A Hand-Made Christmas! - The Magic Onions

A Hand-Made Christmas!

Our Christmas was surprisingly wonderful. I say ‘surprisingly’ as I expected it to feel somewhat empty. We usually have Christmas at Kromme in South Africa with the rest of my crazy-big family. I was apprehensive for Christmas at home this year as it would only be the four of us. No Grannies, no Grampa’s, no Aunts, no Uncles, no cousins, no customary Christmas hordes… just our little family of four. As it turned out, it was very full indeed. In fact, amazingly full. I learnt that all you really need for a fabulous Christmas is love and little children and the rest will follow.
It all started with my new interest in everything Waldorf, ignited by the charming school K attends on Tuesdays called Maple Village. December 13 was the Winter Village Faire for which I found myself unexpectedly, heavily, involved. At the first Faire meeting I took on the wind-chime craft for the Faire as well as making some wool roving creatures to sell in the Faire shop. I hadn’t done needle felting before, or made wind-chimes, but how hard could it be, right? Little did I know how intricately and naturally beautiful everything waldorf needs to be… 
My wind-chime craft took tens of hour to prepare as I roamed our cityscape looking for ‘just the right’ natural materials to make them with. Then came the cleaning, drilling, tying knots, threading… I worked like a crazy woman and loved every moment! As for the wool roving creatures, they started a creative process within me that I have SO enjoyed. I am being creative again and feel so fulfilled.
Here is a photo of the wind-chime.

A Good Man and I worked out that I drilled 650 holes! Each child who chose to make a wind-chime at the Faire, picked their materials from baskets and I helped them to string their wind-chimes together. They were a great success, loved by all and I am sure quite a few Maple Village Loved-ones received a wind-chime for Christmas.
I made 6 fairies, 5 pod babies, and a bark-gnome to sell in the Faire shop and, would you know, most of them sold despite their ‘waldorf’ (exorbitant) prices. The Faire raised over $1500 for the school and everyone involved was very pleased indeed.
With my creativity thus sparked, ignited and kindled, I decided to make, yes MAKE, all of K and T’s christmas presents! Very ambitious of me, I know, especially since I am NOT a very ‘makey’ person! Can’t sew, can’t knit, can’t paint, etc. But as I was SO enjoying my new hobby of needle felting, I set about with gusto and was constantly amazed at what I could create. Needle felting is THE BEST! I can create almost anything. Not perfect by any standard, but gorgeous to my eyes all the same. I find the process thrilling; starting with an idea, choosing the colour of roving and then poking it with my needle until it has taken the form I desire, a life all of its own. I even love the noise it makes as the needle goes through the wool into the backing behind. I also love the second part of this creative process, that of finding things from nature to compliment my creations; acorn hats, seed pod cradles, fairy wings, wood, bark. A Good Man has given up rolling his eyes at what I come home with and even K can’t walk past a nicely gnarled stick without picking it up and deciding to keep it ‘for a project’. I love that we have rekindled our love of nature. Silly how we need a reason, ours being ‘finding stuff’, to get us out into the wild.
What a sense of achievement when each gift was completed and ready to wrap. I would be lying if I didn’t admit to a nagging fear that my children would open their presents on Christmas morning and I’d see a flash of disappointment cross their faces as they beheld my masterpieces, my ‘mom-made’ masterpieces. Not the bright, shiny plastic toys of before. But, with a fair amount of priming, both children delighted me with their appreciation of what I had made. K kept exclaiming, ‘MOM!’ in amazement. She loved everything and I am so proud of her. She has played with her ‘felted toys’ for many hours since. Sometimes I go into her room and see her felted toys having a wonderful adventure. Sometimes her Barbie’s and felted toys are mixed together, having a glorious tea-party or I see that her Polly Pocket princesses are eating woolen, felted food! Oh, to be a character in her play world…
This is a picture of K’s Magic Faraway Tree, her gnome family,  their felted food and their toadstool house.
Here is a photo of K’s Mother and Baby and their house, painted so beautifully by K.

Here is T’s magnetic fishing rod and little goodies to catch with it.

Here are T’s balls.

T especially likes his felted balls. The Fishing Game is a little ahead of him for now but I’m sure he’ll get into it in the near future. Truth be told, T is car MAD. We have put his cars, all thousands of them, into a basket that lives in the living room. First thing he does when he gets up in the morning is go his car basket and pick two favourites for the day. He drives them along the floor, walls and even his dad’s head when he is getting a ride on his shoulders. We are constantly amazed at the gender difference in our two children. Our girl is SO girly and our boy is SO Boyish. Nature definitely takes the cake in our gender debate!
We topped off our Christmas with a delicious Christmas lunch with our dear friends, 5 fellow ex-South African families. 
I love that our Christmas wasn’t excessive and endeavour to always remember that the best gifts are still hand-made!
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Donni Webber is the mom behind the popular natural living Waldorf website and blog, The Magic Onions - where the magic of nature and the wonder of childhood collide to make each moment a precious gift. She is a photographer, writer, crafter, wife and mother of two inspiring young children. Her work has been featured in many popular publications, including HGTV, Better Homes and Gardens, Disney and Apartment Therapy.

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  1. What a wonderful assortment of beautifully hand made gifts! They are too cute. I like those balls, are they completely needle felted, or did you do some wet felting? You have done a wonderful job for a beginer, keep up the creativity!

  2. Thanks, I loved making them. Yes, I needle felted the balls, starting with wool batting and then added the colour and detail. I then wet felted them. They shrunk to about half their original size – wasn’t really counting on that but glad now as they are the perfect size for T’s little hands.

  3. Hello magic onion! What a treat to find you through your comment on my blog (thefairymum) – and to spend awhile journeying through your blog. I am loving the little scene you created for your daughter – the felted people, the sweet shaggy tree… you almost make me want to start needle-felting…except that I’m on a new craft fast until I finish another big project (a soup cookbook)… but maybe for Christmas this year!
    I’m off to etsy to check it out!

  4. That’s a funny story about the wind chimes. I have spent way too many hours preparing crafts myself. We’ve prepared rolled candles, candleholders, lanterns, little books, painted silk scarves, bird houses, bird feeders, etc., etc. That’s why I’m hunting about for something new and different. I feel like after 10 years of Winter Fairs I’m running out of craft ideas….and for some reason I’m always the one in an organizer role!

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