Friday, December 2, 2016

Holidays: More Ornaments With Meaning

Hello! My mom died on Christmas Eve in 2010, so for the next Christmas I made ornaments for my siblings and their kids in memory of Mom/Grandma. My efforts can be seen in this post. 

Well, earlier this year my dad died, so once again I decided to make Christmas ornaments in memoriam. He loved to read, and especially toward the end of his life, his reading reflected several keen interests. Thus, when it came time to divide up his belongings, I took three books to use in this craft project: Handbook Of Denominations In The United States (Frank S. Mead, revised by Samuel S. Hill; chosen because of the pages devoted to the Roman Catholic church, Dad's faith), That Fine Italian Hand (Paul Hofmann; chosen to represent Dad's birth country), and Reader's Digest Fun & Laughter; chosen because Dad loved to tell jokes. I'd gotten him this volume at a thrift store).  

Since they were going to be cut up, I also selected these three because they were either dated and/or already beat up. I didn't want to deface books that still had plenty of life in them. None of the above books are newer than 1990. The oldest, the Reader's Digest tome, came out in 1967 and some of the jokes are now shockingly dated.  

I began my project with two sets of blank wooden ornaments that I'd found at a thrift store and a rummage sale. One set was bare wood in three different tree shapes. The other set was various shapes - angels, birds and stars. These had been painted a rather gaudy gold and had red ribbon hangers. 

Neither set looked all that great as is, so I decorated them to improve their appearances. The bare wood trees were painted with green acrylic paints, stamped with holiday designs, and then embellished with light coatings of gold glitter paint. 

The gaudy gold on the other shapes was toned down with ivory acrylic paint, and I added stamped holiday designs to these ornaments as well. 

I removed those ugly red ribbon hangers and replaced them with gold cord. I had to drill holes in the tree shapes, and put the same gold cord through those holes for hangers. 

And here's how my ornaments turned out - first, an example of the ones I made for my 16 nieces and nephews:

Angel and bird.

Close-up of the angel:

And an example of a tree ornament for my six siblings:

A close-up:

Actually, the above ornament is one I'm keeping for myself. Couldn't resist the "I dream that I'm telling fabulous jokes" phrase, since my dad fancied himself doing just that (even when dementia caused him to say the same jokes over and over). 

I'll include a note to the recipients explaining why these seemingly random statements are on their ornaments. Otherwise, they might scratch their heads in puzzlement!

Yes, it took awhile to alter each ornament, cut out various phrases from my dad's books, and arrange and glue on those skinny strips of paper. But it was a labor of love, and as a memory of our late dad/grandpa - it was well worth it. 


  1. The ornaments turned out great and I especially like the green one you saved for yourself. :)

  2. Thanks - I hope the recipients like them as well! One advantage of being the creator - I could pick out that perfect phrase from that humor book. It's so true of how my dad was!