Home-made for the Holidays

I come from a long line of “makers” – a family that always made things from scratch and enjoyed creative outlets. Part of this tradition was rooted in poverty and necessity. As one would expect, my Depression-era grandparents looked at every scrap of fabric, wood, paper, etc., as having the potential to become something useful down the road.

But my family was more than a bunch of opportunistic recyclers– they recycled with style. My grandmother Johnson turned flour sacks into colorful quilts. My dad fashioned some old wooden utility spools into a backyard playhouse for my brothers and me. And I remember my mom once crafting with old Reader’s Digest magazines– carefully folding pages, spraying paint, and adding doily wings and Styrofoam balls to make “angels.” It may now sound silly, but they looked pretty cute. She also pressed flowers throughout the year and then used them later to craft pictures and cards. My brothers and I tumbled and polished rocks to make rings, and keychains and baked liquid rubber in little molds to make various toys. Watching my family craft, but better yet, crafting together, was always a joyous experience – a time for bonding coupled with developing our creative skills.

To this day, I still love making things. Even though I have the means to buy gifts or the things I need, I love giving things made from the heart. And the time I spend making things is meditative and freeing.

I sell many of my creations at occasional craft fairs and in a little booth at a nearby gift shop. While I’ll never become rich from these sales, I do make enough to keep supporting my crafting hobbies which pleases me greatly. I’ve sold my paintings, photographs, notecards, beaded jewelry, ceramics, food gifts in jars, beeswax candles, baked goods, floral arrangements, knitted and crocheted items, my self-published children’s books, and more. And every sale gives me a great feeling of accomplishment and makes me feel seen and appreciated. I also feel a connection to like-minded folks.

I know it’s a busy world, and parents are pulled in so many directions, but if possible, I urge folks to carve out time to make something with their children. Doing so will be a wonderful time for bonding and memory-making. And who knows, you may boost your child’s self-esteem as they discover their talents, self-sufficiency, and the joy of giving a gift from the heart to someone they love.

This month, I’ve made Peppermint Sugar Scrub and bags of Holiday “Puppy Chow” Snack Mix to give as gifts. These are easy things to do with children. You can learn more about this on my Activities page. And under Recommended Reads, you will find my December book review for Little Mole’s Christmas Gift by Glenys Nellist, illustrated by Sally Garland.

Published by littleseedsread

Hello, my name is Julie Lerczak. For over twenty-five years I worked as an educator in a variety of art, history, and anthropology museums in Illinois, Iowa, and Virginia. Then, for the last five years of my career, I was an environmental educator. I am now retired and am pursuing my dream of being a children's book author. I am a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. I live in Illinois with my husband Tom and our rescued pet turtle "Tootles." When I'm not writing stories I enjoy gardening, painting, making pottery, beekeeping, photography, hiking, and traveling.

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