Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Crafty Christmas

This post is, in part, for my youngest son who has begun to create things with his own children. Having been the youngest in line with many of these projects, he was trying to remember how we went about it and all the stuff we made.

I come from a generation that, when we wanted something, figured out how to make it ourselves.
I remember seeing beautiful manger scenes and wishing to own one. Having no money for other than a cheap plastic one, the whole family set about creating our own DIY set.

The figures are made from bottles covered in paper mache and decorated with string, beads, lace or ribbon etc. Covered with gesso and painted with acrylic.

You can probably recognize the woostershire bottle shepherd, pill bottle angel, toilet paper roll animals and egg carton sheep or crib. They have become battered and worn over the years but are fun to set out each year and remember those years when Mom and six kids made one heck of a mess while stirring the creative pot.

When I first came to Japan I expected this to be a place where one could buy beautiful Christmas decorations. I was, therefore, very much surprised to find the lovely made-in-Japan things sold in the states were only export items and could not be found anywhere on the domestic market.
For a few years we made decorations from egg cartons. Glued together and decorated with string and beads, painted with gesso and gold paint and antiqued with ink. It is possible to get quite a variety using different parts of the carton.

Lest you think I am the crafty person in my family, these decorations have been added each year from my sister's greetings. Coming flat inthe envelope with instructions as needed, they are truly works of art.


  1. This made me think of my mom and some projects she and I did together. None of them survive to the present, however.

  2. I'm totally amazed at the beauty and the genius of what you made! My mother was a quilter but not crafty so if we didn't have it we did without. And even more beautiful are the memories made with your children. As a mother I know you treasure those more than the items themselves. blessings, marlene

  3. You constantly amaze me with what you create. Fabulous.

  4. Absolutely beautiful and so creative, I am always amazed by your talent and your family talents. Merry Christmas to you and yours

  5. Mom,
    This reminds me I need to go down to the basement and look for our manger scene. Thanks for posting this -- very nostalgic! Wow, you have been busy blogging! Isn't this starting to cut into your quilting time?

  6. Great Christmas decorations, very beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Hi! Greetings from Finland! You have very interesting Blog-site! You have very lovely quilts! Happy to meet you! Have a nice day!