Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

Crafty Bitch


I’ve been quite the little Martha Stewart wanna be this holiday. I cut out one of my intended homemade crafts (luxury body lotion bars) because the ingredients were a little pricy and I wasn’t sure how it would turn out.

First, the advent tree made its annual appearance. Nothing new to say but this photo was taken 10 days in so it is look a little sparse and uneven now. The girls think it is a lot of fun. But I have to say between this and the new addition of that damned elf everyone has, it is feeling like a lot of work for a little magic around here.

Next up, teacher gifts. We all seem to stress about these. It is just as easy (and appreciated I am sure) to throw your hands up and get a Starbuck’s card. But I decided to be crafty instead.

I made vanilla extract and snowman ornaments with names and year on the back. Two completely unrelated, random gifts. The vanilla I had been wanting to try – I started it back in October. I saw something similar to the snowman ornaments in a shop 2 years ago and have been meaning to make them. I also saw them floating around Pinterest yesterday. They are easy to make – getting the stupid fake snow inside the ornament is a pain in the ass but otherwise it then just requires a little paint and ribbon. After many rounds of trial and error when I was painting ornaments a couple years ago, I will advise you to find oil based paint pens/markers. Sharpie makes the best but I can’t find them individually anymore (except an art supply store online that wants $7.99 for shipping) and they want $20 for a package of 5 at Hobby Lobby (didn’t have time to wait for them to go on sale). I own a bunch but can’t find them – they are likely in the boxes in the garage that I will be unpacking after the holidays so I didn’t want to drop big bucks on them. Hobby Lobby sells this brand individually – the work fine for small projects like this. They just streak more than the Sharpie if you are coloring larger areas. I can’t speak for other craft stores – I only have eyes for Hobby Lobby.

The vanilla is vodka (or rum or bourbon – your choice) and vanilla beans. Then you let it sit in a dark, cool place for 6-8 weeks. After googling, it seemed 3 beans per cup of booze seemed the “right” formula. After the extract is 1/2 gone, you can refill it with more vodka and let it rest for a month and you’ll have a refill. I’m not clear on how many times you can top it off.

Then I saw some adorable gift tag ornaments floating around Pinterest a few weeks ago. The caption claimed they were salt dough. After some digging, the person whose photo was used blogged that it wasn’t salt dough, it was porcelain or clay (I can’t recall). But I was intrigued so I started googling and came across this post about salt dough ornaments/tags. (And WOW hers are amazing. You should totally check them out.) So off I went. The recipe is 1/2 cup salt, 1/2 cup water, 1 cup flour. Mix it. Then knead it for 7ish minutes – it starts to feel more like bread dough when you are done. Roll it out. Use cookie cutters. I stamped them with rubber stamps and regular ink then baked them for 5 hours at 200*. I used paint pens to write the person’s name on the back and will use them on packages for Christmas this year. I still need to clean up the edges. I will either use a cheap nail file to smooth them or some steel wool – I have to experiment to see what works best. For the bowl shown in the collage above, I did 2 batches and ended up with 24.

posted under Crafty
6 Comments to

“Crafty Bitch”

  1. On December 10th, 2011 at 5:28 pm Meredith Says:

    Those look waaaay better than any salt dough we’ve ever made! Looks like real pottery. Thanks for sharing the link. I am seriously impressed by your craftiness.

  2. On December 11th, 2011 at 8:25 am MamaK Says:

    so cute! I love the snowmen and they look simple enough to recreate.
    I am contemplating the salt dough with the kids. But that could be messy.

  3. On December 11th, 2011 at 7:32 pm heather Says:

    All your projects look great! Love the salt dough ornaments…I’ve never made them, but might now!

  4. On December 12th, 2011 at 6:26 pm Melany Says:

    Awesome. I’m still amazed at how little we saw each other when we lived in the same city. 🙁 We could have had a lot of fun crafting together!

  5. On December 14th, 2011 at 3:39 pm Shannon Says:

    i’m totally doing the salt dough ornaments with Emily this weekend. These look amazing!

  6. On December 21st, 2011 at 10:05 am Melissa Says:

    i apparently need to join pinterest. keep hearing about it.