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Carolyn's Nativity

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From Crèche Enthusiast Carolyn Loshbaugh — who wouldn't know what to do without X-Acto knives, trimmers, paint, and rulers — comes a nativity sheet to cut-out and assemble…


[I]Thirteen pieces may be arranged to create this vintage nativity scene.



 
 [B]The original nativity sheet./B]
So what do you do when you're in the presence of the majestic Grand Tetons, but holed up at Jackson Lake Lodge because of the rain?

Open the picture window curtains wide, get cosy in an easy chair, and blog on your new iPad, of course!

It's been an exhilarating trip through the Rockies, Arches National Park, and Salt Lake City with its beautiful stained glass windows of The Cathedral of the Madeleine.

While in Salt Lake, you had hoped to meet your friend Jennifer Hooton, who has shared her vintage nativities on Crechemania.com's Free Downloads. But last Friday was the last day of school, and Jennifer could not take time off.

With Jennifer and her downloads in your mind — and time on your hands because of the rain — here you are blogging about another enthusiast who has just shared her vintage Christmas Diorama "The Nativity."

She's a woman of at least as many talents as pseudonyms. "Here's the mystery on my names," she explains. "Carolyn Loshbaugh (my real name) aka 'Maddie," — my favorite doll — and 'Hobbes,' — my cat I enjoyed for 20 years. He would have loved chewing up my nativities, I think. My new cat, Peppebox certainly does!

"I'm also known as 'Dolliemouse.' 'Dollie', was my grandmother's name; and I really love my computer 'mouse,' which enables me to enjoy paper even more."

By any name — Maddie Hobbes, Dolliemouse, or Carolyn Loshbaugh — her words touch the heart: "My gratefulness belongs to you, Alexis," she writes in one of her comments on this blog, "for you have opened a world I would have never seen except for the beautiful photography, music, and rich expression of words that lift me into God's heavenly realm. Thank you again for a wonderfully rewarding spiritual experience. — Carolyn."

Carolyn's Vintage Nativity Download
"I have attached a vintage one-page punch-out crèche dated 1951 by Premium Specialties of Chicago, IL," Carolyn writes. "The attachment is scanned at a high resolution (360 dots-per-inch), and was color-corrected with Adobe Photoshop Elements since the original is darker due to the acidic nature of the cardboard paper on which it was printed.

"You may already have this crèche, but if not I thought it would perhaps be nice to include an American-made nativity in the Free Downloads on Crechemania.com."

 
 "I only had one paper creche which I highly treasured for 38 years before finding out there were others out there." — Carolyn's first 1972 Hallmark Nativity.
"I have had a love of all kinds of paper since I was a small child. Cutting, pasting, folding, graphics, textures, colors, art, all are an integral part of who I am. What would I do without Exacto Knives, trimmers, paint and rulers?

"Making and creating miniatures for my dioramas is my passion. I make dioramas for every season and holiday. I use many forms of paper to create my other miniatures, so making the paper crèches in miniature fits into my love of paper miniatures in general.

"I have had a love of all kinds of paper since I was a small child. Cutting, pasting, folding, graphics, textures, colors, art, all an integral part of who I am. What would I do without Exacto Knives, trimmers, paint and rulers?

"I am a collector and creator at heart. I appreciate so much the artistic talent of ancient, vintage, and modern artists. Our ability to create is what God meant when He said we were created in His image. All our creativity delights God, I believe, and creating something beautiful that honors Him, like the crèches, is almost a form of worship and respect.

"I only had one paper creche which I highly treasured for 38 years before finding out there were others out there. Now that I found your site — the downloads are wonderful! — and know they are out there, I am trying to locate and purchase more paper nativities.

"I'm hoping I can make a Christmas tree in miniature (about 12 inches or so) and decorate it with tiny creches and candles like your Crèche Tree which is amazing and respectful of the true meaning of Christmas. I just loved that when I saw it!

"My 'bio' started with you, Alexis. I had only one paper nativity to my name. I purchased it in 1972 from Hallmark, cut it out, used a brown marker on the stark white edges, and set it up for Christmas. I loved it. I did collect other nativities which were loved, but none so loved as my "paper" one. It was the first item I would put up, and often left it long after Christmas was over, never knowing until last year that there were hundreds more of these "out there."

"I have loved paper all of my life, and saved every bit I found as though it were the most precious of possessions. At school, I would ask the teacher if I could take home all the scraps from our art projects which had been thrown in the trash.

"When very young (early 50's) I took my weekly allowance to a crowded one-room store owned by a crotchety old lady. "Don't you break anything," she would holler. "Don't you kids dare steal from me or I'll get you!" It was daunting, but - she had colored paper on a shelf. I would pick out from her stock the colors I needed - two or three cents per page. I'd race home on my bike to make pictures, paper birds, baskets, paper dolls, weavings, etc., from my paper. My mother about lost it when I came home from college and asked her, "Do you know where that blue piece of paper is that I had in my 2nd drawer?"

"More recently, I found pleasure in creating miniatures on the computer which print out on paper for doll houses, doll settings and dioramas. One day I decided to go on line and look for "miniature paper nativities." I was looking for something really simple, one piece, that I could incorporate into my paper Christmas decorations for a doll house. What I discovered was a whole new world of paper projects waiting deliciously on your web site. When I opened a blog, the Gregorian Chant overwhelmed me, and I burst into tears. The Nativity and paper, combined with my love for God, were a fabulous fit! They filled me with His presence, love, and a sense of purpose as I began downloading and seeking to learn how to preserve these beautiful creations.

"I began looking for paper nativities everywhere! I figured out how to search successfully on eBay, and although my income is tiny, started where I could. Just like a kid again, I was putting back money to save for the big ones I really wanted such as Kubasta. I only have one real Kubasta so far - and would say that his are in my "favorites" category, especially those with snowflakes. Kubasta really hooks my inner "kids."


 
 Navajo Nativity for Children by Carolyn Loshbaugh. 
"Right after signing up for Crechemania in January of 2009, Svatava Vizinova contacted me saying she would like to trade with me for "cribs." I told her I only had one, but I would make a copy and send her a pdf of it. What she sent back to me was overwhelmingly intoxicating! I found myself sitting at the computer day and night, learning how to scan, learning techniques on Photo Shop, then putting what she sent me into pdf's so that she could share with others to keep this awesome European tradition from literally disintegrating, as paper does with the old acidic printing process.

"At this date, I have approximately 75 nativities which I have purchased, and many more which were sent to me as jpgs or pdfs from wonderful Crechemania friends. I chose to send the Premium Specialties creche because it was made in the USA way back in my childhood in 1951. Although the figures look like the traditional European stereotypes, the barn had a definite "Wyoming" look to it (that's where I grew up). I've never seen another one like it anywhere.

"I'm still in love with paper, Alexis, still in love with this new adventure, and especially in love with the awesome spiritual sense illustrating the only time in history God became one of us. The best part is that I am understanding God more and more as I continue this new spiritual journey, all the while respectfully appreciating the many hands that have uniquely forged and kept this wonderful custom of affordable nativities alive."

You'll enjoy reading more about Carolyn and her remarkable The Navajo Nativity for Children in our Enthusiasts pages…

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