Monday, May 28, 2012

Our 2011 Christmas Ornament

Those who frequent this blog know the children and I make a Christmas ornament every year. At first we gave them to grandparents. A few years later, we started giving them to aunts and uncles. Then we added godparents and our parish priest. Last year, we had enough extras for our story hour teachers as well.

I started this Advent tradition when First Son was still young and think it is more fun each year. Those who frequent this blog will also not be surprised to see that I am posting about our 2011 ornament in May (though I notice last year I posted in March). I can't post about it in Advent because people who receive the ornaments read the blog. Then, inevitably, the ornament post gets lost in the post-Christmas deluge of pictures, thank you notes and returning to lessons.

So here we are in May, talking about Christmas ornaments.

I'd always wanted to make salt dough ornaments and last year felt confident enough to give it a try (confident enough Second Son wouldn't scream for hours while I figured out how to make the dough, that is). It wasn't too difficult, really, though I wish I had rolled them out a bit more before baking them. They puffed up more than I was expecting. Monica used the same recipe I did (from Advent, Christmas Epiphany in the Domestic Church), so I copied her idea for the holes in the top and used an old pencil. That worked well, except some of the fancy ribbon I bought was still a bit too big for the holes. Luckily, Kansas Dad drilled those few out for me a bit.

First Son, First Daughter and Second Daughter all made ornaments in 2011. I made the dough, but the children selected the cookie cutters and cut out their own shapes. After I baked them, I let the children paint them with a variety of "holiday" type colors I picked when the paint was on sale. I hadn't realized the sparkle paint was clear or I would have bought white or silver instead. The kids loved painting with it, though.

After the first layer of paint was dry, I let them go back over it with glitter glue to make any designs. I think this second layer looked particularly good on the ornaments and I know the kids loved it, especially First Daughter.

First Daughter and the glitter glue
After they were all dry, I painted over them with a mixture of white glue and water. I looked all over trying to find something to give me a good ratio to use, but couldn't find anything. I finally used half glue and half water. It seemed to work fine, though I suppose we'll really see in a decade or so if they start to get moldy or something.

I printed out pictures of the kids along with their ages and the year on cardstock to slip onto the ribbons. I think it's nice to see how old they were when hanging them on the tree and it makes a nice addition for the gifts.

A close up of one of my favorites
As usual, I didn't note on the ornaments which kids painted them. These, in fact, are most likely all a combination since there were a number of different days involved and I didn't keep them separate. They are indeed a family creation. I think I let each child choose one to keep on our tree, but can't remember if I wrote their names on them as I have in years past. (We packed the ornaments up quite a while ago now.)

We have had such a wonderful time creating ornaments every year, especially as the children grow and can do more. I'm already keeping track of ideas for 2012 and future years. If you're interested, you can follow my Pinterest board on Advent. It includes more than just ornaments, but that's where the ornaments I find and like will end up.

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