Personalized Ornaments Are Keepers

When it comes to personalized ornaments, the possibilities are endless.

Personalized Christmas Ornaments make great family gifts.

Personalized Ornaments for the Graduate  We  have a large selection of meaningful Christmas ornaments that are suitable for any recipient, whether it be your children, spouse, friends, co-workers or teachers.  Christmas ornaments make the perfect gift ideas that are treasured year after year, and all of the ornaments at this well organized site can either be personalized with a single name or the names of your whole family.  You will see many choices for Christmas ornaments that are engraved, painted or printed with unique designs and personalization.  Choose from a wide selection of  ornaments to find the perfect custom ornament to meet your needs.

Personalized Christmas ornaments are also ideal gifts for grab bags, exchanges, stocking stuffers or any life changing event.  You might want to give personalized ornaments to a newlywed couple celebrating their first Christmas together, a mother expecting her first child, someone who has just graduated or to a baby for their first Christmas.  More and more, we see gift buyers using custom printed ornaments to mark special occasions and many people order a personalized ornament to celebrate a new baby.  Then they continue the tradition by personalizing an ornament for the child each year.  All of these unique ornaments are perfect to complement any event.   They give you a chance at the end of the year to look back at all of the good times, and the personalized ornaments will remind your gift recipients of these fond memories for years to come.  Christmas will take on a new meaning each and every single year when you give personalized Christmas ornaments.

Christmas Wreaths Loaded with Ornaments

Jingle Bells Wreath

The Christmas Forest elves are busy in the workshop making gorgeous wreaths from the exquisite noble fir of the majestic Cascade Mountains. They are ready to help you start one of the best family traditions you’ll ever make! Their customers return year after year because they know this is where they can buy the freshest wreaths and garlands and they want to share them with everyone on their gift list. The incredibly fragrant greens and berries “start the season” for many.

Christmas Dazzler WreathThe folks at Christmas Forest have come a long way from their humble beginnings in 1976 when it was just Mr & Mrs Holt designing and crafting the wreaths. The two of them would leave home by 4am to be at Pike’s Place Market in Seattle when the roll call for booths began at 6am. One of them would work the booths (many times located out in the rain) while the other one would go door-to-door on Queen Ann Hill. The wreaths are so nice that they averaged a sale every third door.  At the end of the day, it was back to the workshop to make wreaths late into the night.

It was a great learning experience, helping the Holts find their niche of providing the highest quality evergreens available, thus beginning a thriving family business 34 years ago.

Christmas Forest provides 50 – 60 jobs each season for residents in a Washington state county with very high unemployment rates.  Because the majority of the Christmas Forest elves return year after year, they’ve become a very close family – they work there because they love what they do and they love pleasing their customers. The production crew and artisans are so proud of the work they do that they put their name tag on the back of each wreath they make. The office staff also gets to know the customers personally and looks forward to talking to them every year.

The harvesters do not cut down any trees to make the Christmas wreaths. In the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, they harvest the tips of the branches, which actually promotes the growth of the trees. Trimming the branches of the noble fir trees is beneficial to the trees and thus great for the environment.

Even the beautiful bows are handmade by the local Christmas Forest elves during the off-season, making Christmas Forest products truly Made In America by local crafters!

The Christmas Forest Mission is to thrill their customers with exquisite wreaths and ornaments; to impress them with unsurpassed service; to respect their employees with fairness and opportunity, and to honor mother earth with responsible forest care.

Christmas Forest ships worldwide and they look forward to sending a wreath to you.  Buy one of the wreaths with ornaments or start with the Rustic Wreath and add your own ornaments.

Article and images used with permission from ChristmasForest.com

Finding Navaho Ornaments

The workmanship of some of the traditional Navaho ornaments is matchless.

    

We stumbled upon Robert Charley in the Four Corners area of the United States in May.  We traveled down a little dirt road at the point where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah meet on the Navaho Indian Reservation.  It was a beautiful clear day which we were told was a rare thing in that area as they get a lot of dust storms.  At the end of the narrow road, there were a few vendors set up with traditional Navaho art work and we spent a nice afternoon chatting with Navaho ornament artisan Robert Charley who has literally carved his own niche in the world of Native American ornaments with his arrow ornament designs.

Mr. Charley learned to make arrows from his grandfather who traded with other tribes to get the obsidian that he needed for the tips of the arrows.  A process of flaking is used where the obsidian is hit at an acute angle and chipped away.  The obsidian becomes even sharper than a metal blade.  The native tribes in that area also used jasper, chalcedony, basalt and other hard minerals for the arrow tips which were struck with antlers, bones, wood or other rocks so that they were fractured into the shape and size needed for the arrow.  Once the tip was shaped, it was carefully chipped or ground, and today Robert Charley actually dulls the obsidian for the ornament arrows because of the safety issue.

The Native American ornaments also have a spiritual significance to the Dine or Navaho culture.  It is said that the hand painted arrows hung over the doorway of your home offer protection for your family and all who enter.  Each ornament decoration has a different meaning with a lot of symbolism attached especially to color.  An arrow with a black feather can mean male as well as night or darkness.  Blue stands for female, sky or water.  An ornament hand painted in green signifies earth or rain.  Red represents sunset, and yellow is the symbol of day and sunshine.  Dots painted on an ornament symbolize day and night.  The four colors used to make the ornaments are also a symbol of protection from all four directions.

 East – Black or Red     South – Turquoise     West – Yellow     North – White

Robert Charley says that he can sell all of the arrow ornaments that he can make and he doesn’t have a web site.  However, he did say that he welcomes calls to 970-739-2503 from individuals as well as stores that might have wholesale needs.   You may also contact him by email at [email protected] .

Article and images used with permission from Robert Charley 

Ornament Artisans at National Folk Festival

Local Montana artists displayed an extensive array of handcrafted ornaments.

 

Our search for unusual ornaments lead us to the National Folk Festival in mile high Butte, Montana last week. We were pleased to see so many local artists with one-of-a-kind ornaments made from a variety of materials ranging from art glass to buffalo horns.  It was a delightful assortment of designer ornaments, and the artisans were so willing to share their techniques and ideas with the folks who crowded around their booths.

Many of the artists spend the cold winter months coming up with fresh ornament designs and producing ornaments in preparation for the various fairs and festivals in the summer months.  The National Folk Festival is a real favorite for the ornament artists partly because the Butte community is so supportive and attendance at the festival was around 200,000 people over a three day period.

Our first stop was at the Folk Art of Norway booth where we had a nice chat with ornament artist Patti Jo Meshnik.  Patti Jo uses the traditional Norwegian art of Rosemaling to hand paint her colorful glass ornaments.  Rosemaling began in the 1600’s when Norwegians began painting their walls and furniture  with summer flowers to brighten their homes during the cold winter.   Another favorite from Norway are ornaments depicting birds and the Kornband.  A Kornband or sheaf of wheat is saved from the harvest to be set out for a Christmas Feast.   A native of Montana, Meshnik says that her Norwegian heritage influenced her style of painting and that it took several years to learn the art of Rosemaling.  Every ornament at Folk Art of Norway is signed and recorded in a log and some of her art has the logged number secretly embedded in the painting.

There were also wonderful wearable ornaments created by Kevin and Valerie Pourier using buffalo horns.  Oglala Lakota, the Pouriers were the recipients of the 2006 Archibald Bush Foundation Artist Fellowship and the 2005 Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian Visiting Artists Fellowship as well as many other awards for their buffalo artforms.   Recognized world wide by collectors, their wearable ornaments are displayed in several museums, including the Smithsonian National Museum and the Royal Museum of Scotland.   Using traditional techniques of the buffalo people, the artists work together to shape and carve their jewelry and wearable ornaments into the predetermined design.  The intricate process is lengthy and comes only with years of practice.  The artform is completed when they inlay the buffalo horn with semi-precious minerals.

 

Our third visit was with Leonda of Browning, Montana who uses colored glass to create vibrant ornaments.  She says that her favorite ornament is the red buffalo which has real buffalo fir for the tail.  She cuts the colored glass into the shape that she wants, and then she uses copper to enclose that shape for a finished look.  She often uses copper for the tails and manes of the animal ornaments.  Leonda has a great assortment of ornaments mostly depicting Montana life and animals.  The pretty blue horse above is so nice that we brought it home to display in our office.  An experienced artist who has worked with art  glass for many years, she will create custom ornaments for you if you call her at 406-338-3158.

Thanks to the citizens of Butte, Montana for supporting the arts.

Article and images used with permission from the artists

Tennessee Freshwater Pearl Ornaments

Tennessee is the home of the only freshwater pearl farm in North America.

          

Pearls have long been recognized as a symbol of purity and their popularity has remained stable for centuries.  Pearls for ornaments and jewelry are formed by oysters or mussels on farms found mostly in Japan, China, South Seas and of course in Tennessee.  Freshwater pearls are rarely found naturally in the Tennessee washboard mussel.  Most of the pearls are grown at the only culturing farm operation in North America at Birdsong Resort  near Camden, Tennessee on the Tennessee River.  The pearls are composed of concentric layers of a crystalline substance called nacre which is calcium carbonate. It is this nacre that gives the pearl its lustrous iridescence  and accounts for must of the pearl’s beauty.

When we toured the Tennessee River Freshwater Pearl Farm in May, we were lucky to have been escorted by Adrienne who is the designer of the freshwater pearl cabochons which her customers use as ornaments.  She explained how the pearls take the shape of ornaments.  Adrienne said that there are different methods of  seeding the mussels for pearls and that the implant method is the most suitable for making freshwater pearl ornaments since it gives the pearl farmer the most options for shapes and sizes. The implant or seed is made of the same material as the mussel shell and can be shaped to any size prior to implanting and it is actually implanted in the mussel.  A round implant causes a round pearl to be formed and a triangle implant in the mussel will form a triangle pearl.

It sounds more simple than it really is of course, because there is a 3-5 year wait after the mussel with the implant is moved to the farm in the Tennessee River while mother nature works her magic.  It isn’t all magic however, because the mussels are closely monitored during this time for temperature and water quality and there are very few technicians that are skilled at implanting the seeds into mussels.  It took many years before the Japanese technique of culturing pearls was successfully adapted to the Tennessee native waters and mussels, and 1984 was the first year that a productive harvest was turned.   Thanks to the diligence of culturing farm founder John Latendresse, cabochons and jewelry (wearable ornaments) can be viewed and ordered at TennesseeRiverPearls.com.  If your interest is peaked, you can  read more about the process of culturing freshwater pearls and perhaps even tour the Tennessee River Pearl Farm & Museum.

Article and images used with permission from BirdsongResort.com