Holiday Decorating: Herbal Ornaments

http://www.motherearthliving.com/Natural-Health/herbal-decorating-for-the-holidays.aspx

N.HeraudYou can check out the Lemon Verbena Lady at her blog http://lemonverbenalady.blogspot.com.

I was searching in my work space this morning and discovered some ornaments from previous holiday seasons. I enjoy holiday decorating with herbs because it is both simple, yet oh so fragrant. Hopefully, I will get a chance to make a garland with these cinnamon spice ornaments, stars, hearts and birds and use a piece of fishing line, a needle and thread dried bay leaves between the cinnamon spice ornaments to adorn our mantle. 

Holiday Decorations 1
Cinnamon spice and gingerbread cookie ornaments from years gone by.

Since these ornaments are more than a few years old, I may use a little cinnamon essential oil to add additional fragrance to the ornaments. The other night we had our master gardener holiday party and cinnamon spice ornaments were a gift for each participant. I am giving you that recipe so hopefully you can make some ornaments, either large or small, before your holiday parties begin!

Holiday Decorations 2
Cinnamon spice ornaments from the Master Gardener holiday party.

Cinnamon Spice Ornaments

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 40 minutes, or 1 to 2 days air drying
Makes 12 to 15 ornaments

Tools:

• Cookie cutters
• Cookie sheet (use an old one that you won't use for food again)
• Drinking straw
• Ribbon or string
• Plastic wrap
• Rolling pin
• Parchment paper to line cookie sheets
• Disposable gloves

Ingredients: 

• 3/4 cup applesauce
• 1 to 4.12 ounce bottle ground cinnamon (You can substitute a portion of the cinnamon with ground ginger,
allspice, ground cloves, etc.)
• 1 to 2 tablespoons white glue to start

1.  Mix applesauce and white glue with spices to form a stiff dough. Don't add all of the glue at once. Drizzle a little glue at a time until dough reaches right consistency, not too wet, or crumbly.

2.  Place the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap. With rolling pin flatten dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Remove top sheet of plastic wrap and cut dough with cookie cutters. Move ornament to cookie sheet with a spatula. Cut holes for ribbon with the drinking straw. Bake at 200 degrees until ornaments slightly darken, about 40 minutes; place on rack to cool. You can also air dry for 1 to 2 days; turn ornaments occasionally to prevent warping!  These are NOT EDIBLE!

That last sentence is necessary because they look good enough to eat. At our party, there were some ornaments that were unwrapped and partygoers were taking them thinking they were cookies!

The other ornaments are gingerbread cookie ornaments and they have decorated a rosemary, curry and lavender plant over the years. You see we don't have room in our house for a Christmas tree. The only place to have a decorated tree would be the bathtub, and I have opted that option out! Even The Herbal Husband did not think that was such a good idea. I have become a minimalist in holiday decorating. I have a small German feather table top tree, but our main "tree" has been an herb plant of some type and these mini gingerbread ornaments.

Holiday Decorations 3
Decorated curry plant at an herbal holiday party.

Gingerbread Cookie Ornaments

To make these ornaments, you need to make your favorite gingerbread cookie recipe and roll it out to about 1/4-inch thick and use mini cookie cutters to cut the shapes. Then, cut the top off of a paperclip to make a hanger that is U-shaped; place in the top of the cookie after it comes out of the oven. Next, use green or red ribbon to hang the ornaments on your herbal tree. Hopefully, you will have a chance to make these ornaments with your family and add to their spirit with a little herbal decorating!