We couldn’t possibly have a holiday artisan q & a session without talking to THE Christmas artisan herself, Cackie Trippe McCarty. You’ve seen those exquisite Christmas wreaths made out of vintage ornaments?  All handcrafted by Cackie. Earlier this December, Cackie traveled with us on our Trip of a Lifetime: Into the Snow Forest to scour the Christmas Markets of Europe with hopes of finding unique items for next year’s wreaths. We don’t want to betray anyone’s trust or privacy, but if you’re wondering whether or not someone on the trip was stopped at multiple airport security checkpoints and questioned on the several round, bubble-wrapped spheres hidden in her luggage and on her person – the answer is yes. ; )

For our next Q & Holid-AY: Cackie Trippe McCarty of Glittermoon Cards

Tell us a story about ONE of your favorite ornaments:
On this trip of a Lifetime, I had the chance to visit a German Christmas Shop I have wanted to go to for many years: Kåthe Wohlfahrt, and that brought to mind this story. One of my parents’ dear friends was what I would call a “supreme” Christmas lover. She had a deep faith and a true joie de vivre around the holidays. For years, I had reveled in her Christmas tree decorations. We enjoyed traveling together to a Christmas Shop; nobody else had the burning desire to join us. In the early 1990s ,she got the chance to visit Germany – at this point she was well into her 80s and not in terrific health. When she got home, she sent me a package. In it was a beautiful glass ornament that she had purchased on her trip – she brought it home on her lap during the plane ride home. It’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. Sadly, Mrs Turner is gone now but I think of her and her special gift when I place that precious ornament on my tree every year. (Editor’s Note: You may all stop reading for a moment to go find some tissues and compose yourselves.)

What was one of the first pieces you ever made?:
Ha! I can’t remember the various art projects I did as a kid (probably for good reason!), but the first ornament wreath I made was from treasured ornaments that had broken but I could not bear to throw away. Many of them were early Radkos, which were not only expensive but had personal meaning because of where I got them or who gave them to me.

What’s your favorite holiday tv special or movie?
Actually, I have to watch both It’s A Wonderful Life AND Christmas Vacation for it to be “officially” Christmas.

What’s a childhood holiday tradition that you’ve carried into adulthood?:
We had loads of traditions and I was fortunate to have had practically Dickensian Christmases as a child. With both our parents and grandparents gone now, probably the two most important things for me are to attend church on Christmas Eve and have family together for Christmas dinner. All the rest is pure gravy.

What advice would you give Neighbors looking to DIY this holiday season?:
Do not get stressed out worrying about doing everything! It has taken me a long time to realize that it’s not about being perfect – it’s about being present.

That being said, we saw a genius idea in Salzburg on our Trip of A Lifetime: Into the Snow Forest – a tree decorated in ornaments that were made from used Nespresso cups. They took the foil tops and pinned them to a ball (probably styrofoam) creating a vibrant and fun ornament (that also qualifies as earthy friendly). In addition they took the cups and strung them to look like little bells hanging on the tree. The result was charming.

I am not a coffee drinker but I am going to try this idea with the foil tops from wine bottles. If you want, dress it up with sequins, glitter, and pearls to create a Fauxbergé ornament with a big bang but very little expense or time.

by Heather Sadlemire

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I remember Mrs Turner and am so glad she treasured you! What a lovely walk down memory lane! Thanks for the inspiring words.

Diane Barba

I have one old glass ornament from my parent’s first tree (1950), and one from my grandparent’s tree. They remain on stands in my cabinet year round.