Monday, June 27, 2011

The Big Day Approaches (With DIY Garlands!)

It hardly seems possible that I'll be getting married on Friday, but it's true! And since I amazingly wound up with a three week hiatus from work, I get to enjoy this week as our friends and family start arriving into town, and spend my days relaxing and finishing up some small projects. 
Our festivities are in two parts—Friday is the ceremony in a local Rose Garden with dinner after at a favorite Italian restaurant for close family and friends. Saturday evening is a potluck party with a band and square dancing with a bigger group in a state park down the road from us. It should be a weekend filled with everything a wedding should have like friends, love, laughter, good music and food, and much appreciation for the moment. And after nearly exactly a year of waiting for this day, I am extremely excited.

Over the weekend, I worked on the garlands that will decorate the dance floor at the potluck party. I'd gotten two enormous sets of paint swatches from Yolo Colorhouse and knew that I needed to put the paper to good use. So with a large scallop hole punch and some Divine Twine, I started making garlands. I love that they are super simple, but that the colors make them really pretty.

The goal of the wedding was never to go DIY overboard and while I have realized that I was completely lying when I said that I was going to keep it super simple (because in reality I do care a lot about aesthetics!), I am glad that I did limit the projects to a select few. I am looking forward to finishing these up, to preparing the meal for our "welcome to town" dinner at our house on Thursday, and to making my bouquet on Friday morning because it means that I will be inherently part of the festivities in more ways than one.

Plus, I just really like making things.

So with that, I'm going to sign off of here for the next three weeks. I'll be back the week of July 18th with tales of the wedding (you'll finally get to see my dress!) and of our honeymoon up in the Boundary Waters. Cheers!

Monday, June 20, 2011

On Feeling Grounded

Those are some new peas that are growing in the garden, some of which will go into my dinner tonight.
Last week did not go as expected. It started out with lists and me trying to stay hyper organized so that I would be able to keep track of the details involved in getting a magazine issue to the printer, as well as keeping on track with wedding tasks. By mid-week, things veered off course when we learned that our magazine, ReadyMade, was being closed down.

When you suddenly realize that you are about to lose your job, things sharpen in focus. And since I have (unfortunately) been through this before, I immediately began to take stock so that I could attempt to decide how to handle it. Almost immediately, perspective kicked in.

Two years ago, I had an opportunity to take on much greater responsibility with my work and to help redefine a magazine. That allowed me to flex my creative muscles and realize that I had skills that I hadn't entirely been aware of before. And, because of the job and the move from the east coast, I met my fiance. We fell in love, bought a house, planted a garden, and created an amazingly joyful and fulfilling life together. 

In 12 days, I get to marry that man.

My close friends and family will be heading our way in a short week to help with the final preparations and to enjoy our hometown.

And I will finally get to wear my dress!

To be completely honest, I feel incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity that I did because it allowed me to find exactly where I was meant to be. So to ReadyMade, a brand that I am intensely saddened to see disappear because it means that an open forum for creativity, sustainability and self-expression is no longer, I will always be grateful.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Positive Affirmations from Ink! Stomp

Today is one of those days where after a restless night, I'm much in need of positive reinforcement. Luckily I quickly found some in the lino cuts from Cindy of Ink! Stomp.

Cindy is a science major at university but lets out her creative juices on these prints, as well as through knitting and crocheting—which sounds like an excellent balancing act to me.

I love the simplicity of the prints and how you can see that someone's hands were involved in making them. To check out more of Cindy's work, click here to visit her lovely shop.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Upcycled Fabric Flower Garland

Because I enjoy the outcome so much, here's last week's secret sewing project in it's final form—a floral garland! If all goes well, by which I mean if the weather is nice and lovely enough to have the ceremony outside, this will adorn the trees that provide a little archway right behind where we'll say our vows. I made the garland about 20 feet long to try to make sure that it's long enough, and I have little wooden clothespins to attach it to the branches (so it doesn't fall down mid-ceremony!). I'm hoping that this provides a small touch of handmade to the garden where we're getting married, and makes a nice frame behind where we'll be standing. 
I'm going to bring this to our rehearsal with me the day before the wedding to try it out and if it doesn't work, no big thing—I used fabric scraps and leftover twine, so it was free to make and we'll just use it at the potluck party the day after the ceremony!

Pop over to ReadyMade on Wednesday to see the full tutorial on how to make one of these yourself.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Photo Friday: Kris Freeman

I'm sure I've mentioned it in the past, but I spent a lot of time at the Jersey shore while I was growing up (and still, to this day, as my parents live there now). And ferris wheels were always one of my favorite rides, along with the swings. I love the mood and color in this photo from Kris Freeman of Shenandoah county, Virginia because it makes me remember the slightly dazed feeling that sweeps over you when you're lost in a ride. 
I hope you each have a bit of that magical feeling this weekend and that you take a peek at some of the other lovely prints in Kris's shop—her floral shots like this one are downright swoony.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Secret Wedding Stitchery

I am not going to tell you what these are for because I am wishing very hard that they become the thing for the wedding that I am imagining is so lovely in my head (see, I didn't even give you a hint!) and I don't want to risk overselling it until I know whether it will work out or not.

I have pretty much always known that I enjoy keeping my hands busy, but I must say that working on wedding projects that are completely not mandatory is helping me to stay sane through the keeping-track-of-details business of the wedding (less than a month to go!). By which I mean that by doing these fabric flowers, and things like the stitched placecards, I feel like I am helping to make the wedding feel more like me. More like us. Because I'd be making something anyway, so why not make things that are useful for the wedding?
And yes, I am aware that this is my own particular brand of crazy, but I swear to you that sewing a few of these at night makes me feel completely sane and grounded. So I'm going with it!

I actually don't have many projects left (I'm saving a few for when my entourage gets to town the last week of June- get excited friends and family), so this secret stitchery feels more like a bonus. Fingers crossed that it works out!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Q&A with Kat of We Can Re-do It

As someone who does a lot of fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants crafting, I am always impressed by someone who can think their projects through from start to finish—especially when it involves repurposing materials. Case in point, Kat, who's new site We Can Re-do It is filled with awesome ways to turn things you already have into things you will love even more. Here's a bit from Kat on what she does and why she does it.

What inspires you to make new things from discarded ones?
Moving to New York eight years ago, I was confronted with refuse in a way that was far more abrasive than I’d experience anywhere else I’ve lived. Some days the trash is literally spilling out of the garbage cans and out on to the street. This constant reminder of how much we all consume and discard took me from feeling that recycling/repurposing is a good thing we all should do to viewing it as absolute necessity.

How would you describe your style?
Maybe because my style varies pretty wildly, I don’t view it in any real specifics. I'm interested in using my clothes to express something personal so I focus on that and stay away from thinking in terms of whether something looks good or bad. What that expression happens to be changes from day to day, but it regularly involves a lot of layered prints and old boots.

Do you have a favorite type of project?
Years of working as an accessories designer has given me a natural proclivity toward the ones involving shoes, bags and jewelry. I love them, but the most fun has really come from working on projects that are totally foreign to me. Feeling free to experiment with new techniques and objects was one of the primary reasons for my starting this blog. Because all the projects come from second hand and discarded materials, the costs are super low (I've yet to make anything for the blog that has even added up to $10). Not worrying about screwing up the “good stuff” affords me the bravery to try everything I can think of, and if goes awry, that’s fine. Crafting gone bad is usually pretty fun, and if not at least funny.

Why is making things important to you and what do you think it adds to your life?
I stay super excited about what I’ll be working on next and the new things I want to try out. At some point this general feeling of optimism and always having something to look forward to just sort of spilled over in to rest my life. It’s been a surprising but lovely contagion. The other reason would be that I love seeing what I'm able to create with my own hands.

Where do you live and do you think that being there has influenced your style?
I live in Brooklyn, NY. I think city living has mostly affected my style in terms of it becoming WAY more utilitarian. Being responsible for getting myself from place to place and and with everything I need in tow has forced me to view what I choose to wear and carry around very differently than when I owned a car. In addition to how they look, I judge my clothes and accessories by what they’re able to provide for me. Having to think in these terms has caused a major shift in how I now define beauty, and I think it's for the better.