Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Handmade Christmas Gifts

As promised here are some photos of some of the things I made for Christmas gifts this year.

These are pins which I made for a few of the ladies on my gift list.

Here is the set of garden markers which I made for my brother. I trekked to our creek through 2 feet of snow and stood in the icy water (after breaking through the ice on the edge) with my boots on to get these rocks. My brother has been gardening with his daughter who is a Veggie Tales fan so I included the characters on the markers. After I painted them I sprayed them with polyurethane. The only one I wasn't completely happy with was the "peas" one because I think it sort of looks like a pepper. I included with this gift a number of garden related items, gloves, clippers etc.

This is the Bible cover I made for my husband. I made it from black leather which I had been given.

Other gifts I made this year:
  • Handwoven scarf for my mom woven from llama fleece which I spun.
  • Notecards made with some adorable images I found in an old book.
  • Skirt for my daughter made from a gorgeous curtain I purchased at the thrift store and a pink sheet. The skirt is very much princess attire.
  • Button flower hair clips for the little girls on my list.

I've Been Busy With This

We are home now after being away with family for the holidays. We had a wonderful holiday but it is always nice to return home. If you are wondering what I have been so busy doing that I have had no time to give to my blog well here is what has been taking all my time.
We found this great dollhouse on Craigslist for our girls for Christmas. It was a fraction of the original price and was brand new in the box. When we began putting it together we realized that one of the 24 sheets of wooden punched pieces was missing. In fairness to the people I purchased it from, I do think it was missing originally from the factory. In a panic, thinking I had wasted my money, I looked for the address of the company to call and see if I could purchase just one sheet. Well let me tell you, God is good because it turns out the factory is only 1 hour from us and when I called they said the sheet of parts was only $6.00. Then, when giving me directions, they tell me to watch for the sign that says "craft factory outlet". So was this my lucky day or what, only $6.00 AND I get to pick it up at a "craft factory outlet". Well that was all my kids and I had to hear, so off we went. After purchasing our sheet of parts, and of course many other items which we "had" to have, we came home to put together our dollhouse. So that is where I have been. As you can see from the photos, we are not done with it. Actually we have a long way to go but we are having soooo much fun.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What To Do With a Diaper Wipes Container... And My Husband Thought This Was Just Trash!

"Here honey, would you drop this in the trash?" My husband said as he handed me this.....
As the words registered in my mind, that other part of my mind, the creative, convoluted, misunderstood part was in other places. After all, this is a perfectly good plastic container.

"It's such a nice plastic container." My husband teased as he saw that scary look on my face, the look that says, "I'm going to do something with this and you're going to have to get excited about what I make when you get home from work."

He gets frightened by that look.

But, surely there must be something to do with this if it is just going to fill up some landfill I thought. I'm not talking about the obvious things like remove the cover and use it for a pencil container because after all how many pencil holders does one family need? I'm talking about something creative and fun to make and well, something like this...
It's a little gadget case/purse and I really did make it out of the diaper wipes container. O.k, here comes the apology, I'm sorry I have no photos of the process. I really had no idea what I was doing and wasn't even sure it was going to work. However, I will be making another one and I will photograph the process then. Here is a basic overview. I took the container, cut off part of the top of the container until it was the height I wanted. I threw out the cover and the top of the container which I cut off. On the outside of the container I used fabric which I wove on my loom but was leftover from a previous failed project. Then I took a fleecy fabric repurposed from the inside of an old coat and lined the inside of the container with it.I folded the lining fabric over the top rim of the container and blanket stitched it to the other fabric. The cover was made out of cardboard covered with more of the handwoven material and lined with the same lining material as the container. I then blanket stitched around the inside of the lid lining. I attached the lid to the container with a cord so when it is opened it doesn't get lost. A button holds it closed and a long shoulder strap was added for carrying. This case is perfect for when you only want to have a few items with you. My daughter says it is perfect for yard saling (great minds think alike). It's great for carrying around your spending money, your cell phone and keeping your hands free.
As you can see there is room for the phone, credit cards or cash and keys and probably a lipstick or other item or two. Here's a few more photos:

Isn't it cute? I do think if you are going to use this idea you should be sure to use as much repurposed materials as possible, that is the whole idea isn't it? I hope this inspires you too create something out of found materials too.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Oh Where, Oh Where Has The Blog Author Gone....

Wow, the Christmas season sure is flying by. Being without power for 4 days really put me behind on everything it seems. I am just beginning to feel like I am getting caught up. Yes, I know, I have totally neglected my blog. But the time has been well spent I promise. See, I have been busy with creating and finishing up the gifts which we are giving for Christmas. Creating always (o.k, almost always) makes me smile so I guess that is time well spent. I can't really show you the things I have been working on because someone might see their gift, but I will be sure to photograph them to show you all later. I can show you a fabulous find which I came across while Christmas shopping, I was tickled about finding these.

I absolutely love them. Actually I loved them so much I bought 14 of them! Boy am I a sucker for a good deal or what? They are metal, well made, and they were marked down from $1.99 to $ .79, I mean really, could you have passed them up? I couldn't. I wanted to have a number of them for our home, for my children's ornament collections, and I also wanted to tie a few onto gifts. See, there is a reason for my madness.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

But It Sure Is Pretty

The pictures just don't do it justice!!

Here are a few pictures I took of the ice storm that recently hit the northeast. In the photo on the right everything is covered equally as much as the pine branch is in the photo on the left. You really should click on the pine branch photo to really see what this was like, it's amazing. The photo on the right is of our road. We were without power from Thursday night till Sunday night. For washing, we hauled water from the creek to heat on our antique cookstove , we also used creekwater to flush the toilet. We chopped ice from the pond to fill the fridge and kept the fire burning round the clock for warmth. It sure has been an adventure. I took a few pictures but you just can't capture the beauty of everything being covered in ice the way it looks in real life.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Another "green" purse, this one made from plastic grocery bags.

Here's another purse made from one of the pieces I posted in a previous post. This one is made from woven plastic grocery bags. I figure if you're going to make a purse from plastic bags you might as well go all the way and make the entire thing from repurposed material, so this entire bag is made from found materials except for the magnetic closure. I made the interior of the bag (the navy blue) out of the fabric from a curtain I purchased at the thrift store. The other fabric (blue print) is leftover from another project and we found it originally at a yard sale. Then I made the exterior of the purse from plastic grocery bags which I wove on my loom. This bag was great fun to make and unlike the grapevines the grocery bags actually went through my sewing machine just fine. I should apply to be on the testing team for some sewing machine company for what I subject my machine to (and my loom for that matter).

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"Green" Purses

I recently posted pictures of three items I wove on my loom. Here is a photo of the first purse I have completed using one of those woven pieces. This was more work than I expected but was great fun to create. I just listed it in my etsy shop.

This was made using an old men's suit coat for the main bag part of the purse, then I used the mat I wove of grapevines as a cover for the bag. Deciding how to attach the mat to the bag took some figuring. I decided on stitching with a heavy upholstery thread in several places on the mat and through the bag. I also did this in many places along the top of the mat under the fold over part of the bag. Then I thought the ends of the grapevines might get too sharp as they dry thoroughly or might even snag clothing so I folded fabric and hand stiched it in a fold over the ends as you can see in the second picture. This had to be done by hand because the grapevines could not go through the sewing machine. I then added a vintage button to either side because, after all, I never can resist vintage buttons.