As the holidays fast approach, this blog seems to suffer a bit. My handmade holiday project list is long, and I’ve been working hard on it (and end-of-the-semester school tasks.) I’d love to share my entire list here, but I don’t want to give away all my secrets to possible recipients. I guess that’s the drawback to having family care about your blog. One thing I am working on is another quilted bag, for SciFi Man’s grandmother. I should have that done today. The quilt is still in progress, but it should be finished in time.
How is all your holiday crafting going? As if your plate wasn’t full enough, here are few more crafty holiday ideas I’ve seen lately:
- Chia over at Chia’s House of Stir Fry recently hosted a holiday cookie exchange, which included good food, tasty cookies, games, and prizes. And, I suspect, her delicious eggnog. This would be a great way to gather with friends this season. Who doesn’t love a plate full of handmade cookies?
- Heather Bailey suggests making a garland out of yo yo’s (and if you don’t know how to make yo yo’s, she’s got a tutorial for that, too.)
- Moonstitches has a great pattern for a holiday zakka owl pennant.
- Button Trees at Tutti Fruiti, Two Peas in a Bucket, and Ali Edwards.
- Felted Wool Star Ornaments at the Purl Bee.
I don’t normally do much with paper (besides doodle all over it), but last night I worked on a paper project. I put together my first book, a little journal. The covers are an 8 x 10 photograph that I cut in half, so the book is 5 x 8. The pages are a mix of different types of papers, which I thought was interesting and creative. SciFi Man just finds it puzzling. “How will you know where your graph paper is?” he asked, obviously pained. If I make a journal for him, I’ll be sure to keep it to a single type of paper, or at least group them into logical categories.
I used a lot of paper I just had lying around, and even a page from an old book. Some stationery and index cards found there way into the pages, too. I also printed out a few new pages with some of my favorite quotes on them. This would be a great project to recycle/re-purpose paper you find around your house. And who couldn’t use a personalized, handmade, eco-friendly journal?
I enjoyed putting the book together. It was easy and fun (although a pain to cut down all the papers to the right dimensions. I have added a fancy paper cutter to my wish list.) And now I’ve got all this fancy bookbinding glue, so I think I’ll make a few more.
When I got married, my very creative mother helped me to make my invitations out of fancy paper that contained pressed flowers. All the flowers at my wedding were gerbera daisies, and while these flowers weren’t quite the same, they had the same bright, lovely colors and the basic daisy shape. The invitations turned out wonderfully, and we had paper leftover. My very creative mother used this extra paper to make a lampshade. Everytime I use this lamp, the light illuminates the beautiful flowers and reminds me of my wedding, and my mom. Did I mention that she’s very creative?
If you want to try your hand at your own homemade lampshade, I found this great tutorial on flickr. I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s definitely on my “to do” list. And if you’d like to get that homemade look but don’t want to actually make it, check out the cool lampshades at When In Doubt Draw Flowers and Garnish. Garnish has lampshades made with hand screen printed fabric and the ones at When In Doubt Draw Flowers are made with vintage wallpaper. (And while you’re checking out the lampshades, be sure to look at the rest of their shops. There are a lot of cool things to be had in both.)
Instead of just sticking my last mix CD in a boring jewel case, I decided it would be a good idea to make it a custom CD envelope for it. While I was trying to decide the best way to do that, I did a little poking around on the internet and found that I am definitely not the first person to give thought to custom CD envelopes. I found all sorts of slightly different templates and websites created to generate cover art. In case you are interested in make your own cool CD envelopes, I thought I’d share a few a templates I found in my searches.
The patterns at Crafty (pattern) and Jeff Eaton both have fold-over flaps at the top of the envelope. The pattern I ended up using doesn’t have a top flap (I was going for simple at the time), and is available at Mirkwood Designs. The image on the front of my CD envelope is from Thanksgiving several years ago. Sci-Fi Man and I spent the holiday up in Wisconsin, and it snowed while we were there. I love that picture. For a CD full of relaxing “chill out” music, a tree from a quiet snowy day seemed just right.
This weekend I went out and bought a bunch of felt. First, I saw some cute handmade felt magnets on flickr. Then I remembered a tutorial I bookmarked awhile back for handmade embroidered felt ornaments, and I decided it was time I give them a try. You can find the tutorial to make your own embroidered felt ornament at Sunshine’s Creations. I know it’s still (barely) October, but the holidays will be upon us before we know it, and I want to get a head start. Plus, these ornaments were too cute to put off.
These ornaments also provide a good opportunity to practice embroidery stitches (which, if you notice my one wonky stem stitch, you’ll see I definitely needed the practice). I didn’t stray too far from the tutorial, so I worked on my stem stitch, lazy daisy, and blanket stitch. If you are new to embroidery or need a refresher, I highly recommend Primrose Design’s Stitch School posts, which you can find in a list on the right hand side of her blog. Each post focuses on a single stitch in detail, showing how to make the stitch with step-by step photos and instructions and giving information about how the stitch is used.
Apparently, I’m not the only one taken with Sunshine’s embroidered felt ornaments. She has created a flickr group to showcase all the cool things people are doing with felt. Check out Sunshine’s tutorial, the flickr group, and Primrose Design’s Stitch School, and let me know if you whip up any pretty new holiday ornaments!
Recently, I received this lovely handmade journal in the mail. I think I may have talked before about my love for things handmade. There’s something special about knowing that a real persons time, creativity, and love went into the object in my hands. This particular journal was customized for me, but also includes special little things the sender could not have known would make me happy, like the library card pasted into the front, the envelope full of “extras” attached to the back cover, and the ribbon bookmark. Each little detail makes the book more special.
Because it is a special journal, created with love, I have decided to keep it lovely. I am going to use it to record those things in my life, big and small, that bring me joy– wedding anniversaries, the smell of popcorn, an unexpected kind word. In that way, I will have a book that will always bring me pleasure, will help me to remember the things that truly matter, and will help me to be more mindful of the everyday pleasures that are so easily taken for granted.
The mailman is one of my favorite people. I love getting packages and letters. Here are a few of the things he’s recently left at my doorstep:
I live in an area that has lots of local wineries, which is a really wonderful. Out-of-town guests who visit me know that we will spend a day touring the wineries when they visit, and they don’t seem to mind that. There’s something really wonderful about sampling different wines, and then getting a cold bottle of the best one to drink on the deck. Sometimes the wineries have local bands playing, which makes things even nicer.
The abundance of good local wine, however, means that I have a giant pile of corks. Do you save your corks? If you do, what do you do with them? I have some kits to make cork boards, but I haven’t started that project yet. I’ve also turned them into ornaments. I did a little internet research, and turns out there’s a lot of creative things you can do with wine corks. Here are a few fun possibilities:
- Craft Chi shows us how to use wine corks as stamps.
- All Things Christmas has some simple directions for turning corks into ornaments. I used these instructions to turn corks from a girls’ weekend into mementos for the women who were there. These can be used as tree ornaments, hung from something else, or could even be a decoration to hang around the neck of a wine bottle.
- This website has a huge pile of ideas for what to do with your corks. Some of my favorites: use the corks as “soil” for growing orchids and making a cork wall.
- There’s also lots of directions out there for cork boards, wreaths, and trivets.
And if you just want to jump to the finished result, check out The Crafty Wino on Etsy. They have this clever Corky Message Board, as well as some other cool wine accessories.
And while it technically doesn’t count as a cork-using craft, the wine bottle stoppers at Pink Polka Dot Poodle are so pretty, you should check them out anyway. You may need a fancy bottle stopper if you get overzealous about crafting with corks.
I made up a batch of pretty magnets today. My fridge has been looking rather messy with its mish-mash of magnets, and I wanted to pretty it up. I did this with some fabric scraps from other projects and do-it-yourself covered buttons. You just cover the button and attach the magnet. And they turned out so nice! I found it so satisfying that I know I’m going to make more, so when the glue sets up on this batch, I think I’ll put them in the shop.
In other news, I finally received the sew-in fabric labels I ordered last month from Namemaker. They are black with white text that reads “Anodyne Design.” I can’t wait to put one in a purse. I think they’ll give my bags a nice, finished look. I also heard my business cards shipped yesterday, so I’m eagerly awaiting those. I love getting mail anyway, but I also love office supplies, so I’ll be pretty happy when they arrive.
Also, I was tagged by Lissa over at Bully Beads to share a few facts about myself. I think I’ll add them to my about me section, so feel free to check there if you want to know more about the woman behind the blog.