I almost let this month go by without sharing some of my seasonal creative projects. This time of year is particularly busy and rich with making. Several years ago, I committed to making ornaments and holiday cards for my family. And every year I have more ideas than I can possibly pursue within the time and budget constraints. Although I admit to getting more stressed than I would like, I actually really enjoy my tradition of a handmade holiday.
The card itself was simple this year – a family photo taken on our property by Else Kerkmann. I printed and mounted the photo onto heavyweight cardstock, trimmed the corners round, and punched holes so I could attach the ornament with ribbon. The ornament was made from polymer clay cut into an evergreen tree shape. Sage and juniper sprigs were pressed into the soft clay before baking and then also tied to the final gold metallic-glazed piece. My 7 yr old loved working with the polymer clay and so I helped her make some heart ornaments adorned with red ribbon and a bell for her teachers.
In addition to a holiday card and ornaments, I often make a few seasonal decor items. This year included an outdoor “Joy” sign made from sage and juniper twigs tied with copper floral wire, as well as indoor lights strung up to express the same sentiment. I also made a little “Tomten” (Scandinavian gnome) with a body handsewn from t-shirt scraps, a faux fur beard, and wet-felted wool hat and booties.
Creating handmade cards, ornaments, decor, and gifts for the holidays is an ambitious undertaking every year. I won’t lie. It is much easier to go out and buy everything – where the biggest challenge is just choosing (and maybe being able to afford those choices.)
This year, my holiday making took a back seat to an important project; my first time creating a major presentation as an architect in years. It was difficult to shift gears into a mode as a professional with a deadline and responsibilities to a boss and a client. I spent several days floundering and feeling overwhelmed with the task. Big thanks to my former business partner for talking me off the ledge and reminding me what a concept proposal actually looks like. And more thanks to my family for dealing with my moodiness and my obsessive detail-oriented work ethic as I muscled through and created a successful presentation. It feels good to be working as an architect again.
So here it is, nine days before Christmas. I am usually mailing off cards and gift boxes of ornaments and cookies about now. Instead, I am posting these photos; a willow wreath adorned with felted wood balls, red and silver bells, crystals, and a large silver bow; a Himelli geometric ornament made from rolled metallic origami paper; a holiday card with an origami crane floating in a circle window.
Dear family and friends, I hope to get enough made in time. But just know the thought is there, and the effort is ongoing. Love and happiness to everyone this season.
Creating a handmade holiday card is an important tradition for me. I often have a list of creative options that I add to throughout the year and then a final choice just comes to me like an epiphany. I love advent calendars, and I chose to create a modern design inspired by a prefab shed I saw in Dwell magazine. Family photos fill most of the windows and a few additional seasonal decor images theme the calendar for Christmas. Cutting the windows and gluing the front to the back was quite a challenge. I tend to make do with what I have on hand, but I really could have used some special double stick tape. But as days in December were passing, and I was still working hard to complete cards to send, I decided to alter the design from a traditional advent calendar to just a double door card. What is the sense in receiving an advent calendar if half the days have passed? The double door design as easier to execute, so I finished them up and sent them off. Happy (Handmade) Holidays!
We are sending Grandpa Murray love and wellness in the form of a popup card. I’ve made this heart hug popup for my husband before, but the concept never gets old. Stella scribble colored the card while Adin stamped the text, thereby infusing it with their love and intention. Feel better soon! We love you Grandpa!