Mostly Handmade Ornaments: A Tradition Continues

A tradition continues. I have squeaked by for one more year. I began this tradition back in 1990. This year we made 60 ornaments. You can check out my view of Pyrography here, I wrote about this mission  last summer.

Now for a little bit about the ornaments in our collection, that we share each year with family members.
1990, A Loon, cut out of wood…everyone else has one but us. No Photo.
1991, Santa, Mrs.Claus or Elves… a wooden painted ornament. I didn’t keep one for us that year either.No Photo.
1992, A pair of wooden mittens, hung on ribbons. Same story. No Photo.
1993, The Toy Soldiers, Wooden and hand painted. (the first photo!) I am finally keeping one for us!
1994, Shotgun Santa’s, a spent Shotgun Shell decorated with cotton balls and fabric.
1995, Big Red Sleigh Bell, I had no imagination this year, bought some bells and put names on them.
1996, Bird Houses, Wooden and hand first adventure with splattering paint with a comb.
1997, Turned Snowmen, Far Guy turned them on his lathe, they were painted and adorned with a scarf.
1998, Sea Shells, Where are mine? Someplace in my Garage in a box. No Photo Available! We spent the winter in Florida. that year. It was just a plain old shell with your name on it. I heard they smelled too, even though we did soak them in bleach, the sand was a extra bonus.
1999, Clothespin Angels, Hand Painted and decorated with lots of tinsel!
2000, Spoon Santa’s, A spoon bent, painted and sculpted with some snow stuff.
2001, Black Walnut Tree, decorated with buttons.
2002, Black Walnut Gingerbread Man, I went nuts with a Glitter Sealer and added some buttons.
2003, Decoupage Pictures on Ovals, everyone’s was different. Individuality ruled that year!
2004, Country American Flags, Wooden, this pattern came from the Internet.
2005, Little Light Bulb Santa, they were small bulbs that look like the flame of a candle. Painted and Sculpted.
2006, Candy Canes, Hand Carved and painted. I needed lots of bandaids that year.
2007, Beaded Angels, I had beads all over that year, all different colors!
2008, A Snowflake burned into a piece of basswood. With a bit of blue color from a colored pencil.

We finished the last of the woodburning, coloring in the lines and sealing last week. It is not our best work, Woodburning is an Art Form in itself. We need a lot of practice, however we did manage to work with several of the different tips, and sustained no burns. Names and the year were burned into the opposite side, some contain the greeting Merry Christmas..some do not. It will work! It certainly isn’t as lame as the Red Sleigh Bell (although it is one of my favorites) or the stinky shell. Some years when I get discouraged, Far Guy steps in with some big idea or some help. We usually decide together, what the design will be, work up a prototype and see if it will work. Some of the failures are pretty funny, I have them on my tree too. I have some clay loons that do nose dives. I have some wooden stars, they were too I wrote the Grandkids name and date of birth on them..they are Grandma and Grandpa’s Stars!

I have also learned, that I will never work with a breakable ornament after the Little Light Bulb Santa, they are too fragile, some will be broken. I tell myself every year that I am going to start on this project earlier, it is a good idea..maybe next year.

I make ornaments for Dogs too! Chance got his and Miney, Dakota, Daphne, Hooch and Ernie all got ornaments this year too! When dogs are members of the family they should be included:)

Snowflake 2008

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10 Responses to Mostly Handmade Ornaments: A Tradition Continues

  1. buffalogal says:

    What a nice tradition you have making decorations. The most I ever tried were little wooden soldiers made out of old time wooden clothespins. The bottom was the soldiers’ legs (painted blue) and the top was painted red. I glued black fuzzy chenille balls on for British Bearskin hats and glued on some braid across the little mens’ “chests” I drew little faces on the top knob with a pen. I was so done in by my project that I have never made another ornament. I might as well face the fact that I am not a craftsperson…I used to dread the Homemakers’ meetings where we “made things”…I never did get the hang of macrame,I sat by Peg Stone who did it for me…now there is a crafts-lady!!! She once made puppets that were just like the Sesame St Muppets and I wrote a script and we had our kids do the voices(we put it on tape) and the puppetry. We had a good act for the library program for kids!!!! Thus is the tale of my non-crafty life. (oh I have knit wooden hanger covers and they are fun and simple but I cannot get the old kind of wooden hangers anymore.

  2. Abra La Mente says:

    Nice homemade gifts…those are the best kinds. I’ve made a few ornaments over time: lace ribbon snowflakes, gourd santas, clothespin reindeer, etc. Maybe I can blog on some next year when I actually take my Christmas ornaments out of storage and remember what I have. I haven’t even put up the tv top tree yet…I’m doing it the way we did as a child, I guess…Christmas Eve.

    One year, before my parents old home was demolished, we were able to salvage the bricks from the chimney. I painted each one to look like a full length chimney, then cut a wood triangle from a 2×4 scrap, which was painted to look like santa’s head –placed on top of the upright brick, it looked as if santa was going down the chimney (or coming up). My siblings & parents each received one to be used as a decoration or doorstop…a little memory of Christmas in the old house.

  3. abra la mente says:

    Farside…I’ve been reading back through your blogs trying to find the name of your scrapbooking program…haven’t found it yet. When you read this, would you mind terribly is you reposted the name of the program. You do a good job with it.

  4. Ann says:

    Farside, This is the first year I haven’t made Christmas ornaments in 25 years. Making 60 to 75 each year. I’m feel sad about not doing it and I may be naking some when sitting visting on Christmas. We’ll see if I can stick to my I’m not doing this anymore. Love seeing your work. It’s great when I could sent Dave out to the shop to do part of the work.

  5. susan says:

    I have been a lucky recipicant of many of those ornaments and treasure them all. I have tried each year to make ornaments for the daycare kids, family and friends also. This year I made the popsicle sleds they are fun to do and was almost done when I had a visit from my curious 2 yr old grandson who managed to dismantle a few, gramma he says, they don’t slide so good off the couch, I think he is disapointed in my building skills. I do want to thank you for the wonderful ornaments and memories of each year they came into my possesion you are an artist.

  6. East Side Professor says:

    Abra — it is called Memory Mixer you can see a demo of it on

    Far Side, I think you have a thing with santa’s…

  7. CharleneB says:

    I enjoyed your tree oraments! I have done this too for 27 years….until my guy got sick…I had 4 times the time to work on them, but no consentration. I still make ornaments for our 4 grandkids. If you are tapped out on ideas…I have a few.
    Charlene B

  8. abra la mente says:

    Thanks East Side!

  9. farside says:

    Thanks for the comments! I am always looking for patterns and ideas! Santas are overdone according to my lovely daughter. So any idea that is NOT a Santa!
    I am never going to make it for twenty seven years Charlene! Eighteen years and I am feeling the burnout with this tradition.
    Abra, That brick sounds delightful what a great idea! The Memory Mixer Program is great, I use it to “Play” with photos!!

  10. pyro's wife says:

    Just wanted to say that we treasure the ornaments that we receive from you each year. It is so much fun to see what you come up with next!

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