Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Relaxing On A Rainy Day - A Mid-Summer Idyll

After multiple days with the heat index in the 100's, a late afternoon storm came through yesterday and ushered in a bit of relief. This morning I awoke to the sound of a slow, steady rain outside my window and temperatures in the 60's, with the high forecasted in the 70's! A timely respite!

With the overcast skies, our little apartment feels dark and cozy, but unlike the efficiency apartment we lived in previously (which didn't have windows), now we can actually enjoy the sound of the rain! I've got them wide open this morning, a ginger spice candle glowing in in my antique cast iron stove and I turned on the twinkle lights on a little tree that I keep up year round. You might say, I'm "soaking it all in"!

This break in the weather really could not have come at a better time, as my nesting instincts have kicked in full swing this week, and no, I'm not pregnant, I'm well past that age!  It's just a natural slant in the cycle of the year that typically happens as summer begins to transition into fall. It may be a bit early this year, I think it's all the "Christmas in July" ads that seem to be popping up everywhere recently. There is even a movie channel dedicated exclusively to Christmas movies. I haven't watched any of them because except for the classics, most modern day holiday movies don't appeal to me.  But I have been listening to Christmas music this week!  I found out that with Roku, I can link to my Spotify account and listen to my playlists through our stereo system.  I did that earlier this week while I was busy making some rustic salt dough ornaments, and provided just the inspiration I was looking for!

These are so much fun to make, and not your typical salt dough ornaments, though I like to make those, as well!  These are made by adding strong coffee and cinnamon to the recipe which gives them a dark, rusty look.  I've tweaked the recipe a bit to achieve an even rustier, primitive look, and I'm happy to share it for those of you who may want to make up a batch of your own.

PRIMITIVE COUNTRY SALT DOUGH ORNAMENTS

2 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 cup of strong coffee (*I make mine REALLY strong, almost a coffee concentrate and I use instant coffee)
3 Tbsps. cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together in bowl. If the dough seems too dry, add a bit more coffee, but not so much that it makes it sticky.  Knead until all ingredients are combined and you have a nice even color. It will look a little like gingerbread.

Dust surface with cinnamon (flour will make the dough lighter), and roll out to desired thickness and cut out shapes using cookie cutters.  Metal cookie cutters dipped in cinnamon work best and will give you nice clean edges and won't stick.

Bake for 20 minutes at 200° degrees then flip and bake for another 20 minutes.  This will not harden them completely, but if you cook them longer the dough will lighten.  To achieve the dark look I want I take them out after 20 minutes on each side and then allow them to air dry.

Once dry, tint glue or mod-podge with a bit of strong coffee and apply a thin coat to one side.  Allow to dry, flip and repeat.  To achieve a rustier, more primitive look, sprinkle with cinnamon and crushed instant coffee on one side before the mod-podge dries.

You can store any leftover dough in a sealed zip log or Tupperware container to keep it soft and pliable.

Typically when I make these I cut them out using a small heart shaped cookie cutter as seen above. I star shaped cookie cutter, a bit larger than the heart, to make a garland to hang in my kitchen windows.

While I have plenty to keep me busy on this lovely rainy day, I'm hoping to take things a little
★ S L O W ★ today and indulge in some coziness.  Regardless of the weather, we could all do with a adding in a few cozy elements to our days, yes?  Here are some ideas.

- Drink a cup of tea!
There are few things cozier than a warm cup of tea! So why not make up your favorite blend in your favorite mug or tea cup and be warmed!

- Watch an old movie!
If you've been following me over the years, here, and at my previous blogs, then you know I LOVE old movies!  If you want to follow along on the Christmas in July theme, might I suggest Christmas in Connecticut or Holiday Inn?  Not in the Christmas mood, Singing in the Rain is a delightful movie and an appropriate fit for a rainy day!

- Light candles and twinkle lights!
These twinkle lights are my favorite! Since I like primitive decor, there is a LOT of black in our house, and these strands blend in nicely!

- Bake something!
You could make up a batch of the salt dough ornaments (above), or maybe a loaf of gingerbread!  You could even do both, just be sure NOT to get the dough mixed up! :)  The salt dough won't harm you, and while it is pretty and smells good, it does NOT taste good! :)

- Listen to music!
I love jazz, but soft jazz on a rainy day is a particular favorite!  You could also continue on that Christmas in July theme and listen to some holiday music, as well!  If you have a Roku and Spotify, be sure to look for the Spotify channel and link your accounts, and enjoy!

Whatever the weather where you are today, my friends, I hope you'll take a few minutes to slow the pace of life and indulge in a few comfy delights! And if you do bake up a batch of my prim salt dough ornaments, be sure to send me a picture or leave a comment.  Or, if you have any other suggestions for cozy ways to spend a rainy day, share those with us, as well!

Until then, my friends, be blessed!


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