A good time was had by all last night as Ms. Eileen, and I, and 37 of our closest friends made ornaments from candy and other stuff. It was chaotic, messy, sugary, and fun. A few folks asked for information on making the ornaments so here you go:
Follow this link for directions on making the candy train.
The gumdrop ball was made without glue or toothpicks to stick the gumdrops in the styrofoam ball. I'll be curious to hear if the gumdrops stay on. Let us know.
For the cinnamon ornaments: For those who made them last night, you can either let them air dry for a few days, then add the ribbon, decorate with acrylic or puffy paint if you wish, and hang on your tree. Or you can put them in a 200 degree oven for an 1 to 1 1/2 to quicken the dry time. The recipe I prefer is 1/3 cup applesauce to 1/2 cinnamon. Last night the bowls we used were way too small. If making them again, try using a larger bowl so that you can stir the mixture, which initially appears too dry, until it forms a ball.
Finally, for the candy cane ornaments. Last night we had some hits and misses and here's what we learned. Smashing the candy in the freezer ziploc bags seemed to work well. It may be better to use one kind of candy per ornament (only candy canes, only Jolly Ranchers) because the different melt temperatures for each candy complicated things a bit. It's best to use ornaments that have fewer sharp turns and twists. A simple snowman or heart or star seemed to work best. Fill the ornament about a 1/3 of the way. Bake the ornaments at 325 for about 5 minutes until just melted. Letting them cook longer results in a more melted, thinner ornament because some of the filling spills out of the cookie cutter. Finally, add a hole in the ornament after it's cooled for a few minutes. Removing the ornament from the cookie cutter takes finesse. There will be casualties! Also, I don't think we needed to use quite so much Pam. I noticed that a lot of ornaments had a layer of oil on them afterward. You can dab the oil off I suppose. If you want to keep the ornaments beyond this Christmas, spray them with a clear shellac or polyurethane spray.
I hope you all had fun and thank you so much to all the parents who helped Eileen and I with instructions to others and cleaning up. Let us know if you try to make any of these ornaments and home and share with us the results.