Pinspired: Baking Soda Beaded Ornaments

I have fond memories growing up of making Christmas ornaments each year.  Our Christmas tree never looked like something out of a magazine, but to me it was beautiful.  I love going to my parents house as an adult and seeing all the ornaments my sister and I made growing up.

This holiday tradition is one that I am excited to be passing down to my daughter.  Last year she was only 22 months, so I just bought some cardboard blank ornaments at Hobby Lobby and she painted them.  This year I wanted to something a little more “crafty”.

Originally I was thinking we would do salt dough ornaments, which I remember making as a child.  Then I saw this post for Baking Soda Clay Ornaments and thought we would give it a try.  SAMSUNGThis recipe for making clay with baking soda, corn starch and water was completely new to me.  I have made homemade play dough many times (I hope to someday share my mom’s recipe that she used when we were growing up and in her preschool).  I really like the consistency and the pure white color of this clay.

We pretty much followed the way Play at Home Mom did her ornaments.  We didn’t add any color to the dough though, which I think helps to make the shiny beads really stand out.  I’m not comfortable with Maggie using the stove, so made her some GOOP (just cornstarch & water) to play with while I cooked the dough.  She loved it, as you can see.

SAMSUNGAfter the dough cooled, I rolled out the dough.  Maggie wasn’t too into the rolling out part, but she did help me choose the cookie cutters and press them into the dough.  Once we had all of our shapes I gave her a bowl of beads that I got for $1 at Joann’s and let her loose with decorating them.  She loved this part and got really into it.  She was very focused on pressing in each bead and spent about an hour working on them.SAMSUNGAfter they were all beaded, I used a toothpick to make a hole in each one.  We then left them on the counter top to dry over night.  In the morning, I carefully flipped them over with a spatula to let the back dry out as well.  A few of the beads fell out when I did this.  So after they were dry, I hot glued the beads that fell out back in place.  I then put one coat of Modge Podge on the whole thing and let it dry.  I still need to put strings in them, but I think I’ll just use some leftover yarn.SAMSUNGI have a few pointers for those who might want to try this themselves.  First, the dough dries out pretty quickly.  I should have kept half the dough covered while we worked.  Some of the ornaments got a little dried out before Maggie had a chance to press the beads in.  Secondly, make sure your dough isn’t too thin when you roll it out.  The combination of having some ornaments too thin, and waiting too long to decorate them meant that about half of our ornaments ended up cracking while they dried.  I broke up the ones that cracked and took the beads out, so we can use them again on another project.SAMSUNG

Overall, I’m very pleased with the way these came out.  I think they will look great on the tree and Maggie had a blast doing them.  I didn’t have any cornstarch or baking soda on hand, but those only cost about $3, so this project was very inexpensive.  Since half of ours ended up breaking, I think we will probably end up doing this again sometime before the holidays.  If you’re looking for a cheap,easy and attractive way to make ornaments with your kids, I would absolutely recommend this method.  We’re looking forward to adding them to our tree!

Pinspired: Felt Christmas Tree

So far this Holiday season we have made 2 projects that I saw on Pinterest.  (By the way, you can find me here – Fleur d’Emily.  I love Pinterest, and spend way too much time on there.)

Anyway, this is the first project we did – a Felt Christmas Tree. I had all the supplies on hand – basically just felt.  It’s not super fancy or perfect, but I’m working on lowering my expectations of myself.  The truth is my daughter doesn’t care that every light is not the exact same size, or that the ornaments aren’t super detailed.  She just loves having her own tree to decorate, and undecorate, and decorate again.

I made it in about an hour while watching a movie with my husband after Magpie fell asleep (a rare occurrence as I am typically so exhausted after she falls asleep that staying up and doing anything is out of the question).  In very atypical fashion for me, I just grabbed a pair of scissors and started cutting.  No careful patterns to follow, no planning out my idea in advance.  And it worked just fine.  I used some tacky glue to glue some small gray rectangles on the top of circles to make ball ornaments.  I used a black sharpie to put faces and buttons on the gingerbread men.

One thing I tried that didn’t quite work out was the strings of lights.  I just cut some bulb shapes out of yellow felt and glued it onto some green yarn.  First of all, I should have threaded the bulbs on the yarn as a few have fallen off already.  Secondly, Magpie has a hard time sticking them up.  In order to get them to stick you have to press on at least 2-3 bulbs, which she just doesn’t get.  Maybe she will pick it up, but for now she asks for my help when she gets to the lights.

Another thing we are struggling with is hanging up the tree.  I attached it to the side of our pantry cabinet with some masking tape.  The tape sticks great to the cabinet, but the felt not so much.  The tree falls down if you leave it up for awhile, especially if it is fully decorated.  Magpie doesn’t seem too fazed by it though, she has turned it into part of the game.  After she has taken down all of her ornaments and put them back in the box, she insists on taking the tree off the wall as well.  Next year I might try a nail or thumb tacks in the wall?

Overall it was a quick and easy project, cost me nothing and Magpie loves it!  So a success all around!