Another person making salt dough? Who’d have thought it at this time of year! This was however a momentous occasion for me, as they actually worked. You know how you’re supposed to learn from your mistakes? It seems I missed that and I’m a huge glutton for punishment. Over the years (in my job!) I have tried salt dough on numerous occasions, much to the disappointment of the poor children in my classes. There was the time we ‘may’ have set fire to some in the microwave thinking it had to be quicker than the oven. (OK, maybe not actual flames, but there was a certain amount of smoke, followed by tea towel wafting and opening every door and window even though it was December. We had to bribe the caretaker to help us get rid of the evidence!) Then there was the year I decided to try white salt dough using bicarb, massive fail, we got a lot of crumbs but no fancy keepsake hand print decorations to take home. We ended up doing a rush job using dolly pegs and some concertina paper to make ‘fairies’.
Anyway, moving on, I decided that today was the day I would entertain my darling children with some salt dough and the Christmas cutters I bought 6 years ago which were still in their box. Error no. 1 was actually telling the children what we were doing as they were loitering around me whilst preparing. My daughter ‘helped’ choose the cutters and found the butterfly (what could be more festive than a butterfly on the tree!) amongst everything else in the cupboard. Desperate to avoid a tantrum and the accompanying noise whilst Daddy slept after his night shift I decided to just leave it be. The rolling out and cutting process was relatively calm, a couple of angels had to be re rolled as they lost their heads during the transfer to the baking tray but it was mainly successful, and lots of counting went on to ensure that they both had equal numbers of ornaments (because not being fair could have apocalyptic consequences).
Then came the baking. I have never (ever) baked salt dough correctly. Not even once. I checked and re checked baking temperatures and times and decided to play it safe, baking for an hour at 120°C and then turning before giving them another 45 minutes. I was most surprised (and a teeny bit proud) when they were rock hard, not burned, no bits dropping off or any other terrible mistakes. Whilst they were baking I wrote my son’s Christmas cards for him to sign (the pay for being his PA is rubbish) and I set up the new printer-multi tasking at it’s best!
We went out to visit Santa at our local church Christmas fair and then came home to some lovely cool ornaments which were ready to paint. I did my teacher bit and modelled lovely painting and washing my brush in between colours, talking about which colours might be nice for each thing. I may as well have been talking Spanish. They were like kids in a sweet shop, tonnes of paint and lots of things to decorate and there was even paint with glitter in! (There was a brief glimmer of hope when my son said he was painting a candle red like the ones on the mantle piece.)
Mr Craft’s face when he saw the fruits of our labours suggested that these particular ornaments might be carefully hung on the back of the Christmas tree. I wonder if a spot of sparkle Mod Podge might finish them off nicely (and maybe earn them a promotion to the visible side of the tree)? I’m still basking in the glory of the fact we managed not to set them on fire!
Do you have any salt dough tips? (Other than don’t bother with it!) What other things can you suggest making apart from Christmas decorations?