Ireland's weather has certainly lived up to its reputation this winter. Fog, ice, wind, rain (of course), and even a light sprinkling of snow.
There's only one cure for bad weather. A wooly jumper, a fire and a good book. Blissfully I have all three at the moment.
This year in The Irish Bear Co family we all decided to give home made gifts and I'm so glad. I enjoyed the making as much as the getting. I made hundreds of red heart salt dough ornaments for my sister and she loved them. They're very simple to make, here's the recipe:
1. Make the Dough
Mix two parts flour and two parts salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and gradually add roughly one part water until it forms a smooth dough (in some recipes they suggest adding wallpaper paste for elasticity, I didn't have any at the time so I didn't but it sounds like a good idea).
2. Cut your Shapes
Roll out the dough and cut out any shapes you like (remember to poke a hole to string ribbon through). If you roll the dough too thick it will take much longer to bake.
Bake in the oven at a low temperature for roughly two hours until they are dry and stiff. Alternatively you can bake in the microwave at the lowest temperature but I found the shapes tended to warp a bit more if I put them in the microwave for too long. Keep an eye on the shapes while baking, either in the microwave or oven, if you see air bubbles bulging up pop them with a pin and smooth back down with your finger.
I painted mine with acrylic paints. On the more elaborate decorations I photocopied some small photos, cut them out, glued them to the decorations and then varnished over them.
However you decide to decorate them it's a good idea to varnish them to prevent them from soaking up moisture. When they are not on display make sure to store them somewhere dry, or maybe in a tupperware tub, because if the dough becomes damp they will bulge and warp.
Happy Holidays from the Irish Bear Co family.