My parents received a lot of homemade gifts from me when I was young. There are still a few shelves in their family room where glass doors protect these “vintage” (cough, cough) pieces. A small bike made out of recycled metal. A rough Noah’s ark formed from potter’s clay with unidentifiable animals. Play Doh versions of the three M&M&M’s decked out in our 80’s garb, rocking equally 80’s hairstyles, sitting side-by-side on a bench made out of popsicle sticks, caroling away.
So when my sister told me about the handcrafted item that she and her husband wanted for Christmas, my inner child surfaced. Once the Turkish metal base was purchased, the rest of the piece came into focus.
I’m always looking for an excuse to walk the woods and drag nature home with me. The birch logs were hand-picked from blown down trees. Since they had recently fallen, much of the white bark was still close to its beautiful original color and free from insects. (Probably the biggest request from my sister. “No bugs!”) Pine cones were chosen with equal care. And since they wanted it to be low-maintenance and reusable, it was completed with some swag (a.k.a. fake pine branches, a set of mini-lights, and rustic bell garland).
It’s easy to become wrapped up with consumerism over the holidays. And if you manage to not become sucked in, there is still constant pressure to do so, regardless of whether you live in an urban or rural area. Just turn on the TV before the holidays or walk into the Home Depot and you are hit with the message, “Buy, buy, buy!” Building personal pieces this season helped me keep my focus on the true meaning of Christmas. It’s kind of hard not to reflect on the greatest gift of all as the year comes to a close while walking on an isolated trail in the snowy woods looking for pine cones, or while sitting in my shop with Cloverton’s version of “Hallelujah” haunting the silence. So thank you to those who placed orders over the holidays for one of a kind gifts like this birch log holder. It reminded me of what grounds me – the only secure thing this imperfect world can offer.
There’s nothing more gratifying than giving or receiving a homemade gift, even if it’s your kid giving you something a little wonky made out of Play Doh that you still have 30 years later…
Happy New Year, friends. Thank you making 2016 an amazing year for “Nature Calls: Reclaimed Wood Designs.” Please keep supporting small businesses in the new year!