In 2013, we had a white elephant party for Christmas. My family gathered in my grandma’s Florida home and we all brought silly gifts to the party. I ended up with an “Enticingly Eccentric Gnomes” kit. It came with a booklet and felt materials. I loved to write but I rarely created anything physically tangible. I could sew a little bit though and the patterns seemed easy enough to follow.
On Christmas night, my grandma and I stayed awake late drinking coffee and talking like we usually did. I had only been reconnected with this side of the family for 3 years and I cherished these late nights with my grandma. She would tell me stories of her life, our family, generally philosophy, and everything in between.
This night, I thought that I would multitask and try to make a gnome. I wanted to make an ornament for the Christmas tree like we had done as young children. I wanted to have a little part of me on her tree, to be nestled alongside the ornaments made by my cousins and other treasures that decorated her tree.
I asked my grandma for trace paper, sewing kit, scissors, and glue. I chose the ninja gnome since the provided felt material best matched the pattern. As my grandma spoke, I started to create this strange, little gnome and something happened to me. I found a quiet space inside and a fascination that I was creating something with my own hands. As I cut the materials and hand sewed them together, I felt like I was somehow sewing pieces of myself together- my grandma’s stories in my ear and the soft light of the Christmas tree lights glowing around us.