Letter from the Editor

Jane Hawes

Dear Columbus parents,

When Olivera Bratich's latest Hands On project came in (she's the owner of Clintonville's Wholly Craft store and the genius behind our monthly crafts column), I had one of those déjà vu leaps back to childhood.

Pinecone craft projects occupy a special place in my memories. In fact, both my husband and I have Christmas pinecones we decorated at single-digit ages, and they still go on the tree every year. Our kids are likewise compiling a trove of handmade ornaments that they know I'll never toss (though - yes, kids - I am well aware I am a little quick to toss many other things, so sue me).

When I think back to some of the projects I undertook, whether at school, home or during a Brownies meeting, I marvel at the array of toxic and/or flammable substances we were allowed to handle "back in the day." One beautiful project still stands out in my mind: Using circles of pale-green tutu material that Mrs. Melot, our 2nd grade art teacher, had cut out in increasing sizes, we got to hand sew a line of thread into each circle's inner edge and pull it tight to create a small tutu (handing 7- and 8-year-olds a needle and thread is the first detail I marvel at now). But it got better.

We then sewed tiny gold ornaments on the outer edges of our mini-tutus and then (alert the authorities), we slid them down the "trunk" of a green candle to create a fluffy, tutu Christmas tree. Mrs. Melot sent them home with us with the warning that we were not to light the candle. While our parents were as wowed as we were by what we had created, I think they were more wowed that none of us had in fact tried to see why we shouldn't light the candle. My tutu tree lasted until the year it got stored in a box next to an attic window where the summer heat melted the candle.

These are the kinds of stories, though, that go with every handmade ornament or decoration that your family creates, and I hope this year brings with it many opportunities for you to be creative together. Maybe, in fact, this is the year I wow my kids and rebuild my tutu Christmas candle.

Have a wonderful holiday season, Columbus parents!