If you are lucky in this life, you will come in contact with someone who without even realizing it will leave a lasting imprint on your heart and family. Someone who did not waste God's given talents and did what they loved and brought joy to so many individuals. Someone, who was the creator of family traditions and precious heirlooms, whom I am sure never realized what a impact he made to so many families. That someone who I had the privilege of knowing, though briefly, was a dear man named Henry Williams.
I met Henry and his sweet wife Blanche through my Aunt LaVoice. They were dear friends to my aunt and I am so thankful she shared this very talented couple with me.
Henry and Blanche always participated in the local Senior Citizen Craft fair. They worked throughout the year on handcrafted items for the fair. Blanche made items such as Afghans, embroider work of all kinds; her speciality was pillowcases, but the most amazing craftsmanship came from Henry. Henry made Christmas Tree skirts. Christmas Tree skirts like you have never seen.
Henry's work was so wonderful and special that most never got a chance to purchase one of his tree skirts at the fair, as they were snatched up long before the fair opened by other vendors. I remember one year in particular, when the vendors were fighting over his handiwork, as he was trying to unload his car. Can you imagine, that type of behavior coming from senior citizens?
I was lucky enough, and let me stress lucky to be able to purchase several of these works of art from Henry personally. As a matter of fact, these tree skirts, which we use as table covers are a family affair throughout my family. Let me share some of these beautiful creations from this incredible man. By clicking on any photo, it will enlarge for better viewing.
This beautiful blue tree skirt belongs to my cousin, Linda. This is really a work of art, as the inside has stunning embroidery and loaded with sequins that sparkle with the spirit of Christmas.
Take a look at the exquisite detail, the added sequins and beads which was his trademark in these skirts.
"A visit with Santa" is what I call this little jewel. This beautiful tree skirt belongs to my cousin, Carie. Carie has a small child, and this is just perfect for a young family. The skirt is loaded with toys that I am sure are on the list of all good boys and girls.
Here is a close-up, notice the added beads and sequins. Look how sweet the little boy and girl are as they visit with Santa.
I don't remember too many of the square tablecloths. My cousin, Carie is the lucky owner of this adorable Tree Skirt.
Let me show you my very favorite. This was a very old tree skirt kit that belongs to my Aunt LaVoice. She had this unfinished skirt for a long time and gave it to Henry to finish for her. It fits her round table perfectly and I absolutely love this work of art. Notice again, the signature work Henry put on all his skirts, the additional beads and sequins. This was a labor of love from a very talented man.
The close-ups show the detail and charm in this skirt. I love the look on the faces of Santa and the Snowman. Plus, this one has woodland animals that I find very adorable.
Who could not love Santa and his sleigh. This wonderful skirt belongs to my Aunt LaVoice. The detail and beading on this is amazing.
Just look at all these beads and sequins sewed on by hand by a senior citizen craftsman. These table skirts not only cover the table at Christmas, but they drape over the back of a sofa or on a bed. They add a festive touch to every room.
You will just fall in love with this Christmas heirloom. This one belongs to my Aunt as well. This features a little Christmas village. What is so very special about this one is Henry personalized this skirt for my aunt. My Uncle Noah was a clock man and had a shop in the back of their home for many years. Henry turned one of the houses into a clock shop and added their name on the front. This little tree skirt is very special not only for the workmanship but the sentiment that goes with it.
I hope the close-ups give you an idea on who special these are to varies members of our family.
This is on the inside of one of the skirts. I think it is a nice added touch.
This angel is just exquisite. The detail that went into each of these is priceless. I can only imagine the hours and hours that went in to each of these wonderful Christmas skirts. This Angel designed tree skirt belongs to my Aunt as well, I messed up the photo that showed the whole skirt, but you can see the wonderful detail this one has.
This next group are from my personal collection and they are some of my most prized possessions. This teddy bear and toys skirt was the first one I purchased from Henry back in the 1980's. I love this one so much, the bears are just adorable and the work and detail is unbelievable. I have had this all the years my children were growing up and they love it as well.
Again, you can see Henry's signature bead and sequin work....he really had an eye for detail.
If I were to name this one, it would be "Christmas Eve." I purchased this one as a gift for my in laws the same time I purchased the bear skirt. When they passed away, it came home with me. This one is like none other I have seen, and the hours of work it must have taken to complete this is mind boggling. I love all the star sequins that mimic the night sky.
Henry's attention to detail is what makes the scenes come to life and are just incredible. This one actually looks like a snowy night. This type of handiwork is quickly becoming a lost art today which makes these priceless to me and my family.
Here is Santa and his toys. Henry made the bows and put them in the center of the skirt. He always added something extra to make each one unique.
The toys and Santa look so happy and festive!
Now, while I was looking for all my skirts, I found a sack, and inside the sack was this wonderful skirt that I had purchased from Henry several years ago. I had left it in the original sack, and never used it. It was just as it was the day I took it home. I was amazed that I had forgotten about this one, and I remember falling in love with this as it had woodland animals and Santa. It reminds me of the little animals in Colorado. What a gift it was to discover this one tucked safely away, new as the first day I got it.
Here is a cute little chipmunk and rabbit, and that is just what we have at the cabin and they are so much fun to feed and watch. Yes, this one is very special indeed.
Here is another close-up of the work. This one was purchased I think just before Henry stopped making these skirts due to his eyesight. It still has his signature bead and sequin work, its just not as heavily beaded as the one's he made earlier on. No matter, it still speaks of Henry to me when I look at it.
As you can tell, these little Christmas treasures are much like a bag of Lay's Potato chips....it is impossible to have just one.......one is not enough. If I could have purchased every one he made, I don't think I would have ever grown tired of them. They are truly a work of art.
Henry left this world in June of this year at the age of 94 years old. When I first met Henry, he was in his 80's. He was sewing, beading and stitching by hand, treasures that will be passed down for generations to come in my family.
What a wonderful inspiration he is to me. Henry has shown me that even in the winter season of your life, a time when so many people give-up on living, this remarkable man made a difference by doing what he loved. By doing so, his memory will live on and be remembered each and every year and his wonderful works of art will be displayed in our homes.
When I think of Henry....I think of the true spirit of Christmas......and a man, who by giving of himself will continue to bring Christmas cheer every year. That is a remarkable legacy to leave behind.