Baker brightens Capitol Christmas

September 12, 2002 11:00 pm
Baker County residents are donating ornaments for the Christmas tree that will be displayed at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., this holiday season. (Baker City Herald/S. John Collins).
Baker County residents are donating ornaments for the Christmas tree that will be displayed at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., this holiday season. (Baker City Herald/S. John Collins).

By LISA BRITTON

Of the Baker City Herald

Bea Jean Haskell is seeking ornaments, but not for her own holiday tree.

This year the Capitol Holiday Tree in Washington, D.C., will come from Oregon's Umpqua National Forest, and they need decorations. The deadline to submit homemade ornaments to Haskell, the Baker County coordinator, is Sept. 27.

Each Oregon county has been asked to donate 100 ornaments, made to withstand the winter weather conditions in Washington, D.C.

Currently, Haskell said she has received 30 ornaments.

The plan is to send the 70-foot tree, 50 smaller trees for the Senate and House offices, and 4,000 handmade ornaments to Washington, D.C.

There are a few design requirements to ensure that everyone can enjoy the ornaments. They should be large enough to be seen 70 feet above the ground, but shouldn't exceed three pounds in weight. Ornaments need to be constructed of material that won't mold, mildew or decompose, and should have an attached wire hanger at least five inches long.

Quite a few local groups have undertaken the project and designed or decorated ornaments.

The Lone Pine Tree Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution created tree-shaped ornaments out of wood inscribed with their chapter and county name. They turned in 24 ornaments to Haskell.

Eva Hiatt, the chapter's regent, said the group already had the designs — the trees are the chapter's logo — then decided to attach a wire and turn them into ornaments.

Eight DAR members had a potluck and decorated the ornaments all in one day, Hiatt said.

Bruce Countryman of Baker City created unique ornaments, made partly out of Douglas-fir, Oregon's state tree.

"I do woodworking and wood turning as a hobby," he said.

He also used mountain mahogany, native to Eastern Oregon, and walnut from western Oregon.

He said he chose this variety of wood so there would be "a little piece of Oregon to go with the tree."

Sam Bass made ornaments in the shape of birdhouses and bird feeders, then gave the unfinished products to Haskell. She gave them to Irene Flavin, owner of Pinecreek Wood-N-Crafts. Five students in a class at Pinecreek painted the birdhouses in themes of red, white and blue. Flavin donated all the supplies.

The ages of the kids ranged from 7 to 13, and they used a variety of techniques to decorate the ornaments, including sponge painting and stencils.

"We just wanted to stay with the red-white-and-blue theme," Flavin said.

The birdhouses and bird feeders were decorated by Peter Clarke, Anna Clarke, Joshua Flavin, Kim Smith and Cheryl Jackson.

In January, when the ornaments come off the tree, they will be given to Washington, D.C., school children. Makers of the ornaments are encouraged to personalize their ornaments by including a photograph, name or county.

For more information on how to contribute ornaments to the cause, call Haskell at 523-4174.