Friday, December 5, 2008

carrying on the tradition...

Thanks for your wonderful response to my window display! All of your kindness and encouragement are totally nourishing. I am just as insecure and vulnerable as the next person. I was so immersed in creating this window, that I had lost any sense of objectivity and couldn't see it clearly. This display was so dear to my heart, that I have been a bit tender for the last few days... in a good way... but when your heart is wide open, it can be intimidating to share your work. I always have a bit of stage-fright before I push the publish post button, and I'm probably not alone.

My window display is dedicated to my 90 year old grandfather, who taught me the art of snowflake cutting. When I first started this blog, I always knew that I would be teaching you how to make beautiful snowflakes come December. My grandfather, wizard that he is, used to make hundreds of snowflakes every winter. He's known by so many for his beautiful snipped paper crystals and little tutorials to go with them. Every Christmas, he'd send a little snow to his granddaughter ( that would be me) in San Francisco, who didn't get to have a white winter. In the envelope, I'd find a model of a folded "ready to cut" snow flake with little directions on the dotted line: cut here. I'd also find a snowflake with a design ready for me to follow... just to get my creative juices flowing.


It's such a surprise every time you unfold a snowflake, but the magic of opening one that my grandfather had drawn just for my delight cannot be described in words. I've kept the tradition of making snowflakes alive in my little family. We make them every year and artfully display them in all of our windows throughout the winter. This little girl that did not have snow, now has more than she ever dreamed of each winter in upstate New York! I'm also the keeper of some the last snowflakes my grandfather cut. They are mounted on black paper and laminated. We bring them out each year to admire.



This one is my favorite. My grandfather is quite a character. Decades ago he stopped signing his name in writing (except for important documents) and would sign with a line drawing of himself. A friend gifted him with a personalized rubber stamp of his icon (the first avatar!) and he's used it for my entire life to sign all of his letters and notes to me. Here is his snowflake.


On to the tutorial... I'm sure my grandfather will be peeking in to see his snowflake legacy!

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27 comments:

  1. Maya, what a beautiful and moving tribute to your grandfather. We also have a family tradition of paper snowflakes and it makes me happy to share that tradition with my own children. But our flakes have never been as impressive as your grandfather's... what wonderful family treasures. And your winter window display is just as whimsical and charming as your autumn one.

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  2. oh maya..please come over and cut snowflakes with me...I'll make tea...that's all...xo

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  3. Maya your winter window display is so beautiful. What an AWESOME memory to have of your Grandmother. I use to cut them as a young girl, and tried again when my boys were young. But never was real good at it.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Debxoxo

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  4. Maya, I was very touched by your post, what an amazing tradition! Thank you for sharing with us I hope one day my grandchildren would be blogging about such special moments jutst as you have done for your grandfather!

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  5. This is amazing! And what a lovely memory to have.

    I can't wait to cut some snowflakes...

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  6. Beautiful snowflakes and very beautiful story. Your grandfather sounds very creative and fun. I sure miss mine.

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  7. aren't traditions wonderful. my children and i make snowflakes at christmas and put them all over our windows with double sided tape. i hope someday they will share this with their families.

    what an amazing snowflake your grandfather made. i see where you get your artistic and creative nature.

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  8. What a beautiful story!

    Those snowflakes are wonderful! I really like that last one (the one with your grandfather)...it's very creative!!!

    By the way...I didn't get a chance to comment on your other post but I thought the window display was awesome! I wish I could go see it in person. :)

    Have a wonderful day!

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  9. How lovely! And a perfectly-timed post for me because we're going to be cutting snowflakes today. I'm now feeling very inspired!

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  10. Hi Maya, what a special story and family tradition. Thanks for sharing!

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  11. So so wonderful. Both the snowflakes and the story.

    I am terribly inspired and planning my own snowflake blizzard here in Florida.

    I've got a blizzard of Christmas ideas blowing through my brain.

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  12. What a beautiful story of a Grandfather's love. I'm touched and encouraged to do these sorts of things with my own grandchildren.

    We've always been snowflake cutters here and I'm anxious to begin a new flock of flakes.

    Thanks for sharing.

    ~Jody

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  13. Wonderful story about your grandfather, his snowflakes are beautiful. Wanted to let you know your newspaper snowflakes really inspired me and I made some of my own last night. I hadn't made them since I was a very young child, but I found the magic of unfolding them wonderful. So thanks for the idea!

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  14. Thanks for sharing your story with us and the tutorial. How special to still have some of your grandfather's snowflakes...wow they are beautiful. I am hoping to make snowflake cutting a tradition for my family to:)

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  15. What a beautiful story about your very special grandfather. It seems there are artistic talents in every branch of your family tree. Inspired by your blog, we made colorful leaf rubbing cut-outs for our windows this fall. Now I'm slowly covering those same windows with snowflakes. Such a joy. Thank you.

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  16. Will you be making more canvas buckets for your store? I seem to keep missing them!

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  17. Thanks a bunch, I have a million and one things to do right now and I have to go cut snowflakes now!!!

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  18. ...So it's not just YOU? You're just one in a line of wonderfully creative people! Did your grandfather relate stories as well as you do, too? I must say I get a bit excited every time I see a new post from you popping up in Bloglines.

    Thanks for this touching, inspiring post. I'm off to make cardboard trees and snowflakes (in Australian summer?) with my daughter.....

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  19. Your grandfather sounds like a wonderful and unique person. Those snowflakes were beautiful.
    xox,
    Linnea

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  20. I love this story Maya. How lucky you are to be the custodian of such treasures.

    I'd have loved your grandfather I'm sure.

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  21. That's such a touching story. I am amazed that you feel vulnerable about your work, as it is always so perfect and right and beautiful. I guess in a way it is comforting to hear that others pause before showing their work too. I often feel that way.

    I also am thrilled to read the story about your paper snowflake mentor. My daughter, 27, who has never shown any artistic leaning, has started cutting snowflakes. And the people around her are asking for them. Wow!

    What a beautiful tradition.

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  22. What amazing snowflakes! The talent has obviously been passed down the generations. You have inspired me to make some with my children later.

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  23. I can't believe how beautiful these are! Your grandfather is so talented.

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  24. Amazing + Beautiful + Inspiring = Your Family.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  25. A really lovely post, and your honesty and vulnerability only make you more precious Maya! I can see the wide open heart and gift for life that has been passed down to you by your family.

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  26. awww thank you for this post! I very clearly remember this snowflake...it was so sweet to be able to show it to the girls!

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  27. those are fantastic! a wonderful memory to have of our Grandfather. such great talent!

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