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Saturday, November 27, 2010


A few years ago, I made a lot of these little men, (they paid for my kids' Christmas for quite a few years) and this last summer my daughter asked if I would make one for her Christmas gift. I haven't made any for awhile because they are a lot of work and they are not a day project.  My daughter came to visit for Thanksgiving and so I have been busy trying to get this Belsnickle finished so she could take it home with her.
So, what is a Belsnickle you ask? These little men originated in Germany and they take their name from
Pelz-Nickolaus which means "St. Nicholas in fur."
In the German communities, usually a neighborhood farmer would dress up with furs, pelts and perhaps a mask made of papier -mache and chicken wire.  Then he'd make the rounds of the local houses rattling chains and throwing pebbles at the windows.  He carried goodies for the children in his sack, but he also carried switches and threatened to smack any children who hadn't been good.

These are inspired from the German legend of Belsnickles.

He has his bundle of switches.

I make the faces from clay and sculpt and paint each face. I have not been able to make the same little man twice, but that is half the fun, deciding what kind of wrinkly face each one should have.

This one has quite the wrinkles. I have made some of them with the beard from horse hair, but this one's beard and hair was made from wool.

His coat is made from real leather and fur. (Don't worry it has been up cycled.)

His little boots are made from leather and eyelets.

His belt was made from a tiny buckle. His clothes from up cycled wool and sweaters.

 I try and find little miniature toys and trinkets for him to carry.

Yes, they are a lot of work, but very rewarding when you get to see the finished project. I'm hoping my daughter will love them as much as I do and you know it isn't really Christmas without a Belsnickle in the house!


Mel said...

What are you still doing up? I LOVED and LOVE these Santas. I think it is because of their faces and fur and little trinketts, so I guess everything! You will have to make me one one of these Christmas's. Probably when we get settled down somewhere, because I keep finding things that have gotten broken in our move.

Beth Adams said...

How adorable! What a great mother you are for making this guy for your daughter. Massive talent also with the face. Thanks for linking up to Wickedly Crafty Saturdays!

Melissa said...

Those are amazingly detailed and beautiful. I can't imagine the amount of work. And I know I could never sculpt the face!!

Jamie said...

I remember those! What a talented woman you are. Your kids are lucky to have you for a mother, and I'm lucky to have you for an aunt!

Regina said...

I LOVE these and the story behind them. I am a true Santa believer and am a Santa maker myself.
So happy I found your blog at Beth's party.


Sue said...

The whole Santa is incredible, but especially his face! You are uber talented! :)

Merry Makes.. said...

This is definitely NOT an easy peasy project! The detail is fantastic. And it's good to know you are upcycling materials, too.

Amanda said...

I just wanted to stop by and let you know that I linked to this post today from the Home & Garden channel at Craft Gossip. :)

Your feature will appear in the main Craft Gossip RSS feed, on the main home page and can be found directly here

If you would like a "featured by" button, you can grab one here!

Debbie@Debbie-Dabble said...

Magnificent!! You are truly talented!!
I am so loving this beautiful creation of yours! I am sure your daughter will be thrilled and cherish it with all her heart!!

Debbie @ A Debbie-Dabble Christmas

Debbie@Debbie-Dabble said...

Me again!! Thanks for stopping by!!
From one RN to another RN!!


Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

It looks like a lot of work and time goes into this, but he is beautiful!

Designs By Pinky said...

Oh MY GOODNESS!!!!!!!!!!!! I have been collecting Santas for YEARS, mostly handmade. These are gorgeous!!!! I wish I could order one from you!!!!!!!! I got 4 big Santas from a lady in Texas, one a year for 4 years.They are all a different "Father Christmas". 2 are Polish, 1 Italian, and 1 I call my Regal Santa cause he has a real fur coat! I will be posting them so please stop by my blog when you can!!!!!!! XO, Pinky

☞ ⒶⓃⓃⒺ ☜ said...

I am truly impressed!!! I've always wanted to make something like this, but just not sure I've got what it takes to make it look like I envision!

Kristen @ said...

wow you are super talented!! Thanks so much for linking up to Handmade Tuesdays @ Ladybug Blessings!

bookaddict4real said...

You are the best and thank you for linking up with

Debbie said...

Absolutely LOVE this little man!! I can see that it's a lot of work to make one, but I can also see why people would buy them!!! You are very talented!!! Tooooo cute. BTW, found you through "Yesterday On Tuesday". Stop by and visit me if you get a chance!

AllieMakes! said...

Wow! He is SUPER detailed! I hope your daughter LOVES him!
Thanks for linking up to Making It With Allie! I can't wait to see what you have for next week!

Beth Adams said...

Poof on over & grab an I've Been Featured button Hon, cause you've been featured!

Brambleberry Cottage said...

Donene, your creativity has no end! I'm always impressed with your fabric creations. And now, I see that you have amazing sculpting ability, as well. WOW!!!

Thanks for linking your creative talent to my party each week.

Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage

Meg said...

What a fun story! I can't believe you make these by hand! They look so wonderful. Great job!!

Hope you can join my stocking stuffer giveaway going on now!


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