A week or so before my first baby's due date (December 15) I went to the beauty shop so I would have a nice hairdo when I went to the hospital. While waiting to get my hair cut, I saw an article and pictures in a magazine (I think it was McCall's) about how to make Christmas elves. Tired of being pregnant and needing something to divert myself, I took some of our meager funds and bought red, gold and green felt squares, pipe cleaners, a package of small styrofoam snowballs, and glue, and for the next few days made elves.
From paper, I cut tiny triangles and little red circles and glued them to the styrofoam balls for their eyes and mouths. (I think their buttons were paper, too.) Their bodies were made from pipe cleaners, and their beards were made from cotton balls. I stitched their felt pointed hats, simple little shirts, pants, mittens and shoes on the sewing machine.
The fireplace was a piece of styrofoam; its bricks drawn on and colored with crayons. The candlesticks on top were made with red beads; the candles were pieces of pipe cleaner. The flames were cut from felt, as were the stockings. The wood in the fireplace was twigs cut from a tree outside our trailer.
For some reason, some of the elves have a slightly sinister appearance; I think it was because of the way the triangles of black paper were glued on for their eyes. Both these elves look as if they could be arguing about how many stockings to put on that fireplace, or how they should be hung.
The tree is a paper cone covered with green felt. Slits were cut along the sides to suggest the tree limbs. I had a small amount of gold lace trim and used some of the red glass beads. The elf is hanging the red beads on straight pins sticking through the tree cone. His ladder is made of pipe cleaners.
The tree is topped by a paper star coated with glue and sprinkled with gold glitter.
This elf is calling to passers-by to purchase one of his trees. These bottle-brush trees from the late 50’s, early 60’s are popular once again, I notice.
They're selling wreaths, as well, and it looks like one elf is doing all the work making the wreaths, while the other watches and enjoys his Christmas candy. This was my first experience with lycopodium. The greenery has held up remarkably to be well over forty years old!
The sign was cut from a Christmas card.
My packages were pretty primitive! One is wrapped with a piece of paper towel; the other two are just little chunks of styrofoam. A third is rolled up toweling, covered with gum wrapper silver paper and tied with red thread bows at either end. Surely they looked nicer at the time I made them!
At some point over the years, two little chairs were added for two of the elves.
Two little paper dogs were also added to the elf collection, probably by either Dana or Jeffrey, or maybe both of them. The Dachsundlike dog appears to be painted.
This one looks like it is done with brown pencil.
Well, I finished all the elves and put them on the shelf in the front of our trailer, and waited, and waited, for Dana to be born. Since she was to be the first grandchild in both our families, everyone was quite excited, and everyone came for Christmas.
From left, my sister Ann, brother Mike, my husband's sister Paula standing in front of him, and sister Kay on the right. That's our '49 Ford, fondly called The Grey Goose.
To pass the time, we played lots of games. From left, Robert's dad Paul, Mike, me, Kay, Paula, and Ann, playing Yahtzee. Robert's dad made that game board for us. We still have it somewhere out in the storeroom, I think.
And in a vacant lot across the street Mike and Ann played some passionate games of badminton!
From left, Mother, Ann, Mike, me, Kay, husband Robert standing behind Kay, mother-in-law Ruth, father-in-law Paul, and sister-in-law Paula.
I couldn't stand sitting around while everyone had so much fun playing volleyball. They were aghast when I insisted on playing, too. We compromised; I stood still and hit it if it came to me, but they would NOT let me run and jump. lol
Apparently, there is some discussion about where the boundaries are.
That's my dad's finger, the only part of him in any of the pictures. Apparently, he was the picture-taker and nobody thought to take the camera away to get a photo of him. I really regret that now.
Ironically, after several days of sitting around watching me like hawks, everyone except my mother went home. Dana was finally born on December 31. Mother could only stay for a day or two after that, and after all that company Robert and I were left to fend for ourselves with our first baby!
The elves have been stored for many years in this gift box from a shop in Austin. Notice how the corner has been patched!
The Christmas card was from some retired teacher friends, Londie and Buck, who were enjoying traveling around the country in a trailer. Its message became part of the scene at some point, too, long after both of them had passed away.
These elves are priceless reminders of a treasured family time together. Robert, Paula, and I are the only members of our families still left.
At our age we cannot lift heavy bins from the shelves in our washroom, and I am downsizing our holiday decorations. It's tough decisions. I got the elves out recently, and I think I will keep the best ones, perhaps for a little shadowbox.