ORNAMENTS WITH UNION COUNTY THEME WILL ADORN CAPITOL HOLIDAY TREE
By Alice Perry Linker
Observer Staff Writer
Cornucopia filled with bright beads, greenery and ribbons.
Brilliantly painted tin maps of Oregon, decorated with wagon wheels, wheat and other symbols of the state, every map featuring a heart or a star showing the location of La Grande.
Goose eggs painted and decorated to represent farmers, cowboys and Indian people.
Tiny wren houses nestled in natural wood covered with moss and fir cones.
These are a few of the ornaments that will decorate the Capitol Holiday Tree this year. County Commission Chairwoman Colleen MacLeod, who coordinated the county effort, said local people have made 275 ornaments. More than 4,000 ornaments are expected to be made and sent to Washington by Oregonians.
The 70-foot Douglas fir, which will stand on the Capitol grounds during the Christmas holiday season, will come from the Umpqua National Forest near Roseburg. Another 50 smaller trees will be sent for the inside of the Capitol building.
According to information from the national forest, this year is the first time Oregon has been selected to provide the national tree.
"The response from Union County people was enthusiastic," MacLeod said. "We've received some wonderful ornaments."
Members of Beta Sigma Phi's Xi Alpha Mu Chapter were enthusiastic about the ornaments they created, said member Judy Rygg. Robbie Beck, who does not belong to the sorority, cut 20 Oregon-shaped pieces from tin for the members to decorate.
"We used wheels from toys for a wagon wheel to represent the Oregon Trail. We used some wheat," Rygg said.
One "state" featured wetlands a frog on a lily pad surrounded by reeds and water plants.
Two Union County sisters, Cindy Foster and Jodi Bagley, used their imagination and creative skills to make 10 birdhouses for the tree. The wren-sized houses look as if they were cut from the woods. The sisters spent about a week creating the ornaments.
"We were trying to show the timber and the woods to show where we live," Foster said.
The La Grande-Union County Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors also got creative and made shiny cornucopia filled with bows, beads and
Five ambassadors, Terry Griffith, Pauline Holland, Doris Ross, Vicki Jassenoff, and Judy Loudermilk spent one day, "from 9 to 5," filling the cones, Loudermilk said.
The cornucopia are made from pressed metal shaped by Turner's Sheet Metal, she said.
Loudermilk credited Griffith with the concept, which reflects the ornaments made by pioneer families.
"People coming on the Oregon Trail had to make their own ornaments," Loudermilk said. "It's the type of homemade ornament that you'd see on many trees."
Crafts artist Carol Young of Elgin put her ideas to work, making one-of-a-kind ornaments from goose eggs. The 16 detailed, carefully painted and decorated eggs feature faces of Indian children, a farmer, a cowboy, logger and even an elk head.
Young said it takes about three hours to make each ornament "if I already have the pattern."
"The details: That's what makes them fun," she said.
Others making ornaments for the tree are Sue Gerber of Elgin, New Day Enterprises of La Grande, Oregon Women in Timber, Mature Creations, Holidaze Ceramics, Quilt Questors and the Mormon Church Youth Group, all of La Grande, and Beta Sigma Phi of Island City.
The people of Union and Wallowa counties will get a chance Nov. 17 to see the fir chosen for the Capitol. The tree will be in Enterprise at 10 a.m. and in La Grande at 2 p.m. on its route east to Washington, D.C.