Monday, November 23, 2015

Christmas Decorations

When I was in Hobby Lobby buying the glass paint I got sucked into the Christmas section. There is something about a brand new house and the first Christmas that drags a person in. I watched my friends experience it and I'm no different. My family Christmas is at my place on December 3rd and I wanted ALL the things.

I wander the aisle trying to decide my decoration budget. What is appropriate? $100? $10. More? Less?

Where would the funds come from since Christmas decorations wasn't even on my radar until that moment. It sure wasn't coming from my pocket money since, almost ironically, I had spent it this month on a new budget program, YNAB, to replace the spreadsheet I've been using for years. I'm really enjoying it. But, anyway, are decorations more important than the funds I've saved for presents, the Christmas feast, my emergency fund?

Then if I do buy decorations what is my new home's style. This years choices in the store are seashore, peacocks, silver and gold glam, candy land, or woodland creatures. I don't know. None felt right. Not right for me. Not right for this house. I walked out of the store with just the glass paint.

I spend a bit of time online looking at ideas and I don't see anything I like there either. Everything is either too Martha and Better Homes or too Hipster and Industrial or way too DIY Rustic.

I did find a DIY Danish blog I like that was all red and white, sunshine and plants and yarn, with a hint of Christmas and not a trace of burlap rustic. Then there was also the family photos of Christmas in the 60s with the tree, the lights, the tinsel and little else. Finally, Christmas that looked like Home.

Ok. Simplicity and a bit retro is my style and I decide to set my decorating budget at $0. It's not that I won't buy anything. I have my Amazon points, I have some gift cards, there is no reason they can't be enough. What I can't buy I'll make with what I have. My box of art supplies is nice and full.

First up is baking soda ornaments.
I found a recipe online. Like all the recipes I find online it was horrible and I changed everything about it before I could get it to work.
I gave away all my cookie cutters years ago because all the gluten free cookies I've made have been gross. Perhaps, because I found the recipes online.
However, free form stars are pretty cool.

My version of Baking Soda Ornaments
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • 2 cup baking soda
  • 3 cup water
Cook over medium heat, boiling a bit but don't let it brown, until it thickens to a firm pudding. Think the texture of flan. Turn out into a bowl and cover with a damp cloth so it doesn't dry out.

Dust working area and a pan with baking soda so they don't stick.

Shape into ornaments keeping it about 1/4 inch thick. Rolled dough and cookie cutters is the easiest but do whatever you want.

Bake at 175F until completely dry. About 2-3 hours. Turning the pans every 30 min.

It makes more stars than you will care to cut out by hand. 

There. Now that it's posted online the recipe is guaranteed to be horrible. Even so, it was a fun way to spend a morning.

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