All the ‘Cs’….
Challenge and Corona have been best bed buddies since the end of February, but I will ignore that pairing and concentrate on Challenge and Christmas.
Christmas has always been my best time of year. As a child I was surrounded by the twinkle of white lights, the smell of pine trees everywhere, the wondrous spectacle of the original Christmas markets and the delicious variety of Christmas baking, particularly my favourites – Stollen and Lebkuchen (gingerbread), ohh and not to forget – Printen. I’m so pleased Albert married Victoria and brought many of the traditions with him.
Over the years I too have continued the traditions….Christmas lights must be warm white, presents are kept secret until Christmas eve and then opened in sparkling candlelight, with each person having a special Weihnacht’s teller – a ‘Christmas plate’ filled with nuts, fruit, special biscuits and fine/fun chocolates. So you see the Christmas magic has never left me….although some might say that now has something to do with the glühwein! 😇 😊
It used to be when the children were younger and at home that every November, we created cards, ornaments, and goodies such as sweets, biscuits, jam or chutney, as giveaways to our friends and neighbours. I miss those special hours and look forward to a time when the world shrinks a little more so that I’m close enough to my grandchildren to repeat similar fun creative activities.
Left to my own devices over recent years, each November I set to ‘making’, being creative in a variety of mediums and I present a few of them below. Although this Christmas has been more difficult I have managed to meet two set challenges….our village Advent calendar window and the Fourth Quarter challenge which you will have read about already. Getting this post written has been another – albeit skidding in at the last moment!
The Frӧbel stars (left) are made with 45cm long paper ribbons and I used these as my theme for one November village craft group meeting. Fingers and thumbs somehow didn’t co-ordinate with the brain for some of our group – resulting in so much hilarity we had to contend with a pile of wet tissues too. Too be fair they are fiddly!
Wire beaded snowflakes and angels. The skirt of the angels is created using quilting pins and are great fun to make.
Fabric fir cones – another craft group activity and one which I’ve also taught at a conference workshop – uses pieces of fabric, or lengths of ribbon, folded and pinned (using short 12mm pins) to polystyrene eggs. They don’t have to be seasonal and can be made with fun colourful, or muted sophisticated, fabrics/ribbons on other polystyrene shapes such as balls.
The 3 tiny ones (finished 2.5 x 1.5cm) were extremely fiddly!
Each point of the paper stars was made using a sheet of square tracing paper and then interlocked into the next point – the translucence of the paper is very effective hung in a window.
Just simple folding of square paper and a few cuts are needed to make these trees. A few years ago I made a forest of different sizes which combined with lights made a lovely table decoration. I love the design looking down onto them.
Yesterday evening I actually managed to run a workshop on these trees as part of a Zoom meeting with a non-craft group….heads were bowed, comments were continuously made (some = ***!!!***), laughter was shared, all I could do was listen and repeat my stage demos. I couldn’t see what anyone’s fingers were doing to help, although I did see some wine glasses being raised! Taadaa, despite several misplaced misgivings everyone produced a duplicate of the original.
(An aside….I still prefer in-person workshops both for learning and teaching.)
Last year I was super productive making many sock snowmen, gnomes and Ferrero Rocher ‘hats’. I only have 2 figures remaining in my possession (the 3rd is borrowed from my mum), the others I managed to sell at a craft fair.
In addition to these I also experimented with tinsel and felt.
Tinsel was de-constructed and ironed before being incorporated into coloured or white felt.
Once dry, I used a variety of decorative machine stitches to finish the felt. I enjoyed creating these cards and at some point hope to make more.
As I sent one of these for the Holiday card exchange this year, I’m feeling extremely guilty – I have forgotten to let my exchange partner know that I received her beautiful card with her warm greeting inside….so Ann in Canada here it is, for all to see! Thank you.
This November I decided to make tiny elf boot ornaments, with my grandchildren in mind, to meet the Fourth Quarter challenge….a challenge it certainly was!
They are tiny (as you can see against the coin) so getting my fingers in and around the point was oh so very fiddly! (Karen – now you know why I made my comment and have sympathy!). Each pair took quite a while to make including the embroidery. One poor elf was in need of a new pair of boots, but I did darn the holes in his old pair (centre) 😂
Over the decades there have been many cards made in our family, and this post has given me the opportunity to dig out a few and reminisce.
They have become more sophisticated over time and no longer use the red corrugated paper that wrapped around biscuits, complete with lick and stick stars – ooh so many memories. For close family and friends, EPH too continues his cartoon renditions of our 4 year old Raffles.
As I write this post the 13th has not yet arrived, but here is a sneak peek of the window display (complete with a ‘spot the difference puzzle for you!’). It will look more distinctive as day turns to night.
As this year comes to a close, I wish everyone – a creative, adventurous, and importantly, a healthy 2021 to come.