Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Ghost of Christmas Crafting Past

We have a pretty fair collection of Christmas ornaments. Not anything like the collection my parents had, since my Dad liked to hit the drug stores after Christmas and see what ornaments were on sale. If we'd used all the ornaments collected over the years, we would have had to put up three or four trees. Well... we did live on a Christmas tree farm so that wouldn't have been entirely out of the question. But we didn't.

Still, my collection would cover large tree as thickly as any gift shop display. Since we put up small tress these days — less for the cats to knock over, though they haven't done so yet — I only get out some of the ornaments and leave others. Some I've bought. I adore old-fashioned shiny glass ornaments in all kinds of shapes and figures. Some I've made. So, in a crafty theme, here are a few of my handmade ornaments and the stories behind them.

Starting with:

I wanted some gold shine on the tree one year, maybe ten or fifteen years ago, and saw some pretty gold lamé ornaments. Thinking I could make some myself, I found some gold fabric. The only kind I could find was quilted, so I used it to make quilted stars and crescent moons.

This snowman:

And this tree:

began life only a few years ago as plain glass ornaments from the craft store for decorating. I used window sticker paints to paint them up all pretty.

This little critter peeing out of a stocking:

is made of polymer clay. I have a pattern for this in felt, but thought I could make something smaller and shinier from polymer clay. I rolled the red and the white very thin to make the stocking, and inserted a wire loop between the white border and the red for a hanging loop. Miss Mousie is dimensionally modeled in brown clay with pink in her ears and bright beady black eyes, accented with white. Some tubes of sparkle glue made the adornments, and the whole thing was coated with acrylic floor wax and baked for a hard, shiny finish.

Going back in time to my cross-stitching days over twenty years ago:

What's it say? It says "Merry Christmas" in Czechoslovakian. I made it for my grandmother, whose parents immigrated from Bohemia when Bohemia was still a country of its own, back when Queen Victoria was sitting unamused on the throne of England. Grandma didn't speak a lot of Czechoslovakian, but her parents spoke it at home when she was young.

This one:

is done in counted bead work on cross-stitch fabric using vintage glass beads I got from my other grandma. I crocheted the border with vintage rayon thread, sewed it to a white satin back, and stuffed it. The ornament won a blue ribbon at the State Fair.

And these:

are real eggshells. I cut the fronts out with embroidery scissors, washed them well, and peeled out the membrane. I painted the outsides with multiple layers of fingernail polish for color and strength -- pearly white for the one on the left, metallic cherry red for the one on the right. The lace is crocheted from gold thread on a tiny vintage crochet hook. I crocheted the poinsettia on the left from sewing thread on the same tiny hook. The one on the right has a tiny bell, with little leaves of holly cut from green ribbon. Even though I used ordinary nail polish from the drug store, no fancy-schmancy brand, it's held up for well over twenty years. Made hash of my nails (I must be sensitive to acetone or something), but makes eggshells last forever.

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