One of the best things about the holidays is that I always feel compelled to create at least one handmade something. And even though things get crazy and life becomes hectic, I’m not really satisfied with my Christmas unless I do this. Usually, it’s the perfect way to have “forced play” which most people forgo when they are caught up in the day to day of work and holiday prep. Admittedly, I begin to dread some of the process… the “what will I do this year” part mostly, and then the “when will I find the time” part secondly. I will normally just decide that some quiet Christmas music and a few nights that are slightly later than usual will do the trick and soon I’m happily crafting away at whatever I’ve chosen to do. I used to bake like a madwoman, but then everyone started baking and it was just too much. The fun part about baking was that we would always try to find a new container that started with the letter B. Frank and I went through baskets, bowls, buckets, bags and barrels before we decided to alter our tactics. That’s when I found polymer clay. I began making ornaments, nativities and jewelry and I was hooked. One year, I was working on holiday ornaments for my sisters while my daughter was at rehearsals for the Baltimore Opera Company’s production of Hansel and Gretel and when the other mom’s saw what I was doing, I found myself overwhelmed with orders for ornaments. I practically paid for Christmas gifts that year! I even had the lead performer (Theodora Henslowe) send her assistant down to order gingerbread men pins to commemorate her performance in the Opera. I was flattered! I’ve made other kinds of items, but my heart keeps bringing me back to polymer clay. I find it calming and stimulating all at the same time and I have to hope I won’t ever lose my enthusiasm to create my little friends.