I went to a free block printing class with Tanner this afternoon at Artist and Craftsman. We had such fun and it was so easy. We used a water soluble block printing ink. Perfect for learning with. Any mess is easy to wash up. Good thing since Tanner smeared it on his nose first thing.
Tanner made all of the "A" prints. The one above was his first and I think my favorite. The one above and below are made with a simple foam sheet that he etched into with a pencil.
While he worked away easily and diligently, I pondered and pondered. Finally settled on a simple little turtle at Tanner's suggestion.
Tanner has plans for printing a series of "A's" and a Christmas card design. I'm plannng designs to use in my journals.
A long weekend and an upcoming birthday for a very important someone often leads to a road trip in our family. This weekend has been no different. Complete with gorgeous knitting, delicious food and tea, art, beaches, and relaxing. Lots of relaxing.
Since seeing a post about story dice on Angry Chicken, I've been planning to make Tanner a writing kit. I didn't get that done in time for Christmas but I decided to make story kits for the smaller boys. I made up a stack of small blank books using scraps of scrapbooking paper I had left from making the matching cards. I stapled them together but they can also be stitched together. I added a small triangle pencil, perfect for little hands, a pencil sharpener that fits the thicker shape of the pencil, and a colorful eraser. For each kit, I made a bag using fabric I've had for ages, and they were ready to go. I'm going to make more of these to have on hand for gift giving through the year. For older children I'll add some story dice.
For the adults in my family we've begun giving jars of jam we made in the summer and some of our soap. I was so pleased with the little bags I was making for the kids gifts I decided to make them for the soap.
Well, once again, "tomorrow" has a very elastic meaning. No wonder it feels like my days are slipping by faster than they should. Today I wanted to share the felt book I made for my niece for Christmas. She's just a year so I thought she'd most enjoy a book about her little family.
I printed photos of my neice and her family on printable fabric. I'd planned to sew the photos to the felt pages but the fabric turned out to be iron on. I was short on time so I didn't add any stitching. Each single piece of felt has a photo ironed on to one side only.
After ironing the photos on to each felt piece, I stitched two felt pieces together to make them firmer. I wanted this book to be very soft. It could have been made even firmer with a stiff interfacing between the felt pieces.
I'll do the binding differently next time. This turned out too loose. I used a single sheet binding I learned from LK Ludwig. It works much better with firm pages. I think I have it figured out though.
This was a quick project. I had purchased the printable fabric in preparation for this project. Otherwise everything was in my stash. I take thousands of photos of my family each year so choosing and editing photos took an hour or so. The printing, cutting pages of felt, ironing on photos, and stitching took another 1 1/2-2 hours.
I know Christmas has come and gone but I thought I'd share the gifts I made. This year I vowed I'd make at least some of my gifts. I didn't do everything I'd planned but I'm pleased with what I did accomplish. It was especially good since I still can't stand for more than 30 minutes or so, which means shopping for Christmas gifts just wasn't going to happen easily this year. All of the lazing about that's happened since the accident meant I've had time to think. Turns out when I take time to just relax the ideas start rolling about. I had more than one night of sleeplessness from my brain refusing to turn off.
The first idea I had was to make matching card games for some of the children. We called this game concentration when I was a kid and we'd use a regular deck of cards. I used photos I'd taken. Each child had their own unique set that included all of the family but heavy on their immediate family and the cousins.
I used the photo project program that came with my computer so each photo printed out a uniform size. I tried using photo paper but the paper I bought wasn't water fast and I was afraid the photos would get ruined quickly. I ended up printing on a thick paper I have.
I backed each photo with scrapbook paper.
I made each child a bag to keep their game in. The labels were fabric made to print on that I purchased for a project I'll share with you tomorrow.
I don't really sew but those little bags were so easy to make I whipped a bunch of them up for other handmade gifts.
A few years ago I began making annual slide shows for my family. It's a review of the year that has become a tradition that all just love. I'm told it's the best part of Christmas now. The parents in the family thought these matching card games were the second best thing I've made for Christmas. I look forward to making them for the youngest children who were too young to get them this year.
I try hard not to wish time away. It's speeding by faster than I care for as it is, however I'm happy to bid 2009 adieu and welcome a new year. Most of the year has been fabulous but these last few months since the accident have been a trial I'm ready to put behind me.
I thought Mary Ann's year in review was a perfect idea so I'm making it my own.
January found us knee deep in snow. A gorgeous start to the year.
February was the month I had my work in a gallery for the very first time. It was for only one evening but I thought it was thrilling.
In March I prepared for Artfest. My favorite part was making this journal bag.
April was Artfest where I shared the second edition of my zine "Through The Keyhole" with friends old and new.
May kicked off the camping season at a favorite beach.
In June I was excited to sell two paintings.
July was the start of jam making season.
In August we enjoyed the bounty of the garden and I learned to make fresh pasta.
September found us exploring the joys of Portland before the school year began.
October was my car accident and the sanity saver that was Journalfest.
In November I reconnected with old friends over mosaic making.
December found us madly creating for Christmas. I'll show more of that in the next few days. This is the batch of soap we whipped up.
Layed out like this, it's clear my year was pretty wonderful. I can look past the challenges to see the joy and beauty and I'm glad for it. Here's to an even better 2010!
I've been fortunate to stay loosely connected with some of my friends from college. Last month, a former housemate, Majken, invited friends for dinner and mosaic making at a recently opened shop, Seattle Mosaic Arts. It was wonderful fun. I had the chance to catch up with her and another former college housemate, Kris, I haven't seen in years. I realized I don't have the same sort of women friends in my life now that I had when I was younger and I miss it. Need to see about changing that.
I opted to make house numbers in shades of red and black. I wasn't able to complete it in one evening so we met the following weekend to finish our projects.
My friend Kris made house numbers as a Christmas gift. The colors she chose were gorgeous. She's also a fabulous knitter. I'm thrilled to reconnect with her! I think Tanner would love her. I didn't ask her if I could put her on my blog so I'll just show you the project she was working on.
Majken was also making a gift. A gorgeous decorative platter she designed around a mirrored center. She also cut up a necklace to use the beads in her design. She's always been talented at using color so it's no surprise she loves this craft.
Here's my final product. I love the way this looks up close. It turns out there isn't enough contrast between the numbers and background for it to be easily seen from the street. May need to fashion a way to hang it near the sidewalk.
If you're in the Seattle area, I highly recommend Seattle Mosaic Arts. I did all of the fun part, designing the piece, then the shop did the grouting and cementing. You can learn to do that if you like but as an introduction it was perfect to skip those steps.
I'm way behind on updating about my vintage swap package. I've been so exhausted since the car accident I've been mostly offline, resting whenever I can.
I received my package in the mail as I was leaving for Journalfest. It was a delicious treat. My swap partner Heather had wrapped the goodies in what looks to me like cross stitch fabric. I'll be washing it up and dyeing it I think.
What a fabulous little pile of treasures I have now. Every time I look at it I choose a new favorite thing. I'm particularly fond of the vintage pillowcases. I just love vintage bed linens.
Heather was way more on top of it than me naturally. See her post here to discover what I sent her. Because of the accident, I wasn't able to shop and gathered from among my collection. In the end I think it was more fun having such a restriction. I looked as so many of the beautiful things I'd tucked away for just the right project. Great fun.
You can go to the Vintage Swap 2009 blog here to see the rest of the swaps. A feast of treats it is. I look forward to playing with my treats and to future swaps.
Heather of Shivaya Naturals is holding a vintage swap. It's going to be a scrumptuous adventure. The swap is closed now but you can follow the fun. Find the blog and info here. I'm looking forward to learning who my swap partner will be so I can begin gathering treats.