Christmas in July Exhibition

Christmas is a Christian celebration, but many of the traditions we accept as an integral part of the Christian celebration have their roots in much older festivals.

The common thread which links almost all cultures is the cele­bration of birth and fertility, and many cultures make children the cen­tre of at least one of their major festivals. However we celebrate, what­ever culture or religion is the basis of our festivities, there is probably nothing more important for all of us to celebrate than birth, and no bet­ter way to celebrate than giving life, and emotional and material gifts, to all, children in particular.

Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of a special child, and I love the stories, fables and legends which have grown around the story of that birth. From the stories, fables and legends have grown traditions, which vary with religion and nationality. Most families have their own traditions, which are flavoured by the national and religious culture in which they live. As people move to another area, or another country to live, they take traditions with them, and are influenced by the traditions which are part of their new neighbourhood, and so new traditions are born.

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This exhibition show-cases a collection of hand crafted Christ­mas decorations which have been created over a period of over twenty-five years. Most items have never been seen outside the artists home, and so this is an opportunity to share something which has in the past only been shared by family and friends who visit during the Christmas period.

Many of the items included in this exhibition were constructed using materials available on a shoe string budget which also had to pro­vide gifts for growing children, but though some of the newer additions are still made from materials at hand, I can now purchase a wider range of materials. When we first married, I collected matchboxes, and any other small box I could find, and wrapped them in gift wrap, and added tiny trims. A few of these have survived to this day, and are included on the family tree.

This exhibition has given me the opportunity to decorate more than one tree, and there are over 100 original tree decoration designs, and even trees in a variety of shapes and materials, in addition to wall-hangings, swags, table-cloth,and garlands.

Inspiration for designs come from literature, music, fables and myths which have grown around the celebration of a special birth. The Christian church itself has adapted many pagan celebrations into church celebrations. In part this was possible because, although (he beliefs were totally different, similar events have been celebrated throughout the life of man.

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I love decorating for Christmas, and I am influenced by the Christian church, popular culture (literature, music, film, paintings etc) and stories, fables and legends from many countries and cultures.

Early Christians sanitized popular pagan rituals and incorpo­rated them into the church rituals. The process continues today, as we learn more about how other cultures celebrate, though the changes are more in popular culture now, with less emphasis on changing religious ceremonies significantly. There is more inspiration than I can use up in my life time, as I am restricted by time, money, and skills. As my skills improve, and as I learn new skills, there will always be another way to recreate a character or symbol to add to my decorations for the Christ­mas season.

Most importantly, my wish is that you will carry the spirit of Christmas all through the year.

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Most of these decorations are both designed and made by my­self, and there are a limited number of items for sale. There is also be a series of mini pattern books available, so that others can make a few of the decorations I have used to fill our home with Christmas cheer.

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0  P Handwork

These are a few of my collection of decorations made by Other People, including Roeli Gutsche, Robyn Redding, Heather Cooper, Heather Minks, and others. Some have been gifts, others have been purchased.

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Mr and Mrs Klaus

This couple was made about 1980, using a McCalls pattern

which included about 6 Huggachum characters.

I had no thoughts of collecting Santas until these two were about ten
years old.

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Reindeer

This reindeer was one of the first gifts I bought for my family after I left home to work. It was sitting on a basket of Darrell Lea Christmas Mixture. It sat under the tree for many years, and Mum gave it back to me when I had my own children, and it has been under our tree each year since.

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Hearts of Christmas Small table-cloth

Machine appliqued hearts on cream homespun, with red, tartan and green border. This top was made on the spur of the moment on Octo­ber 12, 1993, though the last stitches around the binding were com­pleted on Dec 23rd that year.

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Lady on a Hat

This is a recycled sun hat which was converted to a Christmas decora­tion about 1980. I usually refer to it as the Christmas Tart, as she seems to have quite an attitude!

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Santa Pieces

I had to make this block as a part of a Christmas lucky draw. A few of the fabrics and most of the pieces are directional, and had to be cut the correct way so Santa faced the correct direction when fin­ished.

1 wasn’t lucky enough to win the lucky draw, but 1 have this Santa, who is correct in every way except one.

He faces the wrong way, and is made from the pieces I cut the wrong way! December, 1994.

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Dresden Christmas

Traditional Dresden Plate or Sunflower design.

Made for me by Barbara Fenech for Christmas, 2001.

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Bob and Buttons

One of a pair of Christmas Tree wall hangings designed to show off a

collection of novelty buttons. A copy of this wallhanging was made for

sale.

Original design, made February 2002

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Cole and Buttons

One of a pair of Christmas Tree wall hangings designed to show off a

collection of novelty buttons.

A copy of this wallhanging was made for sale.

Original design, made February 2002

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Shaggy Pine and Snowy

This wall hanging broke most of the quilt makers rules.

First I put the borders on and made the quilt sandwich.

The tree trunk was appliqued next, then came the quilting.

The foliage was added, and then Snowy was added as an afterthought.

Original design, made March 2002.

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Frozen Assets

There is nearly as much wadding on the outside there is inside.

The order of instructions is not conventional, starting with selecting

background, add borders, sandwich, applique wadding shapes, quilt,

bind, finally add extras!

Original design, made March/April 2002

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Buttoned Down Pine

Original design, made March-May 2002.

I fused the trunk to the background, added borders, sandwiched and

machine quilted, then took this to a quilt meeting to bind the edges.

Some of the guesses as to what would happen next were quite rude,

but at least they didn’t think it was finished.

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Northwoods Santa

Machine quilted purchased fabric panel.

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Adam

First of a series of wall hangings designed to show off a collection of

novelty buttons.

The ceramic buttons have been collected over a period of several

years, and until now kept out of sight, out of mind,in a wooden box.

A copy was made for sale.

Original design, made February, 2002

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Eve

The tree on this wallhanging is made from the waste pieces of Adam,

which seemed too good to waste.

T he lace angel, heart and bear were purchased over a period of years

simply because I liked them, and knowing that sooner or later 1 would

find the right time to use them.

Original design, made March 2002

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Christmas Angels Flying High

Purchased pre-printed panel, un-quilted, trimmed with buttons.

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The Family Jewels

The Royal family have to keep their family jewels under lock and key, but my family is a little more humble.

This tree is decorated with broken chains, odd earrings, bracelets which don’t fit, and just junk jewellery.

I obviously come from a family of hoarders, because there was little amongst this lot which warranted repair or enlargement, but it repre­sents three generations!

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Spiral Pine

This shape was inspired by Christmas lights spiralling up TV antennae

towers. A fabric tube covers length of wire.

Many of the decorations are odd earrings.

Original design, made in 2001

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Jingle Bells

This is the first of a series of fake feather trees designed to replicate

the style of antique feather trees in modern materials.

1 didn’t know I had a collection of bells until I tried to find enough of

the same to put one on each branch, but found instead enough different

ones to put two or three on each branch!

Original design, made in 2002

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Loopy Pine

This is the result of experimenting with crochet hook, textured yarn,

and Christmas tree design.

The decorations are some brass bells left over from the seventies and

eighties.

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Gold and White

The gold plastic balls are not hand-made, but the tulle and ribbon gar­lands are. Original designs, made 2002

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Paper and Card

With a growing collection of decorations, storage is a growing prob­lem. In Victorian times paper scraps were glued onto balsa wood and cut out to use on the Christmas tree. I have used purchased repro­duction paper scraps, magazine illustrations and fabric glued to cardboard or hand-made paper to replicate the mood, and all the hand-made decorations on this tree fit into a small shoe box.

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Poodle Pine

Bulky knitting yarn is cut into short lengths and tied to the wire branches.

Original design, made in 2002.

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White Wool Wreath

Bulky knitting yarn is cut into short lengths and tied to the wire frame.

Original design, made in 2002.

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Rag Wrapped Wreath

Inspired by country-style decorations in American magazines.

Original design, made in 2002.

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Christmas Patches

Table-cloth

Designed to use a few precious 5 inch squares from Country Craft and Fabrics when I was a Fabric Club member,

and a border print given to me by Robyn Redding.

Made in March-May 2002

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Strip of Scraps Wreath

This was designed and made while experimenting before making a tree with similar foliage.

Original design, made in 2001.

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Stick Pine

Designed and made as a sample for a mini mystery workshop in 1998,

at the Golden Harvest Quilters Hi-fibre Retreat.

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Christmas Blocks

Machine pieced, using blocks from a pre-printed panel designed to be

made into tree decorations.

Made for Christmas, 1995

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Buttons and Plaids

This quilt was made in just two days, except for the binding, which waited for another twelve months, and an upcoming exhibition, to be completed.

The Christmas colouring was unintentional, and came about simply from the collection of check, tartan and plaid scraps which had accu­mulated over a period of years.

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Judy lives in the Country

The original blocks were designed to be made by members of the

Golden Harvest Quilters in 1996.

The blocks were put together and utility quilted in 1996/7, though the

binding was completed just in time for the Golden Harvest Quilters

1998 Exhibition.

The quilt was not meant to have a Christmas theme, but many people

think of it as a Christmas quilt because of the angels and stars.

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The Charms of Christmas

This project to display the Christmas cards each year, was planned in

1984 as a variation of the log cabin design, and fabric was purchased

three times before it became an applique design,

and was actually made up, in 1994.

The charms were collected specially for this project, and odd earrings

and chains were added from the family’s unused jewellery collection.

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The Family Tree

I Made them Myself

The decorations on this tree are all hand-made, and the majority of

them are original designs.

They have been made over a period of nearly 30 years, from what ever

materials were affordable at the time.

In all, there are about 75 different designs on this tree.

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Strippy Scrap Pine

The trunk is made from empty cotton reels, and the foliage is torn or

cut strips of fabric scraps.

The decorations are sewing and craft collectables which are rarely

on display, and the tree is the first one I have designed.

Original design, and made during 2002

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Dolls, Teddies and Miniatures

I belong to the local group by the same name, and this tree shows off

some of my collection of original dolls, and purchased dolls, teddies

and miniatures.

The tree is one of a series of fake feather trees designed to replicate the

style of antique feather trees in modern materials.

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Country Christmas

Over the last five years a lovely range of country-style fabrics

have found their way into my stash, and with lots of inspiration from

American magazines I have made lots of naïve, rustic and country-style

decorations.

Most of the decorations on this tree are less than five years old,

but there are a few which are up to 15 years old.

Nearly all are hand-made from original designs, though there are a few

‘ring-ins.’

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Beaded Spiral Pine

Shape inspired by Christmas lights on TV towers, and a desire to re­place cardboard mobiles which have disintegrated over the years.

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Santa

This wallhanging was a gift from Ruth Hoyle. It came with the pegs, but Ruth wasn’t able to find a suitable hanger. When 1 opened the present on Christmas day, at home, 1 didn’t have a hanger either, but I did have a piece of bent wire, which became a tem­porary hanger, in the year 2000!

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Christmas Star

Table-cloth

This was made just before Christmas one year in the mid eighties.

The idea was to finish it after Christmas, as it is unlined, with a very

basic hem which would be easily unpicked.

But that first Christmas it was stained, and 1 have never been in the

mood to properly finish a stained cloth.

However, it has been used every Christmas season since, and survived

in its unfinished state.

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Season’s Greetings

The lettering was made about 1980, or even earlier, but the shape of

(he message has changed several times to suit the houses in which we

have lived.

1 have plans to re-invent the message sometime in the future, as the

current background was made to suit a previous residence.

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Macrame Tree

This is a leftover from the seventies, with the lights dating back even

further.

Badly in need of some attention to the decorations again, it has been

used every year for nearly thirty years, and will be around for many

more.

The design was published in a German magazine, and I worked as

much from the picture as the instructions.

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Santa Collection

This all started when I fell in love with a tiny cake decoration. When I put it on a shelf it was so small it was almost invisible, so I took Santa decorations off the tree to make the tiny one more notice­able. I found 18!

Then I noticed more in the shops, and friends and family bought a few for me, and so the collection grew. I don’t count them any more, so I have no idea how many there are.

Of course, because I design and make rag dolls, I had to try a Santa doll, and soon a collection of originals joined the ever-growing collec­tion of massed produced and hand-made ones in a huge variety of styles. My collecting is now limited, to those I really like!

And ones given to me, and ones found at garage sales……….. and I

am sure to design another one or two.

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The tree in the Garden

These decorations are used each year on a living tree in the garden, though usually a potted tree. Their main claim to fame is that they are waterproof, and colourful, though they are replaced as they fade to keep them bright and shiny.

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Calico and Plastic Wreaths

These were made in the early eighties, though the plastic leaves have been tidied up since then. They are used indoors a lot of the time, but at least seven years they were on outer doors, so the calico has sur­vived well over twenty years. Original design, made approx 1982

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Stick Trees

These were designed for Harvest Corner and Copper Country Keep­sakes shop displays when the businesses were too poor to even think about buying a Christmas tree.

They have been redecorated and are now used in our shed or BBQ area during Christmas parties. Original design, made in 1998.

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Curvy Pine

A fabric tube and wire forms this tree to hang on a wall or door. Decora­tions are part of my novelty button collection. Original design, made in 2001.

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Buttoned “T” ‘free

Original design, made March-June 2002.

Stick designed tree with buttons to hold hanging decorations. This was

designed to be a substitute tree for a space with no floor space.

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Folding Tree

Designed and made June 2002.

A very easy to store Christmas Tree, using a refrigerator box and about

1.5ml of fabric.

The decorations are fabric and cardboard cut-outs which hang on door

and drawer knobs.

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His Boots

Our children had their treasured Santa Sacks from the Magic Cave, so

there was never a reason to make Christmas stockings.

These boots were scavenged, painted and filled especially for this display

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Her Boots

I laving decided it was time for us to have a pair of stockings, I saw a picture of cowboy boots hanging from a mantle, and remembered the boots. These boots I wore ‘going away’ from our wedding, and the ribbons are ones Father Christmas tied around Tonka toys, Barbie and her dream car, bikes, a doll’s house etc, starting Christmas, 1974.

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Buttoned Down Pine 2

Original design, made March-June 2002.

Second in a series of tree wall hangings with a combination of fabric and

button foliage. This is a more casual design than the first, and lends itself:

to decorations being hung from the buttons. Without the decorations it

could be used all year round.

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Tree Trims

There are 6 trees which are decorated with hand-made items I have made myself.

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Tree Top Angel

Designed and made in 1988. Our tree was entered in a Christmas Tree

festival that year, and won.

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Santa’s Workshop Key

My parents and their descendants number 21, so I made a key for each

to celebrate the ‘coming of age’ of the family.

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3 Ghosts of Christmas

Ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. These are a little less

threatening than the ones which made themselves known to Scrooge.

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Wrapped Bangles

Just made, but the bangles have been waiting for about 20 years!

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The following list includes most of the hand-made decorations on the various trees in the display.

Painted heart Cut-out

Painted Star Cut-out

Painted Tree Cut-out

Gingerbreadman Cut-out

Snowman Cut-out

These were designed when I wanted something for next to nothing to

put on trees in the shed for a party.

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Rabbit in a Hat

Designed to represent the magic of Christmas.

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Fabric on Card Cut-outs

Paper on Card Cut-outs

With an ever-growing collection of tree trims, these do not add to the

storage problem. Decorations for a large tree will fit into a shoe box.

They are also inexpensive to make.

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Paper Mache eggs

These were made as samples for school craft projects about 1984.1 have one made by each of our children during the craft lesson I helped with at two different schools.

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Mini Clown Mini Gran Mini Doll Mini Angel Mini Snowman

These mini dolls were designed about 1980, and the basic doll has be­come a whole series of different characters.

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Thimbell

Tassels

Satin Icicles

Bead Icicles

Christmas Pudding

Moppit

Felt Gingerbreadman

Gold Golf Ball

Snowball Golf ball

Rag Wrapped Golf ball

Sequin waste Fans

Christmas Ham

Satin Santa Sack

Paper Fan

Mouse in Stocking

Mini Parcels

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Paddle-pop Angel

Paddle-pop Doll

Paddle-pop Santa

Paddle-pop Snowman

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Champagne Poppers

Lollipops

Ice-cream Cones

Covered Balls

Felt Star Bauble

Felt Tear-drop Bauble

Hessian Mice

Hessian Bells

Quilted bear

Cut-out Quilted Gingerbreadman

Hessian Star, wired

Fabric/hessian Cut-outs

Corrugated card Cut-outs

Hessian Hobby Horse

Rag Wrapped Candy

Rag Wrapped Wreath

String Wreath

Rustic Twine Wreath

Drum

Kite

Lace Wreath

Baby in a Cloud

Walnut Babies

Wired Candles

Pencil pegs

Fabric Candle

Fabric Country

Candle Lace Angels

Satin Discs

Fabric Cone Tree

Fabric Stocking

Santa Head

Gold Fabric Bauble

Gold Crochet Wreath

Gold Scissors

Tassel Doll

Schticks

Hat Basket

Felt Bear

Bread Dough Wreath

Bread dough Star

Lace Rosettes

Playdough Horseshoes

Playdough Turkey

Mini Quilt Panels

Cotton Reel Bonbon

Sack of Joy

Button Angel

Button Doll

Mini Garden Tools

Wired Card Cut-outs

Hessian Sack Plastic

Sea Shells

Country Candles

Victorian Candle

Printed Seed Sacks

Wooden Blocks

String of beads

Mended Chains

Tulle Snowballs

Tiny Tina

Crocheted Chains

Tulle Streamer

Ribbon Streamer

Painted Pine-cones

Cork Train

Felt Poinsettia

Felt Sturt Pea

Gingham Ball

Frosted Star

Frosted Heart

Gathered Heart

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