Gifts from the birthday girl

I’m not sure Ferne would like me giving away her age, so let’s just say that today is her birthday and she’s probably celebrated more birthdays than most of you have.

Ferne is my mom’s cousin, and despite a slight age gap, the two seemed more like sisters. It’s no wonder since Ferne spent most of her summers and school vacations staying with my grandparents. Since my mom grew up with two brothers, I’m sure she relished every visit from Ferne.

Back in the day, Ferne’s hobby was ceramics and she made lots of beautiful gifts for Mom and Grandma. A couple years ago I was chatting with Ferne and told her I’d just put out all of the gorgeous Christmas decorations she’d made, and she seemed a bit surprised that I’d set the “those old things” out each year. In places of honor, no less. But I do.

To help celebrate Ferne’s birthday, I decided to share photos of just a few of her creations. (Others were packed away with more decorations, so I just pulled out the ones that were easy to find.)

This trio of angelic choir kids – painted to look like my siblings and me (I’ve got the pony tails) – is my personal favorite:

Oh, Heavenly voices!

In the background is the Christmas tree light Ferne made. According to family lore, the tree form didn’t originally have all those pin holes, so Ferne had her husband, Lenny, painstakingly drill each and every tiny hole. She also made Grandma a slightly larger three-piece tree, so Lenny was pretty busy that year.

Another  year, she made Mom and Grandma each a Christmas Angel. The coloring of this one kind of reminds me of my mom, which was probably intentional on Ferne’s part:

She also made Mom a green holly leaf candy/nut dish (with bright red berries) and a matching dessert stand. Christmas wasn’t the only holiday Ferne made decorations for. Here’s an Easter egg (she even painted the inside):

One year she personalized a cheese tray for Mom & Dad. I don’t know if you can read the script, but it says, “Nibble with Arlene and Walt,” then she painted in a path of  tiny footprints leading up to the cute little mouse eating a piece of cheese. The footprints were an extra special touch that I adore:

“Nibble with Arlene & Walt”

Mom and Grandma weren’t the only ones to get special gifts. One year Ferne made dainty little covered dishes for my sister and  me. This is my well-worn set:

You can probably see the feint crack across the right side of the larger lid. I was devastated when I accidentally dropped and broke it when I was a teenager, but thankfully a bit of glue did the trick.

Somewhere I still have a large owl she made for us. There’s also an unsigned cake stand that I think Ferne made. It’s elegant, like Ferne herself, and done in her signature colors: off-white and pale green, with gold accents that match the gold on the Angel’s candle holders.

Needless to say I’m very careful when handling all of Ferne’s creations. I treasure each piece for different reasons, but mostly because they were were made with love. By today’s birthday girl.

Happy Birthday, Ferne!

About Paula Hendrickson

I'm a full-time freelance writer with an addiction to yarn, cooking and all kinds of crafty things. I come from a long line of creative and entrepreneurial types on both sides of the family, making creativity almost like competitive pursuit.

Posted on August 23, 2012, in Christmas, Easter, Family, gifts, heirlooms, Holidays, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Aren’t those gifts–made with love and all bound up with beautiful memories–just the best! Thanks for sharing.

    • Paula Hendrickson

      You’re welcome, Elizabeth. These are all irreplaceable items, in more ways than one.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Julie Cook Ramirez

    These are too cool! What wonderful treasures you have, Paula! If I were you, I would put them in places of honor each and every year, too.

  3. Beautiful items. We treasure these things as time goes on. I have a tureen that my mother made for me and it is precious to me.

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