Upcoming Workshops and Events

Monday, December 13, 2010

The holiday "Happy Hands at Home"tree

toothpick nose felt snowman

I am posting images of my holiday tree for good ole' Jane LaFazio since we have had a very funny conversation about toilet paper roll ornaments!   For the last few years I have been busy collecting handmade holiday ornaments from the local goodwill stores.  I especially love the "Happy Hands at Home" variety, probably made by kids with their grandmothers (or at least that is what I like to believe). Who else would be gluing pasta  angels or finding uses for toothpicks, popsicle sticks, fuzz and all those other easy to find materials laying around the house?  I have about a zillion ornaments now and here are my favorites.

Top of the tree Dolly Parton cotton balls and pipe cleaner on clothespin STAR!
Toilet paper sitting santa
I have a whole series of punched canning jar lids
Here is a related series - the punched tart pan ornament
For gardeners the painted flower pot and wax santa
For lovers of plastic whirly-gigs, a minature for the tree
I personally love the painted tongue depressor santas
And there are LOTS of yarn over plastic rings santas
Even the beach offers opportunity - a skate egg case santa
And being from the south now how could I pass up the orcra santa
This is a multi-media, pill container and styrofoam balls with gold rickrack
thingy with plastic preserved holly.
A santa lightbulb (filled with plaster) and that weird wax again
If you look carefully, there are two clothespin reindeer hiding in the tree.
This year's prize find has been the angel framed by toothpicks
Here's the pasta angel
The closest I can describe this is a watermelon faced clothespin angel of sorts
I have a large series of these bird feeders
Another gift from the sea - the decorated sand dollar
Another southern beauty - the cotton boll angel
A single felt ski, sad but preserved
Walnuts apparently are fair game because I have a dozen of them painted up like strawberries with green felt leaves
Another 2010 addition - a hand painted winter scene on wood. 
Reverse side "From Donald 1983"
Don't forget that santa can be painted on wooden spoons -
just don't stir the holiday fudge with it.
These socks were knit on size 000 needles and given away as table favors at a guild meeting where I taught a few years ago.  I went around and collected as many as I could while people had their backs turned.
I do have a soft spot for "memorial" ornaments with dates
- and made from popsicle stitcks
This is an interactive rudoph the red nose reindeer
Here he is smiling at you!
And of course there are thousands of the "quilted in holiday fabric and stuffed" bells, wreaths, etc.
Hot glue gun days - the wooden tree with misglued buttons and trim
And I am a sucker for anything felt related
Ah, Mr. Whiskers even got his own ornament in 1996
This stuffed and half-hearted reused sweater star probably has a good story
Crocheted drum with Q-tip drum sticks
A real glass ornament dressed up with cotton balls,
ribbon and one googly eye
Gotta love this tired elf(?) crocheted and crowned with a plastic thimble
And amazingly I have a whole set of these painted cooky dough roll outs.
Old music sheets folded into fans with glitter
I left off all of the felt ornaments this year as not only was the tree
getting crowded
but I thought that I woud make a wreath with all of these.
More of the toothpick nosed, snappy eyed snowmen with their walking twigs and fancy buttons
And I have three of these trees each made from rolled up green pipe cleaners
which are then glued to cardboard and magnets for the refrigerator holiday spirit
And finally, as I was getting tired of snapping photos, this great holiday
addition to my wire spring wooden clothspin note holder collection!!

Here's some of his buddies ( I have about 68 ducks - send more if you find them)

And that's my holiday tree collection.  I love each and every one of these sweet little home-made decorations.   (but I tell ya, for $5000, I'll ship the whole shebang to ya before xmas!!)


  1. oh my goodness!! what an amazing collection. I was giggling so much I nearly spit the coffee I was drinking. I'd be hard pressed to choose my 'favorites'! q-tip drum sticks, angels from cotton balls and pasta, poor santa depicted in lightbulbs, okra, skate egg case (what the??) light bulbs and tough depressors oh my!! thanks Chad. I totally love this post!

  2. From the looks of the delightful ornaments, I know you will have a Jolly Holiday!

  3. well, you have a great collection here!! If you want a photo of my next door neighbors "vintage" ornaments (35 or so years old so not too many remain):Santa is made of a walnut and Tampax!

  4. WOW! Is the only think I can think of! Excellent collection. Must be getting fairly festive in your house now! We are dragging the whole lot out tonight. Tree is in and in the stand, so just need to decorate...Ireland decorates mid-December closer to Christmas as they keep the tree up until Epiphany Jan 8...

  5. Good morning Chad,

    You are too funny....If I had $5,000, I'd buy the whole shebang, especially if you'd come and decorate, too. Love all of those ornaments, especially the "Dolly"...what fun, and also the handknit sock. I have a fair number of handmade from my two sons (I know I needed one more to make for "My Three Sons")...They made a lot of those ornaments in elementary school, and the hand-mades are my all-time favorites. I'll keep a look-out for ducks for you, and $5,000, too:-)

  6. Wow, you must go to great Good Will stores! Love the "interactive" reindeer.

  7. Chad...I also am one of those folks you cheered up this morning with your photos and descriptions of quirky handmade Xmas ornaments! What I learned is: nothing is too weird for Goodwill/Salvation Army/Thrifts Stores. And that you are a sentimental gal! You gave me some good ideas of crafts to do with the grandkids, and reminded me of the peanut Santa's my mom and I made when I was 5. Now I want to go buy some red paint and some peanuts and cotton balls and make one! Thanks for this charming post!!!