Friday, November 26, 2010

handmade holidays #5: a pretty bracelet for a special lady

a pretty bracelet worked in lemon jade, leather, silver based on the wrapped glow bracelet from anthropologie - because I love my friends, but that doesn't mean I have $158 to drop on each of them. I only wish these beads had been faceted; still, they're pretty, and I think they'll pair well with the colour palette of a particular lady's wardrobe.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

handmade holidays #4: Frank Lloyd Wright shirts

for my sweetie this year, two new kinds of architecture-related T-shirts. Frank Lloyd Wright is one of his favorites, as he's a real modernist/neo-modernist kind of guy, so a few wearables (he always needs clothes) in honour of his favorite. (more on the process behind these two shirts here)

I was going to reverse-applique this one, but I liked the print so much (and it's so intricate) that I left well enough alone as soon as I removed the stencil. I love this one; it turned out perfect, to my mind: bright, crisp stencil, bold colours ... I have to say it, I think I'm finally being won over by modernist design (it's been a long process). I may steal this one a few times, hee! The pattern is based on a relief featured in the concrete blocks of the Ennis House (1924).

Cass was less fond of this motif, so I kept the colours softer so it wouldn't stand out so much. The waffle-tee is probably not the best thing for reverse applique technique, so I applied a LOT of paint in order to ensure that it had thoroughly soaked the fibers of the tee before I started stitching and cutting. The tulip window is the classic Lake Geneva Inn (1911).

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

handmade holidays #3: packaging!

the last two years, I've wrapped the packages under my tree with beautiful celadon, cyan and silver wrapping, but wrapping paper always eats at me, no matter how beautiful it is. It is wasteful, you know. Plus, it's expensive! This year, I think I'll intersperse a few blue packages with packages wrapped in recycled brown kraft paper (I bought a role of packing paper designed for the mail). To make it a bit more special, I thought I'd use white ink and stamps. I carved this arctic fox from a fabric-printing block a few years back; I hope I have time to carve a pomegranate, so that I have a few options (and the pomegranate would be more festive). The little white bud-things came from a sprig of these I found at a thrift shop last summer; I think it makes a nice little detail to spruce things up, and ties in with the white ink.

ta-da, what do you think? Maybe with a bit of striped butcher's twine for tying up some of the packages?

handmade holidays #2: a wreath for the door

whilst snowed in yesterday, I took the time to put a wreath together. I like to put up lights over Thanksgiving weekend and get the tree the next weekend, which is my birthday weekend. It's kind of become a tradition. This year, I wanted to do a wreath, too, as I just love this charming little house we are renting and am feeling extra holiday spirit in the form of the drive to decorate!

Putting a wreath together is pretty easy, actually. You make or buy a form. You buy or trim small branches of greens, and you gradually wire them onto the form in small clusters, with the greenery pointing away from you and the branches coming towards you. As you get to the end, you have to fuss a bit and kind of tuck the branches from the last bits of green under the greenery from the first bits you put on (does that make sense?), but it's not hard. I tucked some rosehips into this one for a bit of colour; I wish I'd had some eucalyptus pods to put in it, too, but I haven't, and the florist's (like many other businesses) is closed due to snow. Ah, well, that's life!

Martha Stewart has some instructions for making wreaths in this post on her website from what seems like a much older episode of her show. Use the instructions for the six-inch wreath. I know I learned to make wreaths from her show in 1993 or 1994, and I think it was this same season. The newer ideas seem primarily to use pre-made wreaths, so those won't help you, unfortunately. (Martha! shortcuts? really?? I'm surprised at you!)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

handmade holidays #1: because it's never too early to start

saw something similar on totokaelo (okay, in honest truth, a blog linked to one of those social inspiration-saving sites with a picture from totokaelo), but I just don't have $300 for individual presents - birthday, holiday or otherwise. After all, I am still a student and living on loans. Oh, the high life!

So! Printed out some free peyote stitch graph paper, dug through my beads to find the colours I wanted to combine (or at least,the closest approximation I had on hand), and got to colouring that graph paper with markers until I made a design that I liked. Beaded this up over the weekend while too sick to do much else (handy, that!), then roughly affixed a thick piece of red leather to the back by stitching from the leather through the links of the chain and down through the edges of the beading. Does that make sense? I let the chain droop a bit below the patch because I liked that look, and affixed these solid brass drops.

Bada-bing, bada-boom!

Now, this is actually a birthday present, but I am in a SERIOUS holiday gift-making mood (too bad I still have two small seminar assignments, a presentation, and two papers to write before I'm done with the quarter, pah!), so I'm calling it the first post of this year's "Handmade Holidays" posts. I have SO MANY ideas this year - it's going to kill me when I run out of time! =)

But for now, optimism is the word. Bring on the cheer and the mistletoe. It's freezing in Seattle and I am psyched for the holidays!