December 19, 2016
I am getting fewer Christmas cards with each passing year, probably a reflection of my giving fewer cards as well. Still, one of life’s joys is finding personal letters in the mailbox. So in my limited way, I’ve tried to spread some joy by painting and sending off a handful of Christmas cards to my family and a few friends. The rest of you will have to find comfort and joy via these images over the internet. My digital good wishes are no less heartfelt!
June 1, 2013
“We have eyes, and we’re looking at stuff all the time, all day long. And I just think that whatever our eyes touch should be beautiful, tasteful, appealing, and important.”
— Eric Carle
In keeping with my resolution to drive less, my niece, a friend, and I made a day trip to Tacoma by bus to see the Eric Carle exhibit at the Tacoma Art Museum. Carle is a well-known, award-winning children’s book illustrator, so I have been familiar with his work for a long time. I enjoyed reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See to my daughter when she was very young.
I was so enamoured of Carle’s illustrations that I adapted some of them into applique for a handmade quilt. Carle’s stylized, simple shapes were perfect for copying as appliqued patterns.
The Tacoma exhibit, “Beyond Books: The Independent Art of Eric Carle,” presented another side of Carle as artist. It included some of his wood block prints, framed paintings, amazing works on painted Tyvek, and even handmade greeting cards for (lucky) friends. Now I am even more impressed by Carle’s talents.
The exhibit runs through July 7, 2013.
December 17, 2012
“It comes every year and will go on forever. And along with Christmas belong the keepsakes and the customs. Those humble, everyday things a mother clings to, and ponders, like Mary in the secret spaces of her heart.”
— Marjorie Holmes
“To perceive Christmas through its wrappings becomes more difficult with every year.”
— E. B. White
“Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas . . . perhaps . . . means a little bit more.”
— Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas
The largest part of my Christmas doesn’t come from a store. My keepsakes are handmade, for the most part. And yes, they are humble, like this paper cut Scandinavian horse ornament I made this year from instructions I found in Mollie Makes Christmas: Living and Loving a Handmade Holiday.
Or my traditional holiday wreath, made from rosemary sprigs from my garden. For me, simple is best.
December 12, 2012
“Snowflakes spill from heaven’s hand
Lovely and chaste like smooth white sand.
A veil of wonder laced in light
Falling gently on a winter’s night.”
–Linda A. Copp
Several years ago one of the gift wrappers at the University Bookstore in Seattle was making these holiday snowflakes (or they could be stars, I guess). She gave me a photocopied set of instructions, original source unknown. I’ve been meaning to make some of these snowflakes for holiday decorations, but until now, I never got around to it.
My finished snowflake hangs in my kitchen window, a lacy wonder that lets in the light.
Here are step-by-step instructions for making your own paper snowflake/star:
You need six square of paper. I used 5 x 5-inch squares. Fold each square in half along the diagonal, making a triangle. Then fold in half again. And again.
Now, keeping the little triangles folded, cut four parallel slits on the solid side. Cut almost all the way across.
Open each piece of paper back into a square and flatten with your fingers.
Next you will bring two opposite points of the inner squares together in a sequence. In order to do this, you will first have to cut the corners free along one long diagonal fold line. (Leave the other points/corners so that they are not cut all the way through.)
Starting with the smallest inner square, fold two opposite points together and tape into a cylindrical shape.
1. Turn the square over. 2. Bring the opposite points of the next larger square together and tape. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until all of the opposing points have been taped in the center.
Your square should now look like this. You need five more. Start folding and taping!
Once you have completed all six sections of the snowflake, take three and match up at a point. Staple at this point. Repeat with the other three sections.
That’s it! Your paper snowflake/star is complete.
April 10, 2012
I follow a number of blogs, and one of my favorites is The Handmade Librarian who writes about things I love — books, crafts, creative people, libraries, do-it-yourself projects . . . Her post of March 29th, 2012 was such a treasure that I felt I should pass it along to you as a special gift.
Jessica Pigza, the Handmade Librarian, writes about Nick Hand’s new book, Conversations on the Coast: “Over the last few years, Nick has been at work on a bicycle-based project somewhat akin to slow food and slow fashion. The Slowcoast project was built around Nick’s biking journey along the coastlines of England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. Along the way, he stopped often to meet and record the work of local creative makers and designers. The results of his explorations are twofold: a series of short documentaries recording interviews with artisans, and a book called Conversations on the Coast.”
If you follow the links to the Slowcoast Project, you will find a real trove — about 100 short (4-1/2 minute) slideshows and interviews with a diverse mixture of people. All are engaged in creative and interesting work, for example making baskets, growing daisies, farming, making cheese, designing clothes, etc. You can link to the slideshows here. If you admire handmade things, hands-on craft, and local, independent businesses, you will find much to delight you in these presentations.
P. S. Quite by accident I came across another project focusing on short videos about Brooklynites who make things by hand. “Made by Hand” is a project from the bureauofcommongoods.com, and you can like to the videos here.
February 3, 2012
“Any day spent sewing is a good day.”
— Author unknown
“Our lives are like quilts — bits and pieces, joy and sorrow, stitched with love.”
— Author unknown
I finished piecing and hand-quilting another project, two placemats. The pattern is called “Twilight Village” and I found it in The Thimbleberries Book of Quilts by Lynette Jensen. The placemats will be a gift for a young couple as they start their married life together.