This weekend, I put away my Christmas decorations. Not a favorite task, but an excellent time to reflect on all the lovely objects I only see a few short weeks of the year. Early on, I decided one tree wouldn’t be enough for this house. Go big and be home!
So, we have two holiday trees: a large live one in the dining room with a Victorian theme, and a smaller artificial one (pre-lit so as not to make my sweet husband, the hanger of the lights, miserable) with a woodland theme in the parlor.
Both trees are covered largely in homemade ornaments. The thing about making something that is incorporated into family traditions is in seeing it, you see the process, the madness, and the memories of the circumstances around their creation. In some cases, you see how far you’ve come.
In 2013, I made 100 felted acorn ornaments. It was among the first of my grief projects, and it was a very satisfying way to process an unimaginable loss at a very emotional time of the year.
In October 2011, my mother, my rock, and best friend, died in a rare surgical accident during a routine biopsy. To say this shook my world would be a gross understatement. I was 5 weeks pregnant with my second child. Grieving would have been an impossible journey anyway, but so much had to be put aside to ensure I would be able to carry a healthy baby to term. Two years out and I was barely above water emotionally.
I stumbled on piles of acorn tops at a local park during a 2013 fall outing with my boys, then five and 18 months. I made an activity of having the children gather them; I had to watch closely to make sure my younger didn’t eat them!
I hand drilled a small hole into each acorn top for their hangers while binging Lifetime holiday movies. It took forever. But the satisfaction of seeing it through was immeasurable.
As I hot glued brightly colored felted balls to each tiny acorn top, I could feel something lift. The act of creating something, even something small, that was real, bright and visceral, truly made that Christmas bearable. Working with my hands, having a project to keep my mind off the pain, was a remarkable escape.
Now, when I look at those ornaments, I have the loveliest memories of my sweet littles joyfully collecting the acorns at the park, and a flash of pride for crafting my way through my grief.
In 2017, my second Christmas in my beloved house, I decided a Victorian house needed Victorian ornaments. I channeled mommy again, this time honoring her love of all things angel. She had an enormous collection of angel figurines and felt strongly connected to the love and protection of graceful winged creatures. As I look at the images I chose for the large collection of decoupaged ornaments I created that year, I see how I, somewhat subconsciously, picked angels that looked like mom and I, together and happy. She never had the chance to see me own a home, let alone my dream home, so it pleases me to feel her in the ornaments on the tree.
This project also sparked my renewed love of crafting, and not just at Christmas. I decided that something that brought me as much joy and mindful focus as crafting should be practiced year-round. Which leads me here to you, dear reader!
Stay tuned for the reveal of this year’s Valentine’s décor – it’s all about the home love!