DIY Christmas Tree Ornaments

I sometimes get a bad rap in my family as the one with expensive taste. Sorry for knowing what I like, amiright?! I often get comments like “when your father and I were your age, we got our furniture from the trash on the street!” Cool, enjoy your bedbugs, peasants! (jk)

But also I like to set the record straight every now and then and showcase how I use creativity to get the look I want while still being frugal.

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Since I was hosting Christmas this year, with my own real tree and everything, I knew I needed to decorate it accordingly. Luckily I had all the lights I needed, I was able to use gift cards to buy the stand and the star on top, and instead of buying a tree skirt that I didn’t love I just used a white blanket. When it came to ornaments, I decided that rush buying a bunch of ornaments that I didn’t love would just be a waste of money. I choose to accumulate them slowly, with each ornament having meaning to my life and being something I truly love.

But because I couldn’t just have an ornament-less tree, I decided to make some! It was so easy, a lot like baking sugar cookies (just less tedious) and SO cost effective. The whole project probably cost me…$2?! I went to Hobby Lobby and picked up a pack of white acorns and clear spherical ornaments for future projects that I also added to the tree, but since those were 70% off, they cost under $5. So, you guys, I decorated my tree for $7.

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Here’s what you do!

DIY Cornstarch Clay Ornaments

ingredients/materials:

1 cup baking soda

1/2 cup cornstarch

3/4 cup water

ornament hooks

optional: acrylic paint, tree branches, lace, other materials for imprinting

directions:

combine all ingredients in a saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. stir constantly until a thick paste forms, so that it almost forms a ball by itself.

scrape the paste out onto a piece of parchment paper and form a ball (be careful, it will be hot!) let it rest and cool until luke-warm & comfortable enough to touch.

roll the dough out with a rolling pin, use cookie cutters to cut out your shapes, and set them on a cookie sheet with a fresh piece of parchment paper.

use a straw (preferably paper/cardboard so you can just trash it when you’re done) to punch out the ornament hook holes.

*if you want to imprint some branches/patterns on the ornaments, now is the time!

preheat oven to 175 F, and bake the ornaments for 1 hour, flipping them halfway through!

*once baked and cooled, you can paint on them if you choose!

add ornament hooks and hang on your tree!

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I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Halloween Macarons

It’s been 100+ degrees in Los Angeles for the past few days. I hate the heat in general (WHY did I move here again?) but there is nothing worse than getting a taste of cooler temps and then having a heatwave roll in in late October and totally cramp your fall style. I haven’t wanted to do anything!

Fear not though. I took a page out of my Halloween 2016 book and did the quick, easy project of decorating some macarons! No baking or slaving in the kitchen required. I just picked some macarons up at the store, grabbed a paint brush and my black food coloring, and went to town. The quick task made me happy, scratched my festive itch, and I like to think it made everyone I offered one to smile.

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Cute, right?!

Temps are supposed to be moving down starting tonight, so hopefully you’ll see evidence of me re-entering my kitchen soon. And tomorrow Mark and I are planning on finally carving our jack-o-lanterns (we’ll probably be melting in the process). Hope you’re all celebrating accordingly!

Golden Snitch Macarons

Hey! Did you know that it’s Harry Potter’s birthday soon?! Which is also J.K Rowling’s birthday. Both huge and very worthy reasons to celebrate- I classify it as a downright holiday. I’m kicking off Harry Potter weekend over here, which is including a lot of movie viewing, book reading, and themed snackin’. Perfect timing too, since I just finished the G.R.E and am in need of some serious decompressing.

First up, the super simple craft of making golden snitch macarons. I can’t call it a baking adventure because I didn’t make the macarons myself (I’ve been too busy, if you’re interested in doing so I wrote a post about how to do it here). But it’s the perfect activity if you have a Harry Potter themed party coming up and you need prep, fast! I swear you guys if I never get the chance to throw a Harry Potter themed birthday party for a future child of mine it will be serious potential lost. Or, ya know, you could also just make them if you’re like me and you want to celebrate the Boy Who Lived in style. Both totally acceptable. 🙂
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So I picked up some lemon macarons at a nearby Whole Foods. I actually picked 7 to be exact, which made me giggle when I realized at check out because in Harry Potter, 7 is the most powerfully magical number…but I digress. I chose lemon because I actually really like the refreshing flavor and they were already a kind of golden color, so it seemed like a good place to start.

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If I had more time I would have loooved to use gold food dye to draw the intricate design on the snitches in the movies. But I didn’t. So to get the magical golden effect I used edible shimmery “dust” on top of the cookies. I loved the effect, the shimmer would show just so in the light. But to make it really pop I also added some yellow sanding sugar. You can do both, neither, or if you’re feeling ambitious try painting on the design!

The last step was cutting out some wings from cardboard paper. I free-handed the shape and just used regular old scissors. I gave the wings some fringe so they were a little more visually interesting. Then I just stuck them into the frosting middle of the cookie. Obviously you’ll want to remove these before eating. But so cute for presentation, no?!

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Now I’m dealing with the biggest internal conflict…which is do I go back to Harry Potter world to celebrate on the 31st?! I had a freaking BLAST last year when I went on the 1st of September. You can read about that here! The only thing is it’s kind of expensive, and oh yeah, I technically have to work that day. Ha!