hostess gift or a gift for your neighbors.

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