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The End of an Era

The End of an Era

Wow!  That was a long pause in my blogging life.

I’ve been experiencing technical difficulties.

And by “technical difficulties” I mean that for the life of me I couldn’t come up with anything to say.  I’ve spent the last week pretty much in the garage making coasters getting ready for Unique LA.   And a daily blog post of “I made more coasters today” seemed to lack a certain edgy excitement.

However, I do need to mark the end of an era for my family.

My folks have always been active in the church.  Dad is in the choir and mom is on a million committees and taught Sunday school etc.  But her primary thing was the Handcraft Group.  A collection of women who worked year round to produce totally charming Christmas Ornaments that were sold at  a big Holiday Bazaar with the entire proceeds going to the church.

From elves to mice to Santa, nativity scenes and even Harry Potter characters the ladies work year round every year.

I used to go to Handcraft Meetings when I was too little to go to school and make no mistake they put me to work!  I glued felt dots on sheep and googly eyes on elves.   My mom even continued her commitment when we moved to California (the church is in Ohio!).

And I was totally happy when the circle was completed and, over the last couple of years, they allowed me to add some of my Cheltenham Road Christmas items to their table.

Well, sadly, the once vibrant group has dwindled down to  a few stalwarts.  And so, two Sunday’s ago my mom sold her last lot of Christmas ornaments and according to all reports it was a huge sell out!

I will miss getting new ornaments every year but my sisters and I (and now their grown children) have Christmas trees festooned with my mom’s mad skills!  No ordinary glass balls for our clan!

I must confess that at times in my life I have thought “does a grown man really hang sequined felt, stuffed mice on his tree?”

And the answer is, “of course he does!” because these represent my mom and all her hard work and her joy at the holidays.  I know just how much went into each one of these.  I know how carefully they were planned and executed and they will be with me and proudly displayed forever.

So the era ends for the Handcraft Group and I want to say thank you to all of them (past and present) for years and years of past and future Christmas happiness!

(and in a post to come later in the week my favorite  sister Phebe* will share her ingenious solution to displaying all my mom’s handiwork)

*other assorted sisters put out by this designation can contact me at this address to discuss voluntarily creating guest blog posts and thus elevating their status.

About cheltenhamroad

I’ve been surrounded by amazingly creative people my whole life. My mom can, and does, make anything. The family has on occasion speculated that she just whipped up my dad one day when she discovered some left over fabric and stuffing. My three sisters have mad skills ranging from needlework to cooking to out and out ART. My father’s desk when I was growing up had a model train set going around it, oh, and he made that desk-from scratch. I’m the youngest and, as you can imagine, it’s a hard series of acts to follow. Truth be told, I’ve spent many, many years suppressing the creative instincts I learned at home. But I realized (rather late in life) that few things bring me more joy than making and creating. For the longest time when I went to stores I didn’t think, “I want that” I thought, “I can make that.” And, with a deep breath and a leap, I’ve started on a very new, kinda scary path. I’ve given up my steady, dependable (dull!) corporate life to spend my days happily humming away in my garage designing, creating, painting, decoupaging and sawing and, since this blog will be an honest take on things, there is also a fair amount of tripping, spilling and swearing. Through this blog I hope to share with you the struggles and (hopefully) triumphs of a very non-businessy business person. I also hope to make this blog a resource for people who like to work with their hands and who are, like me, always looking at things and thinking “I could make that!” I’ve lived many places since I left Cheltenham Road; I currently live in Los Angeles California. So, with this preamble- Welcome to Cheltenham Road! Please come on over and make yourself comfortable – the place is always open.

6 responses »

  1. How adorable! What a shame that there aren’t more people carrying on this tradition. You are lucky to have your Mom’s handiwork 🙂

  2. OMG those felt ornaments are amazing!!!!!! That is a lost art and it’s sad to hear the era is ending. Does your mom still make them?? Does she perhaps sell them anywhere???

  3. Aww, you are my favourite brother too!

  4. Awesome post and fantastic tradition. Might have to make some of my own ornaments this year.

  5. Your mothers ornaments are marvelous. I would love to make some for my Grandchildren. Are there any patterns available to purchase? I started visiting your site from pinterest and loved the first thing I saw. ie the dresser then the coasters, then the candle etc. etc. Thanks so much for sharing. I am in my chair with 2 broken ankles so am excited to see so many wonderful things to see and maybe make someday. Tana

    • Hey Tana,

      So sorry to hear about the ankles! I wish you a speedy recovery!
      I know my mom sometimes used commercially available patterns for some of her projects. I will ask her and see if there are specific designers she can reference (of course she’s been doing these all my life so some of the patterns would be, um,….kinda old).


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