Friday, December 15, 2006

Shoestring Christmas: Full size Santa

The new computer came with a free printer. I'm taking advantage of its flatbed scanner to archive old family photos. I had to laugh at these shots. They show a full size Santa I made when I was living in my grandparent's old farmhouse. My then-boyfriend (now husband) had gone to visit his family, and I apparently had spare time on my hands. The funny thing is that I didn't spend a dime, then, either.

I planted a broomstick in a bucket with gravel, then duct-taped a heavy coat hanger to the top for shoulders. I dressed the wobbly armature in some of my grandfather's work clothes, accented with a fur collar and Russian hat from my grandma's closet! The head is a brown paper bag filled with newspaper. I wet sheets of tissue paper and smoothed them over the bag for a face, building up the nose and cheeks with (gulp) wads of soggy toilet paper. The beard was made of coarse baling twine trimmed and glued into place, then painted white. White was my only paint, so the rest of his face is colored with Maybelline and Revlon!

I tucked my country Santa in the curve of the original log stairs and surrounded him with other found treasures: a tiny cedar tree ornamented with red birds, a stuffed rabbit, Grandpa's walking stick, and a brown paper bag of birdseed. We added a long scroll with all the grandchildren's names. My grandpa was tickled. He even got into the act by adding a pack of Juicy Fruit to Santa's pocket and some candy bars and oranges to Santa's bag. This little corner made a great backdrop for our family's Christmas Eve party. The figure is gone now, as are my grandparents. I'm glad I have these photos to remind me of that special time. My grandparents really were Santa to us kids.


Anonymous said...

Beside your obvious artistic talent, I'm so glad you shared this sweet thing with us. I'm glad you had your grandparents little corner, if so much of the rest of the time you felt like a child peeking in everyone else's windows : ((

Where is the bucket? How'd you do the legs? Interesting juxtaposition of white beareded Santa near the portrait at the entry door..


Anonymous said...

The brown coveralls had very wide legs. The broomstick is down one pant leg, which had the bottom unzipped to fit/conceal the bucket behind it. The other leg is "false"--or stuffed with wads of newspaper. I put a pair of boots at the bottoms of the legs to fool the eye. The arms likewise, though I may have used bent coathangers to shape them inside. I know one arm was tied with thread to the banister behind it.

We always thought that portrait was creepy. My grandma bought it in Germany. I'm wondering if my brother in Korea will recognize it when he reads this post!

Anonymous said...

ha! creepy guy : ) just like a kid.

i love your creativity Meredith.


Anonymous said...

What a great memory! Hope you have lots of fun scanning your pictures. You are very clever indeed and the santa looks fantastic :)

Mom said...

How adorable! I'm in awe!

TheNormalMiddle said...

See, you've always been very resourceful! :)

How cool and what a memory!

Anonymous said...

It's very clear now who your son takes after in his artisitic ability! What a great figure and a wonderful memory. Thanks for sharing.