To­day’s crafted or­na­ments can be­come to­mor­row’s keepsakes

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LIFE - By Jen­nifer Forker

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 ½-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 ½-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.


This un­dated photo taken from video and pro­vided by Woman’s Day shows shows star-shaped or­na­ments made from wooden clothes­pins. Craft­ing or­na­ments gives fam­i­lies an ac­tiv­ity to do to­gether and pro­vides trea­sures for un­pack­ing at fu­ture hol­i­day gath­er­ings.

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