Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Gifts!!

I actually managed to finish the gifts for the family in time for Christmas! Now they have all been received I can share some of the things that I made :)

A pair of wine bottle lamps for Rita with personalized labels...

An embellished purse for Eileen...

A personalized advent calendar house for Jen, Rich and Mya...

Inspired by the fabulous Etta - "Curious Specimen" ornaments of Gregory and Declan...

And a personalized family wall hanging for Pete and family made from their favorite words and colors...

The responses were so great - I felt like a million dollars! It was really difficult to get them all done in time since we moved house and I started a new job after I had gotten started...but I'm so glad I stuck it out. Think I'll do it again next year. I may need to get started now ;)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Rita's Confirmation Picture

Rita told me recently that her confirmation day was one of the happiest days of her life and that she had never felt so beautiful. It was a really touching story so I wanted to frame a picture of her on that day as a gift. It came out exactly as I had pictured it in my mind and she really loved it which made me really happy ;)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Making gifts

There are a ton of how-tos online for bottle lamps and I love the way that they look. I bought this bottle from Macaroni Grill (it's one of the ones they use to serve water in) and Mike drilled a hole at the bottom using a 1/8" glass drill bit. That was the trickiest part and took about a half an hour. We did lose a couple of bottles along the way and learned that applying any pressure at all with the drill causes them to break :(. The hole is just big enough to stuff Xmas lights inside the bottle, again using a lot of patience :). The finished bottle lamp makes a perfect alternative gift to a bottle of wine and was so pretty we had a hard time parting with it! 

Store bought cards are so expensive these days so I thought it would be a good idea to put together a packet of handmade cards for a full calendar year and package them up as a gift. In this packet I tried to include a variety of different card styles and made 4 birthday, 2 blank, 1 anniversary, 2 thank you, 1 Valentine, and 2 Xmas cards.

I wrapped them up in an organza bow...

And made a little bag to put them in out of this adorable fabric...

Now back to making Xmas gifts...remind me next year to get started in about March...;)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gifts for baby nephews

I decorated some onesies with appliques for my two nephews for their first birthdays.

How-to on Martha Stewart's website here!

Friday, September 16, 2011

An Irish Blessing

I have decided to try and more fully embrace the 'Handmade Pledge!' Basically, that means I'll be either making (or buying handmade) items as gifts (and greetings cards) going forward. I have already made a start on Christmas (and thank goodness since I can already see that it's going to take months to get done:)) and I'm really enjoying the process so far. It feels a lot more personal and regardless of they turn out or how they are received, I hope my recipients all know that my gifts and cards will be made with lots of love :).

For my first gifting challenge I was inspired by this creation by Donna Downey (here) to make this little canvas piece for my nephew, Declan's baptism. I found the Irish blessing online and thought it was perfect! He is only one so a little young for feedback but his parents seem to really like it!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sundress for Haiti

Project HOPE Art is an organization dedicated to inspire, heal and improve the quality of life for children in need through the creative process of art.

Their website says:

“We believe that there are not words as powerful as a single drawing, sock puppet play, mural, photograph or creative enterprise. Using art as a catalyst for healing and expression we intend to initiate whimsy and wonder while infusing creativity into disaster stricken communities. So often children are not part of the conversation within a hard hit, natural disaster area. We bring their ideas, thoughts and emotions to life in full color regardless of language, creed or custom. We do this using art as the Universal Language."

"Earlier this month, when Project HOPE Art was at Nadine’s orphanage in Port-Au-Prince, it became abundantly clear just how few clothes many of her girls have. The things they do own are very worn at best, some just barely holding together. HOPE Art would like to change this, with a personal touch, by starting a Homemade Dress Drive (link to blog here). We are inviting all seamstresses, beginner or advanced, to make one or more simple sundresses (our goal is 30) which will be hand delivered to the orphanage by the end of the year. This project is being aided by an online pattern company “oliver + s”, who has kindly agreed to let us use their free sundress pattern, which you can download here."

I really enjoyed picking out the fabric for my special little girl in Haiti and although I'm still very much a beginner seamstress but I found this pattern really straightforward and loved the dress that I made:).

Monday, September 5, 2011

Crafts, crafts, crafts...

I have really been enjoying making things lately and have been spending time on art and craft projects almost every day. Unfortunately I don't have much that I can share right now since most of my 'creations' are Christmas gifts for friends and family. After all, there are only 111 days left until the big day but who's counting?;). Anyway, here are a few cards I've made recently - I've been trying a bunch of different styles and really like how all of these came out!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Inspiration Journal class with Donna Downey!

On the way to a family event last week, I was able to stop by Charlotte, NC to see the amazing Donna Downey again and take one of her classes at her studio! (Donna's blog here!). The studio is absolutely beautiful and Donna is as gorgeous as ever :)...

The Inspiration Journal - Creating a Visual Diary class is a 3 hour mixed media/art journaling workshop. Donna's website describes it perfectly:

"A hands-on exploration of your inner artist as we work together creating your visual legacy. The inspiration journal has become the hallmark of my creative play and growth as an artist. This workshop promises to challenge you to look at yourself as a creative soul and will encourage artistic growth with each page you complete. "

I really enjoyed experimenting with new products and techniques and feel a whole lot better about 'letting go' now. The ladies I worked with were all so helpful and talented and it's so inspirational to work in a classroom surrounded by Donna's work...

Donna is a really fun instructor too - she always makes me giggle :)

I worked really hard and felt very proud of my 'war wounds' at the end of the day :).

The amazing Etta!

While we were visiting friends in NC, I got to meet the amazing Etta! Here she is showing me her basement studio. I have never seen such an amazing creative space in someone's home before!

I think I have about 5 different colors of sewing thread...maybe 6...

And her work...OMG...totally gorgeous...

Sewing is her favorite thing...which explains the stockpile of thread :)...

Although it seemed to me that she can pretty much make anything...

I took about a million photos and have some great ideas for Christmas gifts now...if there's time of course...I can't believe it's August already! Thanks Etta for everything - not only are you an amazing artist but a great cook too. Hope to see you again soon :).

Thursday, July 21, 2011

You Do the Dishes!

We went over to 'You Do the Dishes' (our local pottery painting studio) yesterday with Jen and Mya (blog here!). We used to go there many years ago for a weekly girl's night out and I'd forgotton how much we used to enjoy it! I also remembered what a great creative atmosphere it is and their fabulous specialty teas, coffees and treats. It was really nice to see how busy they were when so many businesses have been forced to close. We took advantage of one of their many specials too so the whole experience was a real bargain!

Jen made a box and Mya a kitty cat and an icecream...

Maddy made a spotted lizard and a rabbit and I made a cupcake moneybox...

They all turned out really well :)