Today’s crafted ornaments can become tomorrow’s keepsakes
Making your own ornaments and decorations for the holidays has its own rewards - the need to create is strong in many of us - but it feels particularly good to dig out your art supplies at this time of year. As Bob Richter puts it in his new book, “A Very Vintage Christmas” (Rowman & Littlefield): “At the heart of it, this is what Christmas means to me . passing along warmth, memories, tradition, stories and so much more.”
Richter keeps his childhood memories alive by decorating with vintage ornaments, some of which he received as a small child from relatives. Each delicate piece evokes a memory. “As my grandmother grew older, she took pleasure in letting me decorate her tree, and I have many happy memories of doing it,” Richter reminisces in his book. “Now one of my favorite and most treasured ornaments is her favorite Santa Claus. Each year when I hang him on my tree, I think of her and smile.”
Our children’s handmade ornaments - perhaps incorporating a tiny handprint, a school photo or the year of its making - evoke similar sentiments every holiday season.
“Especially in this culture of time-pressed, technology-obsessed and often distracted people, I think it’s more important than ever to pass along the things that really connect us,” says Richter. “And Christmas does that.” From the December/January pages of Woman’s Day magazine come a few ornaments that evoke holidays past. We’ve amended them with another from the magazine’s website that evokes a vintage feel. These crafts require just the simplest of materials, such as toothpicks, yarn and wooden clothespins. Especially when little glue-sticky fingers are at work, these crafts could become next year’s treasures.
“The ball ornament is the most recognizable ornament at Christmastime,” says Woman’s Day lifestyle director Taryn Mohrman. “You can use one that’s a little chipped . with a bit of yarn, you can turn it into something that evokes soft and cozy, and adds warmth to your tree.” Remove the metal top from a plain ball ornament. Hold two colors of yarn together and hot-glue them inside the opening of the ornament. Once dry, wrap both strands around the ornament to cover it completely; use hot glue to secure as you go. Then apply red acrylic paint to the balls of two rock candy sticks, and trim the ends into points using scissors. Once dry, thread these “knitting needles” through the yarn on the ornament and replace the metal top.
Sweet scented tree
“These ornaments make great gift toppers,” says Mohrman. Bend a 3 1/2-inch piece of naturally coiled wrapped wire, available at crafts stores, in half to form a loop, and then gently push each end into the hollow part of a cinnamon stick. Use hot glue to attach cut sprigs of fresh rosemary for branches and small gems for ornaments.
This ornament “is about the metallic, the glitter and the shine,” says Mohrman. Carefully push whole and halved toothpicks into a 1 1/2-inch foam ball, and then apply one or two coats of silver spray paint. While the ornament’s still wet, dust fine silver glitter over it. Use a dab of hot glue to attach a string for hanging.
“This is a good sturdy ornament that can be packed away and stand the test of time,” says Mohrman. You need: eight clothespins, craft glue, white acrylic paint, a paintbrush, a foam paintbrush, white glitter, red string and scissors. Start by carefully sliding the metal clips off of the eight clothespins and discard. Reattach two wooden clothespin pieces by gluing the flat sides together. Repeat for the remaining wood pieces. Arrange these reattached wood pieces in the shape of a snowflake and glue together at the base; let dry completely. Apply white paint to the edges and one side of the snowflake. While the paint is still wet, sprinkle on white glitter.
Once dry, flip the snowflake over and apply paint and glitter to the other side. Finally, slip a length of red string through one of the openings in the snowflake and tie the ends into a bow; use it to hang the ornament.
Even simpler nostalgic diy ideas?
Richter suggests stringing popcorn and cranberry chains - three popcorns for each cranberry - and tying hole-punched vintage holiday cards to tree branches with red ribbon. Find boxes of old cards at flea markets for a few dollars, he says.—AP
This undated photo provided by Woman’s Day shows different ornaments hanging that may be crafted for the holidays using simple items around the house, such as toothpicks, yarn and cinnamon sticks. —AP photos
This undated photo provided by Bob Richter shows the cover of his book “A Very Vintage Christmas”.