It's the holiday season, and I declared that this would be the first year in awhile and the first of many... that I would not succumb to the winter blues. This season used to make me feel very down about not celebrating with all of my family the way I used to while growing up or not being where I always imagined being by this time in my life. To help me do that this year, I poured myself into creative projects for myself and others. This blog post documents a few DIY projects that are easy and fun, and perfect for decorating your space for Christmas.
1. Holiday Wreath
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of crafting another front door piece, this time requested by my sister and with the help of my niece on a lovely Friday evening. My sister had seen versions of what she wanted in several stores, but all of their prices were $50 and up. I offered to help, and the picture above is what we created together. She supplied all of the materials, my niece created the design (seen in the photo to the left in action), and I led in the project's execution. We started with a plain wreath, many variously sized and colored ornaments, a bow, scissors, needle and thread, and glue gun with glue sticks. Below, you can see a photo slideshow of how the wreath transformed, step-by-step.
2. Tree Topper Star
A little over a year ago, I had the desire to break into new traditions for the holidays and wanted to decorate my own tree. Still living at my older brother's house during the time, I didn't get to do this immediately; but I remember browsing online and seeing different holiday-inspired decor styles and spotting one particular piece that I really LOVED. The sixth idea on a list from Decoist entitled "8 Beautifully Unusual Christmas Tree Toppers" incorporated old sheet music in a very unique design that I HAD to try for myself. Of the two examples of the sheet music design, one (seen in the first photo in the gallery below) was from a featured blog site, Thoughts from Alice, now alicewingerden.com.
This tree topper reminds me of the real story and meaning of Christmas and the star the Magi saw that led them to Baby Jesus. Last December, I wrote a blog about how things were changing and for the good. Newly baptized, that blog was about a Canvas Creations I co-facilitated in celebration of the "Reason for the Season." We discussed the Messiah at that paint party and the star the wise men saw that led them to Bethlehem. Creating a star tree topper this year felt like a divine part of God's plan. It was a joy to put together and I love how it completed my Christmas tree. Photos below show more of the process.
This year is the first that I've realized that I am not alone in dealing with [my] loss, and I don't have to deal with it by myself. People all over the world from backgrounds of all kind, as shared in this NPR article, cope differently with the disruption of loss and changing holiday traditions. Loss is a form of grief, as my therapist tells me; and everybody grieves in their own way. Since I was a teenager, the shifted dynamics of my family trickled into the way I felt about observing the holiday season. It became challenging for me, but I now find purpose in those challenges and in that past pain and hurt. As of result of it, I encountered God's love as well as the love for art and creating. I have the power to observe the holiday in the way I CHOOSE; and I celebrate love, joy, peace and Christ all throughout the year. Crafty DIY projects like these ones are all a part of my continuous observation of these important things in life.
3. Handmade Musical Ornaments
My niece made a small fan the night we made our DIY wreath together. Even though she used regular, lined paper and crafted it because she was hot and wanted to cool down; her little creation is what inspired these additional tree ornaments. Photos in the slideshow and gallery below both document the transformation of these pieces as well as the perfect little tree that helped me get in the Christmas Spirit.
As I move forward with creating my own holiday traditions in the years to come, I want to make sure I always do two things; (1) Seek, find, and keep Christ front and center in the season, and (2) Honor and enjoy life and the loved ones I have in it. The old sheet music tree topper and these matching handmade ornaments were a couple sparks to the beginning of new traditions for me.
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