Late nights getting crazy with ice cream sandwiches and glue guns. Yeah, it’s dirty at the kitchen table. Putting all that beer and wine detritus to use. For weeks it’s all we do….
Girls gone wild?
Mamas gone crafting.
Yes, it’s that season again. Crafting seasoning: winter fair time, handmade gifts, ambitious new projects. It’s the time of year that myself and many, many other mothers and women I know bust out their box of craft supplies, dust off their knitting needles and other implements, and get to work crafting for fun and profit. (Regular readers may remember that I’ve chronicled this phenomenon before on this blog)
The main motivation for me comes in the form of our annual winter fair at Alice Birney Waldorf Inspired School which my children attend. It is one of the major fundraisers for the specialty arts programs that they offer. The thing that I love most about it is that it is a chance to see all the talented, creative and resourceful people that are involved in the school community and all the fantastic handmade items they create.
We set up a temporary children’s store, The Enchanted Forest, where the little ones get to shop on their own, and all the items are made and contributed by first and second grade parents. And then there is a parent/teacher run store, Illuminations which raises money for the school through the sale of quality crafted items and gently used Waldorf toys.
Lots of late nights of staying up finishing all the “quick little projects” that I thought I would “get finished in no time”. Lots of grand ideas whittled away into whatever could get done at the last minute. And a least one or two moments of ‘what did the hell did I get myself into?’. That’s usually how it goes for me this time of year. But on the day of the fair it always seems so totally worth it when I see all of the amazing handwork and artistic goods for sale. There are so many creative ideas and impressively made items that in the end I am always in awe.
The fair was yesterday in fact, (the first Saturday in December, mark your calendars for next year!) so I can’t do a gift guide BUT I can show off some of the gorgeous things I found (and brag about one of two of my little offerings also).
There are some very talented artists/moms that you just gotta see! And besides…if you weren’t there then you should definitely check out what you missed out on. (p.s. Sacramento locals – the school keeps a stocked ‘store’ in the display cases in the office, if you are looking for unique Waldorf-y gifts stop by anytime!)
Here are some of my favorites:
I adore these felted bowls made by Melissa Szpik Serrao, a mom at the school who has an etsy shop with the awesome tagline:
“waldorf inspired + architecturally designed”
(click here to see more of her goods on facebook)
Easy and impressive: fabric-wrapped bracelets at the childrens store. (I want to wear all these at once!)
Lovely felted critters by Sandy Fong Whetstone who also makes incredible ceramics (that I’m kicking myself for not getting pictures of), at her BlissMeArts studio. Check out her art at Panama Pottery.
So perfect! An up-cycled choir of singing angels and miniature toadstools made from corks and bottle caps in the childrens store, by crafty mamas Tricia Stirling and Yvonne Macias. Very creative re-use ladies!!
More drinking meets crafting: an army of catapults, made by yours truly, for the childrens store. These work great by the way – especially with little pompoms, dried pinto beans or even seed balls (see later in this post)
Color of the Day gnomes, lovingly made by cottage industry in some mother’s home. I might need to invest in these for my preschooler….
The felted votive holder on the left was so precious with the glowing candle inside. The elephant was a cast-off project that was embellished and given new life (before my very eyes) by Eva Grinnell, an Alice Birney parent and talented fiber artist.
Also made by Eva Ginnell. Her blog this week at klaraluna.com gives a little sneak peak into behind the scenes of crafting for the winter fair. Looks like it was her little elves that made all those rainbow gnomes….
More sweet simplicity. This holiday garland is easily made of rolled-up strips of red and white felt and strung with wooden beads. The walnut candles made with beeswax in large shells are perfect and safe little votives.
I don’t know who made this bear that I spotted in the Illuminations shop, but it is really special. With his checkered markings and his sporty poncho, he is sweet but stylish. Just what you want in a new best friend right?
My Cottage Industry offerings: I got inspired to make up packages of seed balls (or ‘bombs’ as juanita appleseed likes to call them) to sell, and the felted sea life including urchin and anemone with fish inside (complete with roe) were a last minute idea that were so fun to do. I plan to make more…feeling a sea theme comin’ on.
We had fun getting creative in decorating for the fair too! I’m always grateful for my years in retail and the ‘ Gap bootcamp’ that was being a visual display merchandiser because I learned how to do so much. These wall sprays and centerpieces in the dining area were all put together out of scavenged greenery and twigs, recycled cans, thrift store ornaments and a twist of ingenuity. Get a few crafty moms’ heads together and there isn’t much that we can’t do!
So although taking on making things for the winter fair, or any other mass-produced crafting, can sometimes feel like indentured-artistry (you know how you feel when your knee-deep in unfinished homemade Christmas presents days before the big event, wondering why you ever thought it was a good idea??), it’s also true that the results are always exciting and inspiring.
Keep it up crafty mamas! We’ve got just over three weeks left – plenty of time to get in over your head and let your creative juices flow. May your dining room tables be covered in projects and dinners be eaten on your laps!
And remember women, be careful of Pintrest and it’s gateway-like influence; it’s truly a slippery slope. Because, as the great american director Cecil B. DeMille once wisely said:
“Creativity is a drug I cannot live without.”