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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Making Cinnamon Ornaments

Daughter-in-law Ana came home excited. During a trip to Ace Hardware she’d found cookie cutters in the shape of a musical note and a violin. Because our grandson Gabriel takes violin lessons she wanted to make Christmas ornaments for him to give to his teacher.

For several years our family friend Jo has given each of us cinnamon scented ornaments for Christmas, Halloween, and birthdays so when she and her husband stopped by our place on Veteran’s Day, Ana asked Jo if she’d teach her how to make them. Jo was delighted and Thursday afternoon was set for Ana, Gabriel, my daughter Amy and I to go to Jo’s for our lesson on making cinnamon scented ornaments.

Before piling into Ana’s car we’d gone through my huge shortbread tin that contains my own cookie cutters, letting Amy and Gabriel choose what shapes they wanted to make. Gabriel, whose favorite holiday is Halloween and who had a Dracula birthday party in April, was lured by bats and witches. Our angel Amy chose more traditional shapes…like angels and stars.

When we arrived at Jo’s house it smelled like the holidays. Jo had lit candles all over her living and family rooms, but the overriding smell was cinnamon. The darkening afternoon took on a warm magical atmosphere.

Jo had already prepared a batch of dough. As any dough can be, it was being temperamental. Jo added more cinnamon and Ana mushed it in the bowl. Then the fun began. Jo provided us with several boards upon which to roll out the dough and we began rolling and cutting and lifting to drying racks where we carefully poked a hole through which ribbon or yarn would be strung for hanging.

When we’d emptied the bowl we cleaned up the table, washed our hands which still showed the stain and smell of spices (I was reminded of the movie Mistress of Spices) and sat down to pots of hot tea, salmon cream cheese sandwiches and salad.

The dough hadn’t been overly cooperative and many of our ornaments were thick which was going to require extensive drying, but with luck Jo can bring them along to Ilwaco at Thanksgiving and we can have a painting party at our house which will be accompanied by more tea and Thanksgiving leftovers.

If this project interests you here’s the recipe. Jo says that drug stores are the best place to get inexpensive spices. Costco, Cash & Carry or Grocery Outlet would probably be other sources. The coarsness of the spices seems to make a difference and she recommends the more finely ground ones, but each batch of dough behaves differently.

Scented Cinnamon Ornaments
1 C. or 4 oz can of cinnamon
1 T ground cloves
1 T nutmeg
¾ cup applesauce
2 T white glue
Ribbon, raffia, yarn, etc for hanging.
Combine dry ingredients. Add glue & applesauce. Work with hands until smooth and totally mixed up. Divide into 4 parts. Roll each out to ¼ inch thick or a workable thickness. Cut with cookies cutters. Deep metal cookie cutters work best. Make a small hole near the top with the straw. Place on wire racks and allow to dry at room temperature. This may take up to two weeks, though usually less. Turn over every few days until dry and hard. Sand lightly, wipe off, then paint.


Mizu Sugimura said...

Wonderful project. Thanks for sharing it.

Stephanie Frieze said...

The sweet smelling stuff is taking a long time to dry so we may not get to paint next weekend, but we are planning a painting party for December.