Apple and nuts - The sixteenth door

Nine years ago I talked about the history of the Christmas tree on this blog and how, before the invention of the glass bauble, sugar cookies, "Springerle", apples, and nuts were the choice of decorations for the tree.

Of course my first thought was to make some Springerle of my own, after all it's a custom still held dear in my area ... but not by me, and it was a very short thought and very long and loud laughter afterwards. I don't bake and not even the baking members of my family have ever made Springerle if I recall that correctly.
That also ruled out the sugar cookies. I would probably have eaten them instead of hanging them on the tree, anyway.
So apples and nuts it had to be.
I scrounged some walnuts off my neighbors and went to the old garden/deco/crafts shop here in town and got myself an artificial apple (just one for starters in case it didn't work out).
My plan for the walnuts was to "gild" them using a set I had on my birthday wishlist (just to show you how early I've started preparing this calendar, there's six months between my birthday and Christmas and this wasn't my first project), the plan for the apple was something in gold wire, beads, maybe pearls, inspired by the Snow White apple I had made for a customer some years ago.

The project didn't start out too well.
The nuts didn't only open along the two halves, but also had grooves through both halves that started opening up. After preparing the first nut - opening it, glueing in a wire and putting the halves back together - I noticed a crack on one side. No, it hadn't been I, the nut practically came apart just from my looking at it. As I still had the glue in hand, I put a little on the crack hoping it would be okay.

The next day I started with the gilding.
If glitter is the herpes of the craft world, leaf metal is at least its little brother. I may not be a natural at this on non-flat surfaces ;-)
After a little cursing because the nut kept slipping from my fingers, I had applied the gilding milk, let it dry and put on the gold. If I mention glitter, that is due to gold leaf flitters settling on my floor, hands, and table when I brushed off excess leaf. I put the nut on a hook, so the gold could dry.
The apple was a bit more difficult as I had to turn it in my hand while applying the gilding milk (which is really sticky!) and later the gold leaf. Other than the nut, I didn't gild it completely and added specks here and there to give it a vintage look.
The next day I put on the layer of varnish to protect the gold. That sounds easier than it was (non-flat surfaces!).

Some time later, I finally ordered some gold wire that I had run out of (fun fact, I hadn't and the gold wire I ordered had a completely different hue than I could tell from the picture, an absolute no go) and prepared to open the other two nuts, so I could get this project finished.
Ha! One of them put up such a fight that it ended up in the trash. There were cracks everywhere, just not along the seam (can you call it that on a walnut?).
The last one went apart in three pieces, but I glued it together and quickly regretted even trying. No idea why because the process was exactly the same, but some spots on that nut kept repelling the gold leaf. It did give it kind of a vintage touch, an old inherited nut. Maybe I could add some old ribbon to enhance that look? My brain started ticking while I put on the varnish.
Guess what, the varnish turned green in the spots where I had very carefully placed it on a glass container to dry all the way - of course only after the varnish was dry to the touch - and at the bottom, but only there. I don't have the slightest idea why, but what I knew now was that this nut actively hated me, and even if it sounds very silly, I hated the nut right back.

When my gold wire arrived, it was time to think of something for the apple because of course - and I'm writing this with a big eyeroll - I had to put my extra touch on this.
Even though the hue was wrong, I started crocheting a disk as a base, but after a few rows
I knew it just wouldn't do. Maybe I had some red wire left in one of my tins? Wait! Was that gold wire? Turned out the color was good, but the gauge was wrong.
I started tiring of this project that seemed to be fighting me all the way, but still didn't want to settle for a speckly gilt apple, and then I remembered the pearl pins in my supply drawer. They had been meant for something else that got put on the backburner and the pearls were rather big ... the biggest snowflakes you will ever see on a Christmas apple ... it started to look like a mix between a fly agaric and an apple .. and know what ... I didn't care anymore.
I added a red ribbon and declared this project to be finished, if I like the outcome or not. (I hate it.)

Let's end this on a positive note, however. At least the first nut turned out nice :-D
That's your reward if you made it all the way to the end. Thank you for bearing with me, I felt
sometimes you have to talk about your fails as well.


  1. Ack! I will never gild anything. What a pain. But your one and only surviving nut looks fantastic!


    1. Maybe I should have done a first test run on something flat *lol* But I have to admit I was between madwoman laughter and total mental breakdown a lot ;-)
      On the other hand, I could use it on the dolphin I repaired for my friend and it worked quite nicely on that!

    2. Art is always an experiment! Ha!


    3. Yeah, not sure the word "art" is appopriate for a voodoo apple and a green nut, mwahahaaa

  2. I wouldn't call any part of this project a fail. Challenging, sure, but a fail, no way! The nut is gorgeous and I actually like the green one too and the apple is quite appealing to me. Good job all around! :) Dawn

  3. You are weird and I love you for it :-D
    I still can't help but wondering, though, what happened to that nut?? I'll have to find someone who knows more about chemistry than I.