After eight Christmases in Australia, I finally am getting the hang of a tropical Christmas.
The first few years here I would wait for Thanksgiving and the arrival of cold weather to warn me of Christmas’s coming.
Of course Thanksgiving would pass uncelebrated and, this time of year, the Brisbane weather is anything but cold…Christmas would catch me by surprise.
Because I never seemed to fully recognise that Christmas was approaching, it seemed like opportunities to form traditions were missed.
But despite me feeling like I forgot to form traditions, it seems that along the way, they have formed themselves.
Making potato stamped wrapping paper.
Driving around to see the Christmas lights.
Heading into the city for dinner and to see the City Hall Light Spectacular.
Spending Christmas Eve with friends from the UK…eating a delicious hotel buffet brunch and then heading to the beach.
Hosting Christmas morning at our house…complete with these scones.
And making gifts for Charlie’s friends.
Last year we tie dyed tee shirts.
This year, when I asked him what he might like to make for his friends, he said ornaments.
So we took a trip to Spotlight for supplies and got busy making ornaments!
Making these ornaments is a bit of a process. I generally find it best to begin well before Christmas so you can spread the task out over a few days or even a few weeks.
Also, as always, deep breaths help and reminding yourself that it is fine if your kids come up with their own way doing things is very necessary. We now have a family of white clay snowmen living on Charlie’s desk.
Here is how to make the ornaments.
1 cup baking soda
1/2 cup corn flour
3/4 cup of warm water
glue, glitter (if you dare), paint, stickers, whatever other supplies you care to use
Mix the baking soda and the corn flour in a saucepan.
Stir the warm water though.
Pop the pan on the stove over medium heat and continue to stir.
Keep stirring as the mixture starts to bubble and come away from the sides of the pan.
When the dough has formed (the mixture dries out and resembles soft play dough), take it off the heat.
Once the dough has cooled, knead it for a few minutes…if you are doing this on a humid summer day like I was you might need to dust your surface and your hands with corn flour so the dough doesn’t stick to everything.
The dough should be really soft and pliable.
Roll the dough out using more corn flour if you need to.
Use cookie cutters to make the shapes and use a straw to make a hole for threading ribbon through.
Put your ornaments on a cookie sheet lined with baking paper and dry them in the oven. Our ornaments were quite thin…I had them in a 100C/200F oven for about twenty minutes.
Once the dough has hardened, you can decorate your ornaments.
We brushed ours with glue and then sprinkled them with glitter. You could also paint them or do a bit of Mod Podge decoupage. Full disclosure, it has now been over two weeks since we decorated the ornaments and we still have glitter on the kitchen floor.
I think that next time I might experiment with adding colour and glitter in the pan stage or even in the kneading stage as that might cut down on some of the colossal mess.
After you have decorated them, thread ribbon or twine through the holes, admire your handiwork, wrap them up, and gift them to friends and family!
Do you get crafty at Christmas time?