Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday ornaments made of natural materials

Some historians believe the original Christmas ball decorations descended from a witch ball (gazing ball). The purpose of a witch ball was to guard against evil spirits.
Because they were made of glass, they became decorative. They were used to decorate the home and eventually, the tree.

We made some of our favorite ornaments of natural materials collected by the family over the years; others were purchased from creative artists encountered over the years.

Seashell angel
of shells gathered with the kids on beach at Hilton Head
Milkweed seed pod angel
(pods gathered this fall to obtain milkweed seeds
 to plant for the monarchs)
Our painted starfish Santas were inspired by
the one on the cover of Christmas Tree Memories

Over the years we'd read the book
 Christmas Tree Memories by Aliki
with the kids reminiscing about
special moments in years gone by... 
Pine cone skier-a gift from a friend whose
holiday traditions included creating a new
ornament every year

Pinecone angel with golf tee trumpet
from my Mom's collection
Corn husk doll
from mom's collection
Mini-nativity in a pod
Magnolia blossum angel
Oyster shell santas from
Bluffton, SC

Painting on sand dollar from
Hilton Head, SC

When the kids were young they brought home salt dough ornaments made in nursery school for Mom & Dad for Christmas gifts.  We were inspired to try making some at home, most notably Pillsbury Doughboys when their Dad was working for Pillsbury.   The Doughboys were carrying Bundt cakes, brownies, pizzas and other products Dad was involved in marketing over the years.

One of the "Doughboys" that's survived
over 20 years though the freezing temps
and heat and humidity of moves across
the country.
A gift from our youngest so many years ago-
the kindergarten photo shows stitches that were
needed shortly before school picture day

1 c. salt
1 1/2 c. water
4 c. unsifted flour

Dissolve salt in hot water.  Let stand until cool.  Mix flour and salted water in a large bowl.  Turn dough onto a lightly floured board and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and satiny.  (Store dough in tightly sealed bag in the refrigerator.)  Dust small piece of aluminum foil with flour.  Place dough on foil.  Roll to 1/2-3/4" thick.  Dip cookie cutter in flour and slowly cut through dough to foil.  Insert small bent piece of wire into top of shape for attaching hanger.  Transfer ornament on its foil base to a cookie sheet.   Bake at 225-250 for 1 hour until top of ornament is hard to the touch.  Cool.  Decorate with colored acrylic paints.  Allow to dry.  Spray several coats of clear acrylic finish over entire surface of ornament.  Dry.  Attach cord or yarn to wire hanger.

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