Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Why salt dough ornaments are a tease (and other Christmas happenings)

Pinterest was going overboard with all of the cute salt dough recipes and ornaments on all kinds of pages (Holiday, Kids, DIY, EVERYWHERE!)

It was so easy, the pins promised. It was so cheap, the pins promised. It was so cute, the pins promised.

Bait taken.

Cheap? Sure, when you have most of the supplies on hand.
Cute? The jury's still out.
Easy? I almost abandoned this project three times. It was almost a pinterest fail.

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup water

Mix all ingredients together.

Easy! Especially when Bubby is helping "cook."

Knead until a ball of dough forms. Bubby played with it for about two minutes before he got bored with dropping pieces of it onto the floor. (I must remember that he is only 15 months old, which means a two-minute attention span is actually an accomplishment.)

Save dough in container for about three days until you summon enough courage to press a toddler's foot into it.

Form two balls out of dough. Pick pieces of dog fur out of dough ball. Press flat.

Press screaming toddler's foot into flattened dough.

Repeat. Give toddler iPhone for two minutes as a thank you.

Poke holes in the top (mechanical pencils without the lead pushed out work nicely).

(There are no pictures of these processes)

Let dry.

For two weeks.

None of the sites I checked mentioned anything about taking two weeks to dry. I set them on a cooling rack. I set them on waxed paper. I flipped them over (and prayed that the footprint would be preserved). I contemplated baking them, but didn't really feel like running my oven at 175 degrees for over an hour for two piddly salt dough ornaments.

On the second day of the drying process, the footprint flattened out and I thought all was lost. However, DO NOT ABANDON HOPE! The footprint will flatten out and then the rest will flatten and you'll be okay.

I finally got around to painting them.

And the painting experience was horrible. Maybe I set my expectations too high. I'm used to painting things like canvas or paper or rocks. Things that are not highly water soluble.

I couldn't figure out why my paint wasn't sticking if I brushed over it more than twice and then I realized that the dough had become wet and softened and was getting all gummy again.

When you paint these buggers, make sure you glob on the paint and dab rather than swipe. Also, don't go over an area more than once.

It dried pretty quickly, and it's kind of a success. One definitely looks better than the other. I think they are very third-grade-holiday-craft-from-art-class-ish. But I like 'em!

String ribbon through the hole and hang on the tree. We aren't cutting a tree this year since we'll be out of town, but you can use your imagination.

We also took our family photo. I was tempted to make it all Pinterest-y, but that's not really our family. We aren't always coordinated and matchy. We aren't always smiley. Rufus jumped into and out of about six takes. Sparkles don't fly in the air around us. There is no bokeh. No cute chalkboard signs.

So this year, it's a good ol' selfie.

My favorites:

The one we are going with:

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