christmas with the folks and holiday handcrafted decor
January 8, 2012 § 4 Comments
Here we are — me with mom, dad, and my older brother — posing inside the Compuware building before gorging on meat at Texas de Brazil in downtown Detroit. As you know, my parents are Michiganders and all holidays of the year are spent south of the Canadian border.
I also want to share with you pictures of the wonderful handcrafted treasures adorning my parents’ house during Christmas each year, and hope you will find some inspiration in these pieces for your own handmade decorations.
The craftiness of my culture is something I take much pride in. At your next décor jaunt to, say, Pier One for example, if you take a good look you will discover that many of the “earthy” products are crafted in the Philippines. Craft is a huge part of Philippine export and culture, specifically crafts made out of natural products such as wood and fibers. My mom has traveled many trips to Manila only to haul back luggage filled with holiday handcrafted décor.
My parents’ nine-foot tall tree is peppered with a number of unique handmade ornaments, out of molded pulp and embellished with rhinestones and large opalescent red beads. They remind me of fashion earrings, except about four times the size (I tried to wear them once for amusement, however, until oversize earrings reaching past the collarbone become fashionable, I will leave them on the tree).
My parents also have a spectacular Philippine-made crèche on their fireplace mantle. Each character is up to 10 inches tall and carefully crafted using native fibers. The material is similar to the decorative mesh bought at craft stores. However, these fibers have finer lattice and are more pliable. Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the three kings, and the angel all don garments sewn out of these fibers. I love the added details, such as the ropes and tassels, and especially the fluffy feathers on the angel’s wings.
The set is a gift from my aunt who bought it at a craft show in Manila ten years ago. The following year, my uncle found a near-identical Philippine-made crèche at a boutique at the tony Yorkville neighborhood here in Toronto. He laughed after his sticker-shock — each character was being sold at $100 a piece, putting the whole set in the $700 mark. My aunt paid only a fraction at the source in Manila. If you are inspired, perhaps you can make your own this year! Sew some decorative mesh for the garments and bake some polymer clay for the faces, hats, crowns, gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and you have yourself a substantial project for 2012!