To celebrate this first day of 55 Days of Vintage Christmas, I can't think of a more perfect item to feature than these incredible vintage-inspired ornaments lovingly handmade by Karen Serrie, of Midwest Maude.
Karen commented on one of my blog posts many months ago, and I clicked over to her blog and saw these GORGEOUS ornaments. I was smitten! I was also smitten with Karen's style - she is seriously a girl after my own mod/vintage/color-loving heart. I contacted her and told her how MUCH I loved her products and she said that they would be available in her shop soon! I knew I wanted to feature her work here. She kindly agreed to do an interview with me and I'm happy to share that with you today.
Karen, you shared with me that you took quite a bit of time to develop your line of ornaments. I have to say that I love that! So often I see people rushing to get a line out just to have it out. In our world today, everything is instant and in a hurry and unfortunately that extends to product development, even in the handmade industry. It makes me sad and usually you can tell if a line has been rushed. Please tell me about your process of developing your line and how it came to be.
I spent 2 and a half years developing this line of ornaments! It's really hard to believe, but I did have a lot going on during that time. I had a cross country move and a new baby and another pregnancy in the middle of designing the ornaments.
In the beginning, I spent a lot of time developing my personal design style. After working on established brands in the corporate world, it took me some time to separate my personal design work from what I did for others. I created a style guide that incorporated things I love. Inspirations from vintage crafts, vintage fashion, bohemian modern design and kitschy accessories. My plan was to develop three ideas and open an Etsy shop with Christmas ornaments, wall hangings, and shelf accessories. Early on, I had an aha moment with the ornaments, so I started there.
I wanted to design a line of ornaments for some time now, because I just love the Christmas holiday and I adore handmade vintage ornaments, which are incredibly hard to find! When I was little, our family Christmas tree was adorned with unique and handmade and gifted ornaments, and I remember making a set of wood cut out ornaments with my mom. It was a set of traditional shapes with a Santa, a tree and a rocking horse and a few pots of paint in red, green, yellow, and blue. I combined that basic idea with design inspiration from Enid Collins handbags, and vintage pendant necklaces and accessories from the late 60s, and the idea of making something lovely enough to be in an Anthropologie store.
It took me about 6 months to develop the designs for the wood shapes, and countless hours of experimenting with embellishments, paints and stains and glues, sourcing materials, designing the packaging, and the daunting task of photographing all of my ornaments. And, learning how to design a blog on top of all that!
Even though this whole process has been a lot of work, it is truly a labor of love. I really enjoy crafting with my hands, and designing things that I love, and hopefully others will find some enjoyment in them.
Thank-you Karen for sharing your gorgeous work with us.