The Art of A Letter

Mostly, people send an email, a facebook notification(or poke) or some other social media to write things to each other. However, the letter business seems to be near nonexistent other than the need to pay bill and other not so much fun stuff. I recently sent out party invitations through the mail and even if it took more work and resources to do so that way, it was different from the norm. I’m not talking about the gala invitations. Those are still common, but a good old fashion party for you and some friends. Personally, whenever I get mail that isn’t something about a payement due or some politician running for a position I become happy to know that someone took the time to write something to me. I was curious about what kind of things you can do with a letter so here are some ideas for your next special piece of mail you send out.

 

Cinnamon Bird Ornament!

Oh the things you can find in the Martha Stewart catalog. The holidays are coming up and so are the smells that follow. I don’t mean the smell of stinky relatives or the stench of your baby cousin’s suspicious “clean” diaper bag; I mean that wonderful smell of pine and cinnamon. And lets face it, the perfume bottles you plug into the wall to spread the fragrances of the holidays just don’t compare to the real deal. So to help everyone out with getting their holiday fragrance started here is a cool DIY courtesy of Martha Stewart!

How-To

Cinnamon Bird Ornament

Although these whimsical birds look and smell like gingerbread cookies, their sparkling plumage hints at their true nature as sweet works of art. This sturdy flock — including a cardinal and chickadee, among other birds — will migrate each Christmas to decorate the tree. The birds are not meant to be eaten, though, however enticing they may be.

Tools and Materials

  • 2 medium bowls
  • 1 cup ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • Craft glue
  • Rolling pin
  • Bird templates
  • Utility knife, or bird-shaped cookie cutters
  • One straw
  • Wire rack
  • Paper towels
  • Baking sheet
  • Glitter and beads
  • Bottle with applicator tip
  • Length of thin ribbon for each ornament
  • Tissue paper, for storing

Cinnamon Bird Ornament How-To

1. Prepare dough: in a medium bowl, mix together 1 cup ground cinnamon and 1/4 cup applesauce using a rubber spatula.

2. Stir in 1/2 cup craft glue. Stir the dough until consistency is smooth and dry. Let stand 1 hour. Applesauce gives the dough pliability, glue makes it firm, and cinnamon imparts a lovely fragrance and a gingerbread color.

3. Turn out one-quarter of dough onto a cool, flat surface; flatten with your hands.

4. Flatten with a rolling pin to 1/4 inch thick. If dough becomes too dry, spritz with water. If it sticks to rolling pin or work surface, sprinkle with additional cinnamon.

5. Photocopy bird templates onto card stock (these are enlarged roughly 150 percent); cut them out, punching holes where indicated. Lay a template over dough; cut out shape with a utility knife (or use bird-shaped cookie cutters). Repeat with each of three remaining quarters of dough.

6. With a straw, poke a hole in dough as indicated on template (for hanging). Air-dry ornaments on a wire rack lined with paper towels for 24 hours, turning them over every 6 hours or so to keep them flat. Alternatively, preheat oven to 200 degrees. Transfer ornaments to a baking sheet; bake, flipping once, until dry, about 2 hours. Once the dough has dried completely, adorn the birds with markings inspired by nature or your imagination. As you decorate, proceed from the finest embellishment to the coarsest, adding glitter, then beads in order of size.

7. Using a bottle with an applicator tip, spread craft glue over the area you wish to decorate.

8. While glue is still wet, sprinkle with glitter or beads, holding ornament over a bowl as you work; tap off excess.

9. Wait for the first area to dry completely (at least 30 minutes) before repeating steps 7 and 8 on another section. Thread a length of ribbon through ornament’s hole, trim the ends to prevent fraying, and knot. Once you take the ornaments off the tree, store them, wrapped individually in tissue paper, in a cool, dry place.