Christmas Sewing – Samsara Birdie

It rained all day yesterday so got on with a bit of sewing for Christmas. You probably know that I have a real passion for making little Samsara birds. Lots of stitching with different coloured glittery threads topped with hand-stitched bugle and pearls beads. Loved every second of it. And scented with cinnamon. All good! The photo just doesn’t pick up the glints and glitter very well but IRL if looks lovely. I’m not one for brights, as such, and like things a little ‘rustic’ and prefer a subtle bling – that an oxymoron?


Salt Dough

I also made a tray of salt dough hearts last week and got them painted and finally varnished at the weekend. I have an old wooden cutlery drainer from Ikea that works perfectly as a drip stand for when I brush them with varnish. I could buy a spray can of varnish, I suppose, but my tin of yacht-varnish has lasted me a few years and there’s still plenty left. Guess not actually having a yacht to varnish has helped me a bit there.

My drying rack is like the one below but is wooden (and a bit ramshackle now). It works perfectly to paint and varnish the dough shapes. Just open out some paper clips and hook them along.


Want to make some? Here’s How.

Salt Dough Recipe – Microwave Method

Salt dough is simple, cheap and fun to play with – for you and the kids.

You need

  • 1 cup of salt
  • 2 cups of plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 cup of water

Mix and knead all the ingredients together till it’s a tacky but pliable lump – like bread dough. If it’s too dry, add a squinch of water; too wet, add more flour.

You can add food colouring if you want to jazz things up or leave them natural and paint them afterwards.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and roll out till it’s the thickness you want – not too thin and not too fat… too thin and it will become brittle and snap easily. Too fat and it might not dry out and end up crumbling.

Get a selection of cutters to make shapes from, eg,  biscuit cutters (cookie cutters).  A garlic press is great for making doughy worms; they are super  for making wooly beards, hair and and moustaches –  or lambs for nativity scenes. Just glue on with a thick flour and water paste.

If you want to make hanging decorations, poke a hole though with a knitting needle or skewer so you can thread through some twine or string later.

Cover a flat dish with parchment or greaseproof paper and place the dough shapes in the microwave. My oven is a 650W so I cook on full power for roughly 2 minutes. You’ll have to experiment a little with your oven if it’s a different rating. Just remember to stop and check every 30s or so.

They’re done when they feel pretty firm. You might find a little yield in them but that will go as they cool. If it doesn’t, you can always pop them back in the microwave. Feel them to see if they’re still squashy – if so, put them back for another 30s – 1 min but check them regularly during this extra time as they can burn. Take heed!

Take them out and leave them to cool, then paint them with acrylic, poster or other paint. Add some glitter if you like. When the paint is dry, spray with a coat of varnish or brush on a coat of varnish to seal and make them water / damp proof.


Looking nice on the bedside cabinet that got a terrific makeover recently.

Bye all – speak laters!

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