Saturday, December 12, 2020

A Christmas Star... (And, lots of brown)

 



Watching the night sky on clear evenings, as of late, here on our little hill, has become almost a daily affair.  On the eve of the Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year, Jupiter and Saturn will meet and appear as a single point of bright light in the night sky.  It really is a show worth watching for it was way back in 1226, some 800 years ago, that the planets aligned so this would happen.  

There are those who believe the Christmas Star which appeared in the east the night of Christ's birth was the meeting of three planets: Jupiter, Saturn and Mars.  The Magi found the baby lying in a manager by following this bright star.  "And lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was."  




Millie and I have been painting.  I suppose it is only right to say, "Millie and I," for she stayed with me all the while I was at work.  Here, Millie is trying out her newly painted, brown doggie house.  She seemed to notice that it was not the same, but after a bit crawled inside and seemed to go to sleep.  She was tired after a long night of howling at the coyotes who come around just to torment her, I think.

But, the big job was painting the Shanty (and the garage doors).  I am so happy with the new color ~ brown again, of course.  It matches Millie's house.  Thanks to Dan for bringing up the tractor with a front-end loader attachment for me to stand in. It also came in mighty handy for the garage doors job, which I may or may not survive!  :~)  But, for now, I am so done with painting, and have put my brushes away until next spring, at least.  



So, with those jobs behind us, we are now gearing up for Christmas.  The little Alpine trees in my sewing room are decorated with these microwaved aromatic dough ornaments.  They are so much fun and last forever, it seems.  To store them, I wrap them in tissue paper and place them in zip-lock bags.  Each Christmas when I take them out, they still smell like cinnamon, allspice and cloves.  :~) 






And, yet more brown...Dough ornaments.

Microwaved Aromatic Dough Ornaments


Combine 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour, 3/4 cup salt, 1/4 cup cinnamon, 1 tablespoon ground allspice, 1 tablespoon ground cloves, and 3/4 teaspoon powdered alum in medium mixing bowl.  Mix well.  Add 1 1/4 cups water.  Mix well to form dough.  Shape dough into ball.  Knead on lightly floured board for about 5 minutes, or until dough is smooth.  (If too stiff; sprinkle with additional water; if too moist, add flour.)

Work with small portions of dough at a time.  Roll dough to 1/4" thickness.  Cut out shapes with 2 1/2 to 4" cookie cutters.  Decorate tops of cutouts with cloves and allspice, or with bits of dough (moisten dough with water-dipped paintbrush and join to cutout).  Store remaining dough in plastic bag.

Push small amounts of dough through garlic press for textured  "hair" or "fur" for animal or people shapes, or use a wooden pick to texture surface.  Using a drinking straw, cut hole )at least 3/8") near top of cutout for hanging.

Spray 10" pie plate with vegetable cooking spray.  Place three or four cutouts in prepared pie plate.  Microwave at Medium Low for 5 to 8 minutes, or until tops of cutouts feel dry, rotating plate and checking ornaments after every 2 minutes.  

Remove ornaments to rack and set aside for 24 hours to complete drying.  Insert thin ribbon through holes and tie for hanging.  If desired, spray decorations lightly with vegetable cooking spray for a glossier appearance.  









24 comments:

Hootin Anni said...

Love, love, LOVE the ornaments! So earthy, and so fitting for the pine tree. Beautiful. Seriously beautiful! And the sky, glorious. Yes, I hope to see the two planets lined up in the sky on the 21st. Hope it's not cloudy. Oh, and the paint job...wow. Ambitious. And Millie's new abode looks mighty comfy!!!

mamasmercantile said...

What a joy to visit your blog and see those amazing ornaments, I love the idea of making some dough and designing my own. Thank you for visiting and leaving such a lovely comment on my blog.

acorn hollow said...

You have been busy! I have made that dough before and it was fun and lasted a very long time!
cathy

Morning's Minion said...

Painting is always a chore, but a great transformation in terms of the cost in paint and labor. Your 'shanty' reminds me of a 'guest cabin' we built at our last home in Wyoming.

Kim said...

Oh, to sit on the porch of the shanty, rocking in the chair, looking at your glorious night sky; such bliss. Your tree looks elegant with the light of the window casting sprinkles of joy everywhere. How pretty your dough ornaments are and the trails of red ribbon cinched in bows here and there. Thank you for the recipe. I must say Millie looks perfectly at home snoozing in her newly painted doggie house. May you and yours enjoy a blessed Christmas, dear Mary.

Granny Marigold said...

Is that gorgeous room your sewing room? It's so lovely!!
One year the grands and I made stars out of just 2 ingredients. Applesauce and cinnamon. It took a lot of cinnamon but those stars stayed scented for many years.

I mustn't miss the sky event on the 21st when Jupiter & Saturn appear together. I think it will be in the SW direction which may make it hard for us here in town to see. We may have to drive out of town.
I noticed that the Geminid meteor shower is this weekend and I'm hoping we have clear skies for that.

Quilting Babcia said...

What fun it would be to make the dough ornaments with the grandkids, if only they could come visit us. Maybe next year. In the meantime I'm loving all your brown. They say red is a neutral, what about brown? I'm thinking so!

nookworm said...

Now I'm sure you know I'll snatch that recipe! It will definitely be a next year project for me. The "shanty" would be a nice retreat for a contemplation I'm sure. I love the way the sun shines on it in the picture. What is it used for? Storage? Your ambition is amazing. The painting project with the brown color used is perfect!

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Millie looks completely comfie in her freshly painted abode and I must say I love the wee porch on the front of your shed. I'd love to sit and rock there. I remember making dough ornaments with our boys many years ago. Now I wish I could make them with our grandsons but that's not going to happen for quite awhile.

happyone said...

Millie looks so comfortable in her newly painted house.
Love the little porch on the shanty.

jenclair said...

The shanty looks great! The tree and ornaments--beautiful. :) Have a wonderful Christmas season, Mary!

Prims By The Water said...

Thanks for sharing this recipe for ornaments. Love your paint job too! Janice

Rose said...

I love your tree...and can almost smell the ornaments from here! And that is a besutiful sky shot. I too am hoping for clear sky on the 21st!

kathyinozarks said...

Good morning, it always feels good to get a big painting job finished-and sometimes hard to stick to especially with colder weather coming in. so congratulations and I love your color choice.
when we lived at the woods house our furry family member was a wolf-we loved her so much we still miss her, but she would howl at the coyotes a couple times and they would leave. after she passed they came up close to the house.
I used to make these ornaments a long time ago-so good memories and thank you for sharing your recipe.
I have been watching for the Christmas star but I thought they said around the 20th it would be more visible. and it's suppose to be in the southern part of the sky-hoping to view it. Kathy

www.self-sufficientsam.blogspot.com said...

Your painting looks great and it looks like the same color I painted my shed with! LOL! Great minds think alike! I wish I had a front loader as I would feel more secure than on the ladder.
I did not know that about the planets. I did go out looking for the Leonid Meteor shower and about went blind looking. I never saw a one and it was clear both nights I went out! So disappointing.
Love the ornaments. I did some one year but did the baking kind. I copied your recipe and will try and I like your idea of wrapping them up so they don't lose the scent. We might get snow today!!! So excited! Cross your fingers and Merry Christmas!

Inger said...

You are a fan of brown and it's a color I like as well. A couple of years ago, I decided to focus on two basic colors for any new clothes I would buy. Since blue is the color that suits me best, I decided to match it with brown. Millie looks happy in her newly painted home. Congrats on getting all that painting done before winter sets in for real.

Henny Penny said...

My sister was telling me about the star on the 21st and how it has been 800 years since the last time it could be seen this brightly. Guess I got that right. Guess it's the perfect year for it...seems everything else has happened this year. Oh, I do love the color brown you painted the shanty and Millie's house too. It's beautiful! I love shades of brown. They're so perfect for the country. We picked a dark brown for our new front door. Your sewing room is beautiful! I look forward to your posts.

Kitchen Stitching said...

Hi Mary. Love the painting you have been doing. The dog house and your Shanty look great. The Shanty looks very welcoming and ready for the holidays. Your Christmas ornaments are wonderful. I love the look of handmade and the wonderful scents are an added bonus. Thank you for sharing the recipe/directions. I waited to comment on your blog. I got three of my dolls ready for Christmas. You can see them here @ https://thimbleworksdollroom.blogspot.com/. I hope you and Charlotte will stop by and say hi. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas.

Julie said...

What a beautiful post! I just adore those ornaments you have made - thank You so much for sharing the recipe - I shall certainly try to give them a go before Christmas but if not, I can try them after.

Debra said...

I love brown too! Millie looks totally happy with the new paint. I have made the wonderful smelling ornaments too-I think without the flour-I'm not sure about that though. Was a long time ago! I have had my eyes on Jupiter and Saturn since this summer-they are so bright in our south-western sky and we don't have trees in that direction, so it's my favorite place to watch the night sky. I did see 3 falling stars a few nights ago.
Have a wonderful Christmas and a blessed New Year!

lil red hen said...

You always have such interesting things to write about! The shanty is perfect in brown, and the rock foundation adds so much character to it. I know you've put in a lot of work to achieve this look, and I'm sure the inside is just as special. Is that a note to Santa on the door? Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and good health and happiness, Charlotte

Olde Dame Holly said...

Thank you for sharing that recipe. I have never seen any version of it before, and can't wait to try it. And BROWN is a wonderful color, much underrated!

MyFarmhouseBlue said...

We have been watching the stars as well and look forward to seeing the Christmas Star tonight. Brown is one of my favorite colors, especially paired with blue. :o)

I hope you and yours have a very Merry and Blessed Christmas!

~Carolyn

kathyinozarks said...

Hi thanks for stopping by for a visit. I am hoping for 2021 to be awesome-I couldn't see the conjuncture tonight-where the moon is there are allot of big tree limbs in the way. it is so dark here I didn't want to venture out up on the road with the hills. I looked for it online and saw a little but I didn't see what I thought it was going to look like-did you see the two planets looking as one to form the christmas star and to think this is the first in 800 years for this to occur in the evening awesome