Handcrafted Holidays

Handcrafted Holidays

Handmade items have a special way of reflecting personality—of bringing something truly distinctive into the home. Such an item might come from an artisan, somebody who has spent years refining his or her craft, or it might come from your own hands; in any case, a handmade piece tells a story a mass-produced object never could.

More so than other times of the year, the winter holiday season is time of storytelling and reflection. It is a time when families come together, when we reunite with loved ones, and when we host and attend gatherings that inspire memories to cherish for years to come. In the spirit of the season, those pieces we bring into our homes should likewise offer that personal quality, to allow us to attach our own memories and to cherish them.

While we love sharing our curated collection of heirloom quality, handmade goods, we at Cultivations also hope to inspire your own creativity. There are many ways of doing this, especially during the holiday season; there is never a shortage of occasions for cooking, card making, giftwrapping, or decorating. The holidays encourage us to get creative, to spend extra time with friends and family crafting meaningful memories together. Sometimes, all that’s needed is a little extra spark of inspiration.

When we began thinking of ideas for holiday crafts, we looked to the work of our own artisans as well as the holidays themselves for inspiration; even though we might not all have our makers’ creative talents, we knew selecting the right materials was key.

We chose copper wire as our main material—it’s easy to manipulate by hand or with pliers, and it’s readily available at the local hardware store (just ask for 18-gauge picture hanging wire). Just as important, the warm, radiant sheen of copper means that even if you don’t end up with exactly what you were envisioning, it will still shine with its own distinct beauty.

 

Next, we wanted to use some yarn we had lying around. Beautifully colorful and richly textured, wool yarn is easy to find in craft stores or your local yarn shop. (Incidentally, if you have never been into a yarn shop and you have one close by, you should definitely give a visit—fine, carefully crafted yarn is an art form in its own.)

With these two materials, you can craft pretty much whatever home decoration you like—we chose to make ornaments, but you can really form anything you imagine with the copper wire and add yarn to complete your vision. Aside from the ornaments, you might create a fiber wreath, winter flowers, holiday trees or any other little holiday trinket to decorate your home.

To get you started, we will share how we used cookie cutters to help form our shapes, but we also made some free form ornaments; there are endless possibilities with these simple yet charming materials. As long as you have a good pair of needle nose pliers, copper wire and some yarn of various colors, you really can create whatever you and your friends and family can dream up. Abstract shapes work too—it really depends on what kind of textures you want to achieve.

Plus, there is no glue involved—any mistakes can easily be undone. Be adventurous!

Steps and Inspiration

Wrap copper wire around the cookie cutter, pushing and forming the copper right up against its edges. Leave about an inch of overlapping wire on each end to allow yourself to twist it together and close the shape.

Overlap and twist one end of the wire around the other. This may at first warp your shape a bit, but have no fear, it is easy to fix!

Slip the form over the cookie cutter once again to manipulate the form back to its proper shape.

Choose some yarn and wrap it around the wire frame. This will make the sides less slippery when you go back to weave and wrap the yarn around your form, allowing the yarn to stay in place. If you prefer the copper look, you can also continue to weave copper around the form instead of yarn.

Wrap the yarn any way you wish around the form: you can tie bows, pom-poms and tassels—anything you like! Changing colors and textures will add interesting qualities to your ornament and make it all the more uniquely your style.

To make a hook for hanging the completed ornament, cut a 5-inch length of wire and loop it around your form. Twist the wire closed around the form, and shape the twisted wire into a hook.

Now for the finishing touches! Once we finished our little gingerbread man, we decided he needed a bit more color, so we added a hat by weaving in some coral yarn.

Not content with a simple red knit hat, we also added a pom-pom for a little extra winter flair. Follow our pom-pom instructions here, and use just one finger to make a smaller pom-pom.

Get creative and don’t be afraid to play! These simple materials are so beautiful that whatever you come up with will be special. More than anything, this is a simple, creative way to have fun and capture the spirit of the holiday season.

The holiday season can be so hectic, but its most magical moments come when we slow down and appreciate them in our own time. Recalling some of that festive spirit by applying some of your own creativity into your home decorating is a great way to do just that—this craft is simple and fun, and best of all it allows you to follow your own whims and creative impulses.

Even better, we can share these magical moments with others—these crafts are fun to do with kids too! We would just suggest making the copper forms for children under 10. The ends of the wire are sharp and it can be tricky to manipulate.

After trying our hand at these copper and yarn ornaments, we are planning on making these for all of our close friends and family—we’ll be adding them to our wrapped gifts to make them that much more beautiful, and to provide an extra personal touch to the carefully selected present.

 

Check out our other blog posts to get giving inspiration :

Giving Inspiration: Handcrafted Stocking Stuffers

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