Monday, December 3, 2012

Ho Ho Ho!!

Well hello there my peeps!!!

In my family we have a wonderful "giving" tradition. We exchange one Christmas ornament per family instead of buying a whole bunch of gifts. We do a silly name drawing after Thanksgiving dinner when the whole clan is around and able to share. I love the whole thing because...

1) It cuts out the stress of trying to pick "the right gift".

2) There is no competition. You know there is always one family member that can't seem to stick to the pre-determined $20 maximum amount and winds up throwing a 50" plasma screen into the mix and everyone else feels like a jack wagon.

3) It creates memories as opposed to garage sales. Every year when I decorate my tree I smile knowing where my ornaments come from. I also smile because I don't have a pile of old "gifts" that I really didn't need or necessarily want staring at me waiting to be tossed on the lawn with a $1.00 sticker on it.

4) Everyone can afford to participate. Even if you say, "Ok, we're only giving to kids" or "Just one gift from each person for a White Elephant" it can really rack up the bucks. As families grow, so do the number of presents.

5) It gets back to the real essence of the season. The holidays aren't about gifts. Or at least they shouldn't be. They're about spending time with people you love, or have to love. It's about laughing with them and even sometimes at yourself. It's about sharing time and stories and hugs, not things in red paper with green sparkly bows on top.

So... that's what we do and why I dig it.

Every year I try to either make or choose an ornament that is reflective of us. This year, after several hours of pinning, I chose to make a hand print Santa. Of course my mom went bananas over it. Glad I brought a spare in case she didn't draw our name!!!!

Here's the hows and what nots of the whole hoo ha;

(Please know this project took a couple of tries to get it right. Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes)

I started out by finding the right salt dough recipe. This may have been one of the more challenging pats of the whole kaboodle.

1/2 c. salt
1/2 c. four
1/4 c. water

That simple and yet so hard to figure out!!!

After experimenting with various thicknesses, I made three very thin circles and got my little guy to press his hand into them. Be sure to press super hard!!! Oh! And roll up your kid's sleeve!!!

After that I used a knife to cut around the hand. I left a bit of an edge - which I think wound up working best. We tried whole circles, we tried trimming to the image, meh...

Toothpicks seem to work best for making the ribbon whole. Just kinda wriggle it around to create the desired size.

Stick them on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet and bake for three hours at 200*

Day two was painting day!! I got cheap acrylic paint from Big Lots ($3!!) Yes, the paint does need to be acrylic. If you go that route, may I suggest buying more than one set. Tiny tubes and lots o' white means... you get the idea. I began with a black sharpie and sort of vaguely made some outline marks. I painted all the white, the went on to the red. I've never mixed paint before, so I was bit on the terrified side when it came to the color of Santa's face. I took some of the ochre, some white, a teeny tiny bit of red and mixed it and added color until I got somewhere in the family of what I was aiming for. Don't have any specific measurements. It's a do and see and keep doing until you see sort of thing. He doesn't look nearly as much like an Oompa Loompa as I was afraid he would! Blue eyes, red nose. I had to mix again to get the pink lips. Simple, red & white make pink!!

Let this dry!!! I mean, really let this dry!! Don't rush it and try to finish or else things will smudge and run and get all blechy.

Once it is all good and set, time to modge podge!!! I laid it on sort of medium thick. Got a good shine, but it doesn't blind you in the light. After that dried I tied some cute ribbon and voila! Ok, at first I went the yarn route, meh... ribbon was waaaaaayyyyy cuter!!!

Hope you have fun creating little ho ho fellas!!! Would love to see how yours come out!!!

May your days be merry and bright!!!!

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