Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Christmas Putzes

       The child-spirit of old Salem is strangely contagious. For the Visitor, along with the mysterious quickening to life of his buried childhood, holy things become homely, and homely things become holy. The Christmas road of Salem, for all its sacredness, is bordered by glistening Christmas trees, and haunted by gentle old-world fancies from a Germany of long ago. Everyone, no matter how aged, has a Christmas tree and every Christmas tree has its "putz," the word used to describe the decoration, most elaborate and painstaking, of the table or platform on which the tree stands. Some of the Christmas trees that I saw, remain in my memory vivid with the individuality of their treatment. The putz is built and arranged to show a world in miniature, a world most real but small enough for elves to inhabit. No mechanism is too tiny or too intricate for skilled fingers to perfect. I saw one house a foot high, a most luxuriously furnished mansion, on which one father had toiled happily for eighteen months. The foundation of the putz is usually gray-green southern moss, in which are laid out valleys and mountains, grottoes and caves. A favorite device is a mill, seven or eight inches high, which really grinds real meal. One putz that I saw transported me straight back to the Germany of old fairy tales. It had a parapeted castle of sand paper, and in the castle grounds a ten-inch fountain tossed its recurrent jet of water, and from it a stream meandered in a curving green trough cunningly hidden. On it ducks paddled and boats floated. Men fished from a bridge. This putz was arranged with a clever eye to perspective, and was full of details surprising and fascinating, diminutive chalets clinging to gorges, tiny antlered deer taking refuge in a thicket from the huntsman and dogs, a wee, secret spring hung with ferns, cottages busy with every activity, wood-chopping, washing, cooking. There were cows in the fields, sheep upon the hills. The sheep had been made by one of the oldest of the "single sisters," one tied to her chair with rheumatism, but delighting each year to make sheep for the putzes, molding them first out of clay, then covering them with wool, and last painting them so that every feature, nose, mouth, eye, ear, is lifelike, sheep four inches long, wearing bells hung around their necks on bright Christmas ribbon.
A Christmas Putz is a small village scene beneath holiday trees.
       No family's putz is ever exactly alike on two successive Christmases, although separate objects in the decorations may appear year after year. I saw one sturdy hand-made house, less than a foot in dimensions, which has served four generations in the same family. One of the most beautiful Christmas trees I saw was beautiful in significance only, for it had no ornaments and no putz. The eighty-year-old grandmother called it her "Goodwill tree," for its sole trimming was Christmas cards fluttering from every green twig, and bearing their goodwill messages from all over the world. Although weighted with years, this grandmother is still quick-eyed, quick-hearted. She has been a famous maker of putzes, but now all her Christmas decorations have been divided among the households of her sons, men all active now in the life of church and city.
       Here, beside the "Goodwill tree," I heard tale after tale of the past life of Salem, heard of the old sister, who, living in the community of the Sisters' House, used to steal down to the big kitchen after the rest were in bed, and gather all the scraps into her capacious apron; then she would open the door and softly call all the stray cats and dogs of the neighborhood to a midnight feast; and I heard of the gentle old man, who, coming to spend his last years in the shelter of the "Gemein Haus" of Salem, preferred that people call him not by his real name, Wolf, but address him always as Mr. Schaf and then, unforgettably, I heard of "little Betsey." Of all the kindly dead who still people the chat of old Salem, "little Betsey" stands out vividest in my memory. She lived to her seventies, and she has been seventy years dead, and yet of the many who as children knew her, not one of them ever speaks of her except as "little Betsey." A tiny woman, they have told me, always petted and shielded by two efficient elder sisters, and, so it would seem, by everybody else as well.
       Little Betsey had been from three years old stone-deaf. She spoke all her life the German baby talk she had used when scarlet fever closed her ears forever. But this is not all, she kept until death the fancies she had at three, she believed always that angels carried a dead body straight from the grave to heaven. "No," people would assure me, "little Betsey was not queer, or lacking; little Betsey was as bright as anybody, it was just that after she was deaf people never told her sad things, so she stayed a child always." Bowed, old people have told me how they remember little Betsey, a tiny old woman, radiantly happy to be useful, coming to help them, when they were wee things, to lift the heavy mugs at the children's Christmas love-feasts of long, long ago.
       There, by the "Goodwill tree" I saw and handled some of little Betsey's toys, which she had cherished to the end. There are two tiny carafes with infinitesimal stoppers, and a wee fluted goblet, all three only an inch and a half high, but beautiful in shape, slender bits of thinnest crystal brushed with gold. With the tiny doll and bed two inches long, little Betsey used to make every Christmas a manger scene. The doll is all of wax, and wears a little straight dress tied with a sash, the short black hair is demurely parted, the little red painted slippers are undimmed. You can hold little Betsey's toys in the palm of one hand, but far better than if they were larger, they have a spell to bring back the child heart that loved them. I can picture the joy with which she fashioned a manger out of this little bed of faded pink silk. Words of a poem I have read somewhere come back to me, spoken by the Madonna to the little baby on her lap,

" I have grown wise with littleness.
The Lord of Life is king of prettiness."

       I wonder if anywhere but in Salem there could have lived a little Betsey. I wonder if anywhere but in this city founded on faith in a Child, people would have so tenderly conspired to protect a stricken woman from the sadness of growing up.
       There is in Salem an old star-maker. He has showed me his stars and explained their manufacture. The rays are made of many long slim cones of white paper, the whole illumined by a concealed electric bulb. The star-maker is eighty-seven and still goes every day to his desk in a business office. In off hours he makes his stars and built his putz. He lives in a little fading brick house, which, hidden by boxwood and ivy, looks like a Christmas card.
       Above the old doorway shines one of his white-rayed stars. Together he and his daughter trimmed their Christmas tree and made their putz. The putz represented a tiny forest hamlet in the old legendary fatherland. Little lighted houses looked out from shadowy green. Every wee shingle on the steep roofs had been carefully whittled. A little church out of some fairy tale showed ruddy windows and pushed its steeple up into the overhanging spruce twigs. Elfin footpaths climbed tiny hills. The star-maker had recaptured old, old child-dreams to make his putz. While I gazed at it, caught back myself to a childhood road all magic with lights and haunted shadows, I happened suddenly to look up, out of the window. There in strange juxtaposition to the enchanted elf-world of the Christmas putz, an airplane went soaring beyond the high, bare branches.
       But it was not an old man who built the most magical of all the Christmas putzes, that one which of all my memories of the Christmas city, will always be the most poignant and the most significant, a memory deeper, sharper than the solemn beauty of the Christmas-Eve love-feasts or the profound reverence of the memorabilia service of the New Year. Dreamily I shall always recall the magical pathway of Christmas week, every morning I woke to a world misted by silvery fog and brushed by gleaming frost; soft blue haze wrapped the farther trees, haze soon burned away by the mild December sun; just outside my window on Christmas morning, a cardinal, flashing bright from a silver-misted tree, shrilled out a carol. But these things were of the daylight and may fade, while another picture grows only sharper.
       It is a commonplace to say that the faith that built cathedrals is gone, that the ecstasy of confidence in which mediaeval architects conceived the Gothic arch, and masons carved angel faces on stones is perished from the earth, but in Salem I saw the Christmas road to Bethlehem constructed, immortally fresh and real, out of mere paper and pasteboard and boxes. It is not necessary in order to conceive a dream and give it concrete expression, that a man be himself a dreamer or a poet. The man who made for his two children the most beautiful Christmas putz in Salem, is a practical and prosperous young business man. With wholly instinctive skill in perspective, in color and lighting, above all in subjection of every detail to one central idea, he had built on a low platform a picture which held everyone absolutely silent. People might enter the room full of Christmas bustle and chatter, but in a few moments there would be utter stillness, "I made it," the artist told me, "from an old Bible picture, and from my thoughts."
       Every evening during my two weeks in Salem I crossed the street to visit that softly lighted scene of Bethlehem. To the right the Christmas tree towered to the ceiling, but it was merely symbolic of Christmas cheer and fancy, standing all in shadow except as the rays of the star glistened on spruce twig and tinsel. In the dusk below the tree, sheep glimmered, and in the shadow at the back, far away in the distance, there rose the cone of a snowy mountain. To the left of the tree a huddled Oriental village went climbing. The dim walls had tiny slits of windows, ruddy in the near perspective, fading to white and then to darkness beyond. Slowly and mysteriously as one looked, shapes of men and of animals came to life out of the gloom. All the wall of the room was covered with dark blue paper on which gleamed silver stars forming the constellations. The light came from two spots only, the upper one the diffused radiance, pure white, from a single star hung from the ceiling, and the lower, the ruddy outpouring from a stable cave below the farthest walls of the shadowy, climbing town.
       All the rosy glow from the cave was concentrated within on a tiny naked baby wearing a shining diadem. The figures of the Nativity scene had been bought from a Syrian art dealer and were extraordinarily lifelike. Over the baby's form Mary bent, blue-robed, and Joseph stood near by. Ass and ox gazed wonderingly at the bright manger. In the doorway of the cave knelt the first of the three wise men, a turbanned, robed figure, holding out his gift of gold. Below on the slope of the hill, all in the streaming light from the cave there came an Oriental shepherd, one of his sheep tied by its feet around his neck. Other sheep and other shepherds were discernible on the far hill beyond the town. Slowly as one looked there came looming out of the dusk to the right of the cave, nearer the tree, the shapes of three camels, much larger in scale than any of the other animals, because realistically nearer in perspective. Beside their camels stepped the richly robed figures of the other two wise men.
       The effect of the lighting was magical. Beneath the star the shadows on the flat roofs were ink-black, mysterious with a sense of the crowded Oriental life beneath. It seemed incredible that all Bethlehem could lie so heavily asleep with this miracle of sky and cave to be seen for the mere opening of holden eyes. Yet while all Royal David's city lay unmindful, having turned away a king, a wise man from afar was kneeling at the shining stable door, motionless in an ecstasy of worship. In all that scene the only people who were aware were shepherds, untaught men schooled to faith by watching the nightly pageantry of the sky, and scholars, men made humble by long study of the luminous mystery of the constellations. In the quiet hour before the year's end, I sat gazing at this newly made scene of Bethlehem. In delicate etching of utter grace the branches of the Christmas tree were thrown in shadow upon the deep blue wall. The light from the tiny cave shone forth in steadfast glory. Curiously summoned both the shepherds and the seers had set out on a road heavy with dangers, bordered on either side by black mystery, and at the end they had found, so said the faith that had constructed this Christmas putz in old Salem ‚at the end of their road they had found a shining Child and an unquenchable Star. W. Kirkland

A Christmas village (or putz) is a decorative, miniature-scale village often set up during the Christmas season. These villages are rooted in the elaborate Christmas traditions of the Moravian church, a Protestant denomination. Mass-produced cardboard Christmas villages became popular in the United States during the early and mid-20th century, while porcelain versions became popular in the later part of the century. Read more...

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

A Christmas Creed

 A Christmas Creed by Martha B. Thomas, 1912
* I believe in Santa Claus.
* I believe no hair is snowier, no cheeks redder, no smile merrier and no eyes more twinkling than his.
* I believe the heart of him is big enough to encompass the world -- if people would let it!
* I believe in the jingle of his sleigh bells, the swiftness of his reindeer, the sound of their tapping feet on the roof.
* I believe in chimneys, big broad, deep-throated chimneys that will not cramp the Merry Gentleman with his bulging pack.
* I believe in solemn rows of stockings hanging by the fire - father's short one, mother's long one and the dangling ones of the children, all waiting and expectant.
* I believe in the invisible blossom of happiness that Santa Claus leaves at every house, and I believe that it will grow through all the year if people try to keep the spirit of Christmas every day!

Direct from the North Pole.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

The Hostess With Plum Pudding

These plum pudding illustrations in red, green and black are for you personal cards and invitations only, enjoy!

Have a question about the illustration? Just type it in the comment box and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. I only publish content that is closely related to the subject, folks.

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Thursday, November 29, 2018

DIY the prophet Jonah and Whale

       Modern Christians often teach that it was a whale who swallowed Jonah in order to transport him safely between the waters surrounding Tarshish to the port of Joppa. However, the Bible says that he was swallowed by a great fish. Which may have been a whale, presuming that whoever wrote the book of Jonah did not know the difference between fish and swimming mammals.
My finished ornament of Jonah and the giant whale. This ornament is made from cotton batting, dryer lint and toothpicks.
"Now the LORD provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. He said: "In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the depths, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. I said, 'I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.'  The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, LORD my God, brought my life up from the pit. "When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.  "Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God's love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, 'Salvation comes from the LORD.'" And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: "Go to the city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you." Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. ( A 550 mile journey from the port of Joppa!) Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it." Jonah 1:17 through Jonah 3:3 (NIV)

       Whether or not you believe that he was saved by a swimming mammal or giant fish, this symbol will certainly remind any believer who would like to include the stubborn old prophet, Jonah, on their Jesse Tree this Christmas that he was also recorded to be in the lineage of King David and therefore in the family of Christ as well.

Above is the plastic, green sperm whale my brothers played with when we were kids. Keep in mind, it is important to learn to sculpt three dimensional objects by touch. Examination with both the hands and eyes, will help your brain to relay information back to your hands quicker and with more accuracy. This is for educational purposes mind you. After you have learned to sculpt sample prototypes, you must make your own unique models for profit because of copyright laws.
Supply List:
  • newsprint
  • masking tape
  • white school glue
  • dryer lint (grey)
  • paper mache' pulp
  • plastic sperm whale (toy)
  • small black beads for eyes (two)
  • wire
  • wooden toothpicks
  • few white cotton balls
  • Exacto knife
  • acrylic paints for Jonah's body 
Right, featured: "A Sperm Whale Encounter" by Howard Hall, students may observe the size, and coloration of sperm whales.

Jonah tossed about above the blow hole of a super large whale.
Step-by-Step Instructions:
  1. Touch and examine the model whale carefully. Spend time looking at its properties while running your fingertips over the surface of the whale.
  2. Now crush and mask with tape a similar shape.
  3. Use a knife to dent the surface area for a bead on either side of the whale's head. Glue these beads into place. You many use a small amount of tape to keep the eyes in position while the glue dries.
  4. Mix together the paper pulp according to the directions on the package. 
  5. You may add a bit of glue to your water while you dampen the pulp to give it extra strength.
  6. Let the paper mache' stiffen and dry out before layering glue and dryer lint onto it's surface. Keep your work in a dry, warm area so that it will harden quickly. 
  7. I worked in some white areas with a bit of unraveled cotton on the whale's belly because I preferred the coloration. 
  8. Dig out a hole in the top of the whales head for it's spout. 
  9. Cut wire pieces and roll glue with unraveled cotton between the palms of your hands. 
  10. Twist these wire into curls. Then bind them together to mimic a fountain of water spray. (see photograph)
  11. Glue this water spray into the 1/2 inch hole for it's spout. 
  12. Cover any torn or disturbed areas around the spout with additional grey lint.
  13. Now cut off, with your Exacto knife, the sharp tips of many toothpicks. These will become the teeth of the sperm whale. Glue them in place between the jaws. 
  14. Next you will need to shape a small man from a half piece of toothpick and cotton wading; this is Jonah.
  15. Between your fingertips, wad and roll a bit of cotton and white glue for Jonah's head. Then glue it the end of a broken toothpick and let it dry.
  16. Now twist another bit of batting around the toothpick to resemble a basic body shape. You can glue a second, shorter toothpick to the upper torso to make his arms. Wrap the figure with cotton until it looks like a miniature human. Give him a beard.
  17. After Jonah dries, paint his coat, beard and head with acrylic paints.
  18. Glue Jonah to the wire water spout or to the inside of the whales jaws. 
More Jesse Tree Symbols for Christmas Ornaments:

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Merry Acrostic Christmas

CHRIST'S coming inaugurated among men a new era of good will, and as a consequence thrones are tottering, chains are loosening, prison doors are opening and practical Christian beneficence is flooding the world with sunshine and fills it with songs of gladness. - Rev. Dr. P. S. Henson.
HERE is that "glad tidings," that gospel of "great joy" of which the angel spake to the wondering shepherds -- this announcement of God's love for man and man's sonship to God. And these "glad tidings" are for "all people," so the angel said. There is not a single soul to whom the tidings of Christmas come that is not assured of the love of the almighty and infinite Father.
REFORM ye, then -- so sounds the voice of the Eternal Spirit, the power back of evolution -- reform ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand! So we may gird ourselves to every task of reform with new hope and fresh enthusiasm and ring our Christmas bells again. - Rev. Dr. R. Herber Newton.
IT may be that in every gift, with which at this blessed Christmastide we gladden our children's hearts we are the Magi again offering treasure to the Holy Child. We may make it so. But richer gifts than these will be required. Our endurance shall be our gift to him who gave himself. Is there toil for us, that we may honor him? Is there self denial? Are there holy consecrations and humble service, that shall make the world at last a spotless sacrifice to him who purchased it?
SO we keep Christmas because of its good tidings of great joy. The season of its occurrence is our ripest time. The north wind and the snow in that wind have made us what we are. It drove us to the hearth, to the sacred fires of the inner circle, to the building of the keystone in the arch of our civilization, the home of the Christian man. - Rev. Dr. S. P. Cadman.
TODAY all institutions are beginning to imitate the wise men from the east, who brought to the Divine Child their gold and aromatic spices their frankincense and treasure. Christ's estimate of the value of childhood has conquered the world. His thought of childhood is the very heart and genius of Christian civilization. - Rev. Dr. Newell Dwight Hillis.
MORNING, noon and night, for breakfast, dinner and supper, the first thing on awaking and the last thing on going to sleep, every hour of every day of every week of every month of the year we want the spirit of Christmas, for it is the spirit of ministration, of giving, of service, of doing for others. - Rev. Dr. Francis E. Clark
AND did you ever think what a peculiarly blessed sound in the ears of those watching shepherds of the valley of Bethlehem was the announcement of the angels, "Christ has come?" Ever since the gate of paradise was shut against our first parents his advent had been looked forward to as the hope of a lost world.
STILL there is call for strenuous endeavor and constant fight against evils without and within, as though God would remind us that this is not our rest, that the true holiday (holy day, as it used to be written) is above at his right hand. - Rev. Dr. P. S. Henson.
More Encouragement:

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Holly Holiday Gift Tags by kathy grimm

       Trim some Christmas gifts this year with these traditional holly gift tags. These come in both green and red versions. For personal, home use only.

A printable of Christmas gift tags free from kathy grimm

Saturday, October 6, 2018

DIY a Paper Mache Bell

I used vintage looking wrapping paper to cover this plastic bell shape. The "bell" was made from a recycled fruit cup.
       Here is a bit of an update to a classic kindergarten Christmas craft. In the past little ones have used paper cups for a similar bell shape. I've replaced that material here with a sturdier recycled, plastic fruit cup. Don't forget to add the jingle-bell for sound!

Supply List:
  • scrap wrapping paper
  • masking tape
  • recycled bell shaped plastic food containers
  • wire for the hanger
  • tiny jingle-bell
  • Mod Podge
  • white transparent glitter
  • stickers (optional)
Step-by-Step Instructions:
  1. Wash and dry plastic containers that once had food stuffs stored inside them.
  2. Poke a hole through the bottom of the container in order to twist a wire through for a hanger at the end of the craft process. Keep this hole clean from masking tape and paper mache.
  3. Cover the entire surface of the plastic container with masking tape, both inside and out.
  4. Using Mod Podge, layer clippings from wrapping paper both inside and out.
  5. You can also use stickers to decorate your bell. I've included a sample bell below showing Nativity stickers.
  6. Cover a wire with white tape or cotton batting and insert it through the hole, stringing a small jingle bell through it on the inside of the bell shaped ornament. Twist the wire in place.
The plastic fruit containers are covered completely in masking tape before the paper mache
process is applied. This helps the glue to stick properly to the smooth surfaces.

Sample Christmas bell crafted with Nativity stickers.

More Paper Mache Bell Crafts:

Friday, April 13, 2018

Vintage German Beeswax Ornaments

       One of my girls purchased these small beeswax ornaments from an estate sale very near our home. These decorations were in a large flat box along with some papers saying they were from Germany. Germans often trimmed their feather trees with beeswax poured into Springerle cookie molds and then painted these with whatever sort of paint they had at hand.

The wax here was dyed brown in order to imitate gingerbread. Then the ornaments were
 painted with trimmings made to imitate almonds, raisins, cloves and icing.
The wax in these ornaments was dyed red and then the carved designs were highlighted
 with gold toned gilding paint.
This hunter dressed from head to toe in German costume holds a rifle and is trimmed in gold
 metallic paint. Many beeswax ornaments like this one are painted with meticulous detail,
particularly if the ornaments is poured with white or ivory wax.
More gingerbread ornaments: Santa, Christmas tree, and star. Springerle molds are
hand-carved for the expressed purpose of shaping gingerbread cookies. So it is only
natural that "wax" gingerbread should be a theme for the production of such pieces.
Red Star of Bethlehem was painted with gilding paints but most of it has worn away.
Beeswax ornaments from Germany often are cast in the traditional red color of
the Christmas holiday.
An ivory colored wax ornament, green leafy cross and gold painted relief work. This decoration may
have been crafted foran Easter egg tree.
Below and above you can see how different crafts peoples interpreted the wax castings from the same mold.
One set is in red with gilded highlights and the other set is cast with white wax and painted naturalistically.
In the past, Germans crafted these very delicate, light weight figures from their Springerle molds for their feather trees.
I have two versions of this same rocking horse. Here is the casting done up with red wax. It is
then washed with a black paint so that the design of the carving may be fully appreciated.
This ornament is two-sided. Some Springerle molds are two sided and some have flat unadorned
 sides with detailed carvings on the front.
I love the tiny details of this molded, wax steam engine!
Here is the second version of the toy rocking horse shown above in red. Here it was poured with white wax
and painted with traditional green and red colors. You can see tiny flecks of gold paint on it's surface; most of
this paint has worn away with handling over the years.
This angel carries tulips and candles. Tulips in early Christian cultures were symbolic of
The Holy Trinity. This is why you will find many old Christmas figures that carry them.
A wax figure of an angel carries two burning candles and she has gilded features.
Tiny wax soldiers dressed in old German uniforms; blue coats, gold buttons and trim, plus rifles,
boots and gold trimmed hats finish off the details.
A jolly St. Nicholas dressed in red and trimmed with gold highlights.
A gilded wax basket holds brilliantly painted flowers in rose, blue and yellow.
A wax pony with a red saddle and gold trimmed mane, hooves, and tail.
A sweet little buro surrounded by flowers and a brilliant sun, may have been cast for an Easter egg tree.
Small, authentic German feather tree candles. These are trimmed with green and red molded wax boarders.
The Virgin Mary holds baby Jesus and she is dressed in a traditional blue headcovering and a white gown.
Her baby wears nothing.
Baby Jesus has a halo and is wrapped elaborately in a blue, red and gilded blanket.
This tiny wax figure has a broken wing, but still plays her merry heart out!
A tiny, red wax angel sports very little of the gilded paint she was once trimmed with.
These three wax ornaments are probably modern.
Wax gingerbread man and woman trimmed with almonds, raisins and colored icing.
My daughter says these versions are a bit spooky and cheerful at the same time?
Wax figures such as these were painted to imitate gingerbread cookies.
A red beeswax Christmas ornament holds a tulip.
A wise man or king carries a flaming candle.
Yet another wise man carries a Christmas candle with a halo surrounding it.
The angles figures here were cast in white wax and then their gowns were painted bright blue.
Their wings and dress details were then gilded. Their hangers are made from gilded twine as well.
This tiny wax rabbit is painted very realistically compared to the other figures in this collection.
 It looks more contemporary to me. Perhaps it was made at a later date?
Small, white beeswax candles are traditional decorations on a German feather tree. These frequently decorated with some sort of molded wax applications in green, red or gold. Included in the photo are the metal clamps used to attach these candles to a feather tree. It is not unusual to find these candles unused in many owner's collections. Often times this is due to the desire for authentic decorations without the addition of authentic candle burning. No one wants to see their home, let alone their antique feather tree go up in flames!
A red beeswax angel plays a horn. She was cast and hand-painted in Germany.
Two more gingerbread stars poured from wax and painted to look like the real thing.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Sleigh Bells

Sleigh Bells
by L. Smith

RING out, ye merry jingling bells!
Clear and sweet your music swells
On the crisp and wintry air.
Sending echoes everywhere.
The moon, her shining face aglow,
Sends our shadows 'cross the snow;
And as we swiftly skim along,
I listen to the sleigh bells' song.
The bright stars watch us from the sky
As our sleigh goes gliding by,
Like an undulating wave
Wherein my happy soul doth lave.
Ring out, ye bells! Merrily ring!
Oh, what pleasure you can bring!
So Very joyous is your song:
Merrily, merrily glide along!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

DIY A Bauble Ornament Wreath

A Vintage inspired wreath is easy to assemble if you have plenty of baubles. It takes approximately 80 of these baubles
to complete a full looking 14 inch sized wreath and this is a 16 to 18 inch one. Hannah used newer baubles for her
creation. She is a collector and could not bring herself to deface antique baubles with hot glue.
        My younger daughter crafted this bauble wreath for our home last year and gave it to me for Christmas. So, this year it hung in our dining room! She used several very large packages of new baubles in the following colors: pink, blue, silver and gold. She also included a long garland of small silver beads, a silver reindeer and gold/silver sparkly leaves from a few pics. 
       She started the wreath by selecting a foam wreath form in a large size and wrapping it with a large silk ribbon in blue. Hannah also wrapped a substantial wire in the same ribbon for hanging the wreath and attached it firmly with hot glue to the back side of the form in her second step.
       Then it was a simple process of assembling the baubles with hot glue and around the wreath until she was satisfied with it's appearance. She then hot glued the finishing touches to the bauble wreath, tucking garland, gold leaves and a small reindeer between the baubles with strategic dabs of glue as she went. 
       The entire process took her approximately four hours and caused a few burns on her hands. I loved it and she rolled her eyes as I gushed over her masterpiece. She let me know that she would not be crafting another in the near future and that it would be the only craft she would make for me to post here for a very long time. Hannah is not "a crafty person" and she is always quick to remind me of that little known fact!

Close up photos of this Vintage inspired, bauble wreath.

Kate assembles a retro ornament wreath.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Traditional Gilded Walnut Ornaments

Traditional painted walnuts photographed outside on my patio moss. Next year I will include them on my
German feather tree perhaps? More than likely, my young ones will make off with them before I ever
 get a chance to use them!
Above you can see the boxes I used to spray
paint my walnuts silver and gold in.
       Painted walnuts are very traditional to the Victorian Christmas tree. These ornaments can look so very different depending on how you paint them and what flowers you select for the trimming of the tops of each walnut. I chose traditional Christmas poinsettia in white and red, plus a few silk holly leaves to hot glue to the samples shown here. But these walnuts would be just as lovely painted in pinks and blues with matching trims. You could make walnuts to match your own tree colors exactly, of course.

Supply List:
  • English walnuts
  • metallic spray paints: gold and silver
  • tiny Christmas pics
  • wires for hanging
  • hot glue gun and hot glue sticks
  • cardboard boxes 
Step-by-Step Instructions:
  1.  Make sure your walnuts are clean and free of dirt.
  2. Purchase several pics to cut apart and reuse in the decorative applications on top of each walnut. I chose a traditional poinsettia and holly leaves. 
  3. When you spray paint your walnuts, make sure to do so outside in a well ventilated area. I chose to do so inside of cardboard boxes because it makes it easier for me to clean up the mess. I just break down the boxes and toss them into the recycling bin when I've finished with the spray paint.
  4. Insert the wire hangers and glue these into place.
  5. Hot glue your silk flowers to the tops of each walnut to add a nice finished touch of decoration.
Left, you can see the silver painting on top of newsprint and Right a few close up shots of the old-fashioned ornaments.
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