That’s quite the wordy title for it! But that’s exactly what the flowers and hanging ribbons are made of – the rough wool interlinings of men’s ties. The hanging pieces are just as they were when I pulled them out of the re-purposed ties, complete with pointy ends, some crumpled and narrower.
It needs a couple more roses, “sushi buds” and pearl branches though which I hope to get made next week. I might forget to take another photo of the wreath so that’s why I’m posting this now. The pearl sprays were from Gilded Life monthly Stash Society boxes. If I have time, I’m going to make more of the pearl branches. They really make a big difference in the wreath.
I have officially changed the name of the ruffle buds to Sushi Buds because my guys say they look like sushi. Sweet. I’m hoping to have time to make a tutorial of the sushi buds. They are fun to make but do take some dexterity.
This big wreath is displayed on the living room wall every Christmas but it always had large, red velvet poinsettias. I love the new look of the soft creamy wool. I’ve wanted ivory flowers on this wreath for a long time but never had the budget for new flowers when I pulled it out of the attic each December. How peachy to come up with the perfect color flowers for free!
Well, there was a cost – I ransacked the guys’ stash of ties. Ha! They were very generous to give up so many they were no longer using. One tie makes one rose or two sushi buds. So that’s a lot of ties. These could be made using wool fabric but it’s important to cut a tie shape on diagonal grain. The tapered tie shape allows for larger petals as the rose is formed and the diagonal cut creates the perfect fuzzy fringe edge. So the wool interlinings from men’s ties worked perfect!
Some of our Christmas ornaments. They were all over the dining room table after Christmas last year and I dusted each one and packed them away. So many precious memories are in these ornaments! I’m looking forward to enjoying these glittering little pieces of our past again.
I made the quilled snowflake in 1976. The styrofoam ball with blue sequin letters JULIE was made by a friend of my parents in 1966. I made each of my children a paper shoe from a pattern fashioned after a vintage baby shoe in 1986.
The ship was made following the directions in The Decorated Tree, my all-time favorite Christmas craft book, by Carol Sterbenz.
My dear Grandma made the sweet sleeping baby doll many years ago. She made one for each of her grandchildren.
My sister Donna made the tiny mandolin.
I made the embroidered circle and heart ornaments from leftover wedding gown material for our first Christmas.
My sister Suzanne made the little red sled with painstakingly-wrapped teeny gifts on it.
My mom made the ceramic dove.
My sister-in-law made the real popcorn and wire wreath in 1980 and every year we’re amazed that the popcorn survived another year!
My mother-in-law gave me the vintage baby doll in a black tulle clown costume.
Not shown, but will surely be on our tree: the foil covered styrofoam ball with a little bite taken out of it by one of our babies, the plaster of paris wreath ornament made by one of the boys that is so heavy we have to hang it near the trunk on a really sturdy branch, the beaded ornament made by my husband when we talked him into joining our family ornament-making evening and many more. Themed trees are pretty but we have a small house and only one big tree. I admire exquisite decorator trees for their artistry but enjoy the old history of ours too much to ever change.
I’m hesitant to pack away one of my favorite Christmas decorations… The Bell Tree.
It’s a little fiber optic Christmas tree, won at a company Christmas party years ago. We display it on a cabinet in the corner of the dining room. It’s not the fiber optics that makes it special, it’s the bells.
I’m not sure when I started collecting. There is the jingle bell from The Polar Express gift book set, a rusty bell from a box of junk purchased at an auction, a card of tiny bells from my Grandmother. Some bells I’ve had since childhood and I don’t even remember where they came from.
Years ago I bought the coolest set of bells from a local craft store. They are all wired together on one electric cord and at the flick of a switch, they play Christmas Carols. Each bell actually dings in harmony when an electrical signal is sent to the clapper, which strikes the side of the bell. Such sweet music! Real ringing bells! I absolutely love the bells, although my sons can only stand the music for a certain amount of time and then they tell me their ears ring.
In order for any bell to sound clearly, it must be hung so nothing impedes the vibration of the clapper on the metal. I decided the perfect place to hang my electronic bell set was on the fiber optic tree. Soon I added other bells to the tree and each sounds beautiful when rung.
This year, I finally got a piece of burlap and made a special covering for the cake plate on which the tree stands. This way I can hang the bells that are too heavy for the fiber optic tree branches. There is plenty of room for more bells. I’m now on the hunt for a titanium bell, if there is such a thing, which will be my all-time favorite. Here is why…
Three days before my scoliosis surgery (which you can read about here and here), it suddenly occurred to me that a lot of metal hardware would be placed inside me. I’m not sure why I never thought of it before. The thought was frightening. Metal is smashed soda cans in the recycle bins, rusted automobiles swallowed up in weeds. Metal is pots and pans in the cupboard, something hard and intimidating, scratched and dented. NOT a part of a human being.
I barely formed the unsettling thought in my brain when my Lord answered my confused fears. He reminded me of the scripture in the Bible that says:
And when he came near, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that comes in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.
And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Teacher, rebuke your disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. – Luke 19:37-40
If mankind stopped praising God, instantly the rocks would cry out. As I pondered this, it occurred to me that the molecules from which my metal hardware was formed could be capable of praising God.
That thought was amazing and too marvelous for words. I stopped what I was doing and rejoiced that, theoretically, the hardware that would be placed inside me would be capable of praising God. I thought “I can do this. I can accept pieces of metal that are capable of praising God!”
Then I thought “What if… what if those molecules that came from the earth’s depths, forged into metal, fashioned into hardware that would be placed inside me were destined to help me from when the world was formed? If that is the case, then they belong with me! I am actually welcoming them home!”
From that instant on, all my fears of having almost three pounds of titanium rods, bolts and screws placed in my spine vanished. My surgery was simply a way to make myself more complete, a way to welcome the rest of me home. I am at peace.
And now, instead of thinking of metal as crushed cans or rusted cars, I think of it as bells, ringing and rejoicing bells.
I think I was about 15 years old. I just found the list today, tucked in a stack of old correspondence my mom gave back to me years ago.
Oh dear, I was so demanding back then! At least I had the good conscience to end the letter giving Mr and Mrs Santa permission to just skip the list. But me oh my, how expensive my requests were! A large concert xylophone? Seriously?
I actually did get three things on the list, which Mr and Mrs Santa efficiently checked off. They didn’t have much money but did their best to make a good life for their kids. Out of all the requests on my Santa’s list, over thirty years later I still cherish the Japanese parasol to this day.
Mr and Mrs Santa chose well that year. They could see past my impulsiveness, past my selfishness, all the way to the creative and adventurous girl that I was, even before I knew it. I’m still impressed that they found a parasol, which certainly wasn’t something plucked from a department store rack. It’s heart-warming that Santas all over the world know the hearts of their kids.
And Ma, Thank you. The Japanese parasol is my most favorite Christmas present I have ever received. Love you!
I’m returning from far away. It is now 9 weeks since my Scoliosis surgery. The recovery got worse before it got better. Weeks went by and I curled up and disappeared and the pain crashed over me and fell down as tears as I lay immobile on my back.
This past week, Week Nine, was a miracle. I went from spending 90% of my day lying flat on my back to 90% of the day sitting up and standing and working with my hands. Last week I couldn’t even move my arm to write a Thank You note without intense pain. This is what we did today.
God was with me before and He goes ahead of me. When I was immobile God taught me beauty in the pain and my peace remained with me. But now I am emerging from that strange time.
I am still in great pain but I am getting strong. As I stood in the dining room and looked at the lights we put up today, I cried. But this time, the tears weren’t from pain, they were from a thankful heart.
Now that I can hold my camera, I shall be posting again. I’ve missed being able to share with you all. Thank you so much for your patience.
Day of Joy! I woke naturally this morning, without a migraine slamming me awake, for the first time in 23 days. Joy, Joy! :) Oh my, the day is bright. And I finally finished making a gorgeous gold and silver banner that I started back in December. Yay! Even though I missed Christmas, today is still worthy of hanging up this glittery gold and silver banner.
The supplies and tutorial were from the November box from Gilded Girls Stash Society. [click on the photo to see a larger image]
I loved working on this banner! Because the days were so busy, I could only complete little steps here and there. I didn’t mind it taking a while though because that just meant I could handle the pretty materials a little bit longer. The letters are glittered with German Glass glitter, which sparkles a lot more than plastic craft glitter.
After taking this photo, I noticed that a gold button had fallen off the “O” while hanging the banner. It must be behind the sofa. That will be an activity for my granddaughter – finding the gold button for the O. I thank God that even home-bound days can be full of JOY.