Friday, November 28, 2014

How to Make Personalized Christmas Ornaments



You need a good picture or two of your baby at Christmastime to make these personalized Christmas ornaments, which--if you're like me--is still on your iPhone waiting to be downloaded...from last year. Yikes. Or, make photo ornaments with your children's school pictures, shots of loved ones who've passed away, or black and white photos of your ancestors for a real family tree.

Photo Ornaments
Nap Rating = 1 nap

Tools and Materials
  • Clear glass Christmas bulbs
  • Measuring tape (or a piece of string and a ruler)
  • Pencil with a good eraser
  • Compass
  • Picture of your child (printed on either lightweight cardstock or on photo paper that has a plain, white backing)
  • Scissors
  • Funnel (or a piece of paper and tape)
  • White glitter or fake snow
  • Ribbon, rafia or twine
Steps
  1. Print a photo of your child on photo paper (make sure it has a plain white backing because the back will show in the finished ornament) or lightweight cardstock. The main subject of your photo shouldn't be more than a couple of inches in length and height, so an 8x10 probably won't work. Standard-sized photos like 4x6 or 3x5 should be fine. I chose to print my pictures in black and white, but honestly--color shows up better on the tree, I found out afterwards.
  2. Measure the circumference of the bulb by wrapping a measuring tape, or a piece of string, around its middle. If you use string, you'll need to carefully transfer the string to a ruler to see how long it is.
  3. Divide this number (the circumference) by 3.14 (Pi) to find the bulb's diameter. This is how large the circle will need to be to fit snugly inside the bulb without toppling over.
  4. Divide this number (the diameter) by 2 to find the bulb's radius. Set the compass to this measurement.
  5. Position the compass on your photo and draw a circle. (I found that this wasn't an exact science, so if you're using an actual photo, you may want to try a few circles on lightweight cardstock first to make sure the size is right. Once you find the size of circle that sits up nicely in your bulb, use it as a template for your photos.)
  6. Cut out the circle.
  7. Carefully pull the top off the ornament. Wrap the circle around a pencil--loosely enough so that it won't curl too much, but tightly enough so that you can insert it into the bulb.
  8. Once inside the bulb, pull out the pencil and let the circle unfurl. Then use the pencil's eraser end to nudge the circle into place so that it stands up inside the bulb.
  9. Use a funnel to pour white glitter or fake snow into the bulb so that it fills the bulb about 1/8 to a 1/4 of the way, but doesn't cover your picture too much. (If you don't have a funnel, just use a piece of paper by fashioning it into a conical shape and taping the sides.)
  10. Replace the top of the bulb and cut a 5 to 6-inch piece of ribbon, raffia, or twine to tie onto the loop in place of a hook.

If you make one of these bulbs every Christmas, you'll have a tree full of personalized ornaments marking your family's life. These make great gifts, too!

For more great ideas on how to fill clear glass ornaments, check this out:


Ways to Fill Clear Glass Ornaments


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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Christmas Cookie Jar: Santa's Whiskers



Hi there! So, have you started your holiday baking? Maybe it's not your thing, but we love making lots of different kinds of Christmas cookies--some stand-bys and some new ones--each year to enjoy and give away. I just love these coconut and cherry cookies for Christmas. They're delicious and look really pretty on a plate. I hope you enjoy them, too!

Santa's Whiskers
1/2 c. butter, softened
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 c. coconut flakes
1/2 c. crushed pecans
20 maraschino cherries, halved

In a medium bowl, cream butter, cream cheese and sugar until well blended. Beat in almond extract.
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle.
In a small bowl, combine the coconut and crushed nuts.
Shape dough into 1 inch balls; roll in coconut/nut mixture.
Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees until lightly browned. Immediately press a cherry half into the center of each cookie. Remove to wire racks to cool.



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