Christmas Village

With #Craftmas quickly approaching (a most wonderful brainchild of Little Button Diaries) and now on year THREE (!), I chose to pull out thee ole salt dough. Christmas crafting and salt dough get me all manner of excited. Waxing nostalgic, I considered the traditional gingerbread houses of yesteryear. I originally considered making some salt dough "gingerbread" houses when it hit me: making one flat piece would be much less engineering. Less engineering means, more time for details! What could be more delightful than a little salt dough village with teeny, tiny windows from which light could escape? Enter the Warm and Fuzzies. <----- simply, the pinnacle of holiday cheer.


For our climate in the Northeast, having the oven on for extended periods of time as the dough cures, has the delightful side effect of heating the house. Add spices or essential oils to the dough and you have a warm, and sensory pleasing effect. In fact, this isn't the first time a blog post will be dedicated to exposing the crafting, miracle material. This smooth, pliable, sensory rich dough is 1.) inexpensive and 2.) environmentally friendly! This dough is made with 3 ubiquitous kitchen items and can be made in a matter of minutes. The resulting projects last for a very long time too. (I've had the same salt dough star garland for over 7 years!)


This is year one of our village, or the baseline village, lets call it. I envision this village growing, year after year. Just imagine that as the kids grow, so too does the village! Perhaps we'll add a snowman, a few lamp posts, maybe some bunnies? The possibilities are vast. And to be honest, I find the idea of this expanding village, quite thrilling! I think this could be a new family tradition we rather look forward to each year.

What do you think? Will you add this to your family's traditions? Or perhaps gift this to a friend? Maybe you know someone in need of a little Warm and Fuzzy.


Gather:

*1 cup of fine salt

*1 cup of warm water

*2 cups of flour

*Mixing bowl

*Acrylic paint/brushes

*Hot glue/gun

*Reindeer cookie cutter

*Tree cookie cutter

*Mini star cookie cutter

*White roving or cotton

*L brackets

*Half cookie sheet

*Parchment paper

*Rolling pin


Create:

1. Mix the flour, salt and water together to form the dough. Some recipes call for equal parts flour and salt. I prefer our recipe as you can control the consistency simply by adding more flour, a little bit at a time. The dough should not stick to your hands. It should, ultimately be a playdough like consistency.

2. Place a piece of parchment paper on the cookie sheet, sprinkle flour and place 3/4 of the dough ball in center. Save the rest for the trees, stars, reindeer, etc.

3. Roll the dough out to about 1/2 cm in thickness. Roll it to the bottom edge of the cookie sheet, pushing the dough slightly over the edge. You will use the cookie sheet to create a straight edge. Cut off the dough along that edge. Use the same technique to cut the sides of your village, with the cookie sheet as your guide.

4. Begin creating the skyline. Create this anyway that you'd like! Do a quick google search for old timey villages for inspiration or check out ours!

5. Add a vertical line in between the buildings but not all the way through the dough. Similarly, create doors. Add windows. Remove each piece to create a luminary!

6. Soften the lines by dipping your finger in water and smoothing the dough. Round out edges with the side of a knife.

7. Roll out remaining dough to a similar 1/2 cm thickness as the village. Use cookie cutters (or freehand) the stars, deer, and trees. Create the holly by rolling a pinch of dough in your fingers and shaping into a leaf. Continue on attaching each leaf as you go. Roll smaller balls for the berries. Attach to the center of the leaves.

We decided to make our deer into fawns (with red noses, obvi). We also decorated our trees with lights!

8. After all the pieces are dry, glue the L bracket to the back of the houses. After I glued our on, I realized it would have been a nice idea to use Velcro to adhere the L brackets. That way, I could store this easily and adjust the bracket placement if needed! Next time!

9. Stand the village up. Glue the trees, deer and adornments on.

10. Glue white roving or cotton on to create a billowing smoke effect!

We certainly hope you have a wonderful holiday season! Please tag us #brainybeginningsnetwork and #crafmas on the socials if you try our village! Let's expand it together, shall we?