Tag Archives: ornaments

Book Review: A Very Vintage Christmas – Nostalgic Look at Christmas Past & Present

Very Vintage ChristmasA Very Vintage Christmas

Holiday Collecting, Decorating and Celebrating

by Bob Richter – Foreword by Christopher Radko

Rowman & Littlefield
Globe Pequot

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from the publisher in connection with NetGalley in return for my review. Copyright © 2016 Laura Hartman

Bob Richter has always been enchanted with all things Christmas. As a very young boy his father gave him a box of vintage Christmas ornaments with the comment, “It’s time you started collecting something…and I know you like Christmas.” Little did his father know this would be the beginning of a lifelong love and devotion to all things Christmas.

Richter begins with the history of Christmas decorations. From candles to lights was an expensive leap for most Americans. The earliest lights needed their own generator. Only the wealthy could afford them. He includes fun facts like the first year the White House had an electrically lit tree and the cost of the colored lights that the president and his visitors enjoyed.

He continues with decorations both inside and outside of homes. Ornaments, trees and decorating inside and outside the home are highlighted.

Most of the early Christmas ornaments were from Germany until the mid-1920s. Ornaments back then were of two categories; either imported mercury glass ornaments, glittery die cut paper ornaments or homemade. Strings of popcorn and cranberries and hand-cut paper ornaments were popular.

Advertising for Christmas became popular in the early 1930s. Books, movies and magazines were and still are popular ways to celebrate the holiday season. Richter gives many examples, along with delightful pictures that will bring back many happy memories for readers of his book.

Christmas doesn’t have to be expensive, but can be. Richter gives decorating and gift options for all price ranges. He suggests flea markets and even lists the top US Flea Markets for Christmas items. I love the fact that he encourages purchasing vintage gifts for friends and family. If it is the perfect gift for someone, it doesn’t have to cost a lot or be brand new.

Full disclosure, I am and always have been crazy about everything Christmas. I love the lights, the decorations, the shopping (especially finding someone the perfect gift), the food, the fun and the love. This book fed my addiction with luscious photography and words that took me back to my childhood.

Many of the decorations, wrappings and pictures are of items I have in my basement. The storage tips Richter gave will be used this year when we put everything to bed after the holidays. The nostalgia and vintage feel of A Very Vintage Christmas was like a warm Christmas hug the whole time I read it. While I don’t do posh decorations, I do have one tree with only glass ornaments, many of which are my grandmother’s and mother’s. One of the ideas to showcase the ornaments that don’t fit on the tree was to put a few of them under a glass dome. This would solve my worry over a few of the more fragile ornaments I worry about falling off of the tree onto the hardwood floors.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves Christmas. It would make a perfect holiday gift and if your copy is left on a side table during holiday gatherings, I am sure your guests would love the pictures and bits of Christmas trivia and traditions that are waiting to be discovered within the pages.

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WIP Wednesday Christmas 2015 Projects

This was a busy and fun Christmas season. My favorite handmade gift was a joint effort. My husband made this beautiful doll bunk bed for my cousin’s little girl. I might have posted a pic earlier before I completed the bedding in her favorite color (purple) and of course Anna and Elsa comforters and pillows finished the gift.

Ella's doll bed

She really liked it 🙂 I highly recommend going over to Ana White’s website (http://www.ana-white.com/) . That is where I found this pattern and many others I am going to try and talk the hubby into making. 🙂

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I made 5 cabled ear warmers for my best friend to give for Christmas as well as 2 more for one of my work friends. They turned out nicely and I decided to make an additional one for myself. I used this pattern: Braided Cabled Ear Warmer by Jessika Cates, and you can see more pics on my Ravelry site, I’m “writeknit”.

2 earwamers done

This one is mine, made from the alpaca/wool blend that I bought when we visited the local Alpaca Farm last fall.

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As a joke, I made these fun shark slippers from this pattern Crocheted Shark Slipper Socks by Stacie L. Ratcliff. My girlfriend’s daughter jokingly asked for them for Christmas, so the least I could do is crochet them for her! They are fun and from what I heard warm. LOL

Shark slippers

Here is a side view:

Shark detail

 

I made my father-in-law’s annual flannel shirt. It is the 36th Christmas therefore, the 36th shirt. Honestly, it is the only thing he wants, so that is what he gets 🙂 The 2016 shirt will be made on the new sewing machine my hubby got me this year (read this in a VERY excited voice). I use the same pattern since 1980, but this will be the fourth sewing machine in as many years.

damn shirt 2015

My cousin’s scarf has been on my blog before because she isn’t on FB to see it. She really liked it so that made me happy also.

Becky's scarf complete

This year’s NICU hats numbered 31. I also made a Santa hat for the nurse that works in the unit as well as a Santa hat for my son’s godson. Here are all the hats before we delivered them.

NICU hats on tree

Last by not least, I wanted to make little snowflake ornaments for my family. I saw one at work, so I had a general idea as to what I was going to do, but it took a few tries with patterns that didn’t work out for me to finally write a simple pattern myself.

I began with a 2 inch tin with a removable top that that is clear. Next I worked up the pattern with sport wt yarn just a bit smaller so it was snug to pull over the tin. I blocked it dry then sprayed the heck out of it with spray starch, sprinkled with glitter, then let dry over night. Full disclosure, the first one I couldn’t wait for it to dry, so I used my blow dryer, which worked like a charm.

Ornament 2015

The hardest part was finding the perfect picture for each of my aunts and cousins that would fit in the 2 inch “window” nicely. The hubby helped scan them then I got each one cut and inserted into the tin, added the snowflake and a bow on the top. Here is one of the finished ornaments. This was for my Great-Aunt Kathie, the picture is of her mom and dad, my Great-Grandma and Grandpa.

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Here are more of them. By the time I got done making them, I was really loving the pattern. Lucky for me I made notes, because I’ll never remember how I did it next year if I decide to make more. I think I am going to write it up and offer it as a free pattern if anyone is interested.

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I was going to list my works in progress, but honestly, you all have to be tired of reading this by now. So, next Wednesday I’ll share my anticipated project list for 2016. I know for sure it will include at least 2 pr of socks, NICU hats, teaching a Lunch & Learn cowl at work and other adventures with yarn.

What are you hoping to get done this year?

 

 

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Christkindlmarket

KrisKindlemart 3

Under the Picasso in Daley Plaza in Chicago the annual Christkindlmarket is in full swing. We made the trip into the city with our youngest son and his wife today. It was a really fun and chilly day, but we visited all of our favorite shops, tried some wonderful sweets and purchased several handcrafted items.

KrisKindlemart

They kids are standing in front of one of my favorite stops – Glaszauber -Lauscha (http://glaszauber-lauscha) that features hand painted ornaments made in Ernsttahl – Germany. I try and get one every year, they are beautiful.

Other shops I like to visit are The Sweets Castle, – aka Hermann the German (candies), TeaGschwendner (fabulous teas) and a new vendor this year St. Roger Abbey French Patisserie (delicious French Pastries).

We stopped and admired handcrafted ornaments, blown glass, knitted hats, toys….too many things to cram into a list that just isn’t doing the market justice.

The shoppers are happy, the vendors are patient. I have never had a bad experience other than the rain last year, and no one can control Mother Nature.

If you happen to be in Chicago this holiday season, stop in and shop, have some German chocolates, pretzels, hot chocolate or strudel. Enjoy lunch or dinner with a brat or a knockwurst served steaming hot with spicy mustard.

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If you go, I hope you have as much fun as we did today.

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