DIY Cinnamon Christmas Ornaments

The recipe that I’m sharing with you today is a family favorite at my house. The cinnamon dough is prepared as if you’re making cut out cookies, but the result is a hard, dry ornament that is sturdy enough to hang on your Christmas tree for years to come. (Trust me–0ur tree still features a dough ornament that I made when I was in preschool.) And the heavenly cinnamon scent that fills the house as these ornaments bake is just an added holiday bonus!

Obviously you can cut your ornaments into any shape, but I love the idea of personalized dog bone ornaments. They are very simple to make, and they are a perfect holiday gift for all those dog lovers in your life. This year I made the personalized dog bones, plus dog breed silhouettes, and a heart/dog bone combo (see the photo below). Your only limitation is the types of cookie cutters that you have available. Although, I did find that large ornaments are much more difficult to transfer to the baking sheet, so I would recommend using cookie cutters no bigger than 5 inches or so in length.

Once baked, these ornaments are beautiful enough to leave plain–just add a piece of ribbon, twine, or string to use as a hanger and call it a day. However, they are also a great blank canvases for all kinds of embellishments. I simply wrote my family’s dogs’ names on the bones using white fabric paint (a.k.a. “puffy paint”). You might also try using acrylic craft paint, spray paint, glitter, sequins, buttons, rick-rack, jingle bells, or any other adornment that can be adhered using craft glue or a hot glue gun. Keep it simple or go crafty crazy: it’s totally up to you.

Christmas Ornaments

Cinnamon Christmas Ornaments

Yield will vary depending on the size of your cookie cutters

 

1 cup ground cinnamon, plus more for dusting

3/4 cup applesauce

 

    For this project you will need: cookie cutters, an offset spatula, a plastic drinking straw, scissors, string or thin ribbon, and plus any craft supplies that you want to use to decorate your ornaments. I used white "puffy paint" (pictured here), but you could also use acrylic or spray paint, glitter, sequins, buttons, rick-rack, jingle bells, etc.

For this project you will also need: cookie cutters, an offset metal spatula, a plastic drinking straw, scissors, string or thin ribbon, plus any items that you want to use to decorate your ornaments. I used white “puffy paint” (pictured at right).

 

1. Preheat the oven to 200°F.

2. Place the cinnamon in a bowl. Slowly stir in the applesauce. Continue stirring until the mixture forms a smooth dough.

3. Lightly sprinkle a large piece of wax paper with cinnamon, and roll the dough out into a sheet about 1/4 inch thick. If the dough sticks to your rolling pin or wax paper, sprinkle with more ground cinnamon.

4. Use your desired cookie cutters to cut the dough into pieces. After each piece is cut, press the end of a plastic drinking straw into each piece of dough to cut out a round hole. (This step is VERY important because you will later use this hole to attach the ribbon that will serve as the hanger for your ornament.)

5. Use an offset metal spatula to carefully transfer each piece of dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You can arrange the pieces close together on the baking sheet–they will not spread during baking–but the pieces should not be touching each other.

6. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour. Flip each ornament over, and return them to the oven for an additional hour.

7. Transfer the ornaments from the baking sheet to a cooling rack or a paper towel on the countertop.

8. When the ornaments are completely cool, add the hangers:  first cut a length of ribbon for each ornament. (I cut my ribbon pieces about 4 inches long). On each ornament, thread a piece of ribbon through the hole that you poked with the straw. Tie the two ends of the ribbon together (in a bow or double knot) to form a loop that you can use to hang the ornament on your Christmas tree.

9. At this point, you may choose to use the ornaments as-is, or you may want to decorate the ornaments with paint, glitter, sequins, or other embellishments. Once the ornaments are decorated it’s best to allow a full 24 hours for them to dry completely before hanging them or wrapping them up for holiday gift-giving.

 

NOTE:  As always, it’s important to keep a watchful eye on pets during the holiday season so that they don’t get into any decorations that could make them sick. (i.e. eating Christmas ornaments, holly, pine needles, etc). This basic cinnamon ornament dough is completely non-toxic to your pets; however, please take extra care if you add any decorations to your ornaments that pose a choking hazard.

DIY Dog Sweater

In anticipation of the cooler Autumn weather, today I’m going to share how I magically turned the sleeve of an old sweater into a new (and FREE!) dog sweater. There are several tutorials for this project floating around the internet, but one that I found to be super easy to follow is on Veronica O’Neil’s blog, VO Knits. At first glance I was a little skeptical that the sleeve of a sweater would actually comfortably fit my dog, but it did with room to spare.

Sweater    First, you’ll need a sweater. Any sweater or sweatshirt will work, but to ensure that the sleeve is big enough, you’ll probably want to use one that is size large or bigger. (I used a ladies’ XL sweater to make this project for  my 15-pound dog.) If you have an old sweater in the back of your closet that you don’t mind cutting up–great! If not, you can buy a sweater for around $2 at a thrift shop or yard sale.

Now you’ll also need pinking shears or fabric scissors and a needle and thread (or Fray Check seam sealant). Once the materials are gathered, the project takes less than 15 minutes to finish! And you don’t have to be perfectly exact to end up with a nice-looking finished product. I pretty much eyeballed the length, spacing, etc, but it helps to fit it on your dog as you go along to double-check the sizing. The process that I used to make my dog sweater is explained below, and you can check out VO Knits for the more detailed photo tutorial.

1. Use the pinking shears or fabric scissors to cut one sleeve off of your sweater, following the shoulder seam. Do not cut the wrist cuff off, because it makes a nice finished neck for your dog sweater.

Sleeve

2. Cut two small circles out of the sleeve to form the leg openings of your dog sweater. Be careful not to cut them too large. (About 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter is plenty big).

Leg Openings

3. Next, cut the sleeve to a length that fits the length of your dog’s back. You can leave this bottom hem straight or cut it into a “saddle” shape (as explained on VO Knits).

Bottom Hem

4. At this point you can turn each of the cut edges under and hand-sew the hems with a needle and thread. OR, you can take the lazy way out (as I did, of course) and simply use Fray Check liquid seam sealant around each of the cut edges to keep them from fraying.Dog Sweater

5. Dress your dog up in the fashionable new doggie sweater and hit the dog park!

 

DIY Puppy Pop Art

I dragged my mom along on my odyssey into collage art. These are the works of art that she created using photos of her three dogs.

I dragged my mom along on this odyssey into crafting. Here are the collages that she created using photos of her three dogs.

This week I got my creative juices flowing and made a paper collage project using a photo of my dog Pacey. I got the idea for the pop art style collage from Trudy K Taylor’s tutorial “How to make a pet collage with your children.” (Click here to visit her blog: http://trudyktaylor.com/making-mondays-make-a-pet-collage-with-children-your-children/). My plan was to create three different paper collages of Pacey’s face and then frame them together à la Andy Warhol’s pop art prints.

A version of artist Andy Warhol's famous "Marilyn Diptych"

A version of artist Andy Warhol’s famous “Marilyn Diptych”

Making these collages is simple and fun, and I love the fact that as you cover your dog’s photo with decorative paper, the eyes and nose remain exposed so that the finished product still really looks like your dog.

This project is also very inexpensive. I didn’t need to buy any supplies at all, because I just dug into my stash of scrapbook paper. Depending on what you have around the house, you could also use wrapping paper, wallpaper, construction paper, newspaper, fabric, felt, stickers, buttons, beads, or pretty much anything else that you can easily glue down.

In addition to whatever collage materials that you choose to use, you’ll need a pair of scissors, glue or glue stick, and two print-outs (or copies) of a photo of your dog. I scanned a photo of my dog Pacey into my computer and adjusted it to my desired size using Photoshop. I then printed it out on basic, white printer paper. Alternatively, you could make copies and adjust the photo’s sizing using an office printer.

I used a photo of Pacey’s face with him looking fully toward the camera, which I think worked really well. But you could use your dog’s profile, their face and chest, or even a full body shot. Whatever sparks your creativity.

To get started you'll need two printed copies of a photo of your dog, a pair of scissors, and glue.

Once you’ve got the two printed photos, you’re ready to get to work. Use the scissors to cut your dog’s face out of each of the two papers. You will use one of the faces as a template, so glue it onto whatever piece of paper that you want to be the background of your collage. I used a piece of construction paper.

First, cut out one of the photos and glue it onto the decorative paper that is going to be the background of your collage.

Next you’re going to use the second face that you cut out to create a stencil that will make it easier to piece together the decorative materials that you’re going to use to make your collage. Use the scissors to cut the face into pieces; I recommend that you cut it into at least four or five pieces (to allow you to use a wide enough variety of patterns and colors), but the pieces can be any size and shape that you like. The most important thing is to make sure that you CUT THE EYES AND NOSE OUT of your stencil pieces so that your dog’s actual eyes and nose (from the photo that you glued to the background) will show through on your finished collage. This is a really nice touch that keeps your pet’s face recognizable in your finished work of art.StencilOnce your stencil is cut out, you’re ready to have some fun and let your creative juices flow. Choose a decorative paper, trace around your chosen stencil piece, and cut it out using scissors. Then glue the piece down in the correct position on your photo template. Repeat this process until you’ve covered the entire face template with materials in different patterns and colors. You can also use paper (or stickers, buttons, etc.) to add extra touches like a hat, necklace, collar, bow tie, or glasses.

Before and After

There are lots of things that you can do with your finished collages. I scanned my collages into my computer, printed them out on 6″ x 4″ photo paper, and put them in a store-bought frame. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of scanning and printing, you could simply frame each individual collage as-is. I’ve also considered having the scanned photos of my collages printed on note cards or onto a calendar. Whichever way that you choose to finish your project, these collages make a unique and meaningful gift for any dog owner.

Finished Pacey Collages