NUTCRACKER: Behind The Design

NUTCRACKER: Behind The Design

The Nutcracker ballet was always a highlight of the holiday season for me as a little girl. The Russian Ballet tours around the country and partners with local ballet schools to perform the holiday classic, and so I was cast in the children ensemble between the age of 8 and 12. We were not serious dancers at this age, but being part of the show was pure Christmas magic. My favorite role was "party guest" because the costume was a big poofy dress with ribbons. (One year I was a cast a boy and I was displeased I didn't get to wear the dress.)

Holiday nostalgia was the starting design concept of this sheet. I wanted the sheet to feel familiar yet distant, in a longing way. Millennials don't bring fruitcakes to holiday parties, but maybe you had a great auntie that brought one to the holiday gathering. I grew up going to church every Sunday morning, and I was always particularly excited about the ginger ale and sherbet punch served after the Christmas Eve service. (Sorry, Baby Jesus.) There were usually green and red jello squares covered in CoolWhip, so yes, after-service church refreshments absolutely inspired the Jello cake stickers.

I don't know what they were thinking when they started manufacturing the newer bulky LED holiday string lights, but the old school colored lights will always have a very special place in my heart. I am obsessed with retro and vintage Christmas decorations, and I looked at so many photos of old Christmas trees for inspo for the holiday sheets. My favorite tree is the little one from the first Home Alone movie- I love that it's small and fat. You might notice a few similarities with that tree and the one on the Nutcracker sheet...

An unexpected source of inspiration for this sheet came from vintage juice glasses. There are several antique shops in my hometown in Maryland, and one of my favorite 2020 activities was to wander through a warehouse of antiques looking for treasures. Literally, there was a juice glass set around every corner. I love learning about the history of homeware trends and so I just Googled juice glasses and learned that this was an early iteration of marketing through pretty packaging. In an era before plastic, grocery manufacturers used decorated glass to package jams and jellies and people re-purposed the empty containers as drinking glasses. (Read more here!) It looks like this was a thing in the 1920s, so then people were wild about silk-screened drinking glasses in the 1940s and beyond. Anthropologie always has cute juice glasses, here's a nutcracker glass from this season in 2021. 

Waltz of the Flowers is my favorite song from the Nutcracker. It's romantic, whimsical, and has a harp and French horn. You'll find my ode to the masterpiece towards the middle of the sheet with the gold French horn nail art sticker. My grandmother also loves the French horn and has many instrument ornaments around her home at Hidden Hill, so it felt extra necessary to make it a sticker.

Ha Nuin · Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a. III. Waltz of the Flowers

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