Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Delicate Dance in Delicate Crafts

And the dance has begun. I've been intrigued for a while with many delicate items like crochet in cotton thread, embroidery, filet crochet, detailed sewing and many others. I think this stems from the fact that for the past few weeks I've been finishing projects. Hence the absence from writing.

I've finished a beautiful baby blanket in light blue, off white, and chocolate brown. As well as the one shown on the left in green, pink and blue. I've finished pyramid bags that will be given as goodie bags at my best friend's bachelorette party/bridal luncheon. (I'll have to wait to show pictures of these since they are gifts and still want to surprise the recipient) I've worked these bags first in fabric and now in crochet. I realized for some reason these bags were very difficult for me by sewing because of my limited experience. I gave up that endeavor and finished them in crochet along with button holes and buttons.

This experience definitely need to work on my sewing techniques and skills. There are times when it would be nice to have a project with nearly instant gratification. I seem to pick crafts that are time intensive and therefore can get frustrating when the project does not come together as quickly as I thought it would.

I've found that the delicate crafts that are so graceful to have your hands dance with also seem to drain the time like sand through a sieve. However, isn't the dance the best part of all? The rhythm of the thread coming through your fingers, into the hook, and adding into the work; the push of the needle and the floss leaving its trail across the fabric; the delicate flowers that quickly emerge from the ball of cotton. These are enjoyable moments are their own type of gratification. The creation process is almost if not more enjoyable than the creation itself.

I hope you find yourself enjoying the process and the creation of delicate crafts that cause your hands and heart to dance.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Weekend of Magic

This past weekend was full of all sorts of magic!

First, I got to spend a wonderful two days with some good friends which is always it's own kind of magic.   After traversing a few hours north, we came to an area that they treasured as the home of their past generations. We heard story after story of going to this place with Grandpa and that place with Great Aunt Louise, and how Uncle Chuck and Auntie V were such a beautiful match for each other. Late into the night we settled down in anticipation of a thrifty day ahead with dreams of shopping adventures giving us chills as we drifted into an excited sleep.

Almost like it was Christmas morning, the day started earlier than planned and the sites and deals where not far behind. In the antique stores, milk glass matching my growing collection was everywhere in pieces I had only seen in a catalog. I found beautiful collections that I wish could have told all the stories of how they came together.  However, most of the pieces were out of my price range for this trip and I had to leave them on the store shelves.

As we discovered the town we were visiting, we deepened our relationship by finding that we all could find joy in a city bakery that had carmel dipped cake doughnuts with toasted coconut on top and cake pops to boot! Our joy was compounded when we overheard of an estate sale that was "packed." After a quick time spent in figuring out how best to get to this estate sale, we were on our way, full of hope of the treasure to come. This was adventure time.

As we pulled up to the driveway, we all made a point of reminding each other that we only had so much space for the four of us, our bags, and whatever else we bought. Soon, all was forgotten with walking through the door and spotting a table 12 feet long filled with milk glass. My heart stopped, my voice was nowhere to be found and all I could do was jump up and down in joy. I had found better pieces than I had left in the stores! As I turned to the woman helping with the estate sale she greeted me with better news! Everything over $1 is half price! My mouth went dry as I started to scuttle all the pieces I wanted into the box: Eight matching snack plates and mugs, final prince $7.50; four custard dishes, $1.50; and four small plates, $2 .50.

After the hurried rush to grab all the glass I wanted, I slowly started perusing the rest of the house. I found a beautiful off white table cloth with matching napkins that I could take home for $10. My husband did not go home empty handed either. He was able to get a record player with amazing speakers, with much prompting from the woman running the sale. He had been out the door when she called out the price he could not refuse: $5.

Our friends walked out with a film projector, divided drawer, cook book, milk glass dish (I love the things I share with this woman!) and the knowledge they would be able to play the home movies taken long ago. All in all this was the mother load that we thought had made our weekend. We were in for more treats!

After dinner with Auntie V, we were blessed with going over to her house and started hearing story after story of family member after family member. She brought out crocheted thread pot holders that were works of art and such an inspiration to me (I'm planning to try my hand at it soon). These folk art pieces started a pleasant discussion of functional art and it's place in the American home.

Soon the attention went to the large trunk off to one side of the room. The beautiful red roundtop trunk that was brought over from Norway was remarkable enough with its original key but the beauty we saw first did not match what was inside. As Auntie V started unpacking the chest showing us this and that from here and there, my friend and I zoomed in on beautiful vintage dresses, one in white and one in green. Auntie V said that she had made the white one she had worn to her bridal shower and the green as her going away dress after her wedding.

We exchanged a glance and I knew my friend had the same idea I did, but with more courage than I she asked, "Can we try them on?" My heart pounded as Auntie V chuckled and said yes. The white eyelet dress was so fresh and springy that my friend couldn't help but twirl in excitement!  The pencil skirt green dress with a high neck and cap sleeves miraculously fit both my friend and myself (magic once again).  We both knew we would have to try to replicate this as we envied this for our own wardrobes. As we explored more of the wonders of this trunk, Auntie V shared another treausure from her closet, the dress she wore to her father's funeral, a wide collared v-neck with full skirt once again transported both of us to a time of elegance and grace.

This night was magical!

Our friends had introduced us to a wonderful woman who has been a light in their life and since spread her light to us. As we left for the weekend, she invited us back with eager anticipation to share more stories and more love of all things lovingly made.

Thank you Auntie V!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Art and Craft of Breathing

Making crafts is like breathing to me. Every time  I see something at a store or online I think, how could I improve this? My mind goes wild with what supplies I have and new ways I might  be able to use them to beautify or improve my surroundings.

I never want to go to the store to pick out something for a specific project--I'm more inspired by the items themseves and want to pair the items I love with other items I love. My shopping is much more if a time to  see what's available. I'll get a single skein of yarn just because I like the color or the texture is interesting or it's on clearance (I'm a sucker for the clearance signs!). Then when I come home I sit down with it and think, what would make the most out of this yarn? How can I show off the color, texture, as well as learn a new stitch or pattern?

The way I shop is so much like the way I crochet and experiment with yarn. I rarely follow a pattern to a T. I'll change the yarn or finish it in a different method or use a different hook size without thinking twice. Many times I've started a hat with one intention but what comes out is totally different. I'll add flowers and pom-poms hap-hazardly or make a long ruffle to give the hat an elegant flair.

All this comes out of a yearning to learn all I can and push my experiences with yarn that comes as second nature to me. I'm so thankful to be this way! I can do the same project over and over again and get different results each time. Just like a tree recycling air, I love bringing in items to my home, do a little crafting and taking out new, beautiful pieces to the world.

Enjoy your craftiness!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Crafty Day

Friday was another day of putting away tims, buttons, paper punches and organizers (I wish that it had been in my craft room instead of at work)

My husband repaired a chair we got off craigslist and had it all sanded down waiting to be refinished in our kitchen. It was as if it was greeting me as I came in shouting, "PRIME ME! PRIME ME!" How could I refuse a call like that! After stirring up the primer left from another project, I set about priming the chair while putting on a guilty pleasure show on my laptop. Even though I was only able to find a one inch flat brush, it came out nicely. I decided to make an off-white color by using a warm ivory and white acrylic paint.

After allowing the primer to dry over night, I started with the off white covering. It took a few tries to get the consistency and color right since I was using a watery craft ivory paint and a thicker tube acrylic white paint (gotta love those college leftovers :) ). The front legs of the chair have turned detailed that I decide would look great in alternating burnt orange and teal. However, after doing all of one side, I think I'll add more blue to the teal, it just looks quite child-like and not quite right for our dining room. I do want to try some floral motifs but I'm honestly getting sick of this at the moment and the apartment smells like paint even with the window open. I'll put it to the side for now.

I'll include pictures later on of this project

I love the way inspiration hits! While working on the chair I figured out my next hat and scarf combo! This makes 8 hats in the last two weeks!

Happy Crafting!