Friday, December 30, 2011

Creating Beauty in the Home

I have a number of artsy friends and I see so much of their personalities expressed in their daily home decor. It seems that love of beauty, of creating beautiful things, extends to creating beautiful spaces. I look at my home and I wonder... where is the beauty in the home?

At Christmas I definitely see my personality, my hopes, my dreams, my loves come through. What are these things that are expressed so clearly? Well, all who really know me know that I LOVE LOVE LOVE glitter. Can you have enough glitter? I'm not really sure. I love many many vintage things... at Christmas time I find myself gravitating mostly to things that have come from "mid-century modern"... i.e. the 40s through the 60s. And, I dearly miss Gram, my mom's mom. So, in many places you'll see evidences of her about... even down to the "Touch of Schlaf" in my Art and Soul display each year.

While I rarely make BIG changes on a regular basis, we sometimes mix things up in how we display them, or even some years we simply leave things in storage. This year I was all for simplifying. I was feeling cluttered in my spirit, and needed to keep the surroundings less cluttered so I could "clean house" on myself. We really only decorated the living room this year. And we pared it down. Although, our "three foot tree for the crates" became a 6+ foot tree that dwarfed our fake tree of previous years. But, that's fine. Here's the beauty we created in our home this Christmas season...

 Here's the infamous... Michelin Man tree... it's over six feet tall and ROUND. WeeOne and I went to a tree farm, for my FIRST EVER real tree... we thought we were looking for a three foot Canaan Fir... we found this beauty... a White Pine. WE LOVED it. 
 Gram's shepherds. I think these may have sat on her sideboard... I can't recall. 

 Grandpa Gene worked for the Illinois Central Railroad. When the railroad closed down the employees were given remembrances... the pitcher and creamer here are from the dining car. The silk flowers are from my wedding bouquet, the tray was a $1 find at a garage sale... shiny brites of course.. And the tag/ornament was one of a number that I made and sold at Art and Soul.

 My "bling tree"... filled with vintage shiny brites, hand made ornaments from past sales, and generally a pastel pallet. Don't you love it?

 Tucked under the tree... literally... a glass brick to give it some height, that's covered with one of Gram's hankies, and then you see some vintage candles from her house. 

 More of Gram's collection. I have two of these sweet angels. I know that truly angels are awesome and fearful to look at, don't mistake me on that truth, these are here for the Gram touch... 

 April's creations come out every Christmas... the cards underneath the bird are "The Twelve Days of Christmas." You need to see these to believe them. Her husband, Rett, helped on this I'm told. The vintage nativity card is also from her, as is the bird I believe. 
 Another vintage nativity post card from April. (I love vintage post cards!)
 April had created a number of these flowers at her house, so I created a few for myself... they sit in vintage and antique bottles on our front half-wall. 

 See this stack of primitive wood boxes? (David's dad's toy chest and his great grandfather's storage box for his scales.) This is where the "tiny simple tree" was supposed to sit. Instead you see a pile of antique books, a candle made by WeeOne and the golden basket where we display our Christmas cards. The hankie on top is from Gram of course!
 This banner reads "Christmas Joy" and is one I made to sell at the first Art and Soul. One lady was very interested, but wouldn't meet me on the price. David said he was glad that he wanted us to keep it.. so it hangs above the front picture window every year. It's a set of vintage red and green bingo cards, holiday paper and various embellishments. 
 More of April... a wreath made from old pattern papers... and of course it's covered in glitter. I love it. Was thinking of buying it, but received it as a gift. So wonderful!
 A mini Nativity ornament from David's Grammie Bolt. It's sitting on a vintage tin, also from April. (She might as well just come and decorate my house!)
This banner hangs between the living and dining room. The birds... swallows, my favorites... are stitched on paper, and hung on red and white butchers twine. Each swallow is embellished with a word such as love, joy, etc. The last swallow holds a small envelope in which my gift was enclosed that year. 

I hope you enjoyed this view of the beauty we created at Christmas. I think it's one time of year where I feel I can decorate to my heart's content and not step on anyone's toes. (I think the house should reflect the taste and needs of all who live in it, so usually you won't see a lot of glitter or pinks... ). So, what do you do to create beauty in your home at Christmas? 


Monday, December 26, 2011

Creating for Creating's Sake

Around Art and Soul time, and Christmas time (which are pretty much neck and neck) I feel so pressured to create that by the end of December I'm ready to down the craft supplies, find some chocolate, a good book and a great load of wood to use in the fireplace. Seriously, I'm tired of creating and crafting by that point.

Why do I do it? That is, why do I create in such a rushed and forced manner? I'm not really sure. Perhaps I get so busy throughout the year with teaching, grading, keeping home, teaching childbirth classes, acting as doula at any number of births that I just get pulled too thin. Perhaps it's the emotions of the holidays and knowing it all won't be "just so" and so I get tired of trying. But, more realistically, it's just that every year I question myself. I wonder, "Am I truly created to create?" "Do I truly give people joy through this?" "Is it worth one more year of toil and prep to sit all day at a show and possibly sell almost nothing at all?" And, if the answer is 'yes' to any of these questions I then follow that question up with another, "Why?"

And that leads me to the title. Sometimes it is simply fun to create for the sake of creating. It's fun to see something old take on new life. To see parts become a whole. Conversely to see a whole become parts, and then a new whole, or several new wholes... And the list goes on.

Last year I thought about doing a crafting day with the college ladies from my church. And life happened. And schedules. And doubts. And it never happened. This year I've been trying to host  a small crafting day with two of the young ladies... no longer in college!... for several months. And, just when I felt myself asking all those questions and thinking I should just cancel I decided instead to forge ahead.

You know what? We had a great time. None of us finished a single project, but we all started. We talked about what we liked to create. We talked and talked and listened and listened and became better known to each other. Truly, it gave me joy again in creating at a time when I doubted.

Now, a few weeks later I find myself the proud owner of two new craft books. Gifts from my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. One is a general crafting book and the other an "upcycled" jewelry book. And, deep inside where my feelings lie hidden I realize that someone else has seen into my heart, has learned more about me and has given me more than just books, but, in the oddest sense given me "permission" to craft, an incentive to craft, a push to craft, to create, to fall in love with this wonderful hobby/gift all over again.

I've straightened my table, redone my shelves, studied my inspiration board and begun planning for the new year. I don't have to make the same old thing all the time. The last creations I made were actually homemade spa gifts... bath bombs, bath soaks and bath sugar scrubs. Oh my, sooooo much fun. Still creating.. not only the product, but the packaging and all. Perhaps a new venue for Art and Soul next year. Or, perhaps, simply new gifts for family and friends.

But, I've learned that it's okay to create simply for the sake of creating. It gives me joy, peace, a sense of something accomplished (that won't be readily undone like laundry or dishes!) and it gives me happiness. Not a bad trade off!


Exodus 35:30-35

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

Bezalel and Oholiab
 30 Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the LORD has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 31 and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts— 32to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 33 to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship. 34 And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. 35He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them master craftsmen and designers.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Future Christmas Swap?

Hey my Craft Creating Friends,

What do you all think about starting a Christmas swap? Now, I'm not saying for this year. Obviously. I just don't have the time. Nor do you  I bet. However, I thought we might start thinking and commenting about it now. I'd love to get a swap started for next year. Keep it small at the start... 10 people or so.

Ideas? One gift for each? Link people up as pairs? Grab bag style? Get to know each other first? Themed?

See, I have lots of ideas in my head, but just simply not the gumption to MAKE THE DECISION. We could even do this for Valentine's Day, or Easter, or simply a seasonal gift. See? No ability to decide right now.

I just know that I love to create. That I love to give pleasure to others with my creations and that I think this could be fun. I could meet new people. You could meet new people. Our creating might be jump-started to even higher levels.

So, if you have any thoughts on this please comment HERE on THIS BLOG.

And... Merry Christmas. Can you believe it?

Joy to the World!