Scandinavian Star

My father was a geologist.

And with every trip and every car ride and every journey to a new state or mountain range or coastline, it was inevitable that he would excitedly exclaim and point and swerve the car to the edge of the road to show us an outcropping.

Or layer of shale.

Or a metamorphic or an igneous or a sedimentary rock.

And with great protests and eye rolls and shared glances, we would all stop what we were doing and begrudgingly listen to the rock lecture.

With an extra helping of grudgingly.

Scandinavian Star DIY

He would map out those journeys and geologic explorations and sedimentary rock patterns in great detail.

And when he passed away we found his painstakingly drawn maps covered with notations and arrows and explanations tucked away in the attic.

Just looking at those maps brings back a road trip like it was yesterday.

I can hear his voice.

I can see his enthusiasm.

I can feel his heart beating in every line.

Scandinavian Star Good Luck

And that’s where those maps were destined to stay, gathering dust in someone’s attic.

A lifetime of work keeping company with old boxes of clothes and broken-down furniture.


Until my sister found them.

And remembered the legacy.

Scandinavian Good Luck

She took one of the maps that had been tucked away in a box.

And from that single solitary map she clipped and cut and shaped and formed these Scandinavian stars for each one of us.

A traditional Scandinavian Christmas decoration.

A symbol of cheer and good luck.

Scandinavian Star Project DIY

Each a piece of art.

Each a beautiful creation in its own right.

And that would have been an amazing present all on its own.  But when you place the stars together something incredible happened.

You could see the rest of the journey.

You could see the path our father traveled.

A little piece of those long-ago road trips…..

…..with a heartbeat in every line. 🙂

PS  If you want to create a keepsake from something on your own journey, here’s instructions to make your own.

PPS  This is installment number 1 in the handmade Christmas present series.

I’m just getting started. 🙂

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Yvonne Shafer Yvonne Shafer

    Wow! What a wonderful way to carry on your dad's legacy! The stars are fabulous and obviously made with love. BTW, my favorite geologic formation is the Niagara Escarpment! Cheers and happy New Year!

  2. Image for Lanita Anderson Lanita Anderson

    Oh wow....what a wonderful gift and a wonderful way to remember your father! I've been looking forward to your homemade Christmas gift posts, and this one definitely did not disappoint! Looking forward to more.... Happy New Year, Sweet Friend!

  3. Image for beverlee beverlee

    I love your family. Truly what our forefathers were, and with the innovative creativity our country was built on. Xo

  4. Image for Velia Velia

    What a lovely gift that was created so loving from memories so precious to your family. Sometimes the simplest gifts that have special meaning in our hearts, we cherish the most.

  5. Image for Pinky Pinky

    This is so beautiful, the star and the story behind it. What a treasure of memories for you. This is so, so special. Happy new year Kari Anne!!!

  6. Image for Terri Terri

    I ..... LOVE..... THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What an amazing and precious story... Sweet family heritage... Thank you Karianne.... looking forward to installment #2!! The table your brother made and that story brought me to tears and smiles... and more tears... and now this story!!!! Sweeeeeeeeeeeet!!

  7. Image for Cindy Cindy

    What a wonderful story:) I've been making these since I was a kid! My mother used to make them, and now I guess it's my turn:) We make ours from wood canes, and I use them in all sorts of ways. If you get a chance, come see them on the blog- Basket Weave Snowflakes:) I hope you and your family have a wonderful new year!

  8. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    It must be so exciting to open one of your siblings presents...not knowing what delightful, but meaningful surprise, is under covers, and about to be discovered! Those snowflakes are fantastic, not only for the skill it took to make them....but for the symbolism that is always there...always! ;)

  9. Image for Brenda Kula-Pruitt Brenda Kula-Pruitt

    A tribute like no other I've ever read. And a beautiful, heartfelt one. No longer in the attic in a box gathering dust, but where you can see his work. His life work right there for you to enjoy. Brenda

  10. Image for Barbara Barbara

    Beautiful and with such meaning behind it! Beautiful story- love it. Thanks for including the instructions:) Think I'll give it a try! Can't wait for the rest of your family's presents!!

  11. Image for Diane Diane

    Such a beautiful story and made me cry missing my own Dad. Now those memories of yours will never be lost with time but resurrected each holiday when you hang those stars!

  12. Image for Pat Pat

    A beautiful Christmas gift from your talented sister and what an awesome way to remember your Dad along with memories of trips and his stories..... I know you will cherish it always!

  13. Image for Toni Toni

    I hope you know that you are blessedbto be from such an amazingly creative family!!! I love your tradition of handmade gifts!

  14. Image for Chris Chris

    I’ve always thought a part of what makes Christmas so special to many is the memories it brings up because of treasured ornaments used over and over from years past. This is such a lovely tribute to your Dad that will give you pause each year to smile and remember your road trips together. Beautiful story, beautiful gift. Homemade gifts are priceless.

  15. Image for Kathryn Kathryn

    Love this! Both the gift of the legacy - to be able to have something in your hand and tell future generations, and how your sister turned it into another gift. Beautiful!!

  16. Image for Pat Pat

    I do believe one of the greatest gifts we can give or receive is a memory intertwined with love. You have been blessed mightily (sp?). Beautiful story.

  17. Image for Angie M Angie M

    As I was reading, I kept thinking how beautiful that star is. How special and delicate. Then I read what it is made from and my eyes teared up. It's far more special than it even looks. Perfect gift!

  18. Image for Anne Anne

    That is really amazing. I so often think about your family and your beautiful and thoughtful gifts and wish my family was more like that. I come from gift card who scoff at my thoughtful or handmade gifts, but it brings me so much joy to see your family exchanging all of these meaningful memories.

  19. Image for Janice Janice

    We were on a ferry today coming to Salt Spring Island and I saw a star just like yours in a display case and I thought how lovely it looked and I would love to make one. I am having trouble downloading the PDF from Instructables. I have signed up and I log in but seem unable to download. Do you have any advice? Thanks!

  20. Image for Kris Kris

    This has layers and layers of Wonderful in it. Your dad would have appreciated one of our summer camping trips--we took the kids to northern Michigan and looked for Petosky stones--bet you're curious now! :)

  21. Image for Alice hanson Alice hanson

    KariAnne, I am so happy you started the wonderful handmade Christmas gifts. I look forward to those posts each time. I just love your family and all of its creativity! Looking forward to the next installment! Smiles, and happy new year.

  22. Image for Gwen Gwen

    This made me get a lump in my throat. And tear up. What a treasure of his intelligence in all his notes. I'd like to if I were his child take the map and go on the journey and re-examine all he had recorded. For you see I grew up where there were no rocks. Except the gravel hauled in for the country roads. And so I'd be fascinated to learn and see as driving along from a master... Is it a plan for a jaunt before your own kids are way too old?

  23. Image for prince snow farm prince snow farm

    I LOVE this idea Karianne. My Dad passed last December and I am going to have his red plaid flannel made into hanging hearts for my brothers and sisters and Mom. You must love having this precious part of your dad close by! (P.S. Just want you to know your blog is taking a really long to load

  24. Image for Susan Spinney Susan Spinney

    My dad did the same. And when the 2 of them got together and talked rocks....boring.....but now I wish I'd listened a little more and rolled my eyes a little less:) And now when Shaun and I go hiking and find an odd rock formation i always say "Grampi Phil would know exactly what that is and how it was formed" What a wonderful creation for those memories:)

  25. Image for Rosalie McCreary Rosalie McCreary

    What a wonderful story Karianne! And the heartbeat go on!! Love the star! It's going on my crafting ToDo list for 2016. Thank you for sharing. Happy New Year to you and your family!

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