Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Cinnamon Memories

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When our eldest was 2 I found a fun little recipe in a copy of a borrowed magazine for Cinnamon ornaments. The recipe was super simple & cost very little to make using only cinnamon, glue, & applesauce. We were young & broke but ready to celebrate the holidays to whatever extent we could that year.

This recipe gave me the idea to use our little one's handprint. Something he could even help with. Mind you it was very very time consuming to cut so many little handprints for Grandmas & Grandpas, Aunts & Uncles, but he loved poking the holes with the straw to make room for string. We etched the first letter of his name & worked the year on the front as well. They take a few days to dry & I end up turning them sometimes to prevent curling which can happen. The house always smells amazing from the cinnamon while they are drying too!

The ornaments were cherished around the world, relatives who couldn't be near for holidays loved having the ornaments. In fact, we got please from others who didn't get one that they wanted one too, & the best part is, should they unfortunately break in the mail there's no harm adding a little more glue!

When we moved to Australia in 2006 it was a bit more trying to make these ornaments. Elmer's glue isn't a staple in the shop, & typical clag isn't the right make for this recipe! Cinnamon is far more dear then fifty-cents or a dollar a bottle as well, not to mention we now had two children who's hands were ever growing & resulting in the need for a double batch of our cinnamon mixture.

While it's really sad, for this Mamma & the various relatives who cherished the handmade gift, to not make them anymore, every December we pull out those cute little hands & relish how long ago it seems that we made them, how much children have grown, & how much we wish, at times, we could slow time down.

This year I managed to convince my 13 year old to hold still so I could snap a photo of just how much his sweet little hands had grown over the past 10 years, & while he obliged he doubted, a whole lot really, that those were ever really his hands. I'm not so convinced he was in denial about ownership, as much as the fact that his hands had grown so much.

If you're keen to make the lovely ornaments I do highly recommend Elmer's Glue or something very similar, clag just won't cut it. I have no idea if homemade white glue would work either, all though I was tempted to try the first year I couldn't get my hands on white glue. The recipe we use all those years doesn't seem to be readily available online, so I'll share below:

Cinnamon Handprints

1 c Cinnamon {we've used normal & dutch over the years}
1/2 c AppleSauce {not chunky}
1/2 c White Glue {we've used off brand & name brand Elmmers, no clag!}

We mix the glue & sauce together & then mix that into the cinnamon. Roll out on baking paper sprinkled with cinnamon, or a well dusted counter {cinnamon}. Cut as desired & lay on a baking sheet or cooling rack to air dry. If you want to hang them up you'll need to put a hole through the ornament with a drinking straw before setting them out to dry. If you prefer a slimmer hole you could use a toothpick, but keep in mind the size of the hole & how you'll get the string or yarn through it.

When we did handprints I simply copied my child's hand on paper, cut that out, laid it atop the dough, & then used a knife to trace cut it out rounding any rough edges as I went. Keep in mind that the thicker you roll this out the sturdy the ornament, but also the longer it dries. The thinner the more fragile the ornament & the more likely it will curl as it dries. We tend to to roll these out as thick as you would a cut-out cookie, about 1/4".

Please keep in mind that this is not an edible recipe. As another side note, over the years as we made these we started marking small cubes or beads with holes in them. Grandparents were making a garland out of the handprints & this allowed them matching spacers. Yes, the beads or cubes take longer to dry, but they were well cherished.

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