Monday, 3 October 2011

Family traditions and the ghost of Christmas past

My facebook crowd (hi!!) have been asking for Christmas cards since the beginning of August but I didn't want to dive headlong into those designs until I'd been to a big stamper exhibition at Alexandra Palace in London which was last weekend.  I have very definate leanings towards the whole Victoria  traditional Christmas look but anyone know knows my work will know that I don't like my goodies looking shiny and new; I like them to look like I've found them in an antique shop, or an elderly relatives attic, and they've been loved for a generation or two already.  I love the feeling of something that's treasured and worn through use and spend hours going through all the cases in my local antique place which, luckily for me, is pretty huge! Mr LFCC isn't quite so keen so I make full use of his Saturday afternoons playing rugby!  And with all that effort on what I'm wrapping, special gift wrappings and beautiful things make the difference on a little gesture - so why not? I love that it makes the recipient feel treasured before they even know what their gift is!

I think part of this stems from the habits of my mum and dad who were always creating, and my mum in particular who would re-invent things and create something new and stunning that had real character (Dad mostly wrote and painted as aposed to working with textiles etc!).  She could make anything from anything!
So when I started stitching my lavender bags or needlebooks, it actually annoyed me how new they looked! I had to "vintage" them up!  Thankfully my experiments with distressing the finished pieces in much the same way I distress my card creations were successful and I was really pleased with the finished effects.  There's a definate feel to all my creations that now flows through the textiles too! Happy floaty person!

So anyways, I've digressed. Christmas. I found some beautiful stamps that fit with my idea of Christmas and started making  - I was thinking months ago of a project that I hope would catch the LFCC fans imagination and perhaps start something of a tradition.  We have lots of little ways in our family, about silly presents you must always have in a Christmas stocking - no matter the age of the recipient (a wind up toy, a car you can pull back and race, a sugar mouse, a chocolate orange, some bubble mixture....) and when I inherited the kids they looked at me like a was a total freak, but now they expect these things and I actually got informed that they know their rights, and this things MUST be included, and about foods you have to have, and how important sitting down to Christmas dinner is as a family.  We were big on Father Christmas too and I love that no matter how modern kids are now, with their computers and desire for designer trainers, they still hang on to that little bit of vintage passion but in many modern homes with modern heating systems and high tech structures there is no chimney for him to climb down.  A passing comment about Santa burning his bum in a hot grate stuck with me too!  I wonder if perhaps I've seen these somewhere before and forgotten, but I knew that we needed some magic for Santa!  A beautiful but very old key that would work for no one but him on no time other than Christmas Eve was just what we needed to bridge the gap between the old homes where every room had a chimney, and our new modern streamlined homes. 

They do seem to have struck a cord, and captured the imagination of many, and I'm just absolutely overwhelmed with the idea that they're going to become a little tradition for someone elses family.  We need to embrace our inner child at Christmas, and we need to keep the belief in magic alive.  Keep the fairy lights, keep the ancient baubles that don't work as a themed look but you've always had them, keep the decorations your kids made that melt your heart when you look at them.  I just wish I had the egg box and matchstick bells that I remember making with my mum and big brother when I was five!

We go all out on gift wrapping in  our family - people get upset about unwrapping things! lol! Festoons of mini baubles perhaps, or butterflies suspended on wire... anything goes! I wanted to share a little of this but wasn't sure how it would be received so I did just one set of special Christmas tags with a similar design to those made for the Magic Christmas Keys, with matching ribbon to tie everything up beautifully - and you'd only need brown paper to actually wrap the present (I LOVE brown paper and string!!).  I only did the one set anyway and thought I'd guage the reactions before I made more.  One lovely person bought them almost instantly and I definately will be making more! lol!  They got a great reaction which pleased me immensley - not because of the sale although of course that was lovely - but because it means my floaty people totally get me. They know my style and it works for them too.  Its vintage but not fuddy duddy, it's distressed but not scruffy....

I'm getting quite excited about Christmas and determined to really go to town on everything this year.  With ill health getting quite determined to ruin it last year, I'm letting nothing stand in my way for Christmas 2011!  The presents will be beautiful, dinner will be big enough to feed anyone who stops by, and most of all, I'm determined that those people in my life who I'm lucky to have will know that they feel appreciated.

Here's to the magic! xxx

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