I love snowflakes. I love how cheap and easy and disposable they are, especially compared to the colorful but cluttered and expensive pile of ornaments and decorations that goes up everywhere during the holidays. I also love the hands-on process of making your decorations and putting a personal touch into it (it also helps that you can do snowflakes while listening to Christmas music, watching Christmas movies, chatting with family members, etc). Finally, I love that snowflakes can stay up after Christmas, probably until April if you live here in Utah.
Despite my love for snowflakes, over the years I stopped making them. I think I was always a bit frustrated with my inability to make a consistent, decent snowflake. I used to think the point of cutting snowflakes was to do the most unique, creative, intricate patterns possible. Copying someone else’s pattern was just wrong, right? Weren’t all snowflakes supposed to be individual and unique? Unfortunately, I wasn’t very good at making those and didn’t have the time, patience, or scissors to study and improve my performance, so I ended up making the same cutting choices over and over and my snowflakes usually ended up looking like a doily that was nibbled on by ants. In addition to not looking great, they were very hard to make, and I eventually got tired of the process and let other people take over when it came to snowflake-cutting time.
However, I may have just fallen in love with snowflakes again, thanks to my discovery of Snowflakes: Creative Paper Cutouts by Cindy Higham. The book has a variety of patterns that range from simple to intricate and from cute/cheesy to traditional/classic, and gives you both the triangular pattern and the finished look. It’s really the perfect How-to-make-a-snowflake-for-dummies guide. Here are just a few things I learned:
1. I’ve been folding the paper the wrong way for most of my life. You have to hold the pointy end upside-down or something. It really does make all the difference.
2. Simple can be prettier than complicated. My favorite snowflake that I made from the book was actually one of the easiest patterns – it’s called Snow Dome and you can see it in the middle on the left side of the picture below.
3. Complicated can also be pretty. My sister used an Exacto knife to make the Cactus Grove snowflake (seen by itself in the picture below) and I am still amazed at how frosty and delicate it looks.
4. It’s okay to follow a pattern. Patterns are there for a reason. Sometimes it’s nice to let someone else handle the creative side so you can just focus on the finer points of Christmas movies and conversations without stressing out about how your snowflakes are going to turn out
5. Snowflakes tell a story! About half of the snowflakes in the book are named after some kind of animal or other (including Praying Mantis, Venus Flytrap, Crab Pincers, Iguana, etc.) and it is so fun to see all of these natural shapes transformed into a symmetrical, pretty snowflake pattern.