To­day’s crafted or­na­ments can be­come to­mor­row’s keep­sakes

Kuwait Times - - WEEKENDER -

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.

Knit bauble

“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.

Sparkling star­burst

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.

Clothes­pin snowflake

“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”.

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