Sunday, December 13, 2009

Homemade Christmas

Many times in my life I've made the statement that I might have been born in the wrong century. That thought ran through my head again this morning as I looked over our Christmas decorations for the tree. As I touched each one, I felt blessed to see the creativity that our family has in their fingers.

Every year for many years my mother has gifted me with a few tatted ornaments that she's made. Each Christmas when I hang them on our tree, I think of the work that went into them and the time Mom took to give me this gift of herself. Each year the snowflakes and bells and angels and medallions are more precious to me. I recognize that using her creativity is more difficult for Mom as Macular Degeneration has stolen the majority of her eye sight. How she could do that tiny work with the string and shuttle, tatting the knots into beautiful lacey shapes is beyond my comprehension, even when her sight was good, and is even more amazing to me now!

I think of the other handmade things that we place on our tree each year. There are counted cross-stitch Hummel figures and paper quilled items that Kerry has done. There are flat wooden toy soldiers and mittens and reindeer and sleighs that Erinne has painted, and a number of real egg shells that she blew the contents from, cleaned and then painted in a Ukranian style. There are unbreakable patchwork balls of styrofoam covered with fabric that have been hung since the days when Megan was an infant. Many have been made since the day a friend showed me the simple technique of pressing the fabric edges into the crisp ball. Megan, herself, has some that I made for her with velvet remnants. I've crafted a variety of decorations over the years, mostly 'unbreakables' so that the children can touch them. There are small wood birdhouses with snowy scenes, tiny broomstick horses, little lollipops, glass balls which I painted with designs of the season. There are clear beaded icicles which drip off the ends of the tree branches and various felt mittens adorned with felt 'sticker' snowflakes or stripes.

This morning as I surveyed our collection, I thought of other "homemade Christmases." Uppermost in my mind are our childhood gifts. One year Daddy built stilts for us. What a time we had trying to learn to walk on them! Another year he built a go-cart for my brothers, with a pair of real bucket seats for the driver and passenger, a genuine car steering wheel and a lawn mower engine to make it run. When I say he 'built it' I mean just that. He used a metal bed frame, cutting and welding it to form the chassis. I remember my first effort at driving that vehicle! I drove it just fine until I got to the end of the cul de sac and turned the wheel to make the corner. At the age of eleven or twelve, and inexperienced as I was behind the wheel, I had some trouble with the coordination of gas and brake pedals. I took the turn too fast. I ended up in the twisted vines and underbrush of the lot at the end of the street, laughing my fool head off!

An earlier time, Santa brought a doll cradle made by my Dad. A pink doll chest and closet were a gift from my grandfather, who built them for me. I still have those three wooden pieces, and will, until I've left this earth. They are precious to me, and probably stand out in my thoughts because the men were less likely to craft a gift than the women in the family were. My Grandmother, Mom and her sisters were always doing hand work, and I was the recipient of much of it. There's a photo around here somewhere which shows my brothers and I in matching cowboy shirts that Mom sewed for us back in the 1950's. Embroidered pillow cases, lacey doilies or lace-edged tablecloths and towels, knitted sweaters, dresses, patchwork pillows and placemats. The family was a talented and loving bunch!

We've tried to keep some of that 'handmade' spirit alive through the years since the children and grandchildren were born. There have been doll quilts and clothes, even handmade baby dolls, and three large plywood doll houses furnished and fit for any Barbie family. Whatever I could do, I did, as my parents and grandparents did, with love and a hope that it would please the recipient.

As I reflect upon all those past homemade Christmases and the wonderful gifts that came my way, I am warmed by the love behind each one, and I wonder if the givers knew when they crafted them, how much more they left me with than a material gift. They gave of themselves and their time, they gave joy in their sharing, and they left me with a lifetime of memories to treasure. I pray that I might do the same for those I love.


  1. Oh, I have been told that I was born in the wrong century as well!!! LOL! My mother taught me to tat and I am an avid tatter (if you don't believe me...I have a blog all about tatting so come on over and visit anytime!)

    Anyway, I have to say that I am so glad that I do live in these modern times! Despite the shortcomings of today's life there is much to be thankful for in regards to modern convenience, information (computers/internet), and medicine! I wouldn't have it any other way.

    That is wonderful that your Mother made you tatted ornaments for the tree. If you still have them I'd love to see photos of them! Won't you share pictures of them on your blog??? Please? Pretty please with sugar on top??? LOL! :)

  2. Welcome to my blogsite, TattingChic. I'm not sure how you arrived for your visit, but I am so happy that you stopped by. Please come again!
    As for photos, I will give it a try, however, for some reason my blog has stopped receiving my photos. (Maybe I need to clean some old ones out to make room. Will try that so I can post.) If not, you may email me at, if you like...and I'll email the photos of some of Mom's tatted ornaments.
    Again...come again soon, and let's share a pot of tea! We've much to talk about, as I'm a Robert Frost lover,and much on your profile is something I, too, am interested in. Let's have a chat sometime! I've just visited your site, and will return when I've got lots of time to read. (translation...after Christmas!)
    Have a Merry Christmas.

  3. Oh, yes!!! I see tatting in the top two photos there! How lovely! That was so sweet of you to add those photos and come and comment on my blog! Thank you so much for sharing! The crocheted snowflakes in the bottom left photo and painted egg in the bottom right photo are also lovely!
    Hope you and yours had a very Merry Christmas and many happy days to come in 2010!
    ~TattingChic ♥