Handmade Hellos: Fresh Greeting Card Projects from First-Rate Crafters
“Signed sealed delivered! In this delightful book card-making mavens Eunice and Sabrina Moyle of Hello!Lucky letterpress gather together more than 25 projects from today’s most talented paper artists. Simple instructions outline card- and envelope-folding basics plus how to screen print use a Print Gocco machine hand-bind emboss stamp stencil and much more. Ready-to-use patterns and spiral binding ease the process while easy-to-follow directions cute illustrations and finished project photos make it a cinch to create stacks of boutique-worthy greeting cards.” → more info
Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life
“Discovering the pleasures of a handmade life was a longtime dream for urban homesteader Jenna Woginrich. At 24 years old, living in an apartment in Knoxville, Tennessee, and working as a computer designer, Woginrich was nurturing her dream of learning to homestead. Now, at 27, she’s settled on a rented farm in rural Vermont, where she cares for two working sled dogs, chickens, a flock of sheep, honeybees, a couple of geese, fluffy Angora rabbits, and a backyard garden that provides much of her own food.
Part memoir and part how-to manual, Made from Scratch recounts Woginrich’s growing independence and the successes and missteps she experiences as she learns to more fully live off the land. By turns upbeat, dramatic, and sometimes sorrowful, her story embodies the experience of the new homesteader one who is committed to reducing dependence on commercially produced goods while still working a day job to pay the rent. Woven into the narrative, readers will find easy-to-follow instructions for making clothing, playing a musical instrument, preserving fruit, brewing the best pot of coffee imaginable, and much more. Now available in paperback, this new edition features additional material on moving from Idaho to Vermont, a topic that will delight fans of her blog.” → more info
I recently spent a few days in the midwest to see family. Some of you might know this already, but certain parts of the midwest are really more like little Scandinavian outposts. My family originally hails from Sweden, so I always feel myself drawn to all things Svenska.
West Coast of Sweden: LillaJizo
On the west coast of Sweden, scientists recently discovered the bones of a 10,000 year old whale… and I discovered the very fine designer LillaJizo and her little pieces of art that she creates on broken pieces of pottery. Historically, Jizo is a Buddhist helper/bodhisattva. He is considered to be the helper of all beings, especially children, women, and travelers. LillaJizo painted this “healing shard,” as she calls them, with Roku Jizo, or the Six Realms Jizo. I wish I had this healing shard to carry with me in my pocket when I was on my recent trip. LillaJizo also has a blog, where you can read more about her dedication to the yogic path.
Sverige, Sweden: Jealousy Designs
This hammered silver man’s ring is such an amazing gift for the guy in your life. I always love inside out rings–rings with the good stuff on the inside. Jealousy Designs’ use of natural, raw, and uncut stones, as well as the hammering of the metal results in pieces that are both masculine and feminine. Actually, many of her designs are one of a kind because she works around the natural shapes of the stones. Most of the metal materials she uses are recycled, and the only pieces of her jewelry she does not make herself are clasps and tiny chains.
Eskilstuna, Sweden: MayaLee on Etsy
Finally, how could I resist this simple photograph of a heart–it is almost Valentine’s Day, after all. To me this image is a perfect expression of how I see the Swedish aesthetic, always with color and light playing together in a crisp and fresh way, but with an appealing warmth to it too. MayaLee has other photographs in her collection where she captures the simplest of things, set against a light infused background. But I think this is my favorite, the little dappling light and the stick pins, like a metaphor of what love often is–not necessarily fleeting, but certainly not permanent–And oh how we wish it was.
Here is a fact that almost everyone who knows me will tell you – I love stars. I’ve always been fascinated by them, both the actual stars in the night sky and anything with their shape on it. I’m so into stars that I even have 12 of them tattooed in various places on my body! This week, I’ve rounded up some fabulous star-themed handmade goodies for your enjoyment.
The inspiration for the earrings up top started with the finish, which Caroline, the artist, discovered by accident one day while working with a piece of silver. She realised that just by using a steel file, she could create a wonderful shimmer effect on the surface of the silver. Caroline has always loved star shapes in jewellery – “I feel the shape is simple, yet fun and also timeless…so what would be better than a star that gently shimmers in the light. ”
I love this print by Deb of Champignons, it reminds me of looking up at the night sky and feeling very small indeed. Deb was inspired by the juxtaposition of big things like cosmic hares and stars and tiny things we treasure and keep safe. She says, “I’ve always liked the idea of tiny world systems, there’s nothing to say that worlds have to be giant, either, so there might be tiny worlds all over the place, with stars and hares and even smaller worlds within them.”
How adorable is this zombie/stars colourful print? “The idea behind the little zombie lovers is to share some love!” says designer Rhi, who intends the expression of the zombie about to recieve the heart to depict warmth, shyness and surprise. Rhi paints these designs with the hope that someone can give the painting to another, as a gift that says ‘I love you’ in an alternative way.
Nautical stars like the ones in this cushion cover remind me of my husband, who has one tattooed on his forearm. Ruth was inspired by her daughter, who loves skulls and pirates – she also thought the red and black stripes were very piratey! “I just love being creative with fabric, it is a bit of an obsession!! I am always looking out for beautiful, luxurious and quirky fabrics.”
Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design
“Today’s crafters are no longer interested in simply cross-stitching samplers or painting floral scrolls on china. Instead, the contemporary craft movement embraces emerging artists, crafters, and designers working in traditional and nontraditional media. Jenny Hart’s Sublime Stitching has revolutionized the embroidery industry. Each year Nikki McClure sells thousands of her cut-paper wall calendars. Emily Kircher recycles vintage materials into purses. Stephanie Syjuco manufactures clothing under the tag line “Because Sweatshops Suck.” These are just some of the fascinating makers united in the new wave of craft capturing the attention of the nation, the Handmade Nation.
Faythe Levine traveled 19,000 miles to document what has emerged as a marriage between historical technique, punk culture, and the D.I.Y. ethos. For Handmade Nation (along with the documentary film of the same name, coming in 2009) she and Cortney Heimerl have selected 24 makers and 5 essayists who work within different media and have different methodologies to provide a microcosm of the crafting community. Participants in this community share ideas and encouragement through websites, blogs, boutiques, galleries, and craft fairs. Together they have forged a new economy and lifestyle based on creativity, determination, and networking. Twenty-four artists from Olympia, Washington, to Providence, Rhode Island, and everywhere in between show their work and discuss their lives. Texts by Andrew Wagner of American Craft Magazine, Garth Johnson of Extremecraft.com, Callie Janoff of the Church of Craft, Betsy Greer of Craftivism.com, and Susan Beal, author of Super Crafty, supply a critical view of the tight-knit community where ethics can overlap with creativity and art with community. Handmade Nation features photographs of the makers, their work environment, their process, their work, and discussions of how they got their start and what motivates them. Handmade Nation is a fascinating book for those who are a part of the emerging movement or just interested in sampling its wares.” → more info