Friday, December 11, 2015

Wehrheim Family Ornaments 1987 - 1996

This is the second decade of our family ornament tradition which began in 1977. 

 I bought kits to make many of the ornaments in the early years.  In 1987, I bought kits for styrofoam wreaths.  There were at least 6 different designs (always tried to have at least 6 designs since one of the family had 6 members and I wanted them to all be different).  I don't remember what many of them were but do recall one used whole cloves that were stuck into the styrofoam.  Many of these did not hold up very well.  Over the years we have become more selective.  We not only look for durability but also try to find a way to date the ornament.

1987 Styrofaom Wreath

The next year, 1988, I got married in November so did not have a lot of time to work on ornaments.  I found some small card stock boxes to assemble and put a few tic-tac mints inside.  I don't have a photo of those and I did not keep mine.

1989, was even busier.  We had our first daughter in December, just 9 days before Christmas.  Jane and I collaborated on these grapevine wreaths.   Each cross stitch design was unique.
1989 Grapevine Wreath

I found kits for these cute penquins that were very similar to the snowmen from 1983.  They had red or green caps and scarves. I decided 1990 would be the last year since I had a 1 year old and was expecting our second daughter.  My sisters volunteered to help so we began planning the ornaments together and dividing the work. 

1990 Knitted Penquins
In 1991, we made cute cross-stitch gift bags.  The fabric was glued and starched.  A little piece of tissue paper was tucked inside with some sort of treat - maybe a small candy cane.  And a different design for each person.  We sisters planned these ornaments at our first Sisters' Weekend at the Mercy Center in St Louis.  We did some shopping in St Charles and ate at a Chinese buffet where I introduced my sisters to crab rangoon.

1991 Cross Stitch Gift Bags
Another favorite is the quilt square pillows we did in 1992.  We designed these using a quilt book of my mom's.  We each took several quilt square patterns and then designed the 'fabric' using red and green floss.   Each was a unique design and so much fun to see what the others had done. 

1992 Quilt Square Pillow
Growing up we often had a jigsaw puzzle out and most of us would work on it as we had time.  So the jigsaw puzzle piece wreaths we made in 1993 had extra meaning.  We three sisters and our families gathered at Jane's house over the 4th of July that year and painted the puzzle pieces, then assembled the wreaths.   That was another Sisters' Weekend  even though we had families in tow.  The guys took the kids for the afternoon while we worked on the ornaments.

1993 Jigsaw Puzzle Piece Wreath

For the 1994 ornaments, I found a counted cross-stitch kit that had 12 Victorian buildings, a church, a storefront, some 'painted lady' houses, a firehouse, a gazebo, and a lighthouse.  We needed 39 ornaments so if we had a thirteenth design it would all work out evenly.  I combined parts of several of the designs and created a Toy Store which we made for the 3 youngest kids in the family.   We also changed the Mercantile banner on the storefront to say Wehrheim's for the family business.

1994 Victorian Buildings
For the 1995 ornaments, our niece, Kelly, had found an idea in one of her craft magazines.  We purchased the wooden cutout stockings and Kelly painted them.  This worked out really well because 1995 was a very stressful year for the whole family with our mom's death in September after months of bed rest due to pulmonary fibrosis and our youngest brother's being hospitalized for almost 5 months due to a car accident until his death Thanksgiving weekend.  Kelly's offer to paint the ornaments meant one thing we did not have to deal with. 

1995 Wooden Stocking Cutouts

Cutwork ornaments were the 1996 addition to the collection.  The women got hearts, the men got a diamond shape and the kids got a stocking shape.  The stitching is done first, then the fabric inside the stitched areas is cut away.  Red gingham fabric was place behind the cutwork for these ornaments.

1996 Cutwork
That completes the second decade.  

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