Month: December 2012

Stamped and Sewn: This Year’s Card!

Every year I try to make my own cards. I have a weakness for letter pressed cards and could buy them til I’m clean broke! But barring total financial irresponsibility, my irrepressible need to create, and my genuine belief that homemade cards are awesome, I managed to do it this year amongst all the rest of the madness. It was a glorious solo late night pursuit, my favourite kind : )

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For the tree bodies, I used these gorgeous scraps of Nigerian fabric from my dear friend (and fellow sewing/fabric nerd!) Jen’s travels in that country. I cut out little pine trees and sewed them down the middle, easy as can be and so pleasing!

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I discovered about 2 years ago that one could carve stamps from erasers and have tried it a few times since. So for the trunks I carved a wee eraser-stamp and l-o-v-e how it came out. IMG_9583I find carving incredibly satisfying. I guess I’ll have to tuck that into the drawer of “things I really want to do,” along with pottery on a wheel, letter pressing, silk screening, stained glass, soap making etc … sigh ¬†ūüôā

Rearview Fridays: Potato Stamp Wrapping Paper

Ahhhhhhhh (sigh of comfort and decompression) I am back in the saddle — ish. Actually I’m more clinging to the edge of the saddle on the galloping horse that is my life, but none the less, I am here again. Our computer is set up in this new home on a new street in a new city, the internet is connected and it’s time for a Rearview Friday!

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This one I’ve been ¬†saving. Last year when I was home on mat leave with then 3-month-old Gene and 3-year-old Rudi we made potato stamp wrapping paper. We had time in the schedule, space on the table and walls (for drying, this is key!) and had a rip-roarin’ good time. I fully plan to do it next year when we are not moving in the middle of the holiday season, whew.

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If you can believe it, Miss Crafty 5000 herself had never made potato stamps! So it was time. They were easy to carve and I bought lots of potatoes in case of mistakes. The snowflake was my runaway favourite design in print.

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I ended up using the Mala¬†drawing paper roll from Ikea. It’s cheap and maybe tears a bit too easily for wrapping paper, but I liked how soft the texture was, it held the paint well and dried quickly. And I used whatever tempera paint we had around, just spread it thinly on a plate and then stamped away! I ended up drying the paper by taping it to the walls. It looked beautiful, magical.

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This was a great activity for a 3-year-old and also, ahem, for an adult! It felt extra special to clad our gifts in our original paper designs. And the stamps preserved pretty well for about a week. I kept them in a tupperware in the fridge with damp towels over the stamp cut-outs so they wouldn’t wither. Alas, this year it’s a mix of left-over wrapping paper from the drug store and brown paper, but I’ll dig out the fancy ribbon to jazz it up!

 

Embroidered Map Art – Von Esteban Styles!

I have been a pretty absent blogger of late as I’m in a perfect storm of selling and buying houses and readying to move in a few days, sick little boys who pee beds and vomit copiously, sewing and editing gigs galore, prepping for christmas, goodbye visits my amazing gaggle of Toronto friends and so on. The adventures are coming thick and fast, offering all sorts of fodder for brilliant blogginess, but alas, no time to sit and write. I’m keeping a list of good ideas for quieter days ahead …¬†all that said, I should really not be blogging at this moment, but I simply must share this right now!

Von Esteban Map Art closeup

Today I picked up my first big-girl art. A real, alive, commissioned piece from the remarkable Casey Von Esteban. A friend of mine had a piece on her wall by Casey that I fell hard for. In mid gush to my lovely husband about Casey’s stitched art, he suggested that I commission a piece for my autumn birthday. And so I did. That was in September sometime. And now it’s done. And I picked it up (jamming it in front of my sick sleeping boys’ feet in our Toyota Matrix because I am obviously a highly responsible and priority-straight parent). A 4′ x 4′ stitched map of my childhood neighbourhood! Here it is perched on the radiator in my almost-packed house:

Von Esteban Map Art

I am on a big map kick right now, or maybe for always. I simply enjoy them, never tire of looking at the grid, always seeing new bits and places. I like the architecture and design of a place I don’t know or revelling in the comfort of familiar streets or landscapes. To that end, I asked Casey to stitch a chunk of South Edmonton, specifically Parkallen, where I grew up.

[googlemaps https://maps.google.ca/maps?q=edmonton+map&hnear=Edmonton,+Division+No.+11,+Alberta&gl=ca&t=m&ie=UTF8&hq=&ll=53.502087,-113.519754&spn=0.021161,0.046349&z=14&output=embed&w=425&h=350]

She did such a great job! Perhaps because I am moving cities for only the second time in my life and am overtired, or whatever the reason, emotions are close to the surface these days I can barely look at this piece right now without a misty wave of memory and nostalgia for childhood days and a beloved prairie city.

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This piece of art encompasses a bunch of things I love — old, weathered wood, embroidery, maps — it is all of that. It’s tactile, I can run my hands over it, see and feel the care with which the artist worked. I love the back too, a rough, knotted mirror of the front. Casey actually drills every single one of those holes and then embroiders the work through them. It blows my mind. And. I. Love. It.

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See the burgundy street in the centre of the image above above? That’s where I lived! Right on the inside corner. We had a great yard on three sides of the house because of that inside corner. I did a lot of dancing and daydreaming there, sigh!

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I am a fairly large fan of the work of Casey Von Esteban. Ahem. You should check her work out, she’s a local Toronto gal. Her stuff is readily available (not just commission) and it’s not too late for holiday gifting (insert horn tooting here)! In addition to her maps, she does Toronto images (I really love the streetcars), animals¬†(the squirrels and racoons make me giggle),¬†miscellaneous¬†(fingerprints, hearts and microphones, oh my), inappropriate words (nothing compares to a carefully embroidered f-bomb, nothing) and more. My map will have pride of place in our new home. Big girl art, sorted.