chal-lenge: noun a calling to account or into question

Follow along as I challenge the tricks, tips, clever craft and decorating ideas and "simple" recipes that we clip, bookmark, and "pin" for trial at a later date.

Are they really worth the effort? Time (and I) will tell!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

North Woods Santas

Many years ago, when crafting was still popular, I found the directions for these beautiful North Woods Santas.  They were easy to assemble and my friends and I got together one night and mass produced them to sell at craft shows that season.  Of course I had to keep a set for myself as well.  Every Christmas season I pull them out and adjust their coats and beards and arrange them on a side table for display.  Having packed them away for about 25 years now, they are looking pretty rough. 

A few years ago I decided that they were too shabby and that they wouldn’t be making their annual appearance.  When I had finished decorating that year, my youngest daughter looked around and asked where I had put the Wise Men.  I never thought of them that way but she was right, they are very humble Wise Men and I felt compelled to pull them out of their box for another season.

I don’t know why I was surprised that she had noticed, she was just a baby when I made them and they had been on display each year since.  I tucked that little piece of information into the corner of my mind to be pulled out at a later date.  This year she mentioned the need for more Christmas decorations and I went right to work on her very own set of Wise Men.  Little did I know what a challenge that would be.

The materials for the men are fairly simple:  wool for the coats, fur for the trim, wool roving for the beards, and little decorative items for them to hold.  No big deal.  Off I went to Joann Fabrics (the only fabric store in the area) for materials.  Can you believe they did not have any wool, not to mention any of the other things on my list?  Yikes!

Now what?  You guessed it, off to the thrift store.  I rifled through the skirts and coats and came up with a gray wool skirt and a cream colored cape that I thought I could make work.  I still needed fur and laughed to myself (well maybe out loud, too) when I found a tattered mink stole on the sale rack for $3.  You have to know I grabbed that one up!  I also found a little sweater that had a white rabbit collar.  I took the collar off the sweater and offered it back to the thrift shop.  I really didn’t need it.

My skills are a little rusty and it took me a while to get the men assembled, but I did.  Finding the little decorations was crazy and I made many trips to the craft stores looking without success.  Back to the thrift shops where I found a little basket and some dried grapevines that I used to make my own little wreaths. I was able to salvage other trinkets from past projects to repurpose.  There’s always something extra hanging around. Fortunately my mom still had the wool roving for the beards and she sent that along to me.  There is quite a bit of that left over so stay tuned.

Phew! They are finally finished and delivered to Massachusetts where they proudly stand as a centerpiece on her dining room table.  I love sending a little piece of myself to my daughters.  It’s especially nice at Christmas when we are apart and they can have a little reminder of their childhood home at the holidays.