Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Handmade Nativity

I was going to leave this blog until a bit closer to the festive season but after reading Nikki's ( blog about Handmade in Melbourne and on the urging of Peta ( I decided to blog about my hand made nativity while the inspiration was upon me.
Last year I was having difficulty locating a special Christmas gift for my friend Sonia. Usually by about August / September I have my pressies under control but with October beckoning I was still scouting around with frustration. In the past we have exchanged boxes of beautiful decorations and Christmas related stuff as we both appreciate a home decked with boughs of holly etc, but none of the available bling was giving me the signal that I needed to buy it.

On an unrelated visit to Winterwood I came across a doll making kit for the 3 kings in the nativity and so the handmade Nativity Christmas gift idea was born. The first item of business was to translate the instructions using google translate - yippee for the computer age! and once I'd got the gist of the making of the dolls the fun began. I made all of the heads for the dolls - 9 in total and then I was a bit freaked out and not sure that I could make the bodies and the clothes so I started to make the animals of the nativity - the easy part.

The 3 camels were followed by sheep and lambs, a donkey, and a bull (didn't have a pattern for an oxen), cow and calf. I was getting many a strange look from work colleagues as to what I was sewing and many questions as to the length of time this nativity was taking to make and comments that it would have been quicker and easier just to by one, and after a bit of explaining about the beauty and uniqueness of handmade gifts some got the idea ... and some didn't - but that's OK they will continue to be exposed to the handmade idea for many years to come and maybe it will eventually.

(Sorry photos are a bit dark - taken before blogging)

And then it was back to finishing off the people. Using cones for the body bases I made the clothes and put them on before sticking the head in place. This allowed me to poke the un-hemmed neck holes into the cone and not be seen, because by this stage the sewing machine and I were having a somewhat strained relationship - it would bite my finger / sew in the wrong place / in the wrong stitch etc and I would swear at it ... some of you would know the feeling.

By December 20th I had done all that I could and it was with much satisfaction, joy and some sadness (I had really come to love all of the things that I had made for the Nativity) I carefully wrapped each item.

First there were the Shepherds, sheep and lambs.

The Red King

The Blue King

The Green King

And finally Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus.

This little Nativity is one of the best gifts I have given. It has been much appreciated and loved for the fact that it was made by hand with a specific intention to bring joy at Christmas.


  1. Oh wow Sam. That is amazing. I can only imagine the love that went into making it but I do know the time that it would have taken. That is a great effort to have that made ina few months. No wonder it is one of the best gifts you have given... did a little part of you want to keep it?

  2. Oh yes, more than a little part of me wanted to keep it! But I was strong ... and a little tearful and those patterns in my sewing bag are to become my very own handmade nativity over the next few months.

  3. Unbelieveable work. Nikki pointed me over here to have a look, because I want to have a handmade nativity for my boys... frankly I think I'll just have to commission you to do one, it's so beautiful!