Recently a young man from Pakistan was servicing our stove while
I was decorating the Christmas tree. Being new to the country and a non-Christian, he was very curious about our traditions. How does the tree come? Does it come with the ornaments? Where do you get them? How much does everything cost? Do you buy them every year? As I answered his questions I realized that nothing else represented my crafting history as much as the Christmas tree.
Some ornaments on the tree are over 30 years old. I made them when we were first married, and I was into sewing, knitting and crocheting. They said ‘winter’. A pair of skates made with paper clips, a small knitted toque, a fabric candy cane, crocheted snowflakes.
Then I must have gotten a good price on some ribbon because I started weaving ribbon into fabric. The ribbon stockings were everywhere – even on the tree skirt. When the tree skirt finally wore out, I cut the stockings off and they now hang from the tree.
After that came a decade or so of folk art painting. Everything with a paintable surface became a target – wood, acrylic, ceramics, porcelain. At one point I took a wood working class with my husband. While he was making furniture, I spent most of my time at the scroll saw, taking scrap from the recycling bin and cutting it into ornaments. Come to think of it, there may still be a box of those ornaments somewhere just waiting to be painted. Then when the grandchildren came along, my focus changed to things they would like. Now, the bottom half of the tree gets re-arranged every time the little ones visit. Somehow they just know which ornaments they can touch and which ones they can’t.
Last year I tried some in-the-hoop ornaments for the first time. This year? Who knows. I started with something that doesn’t hang from the tree but still decorates our place. It is a snowman pillow. The pattern is from The Quilt Patch. I really do need to make some quilted ornaments to represent my newest passion – maybe I will make some in January.