One of the things I loved about this recipe: there is no stove-top cooking, so Abs could help me from start to almost finish (I threw them in the oven). The next best thing, all of the ingredients were already sitting in my kitchen! To start off, here is the recipe (copied from Homemade Grits):
4 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 1/2 cups water
Combine ingredients and knead dough for 15 to 20 minutes.
Roll dough out and cut around hand or cut circles out for making hand imprints. Use cookie cutters for ornaments or gift tags. If necessary, slightly dampen pieces to make them stick together. (I found that play-doh instruments worked wonderfully for this, I used the scalloped roller to make the edges look decorative)
Make a small hole for the hanger and prick to prevent air bubbles.
Bake at 300ºF about 20 to 25 minutes or until golden (use a non-stick pan!!). You may have to bake considerably longer depending on how thick your items are. They may not feel hard right away but will harden as they cool. (I had to bake ours for about 45 minutes. Also, after about 30, I took them off the pan and put them right on the oven rake because the bottoms just wouldn’t harden)
Paint and decorate as desired. Acrylic paints (I used washable kids paint, hopefully in a couple years we can switch to acrylic) work best and use a varnish to make them shiny.
We tried making these a week ago, which is why you see an ’11 rather than a ’12. They were completely decorated….paint, glitter and all. I made the mistake of leaving them on our counter one night. Woke up the next morning and they had disappeared. Apparently our lovely dogs ate them, glitter and all. So do NOT leave these out if you have dogs. The salt content is not good for them. I thought the smell and taste of paint, glue and glitter would deter them, but no. So Abs and I had to remake them, pretending it was still ’11. At least the dogs will have pretty sparkly poo.
We only needed 3 handprints and still had about half the dough left. I asked Abby if she wanted to do her toes. “Yay, toes” was her response. I rolled out a larger rectangle, but rather than cutting it out perfectly square I just left it as it rolled out. Here is what we got:
I let Abs paint the fish and hearts. Well, most of them, I painted the “Nemo” fish and one of the hearts. Tip: You can use stamps to decorate the ornaments before you bake them. As you can see from my mistake, you may want to wash them first to get the ink off from the last use!
The footprints reminded me of a poem, which caused me to come up with this idea:
Once the footprints cooled, I covered the whole thing with mod podge and then poured sand over it. The sand is from my husband and I’s honeymoon. We filled up a coke bottle with beach sand to bring a little of our vacation home with us. This was the perfect use for it!
The sand made it really hard to see the foot impression. I ended up using a paint brush to knock off as much sand as I could from the feet, but left the rest. I had black sand leftover from our wedding. I mixed a little bit of black with the honeymoon sand to give it a darker shade. It turned out a little darker than expected, but at least you can see the feet!
Once finished, I sprayed with 2 coats of varnish.
I then made a run to Hobby Lobby to grab these items with my gift card from Christmas:
I am fairly certain you can get the iron on transfers cheaper at Wal-mart. I was not happy with the scrapbook canvas page, it was not cut straight at all, but it did work great with the iron on. If you have fabric at home, just cut a 13″ x 13″ piece (I had to add another piece of fabric on the back, as you could still see the styrofoam from the back panel around the sides.) I ironed on the poem “Footprints in the Sand”.
Footprints in the Sand
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.
This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”
The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”
Mary Stevenson, 1936
In the picture, you can see on the right side where the canvas doesn’t go all the way across. I am going to re-do the poem unto a piece of fabric. That little flaw along with the canvas not being cut straight, causing the wording to slant slightly down will drive me nuts. I would definitely skip buying the precut stuff again.
I am still going to do some work to this as I think it could be a lot better. But I hope it will be a great keepsake for Abby and will remind her that when times are hard, she always has support (even if it isn’t obvious)
Tip: If you roll your footprint dough too thick (which I did), I just cut away the styrofoam backing on the back of the picture frame and left the cardboard. It added an extra 1/4 inch depth, which was all I needed.
I made these FABULOUS ham and cheese filled pretzel bites while working on this project. Warning: they take just over 3 HOURS (2 1/2 hours of rising). But they are so worth the wait. The three of us ate the entire batch (8 servings according to the recipe). I don’t think I added enough ham as I couldn’t taste it at all. But they were really good dipped in Tostitos Salsa con Queso. They were gone before I could even snap a picture.