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It's a bit early but...

I have a birthday in November, which always makes me not want to start the Christmas chat until the second half of November at the very earliest...But this year I have a situation that calls for me to start a little early with the prep. In our family, the Christmas tree does not have a colour theme, or any theme for that matter, it is full of ornaments that have been collected over the years from shops, craft fairs, holidays, days out and new ones are added each year. Perhaps not as refined as some but we think it is how a tree should be. However, years of collecting is not a look you can recreate all in one go. When I moved out of home some of the decorations went with me so I have a small collection but a bigger house calls for a bigger tree (and I have to make up for not having one at all last year because of the house move) so I started to think about ideas for making a bundle of decorations to fill in the gaps for the time being. The answer? Salt Dough.

For my birthday in 2014, I was given some biscuit cutters, a set of stars and a sausage I decided to make some Christmas biscuits to try them out because what's not festive about a dachshund?! I used a recipe from The Cookery Year book, super simple and delicious, plus the mixture spreads very little while baking so the biscuits keep their shape (recipe below).

In 2015, I decided to make some for friends and family and wrap them up in little cellophane bags as a homemade gift and they went down very well (various sized stars this time, the sausage dogs were a bit fragile)! Same the following year, only this time camels and Christmas trees. Design wise, a biscuit cutter is brilliant - a simple, single outline which visually gives you all the information you need to work out what you are looking at.

When we moved to Derbyshire, the kitchen in our rented house was fairly small with not much counter space for rolling out biscuits so I haven't made any for a few years. Now I have a much bigger kitchen so I thought this year I could start with salt dough for the tree (recipe link below) and as we are decorating at the moment, I have about a thousand half filled tester pots of some very nice colours that I thought I could use to paint them. I'll get cracking on the edible ones nearer to the big day!

The decoration selection includes - stars of various sizes, camels (which after seeing them covering a tree at Chatsworth in 2011 on their "We Three Kings" tree and buying a decoration at the gift shop I have

been trying to find more camels for my tree ever since) moose (new purchase for this year off Ebay, love a moose and also a nod to Marty Moose and the Griswolds in my favourite Christmas film) and lobsters. If you don't already know, I have had a thing about lobsters for a little while now - I drink out of a lobster mug every morning, I wear lobster pjs to bed and my lobster embroidery was made back in 2013 and is now hanging in my kitchen and yes I also have a biscuit cutter, so why not have some on my tree too?!

And after some kneading, rolling, cutting, baking and painting here is the outcome, what do you think? My favs are definitely the Oval Room Blue lobsters (blue lobsters are my particular favourite) but I do love the Cornforth White camels. I'll share some snaps on Instagram in December to show you how they look on the tree and around the house. This was just the first batch...I think I have made too many, any takers?!

Plus, as it is my birthday month, over on the website I have taken £5 off ALL design packages including gift vouchers for the whole of November, so if you fancy a new look for the new year or want to get your Christmas shopping started with a unique gift for someone click here for more information.

R x

** Here are the recipes I used for the biscuits and the salt dough, don't get them mixed up! **

Salt dough recipe here- it made loads of dough but it does keep for a little while in an air tight storage pot, so you can do several batches like I did. Also I baked mine at a much lower temperature (below 100C) for longer as some bubbled up at 150C.

Biscuit recipe -


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