Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Creativity Past and Present

I have always been a little bit crazy about  making things, and Christmas time has always brought this out in me in full force.  Some times I was over-the -top in a creating frenzy, so much so that I vowed to spread the fun out year round instead of all during the month of December. I never kept that promise.  Making Christmas crafts is only fun for me at Christmas time.


Over the years I tried different things,  For awhile it was dough ornaments,  hand sculpted out of flour,  salt and water, then bake for hours, painted with acrylics and sprayed or dipped in varethane. I made hundreds, giving them away as gifts and keeping a ton for my own tree.  I tried a different version too, dipping these into paraffin to seal..  I loved the muted look it gave and amazingly they last.  It has been 20 years since I made them.

Along with making doll clothes for my girls, I sewed a few things like this crèche and this holiday girl.

Mary and Joseph are about 12' tall, sheep are about 4 inches.

I also bought myself a scroll saw and started woodcrafting ornaments. Some of them are huge, so I always have a Noble tree to hold the weight.  After cutting out the figures the process of painting and sealing are similar to the dough ornaments. 

It has been years since I last made dough or wood ornaments.  For one thing, you only need so many ornaments. I was reflecting today on that time period in my life. My children were young and would often join me in making the ornaments. I loved our  creative times together but think I, more than that, NEEDED to be creative as an outlet for things going on inside and around me. Simply put, it brought me joy to make something out of little bits of nothing.  

I had a renewal of those joyful feelings today when I spent the whole day making decorative paper cones. I got the idea from a magazine and over the past week I gathered supplies. Some I had in my craft bins, but others I purchased to make these.  I made them to give as gifts, seven in all.  I took loads of pictures along the way in case I decide to do a tutorial.  Do you think I should?  

The cones are about 12" tall from tip to top. 

Today's post is part of my monthly artist blog circle.  Our common theme this month is on reflections.  I thought a lot about what to share because that topic is quite broad.  My decision to share my handmade ornaments with you is all part of my thoughts about creative evolution.  When I was teaching, I had only snatches of time to create.  At times it became a habit to Not create.  But.. I keep coming back to it because it fills me up.  

Tomorrow I will grocery shop and put out the trash. 

Oh!  One more thing...I found this project on Pinterest, just in time. I had a sheet wrapped around the base of my tree.  Now it is decked out with burlap and lace.  How cool is that?.  

Mosey on to Kelli Watcherson's blog here and then keep on going to check out the circle.  Love this creative, smart, fascinating group of women!


  1. I used to do salt dough ornaments with my Nannie (grand mom). Yours are absolutely lovely Jean! I love that you let your creative self have some fun by making ornaments. Last week I spent a few hours cutting out snowflakes to hang all around. Sometimes moments like that are just a must.

  2. We used to make salt dough ornaments when I was a kid, so fun! I still remember them. We also made wooden pieces with vintage pictures of Santa glued on top. I do the same thing every year as well go all out making all kinds of crafts for Christmas in December. This year with my biz so crazy I have made very little. I have no time, t's kinda sad. Hopefully next year I'll get into making things again. Happy Holidays!

  3. SO much fun to see all your Christmas creations!!!!

  4. Jean- I loved seeing all of your ornaments. I can just imagine all of the love that went into them. Have a very Merry Christmas


  5. Jean , your decorations are just so lovely, I am glad that you decided to share these with us, you surely have a creative soul and hope it evolves more in the coming years.
    Have an wonderful Xmas.

  6. I love that wooden angel with the little bird, and the cones too, you should definitely post a tutorial!

  7. Lovely, lovely, lovely ornaments. My husband always cuts the ornaments for the kids still every year. I used to tole paint them, now he mostly cuts what I want him to make and he stains them. I'm not very much into tole painting these days. One day when the kids will leave home they will have their own box filled with ornament. I love that now you have time to create to your heart's content. :)

    Your tree skirt is absolutely gorgeous. Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing all the beautiful ornaments that you have made.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family. xo

  8. thank you all. It was fun to reflect!

  9. I’ve just nominated you for a Very Inspiring Blogger award! Check it out on my link A well deserved congratulations!