The Festival of Ridván is approaching, and each year I try to make it special for my kids. This year, in addition to making a Ridván tent, I thought we should do some other decorations. Since Ridván commemorates the time that Bahá’u’lláh spent in the Ridván Gardens outside of Baghdad, I wanted to do something with flowers.
Monkey loves play dough, so I thought he would really enjoy making salt dough ornaments – and boy, did he! (Once I was able to tear him away from his Legos, of course). The only problem was convincing him that we couldn’t eat them once they were done cooking 🙂
I found this wonderful two-part tutorial on salt dough ornaments from Tinkerlab, which includes a recipe. As she mentions, you will probably not need the full amount of water indicated.
Monkey had fun rolling out the dough and doing the shapes with cookie cutters. For the Bahá’ís in the audience, yes, you did spy some nine-pointed stars in there! Those super cool nine-pointed star cookie cutters were an Ayyám-i-Há gift from Grandma this year from Special Ideas!
While Monkey worked the cookie cutters (and Baby played with some of the dough), I decided to try to make some roses to set on the counters. You can find tutorials online to make beautiful, realistic roses, but I was looking for something easy that I could make while looking after my two little guys.
I used a technique similar to what I have seen others do to make paper roses: I cut a long strip out of the dough then rolled it up and pinched together the bottom. They won’t win any contests, but Monkey took one look and said, “They’re pretty, Mommy.” What more could a mama ask for?
Once we were done, the ornaments went into the oven to bake on 25o F for just over two hours. (Don’t forget to use a straw to make the holes so you can hang the ornaments later!)
After they had cooled, it was time to paint! Monkey was very enthusiastic about this part as well. I had in mind to do lots of pretty spring colors, but Monkey had other ideas. Right away he spotted brown paint and declared he wanted to paint only with brown. I decided to go with it, since the decorations were for him, after all – and because I had just realized how low we were on acrylic paints, meaning that I would need to use every spare drop we had, even the brown. (For the record, he said he was making “chocolate” flowers).
As it turned out, Monkey did move on to other colors – and we did run out of acrylic paint. Luckily we had some finger paints, which worked out fine, although they are not as bright as the acrylics.
We left them to dry overnight then in the morning threaded some pretty ribbon through the holes and hung up our spring banner. I was happy with how it turned out but was over the moon with how excited the boys were about it. Baby couldn’t stop pointing and “talking” about it, and Monkey kept dancing around shouting “Ornaments! Ornaments!”
Happy Ridván to those of you celebrating, and to the rest, Happy Spring!
For more ideas for celebrating Ridván, be sure to check out last year’s collaborative series Walking Through the Garden of Ridván.