Christmas Already

I prefer to ignore Christmas until November 26. We’ve got Halloween and Thanksgiving to savor. Why shortchange ourselves for the sake of letting the retailers make more cash? Yet Costco has already set out the gift wrap sets and the giant light-up tinsel Santa, and Micheal’s is now selling glittering Christmas floral picks and wreaths, right next to the screaming bloody Halloween zombie figurines.

For me, such merchandising tactics make it harder to get into the spirit of things. They remind me that much of what I’m celebrating with is only cheap junk, all pressed out of the same plastic. Yet I finally gave in to the pre-Christmas spirit last year while running Echo’s Reign–my short-lived craft and costume business that was too successful for it’s own good. By the time Halloween rolled around I realized all the other Etsy stores already had their Christmas stuff out, and I was going to get ground into the dust competition-wise if I didn’t snap to it.

This year I have no fairy wings to make, no giant cupcake pillows to sew. But Christmas crafts have already found their way into my home. It’s hypocritical, I know, but it’s for a good cause.

Every year, Salt Lake holds a fundraiser called The Festival of Trees for Intermountain Healthcare’s Primary Children’s Medical Center. It’s a staggering display, filled with hundreds of glittering, glowing trees of all sizes, wreaths, toys, Christmas treats, and more. It’s all donated, and last year’s event alone raised 1.4 million for children in need at the Center. I wanted to participate in last year’s Festival, but quickly became swamped with orders and had to give up on the idea. Not so this year! But, since Persephone is due at about the same time I’m supposed to turn the tree in, I have to start on it now to make sure it gets done.  The tree will have a ‘Christmas sweets’ theme, and all the ornaments will be crafted by hand. The first round is already finished!

These are made of papier mache, believe it or not. I got the idea from a Martha Stewart tutorial guest-hosted by Jenny B, who happens to be from Utah. She’s got her own website ( http://www.jenniboriginals.com/index.html ) and Etsy shop                  ( www.etsy.com/shop/JenniBOriginals ), and she somehow figured out that if you run wet paper through a blender and mix it with some glue, it looks exactly like cake once painted. Go figure.

I experimented with some of my own versions, including this one, which uses “crushed candy cane” made out of polymer clay. A gloss spray at the end is absolutely essential if you really want it to look edible. I made a variety of tarts and mini cakes, all with lightweight spackle piped on top for “whipped cream”. If you want to try this project, I suggest you don’t tint your spackle with paint. It makes the spackle more likely to shrink and crack with time, as I found out the hard way after making faux cupcake ornaments last year. With an artful touch, you can paint your spackle after it dries and still have it look realistic. Crystalline glitter makes great fake sugar.

If you’d like to see the tutorial, you can find it here:

http://www.marthastewart.com/photogallery/christmas-tree-decorations#slide_3

And if you’re interested in participating in The Festival of Trees, you can find info here:

http://www.festivaloftreesutah.org/

They need donations of gingerbread houses, centerpieces, crafts for the gift shop, and just about anything Christmas-related you can think of. Most donations will even get you free tickets to the event! And every penny goes to help sick children in need, so really, everyone wins.

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~ by scorchd on September 9, 2010.

4 Responses to “Christmas Already”

  1. I’m with you on leaving Christmas until November… however as long as you’re going to post helpful hints and cool ideas until then; I’ll just read up when I want to deal with Christmas; and let you rush yours.

    Thanks for the festival of trees post.

  2. Awwwwww Heidi your blogged!!!! 🙂 let me know if you want help making faux Christmas treats. 🙂

  3. “You blogged!” sounds like something a kid would do all over the carpet.

    “Alexander was playing last night and then bam! he blogged all over the carpet.”

  4. That’s actually kind of how I feel about the post. “Oh
    crap, I blogged…” I’m assuming things will get better as I get used to writing again!

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