This year’s decorations; what’s working, and what isn’t!

I’ve already posted photos of dehydrating orange slices and using them to make decorations for Christmas this year. I will post more on those in a moment.

The other experiment I tried was to make a baking soda and cornstarch dough (which I wrote about here), which was supposed to be good to roll out and use cookie cutters on. These are supposed to result in a bright white final product, that was also quite hard and durable, which would take paint or other embellishments well. The dough ended up way too soft and sticky, so my daughters used it to make more sculptural stuff, though one did try and do some cookie cutter ones when the dough seemed to have dried up enough for it.

After leaving them to dry for a while, we ended up having to put them in a cool oven (they were supposed to dry slowly, to avoid cracking), because… cats.

Cats who leave paw prints behind, as they do dastardly things!

All of the cookie cutter ones have had to be thrown out. They just crumbled.

Plus, the cats seem to be desperate to get at them! I had to take them out of the oven to put the decorated orange slices in, and had to get really creative in covering them, while still giving them air flow to dry. There is still some hope for the more sculptural pieces, but they will need at least a few more days to fully dry.

If we can keep the cats out.

As for the orange slices, the cats have been after them, too! They ended up knocking over the tray on the table they were laid out on.

I’m happy to say that the glue worked very well.

Several of the decorations were scattered on the floor and, while the glue was not yet completely dry, it held! This was a bottle of WeldBond that came with a case of crafting materials given to us. I have no idea how many years it was there, but it was long enough that the plastic and cardboard pieces of the original packaging came apart.

Clearly, the cats are not put off by the orange slices and cinnamon sticks.

Today, I decided to add ground spices to 7 of the 13 slices.

First, I rigged up a cardboard box that I could use to spray them with adhesive.

I also decided to use a combination of ground cloves, allspice and nutmeg, with a tiny sieve to apply them evenly.

After crowding the decorations close together, I tried to spray just the orange slices, not the strings, then dusted them with the ground spice mix.

They are now set aside for the spray adhesive to set. The box set up allowed me to put something over them in case a cat decided to jump into it.

Since I started writing this, I’ve had to go put the cover back and add weight to it, because the cats had already knocked it off.

The main thing about doing this craft was that citrus and all these spices that smell so good to humans are supposed to deter cats.

Our cats apparently did not get that memo.


I’m still holding out hope to having a tree, somehow, but these spicy, fragrant decorations are definitely not going to keep them away. If anything, it seems to be attracting them, instead!

Ah, well.

At least they look pretty!

The Re-Farmer

16 thoughts on “This year’s decorations; what’s working, and what isn’t!

  1. Crazy cats!!
    Cats aren’t supposed to pike green apple but PCB didn’t get the memo. She lives any kind of juice!

    I haven’t had an xmas tree since moving out of my parents’ house. Now, with all my cats, I see that as a good thing! Toones would definitely try to climb it!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • We’ve been able to manage in the past, but this year, there are just too many of them! Ten are now available for adoption, but no one is interested. Not even any interest when posting in a group in the city. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s a bummer!! Do you have 10 total or 10 + pets?

        I have 4 pet cats and currently 7 (??) strays and ferals that I feed at night. 2 newbie strays moved on already. I was expecting 2 indoor cats from neighbors moving out, had a foster lined up, but they never brought them to me. I don’t know what happened.

        I’ve had as many as 8 cats in the house but it was a nightmare, esp with the 2 males who had “spray battles” every day (both gone now). I have carpet and very rarely clean. My house STINKS!! I hope my new job leads to being able to rip out the carpet, repaint walls, and hire someone to clean!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • We have 16 indoors right now, with about 10 outdoors. We’ve been trying to snag the females from outside, to prevent more kittens, but some of them are too feral.

        Thankfully, we don’t have any spray battles! The males are all fixed (there are 4 males). Only recently did I catch our old male, spraying. He was standing on the drier, spraying on the washing machine!! He’d never done it before!

        How sweet that you can take care of all those strays. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • My spray battle males were fixed! It was a nightmare and I completely gave up the battle.

        26 cats… wow!!! I got 3 feral females trapped and fixed before someone (human) broke my trap. Then I stopped for awhile. I have 2 more feral females to get fixed, plus any of the newbies that return.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sadly, getting cats fixed here is insanely expensive. A male is about $130, and a female is double that. There are places that are cheaper, but they are way to far to drive a panicking cat! All the programs to help are only available to people in the cities.

        So we try to steal the females and bring them in. Which gets really interesting, when there are several of them in heat at the same time. The males know they should be doing *something* about that, but can’t figure out what. LOL


      • LOL

        When I contacted my primary vet, fixing a male was around $350!!
        SNP LA was over $100. The low cost center near my home has different prices and requirements for feral vs stray. Feral is… $80?? 125?? You show up before 8am and wait your turn to have your cat taken in. Strays need appts to be vaccinated, then separate appts to be fixed. I don’t remember the price but a center 15 miles (just shy of an hour) away was cheaper at $125.

        Trying to coordinate trapping and appts is a NIGHTMARE! LBK, who let me cuddle her today, was so wild that when I tried to remove a pee pad from the trap she bit completely through my finger!

        Liked by 1 person

      • My finger healed fine. The most recent bite, by the stray cat that sprays (GhostMoshi, his 4th or 5th time to give me a puncture wound), was the first to get infected and it happened FAST!!

        Liked by 1 person

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