For as long as I can remember and into my college years, my family made holiday gifts for friends and neighbors. In particular, I remember making candles, cookies, and ornaments. Candles and cookies we made in the kitchen, but the ornaments were made on the dining room table. We spent hours around that table with glue, sequins, beads, pins, ribbons, wood, and paint. The crafts were shoved to my end of the table when it was time to eat, and I smooshed in on my sister’s side.
Making holiday gifts is one of my most vivid childhood memories; I loved doing it.
This year, my holiday gift from myself and Mike is crafting. Okay, we’re crafting for ourselves and not others, but it’s satisfying nonetheless. On the front of our house up in the gable, we have a large octagonal cut-out in the siding intended for a piece of artwork. We’re making the glass-tile mosaic that goes in that space. The materials and the shared crafting time are what I want for Christmas.
Mike designed the piece ages ago in our cross-stitch design program. Tiles, crosses, they’re all the same. Last week we searched for glass tiles online. We purchased mosaic materials for our nephews and niece a few years ago, so we’d done some research already. Because digital color is unreliable, we checked the tiles out on both the desktop and laptop, and after a couple of hours we decided it was hopeless; we had to find a local supplier or just roll the dice.
Would you believe an Internet search turned up a shop in Wasilla? That’s more “local” than Anchorage. Arctic Mermaid Mosaics is in the garage-turned-studio of the owner’s house. Mike had business in Wasilla last week and made arrangements to visit the shop during that trip. The colors he wound up getting were indeed different from what we had selected based on digital images. So we got the colors we wanted while supporting a small local craft business. How’s that for a holiday treat?