Thursday, November 27, 2014

Blog hop

I was asked by the lovely Alison Sye to be a part in a blog hop which links artists and makers from around the world. I was introduced (virtually) to Alison by Tina and from then I have been an avid follower of her beautiful work. These are the times I love the virtual world best!

The hop consists of answering 4 questions, and then linking to new artists/makers to continue with the flow of the hop.

words from a dream I had
How does my process work?
As a beginner embroiderer I must say my process is all about learning and practice. I'm interested not only in words and how they look, but also how the fabric and thread affects them. Another important aspect for me is how my mood alters my writing, and consequently the strength or lack of it that I put on each stitch. The hardest part for me is finding a text that resonates with me. As soon as I find it I look in my stash for a handkerchief that best fits the text, then I choose the type of letter and finally the thread's color and thickness.

I carry your heart by E.E. Cummings
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
As Alison said in her post, "nothing in this world is new." I believe this completely. We are all just recycling ideas, and trying our best to make them our own. We experiment, we try here and there with what works best for us and then we either keep at it, or move on. I don't like perfect or generic letters, and try my best to explore with different ways of writing and how a particular way of writing affects the poem or paragraph I've chosen. Each time I start a new handkerchief I consciously choose how the letters will look so that in a very minimal way it will alter the impact of the writing. That said, I really have no idea how my work differs from others of its genre.

Cloths of Heaven by W.B. Yeats
Why do I do what I do?
Apart from loving it with a passion?  I've been very creative throughout my life, and explored many arts and crafts, but it was only until  a few years ago when I started to embroider words that I felt a kind of bliss and sense of purpose, a feeling of "I have arrived," and knew at that instant that I had found something that I could do for the rest of my life.

Prayer by Hugo Williams
What am I working on?
Thankfully there is always something that needs to come out of my head, whether it is a diy craft for the blog or coming up with different things for my Etsy shop or new words that I feel compelled to embroider. There is always something!

Next week the artists I've chosen will answer the same questions, and I'm looking forward to reading their answers. They are:
Mirta from Miplusedesign who is an illustrator and print maker. Her work is a constant source of inspiration for me, with her nature inspired minimalistic drawings and transferring them to beautiful scarves and notebooks.


And Juliane from Fröken Skicklig who is a professional doll maker, and makes in my opinion the most idyllic settings for the dolls, and the most beautiful clothes for them ( I always wish I could dress like them).

You really should also check both of their Instagrams as the word beautiful falls short in both cases.

I wish you a lovely Thanksgiving day, filled with yummy food and surrounded by family and friends,
all the best,
Giova

Monday, November 24, 2014

A very easy to make fabric pouch, clutch

I love pouches, all colors, sizes and textures. I use them for all sorts of things. There is one filled with old ribbons, another with new, one keeps crochet needles, another holds my traveling "things." This one here is my favorite because it is very easy to make and  it is not heavy at all (empty, that is).

 What you'll need:

  • fabric
  • thread and needle
  • scissors
  • sewing machine just makes this project super quick

- Cut 2 pieces of fabric about 24 x 33 cms
- Sew seams on both pieces 2 cms more or less- they should be 22 x 31 cms now
- Sew them together, the nice part of the fabric should be facing each other, I just mention this silly information because I forgot to do this on the red one!

- Leave 8 cms or so without sewing at the top, turn it inside out
- Iron, it makes the next step much easier

- Fold the lower part about 8.5 cms as to make a pouch
- This part I did by hand. Just grab a bright thread (if you feel like it) and sew both parts together as shown
- Sew the 8cms on the top part of the pouch.
- You can add strings before or after that step, it is up to you
- I added one string that goes around to the blue one, and 2 strings that tie together to the grey

- I added a piece of hearts fabric on one, and embroidered my initial on the other one, to add an extra touch of niceness!
- The pouch/clutch measures 20 x 11 more or less, I say more or less because I really don't measure anything, only for this project I had to keep track of the measurements
- Keep them to yourself or give them away!

 Fill the with:

  • pens, pencils
  • crochet needles
  • nib holders
  • threads
  • make-up
  • travel essentials


This is another very easy project that you can make in no time. Seriously, if you have a sewing machine it shouldn't take you more than 20 minutes to do it. Including the sewing by hand part!

Just one more week until December, are you ready??
I've been trying to get things ready, but I'm such a procrastinator that things only hit me when it is too late.

I hope your week is sunny and beautiful,
Giova

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Handmade friendship bracelet

It was so grey yesterday I thought I was not going to be able to take any pictures. Fortunately I found out, there is some sort of light in our tiny balcony. Unfortunately I almost freeze into unconsciousness. Just kidding, but sort of ;) You can get a Colombian out of their country, but you can never get the warm weather out of their soul!

I've already made similar bracelets to sell before, and now I have these ones ready on the Etsy shop. I thought it was a good idea to offer gifts for 10 and under, don't you agree?  So you can look these up and also the handmade notebooks I made here.

I also wanted to share the idea with you here. Traditionally, friendship bracelets are weaved, but as I don't have much time lately I decided to take a big short cut.

Maybe you have some lovely fabric lying around waiting for the perfect moment? Or maybe you have some cute buttons or charms you have been collecting for ages? Whatever the case, I think you might find some inspiration from these bracelets. ** As always do make them for your friends and family, but please respect my idea, thank you!

This above is just an idea of what you might need, but I think it all narrows down to your own personal taste, and also what you have at hand. The beautiful wrapped cotton was purchased here.

There is no wrong or right way of making these bracelets. I just wanted to share them with you as I'm an avid promoter of the handmade gift. I always think this kind of gift is so much nicer than anything mass produced. Anything that you can make with your hands is always filled with love, no matter what it is.

Wishing you a great weekend ahead, may it be filled with nice walks, lots of tea and some crafty time!
Giova.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Paper, bookbinding and calligraphy Fair in Leiden

Let me say again sorry for not having a "handmade gift idea for Christmas" ready. You can call me Madame Excuses from now on! To my defense I'll say; the days were dark, being by myself with the kids does not make it easy (I take this chance to also say; "My hats off to all you single mothers out there, I'm in awe!), and this very particular fair had me all very excited.

Off to Leiden to Pieterskerk (on sunday) to see beautiful paper, artists books, letterpress and calligraphy examples. Did I mention tons of paper?? Sorry in advance for the bit blurry pictures, I was too distracted by beautiful things.

 The church was the best place to be sheltered from a very rainy day.


This amazing work has no website and it is not for sale, but that partial alphabet was something not to be overlooked.

 These beautiful colors from Atelier Lenneke Saraber,  had me at hello!

One of the nicest books I saw at the fair were from Water Leaf paper and Words, she not only makes her own paper (see above), she also is a letterpress and bookbinding artist. Oh, and she teaches workshops.

I love letterpress. Everything about it (colors, ink, paper, typography, etc…)!

This is my loot from the fair, couldn't possibly leave empty handed could I? Isn't that Futura "G" just gorgeous? Is not very often I find "G's" in fact they are not very common. The little blue book is from De Roofprint Pers and the nibs and holder are from Calli Art.

That is it for now. Hope all is well at your end.
Have a lovely week,
Giova

Thursday, November 13, 2014

This is it

As you may know (or maybe not?), we were in the process of deciding whether to stay here or leave. It has become a bit expensive for us, and we we're trying to decide what to do. No decision, not yet!

It is not easy not knowing… waiting in expectation, what will happen?, carrying a knot in my stomach, etc… All that wanting to know what decision is best was driving me a bit mad, but then I realized (with some help- read further), that I can't control anything, and there is really no point in worrying myself with things that I can't do anything about. Oh, it sounds so easy right?


For now, I'm finding solace in books (as I always have- I think they hold the answers to everything).
Especially the books by Pema Chödrön which have helped with almost everything. I always find the perfect book to read (like this one that I'm reading now, even the title is just right), or the perfect poem to help me through, and make me realize; "This is it. No one else has the answer."

I found the following poem here, which is a blog that I'm liking a lot lately. I was supposed to write it really nicely on my notebook but I haven't found the time. I hope you like it.

Always we hope
someone else has the answer.
Some other place will be better,
some other time it will all turn out.

This is it.
No one else has the answer.
No other place will be better,
and it has already turned out.

At the center of your being
you have the answer;
you know who you are
and you know what you want.

There is no need 
to run outside
for better seeing.

Nor to peer from a window.

Rather abide at the center of your being;
for the more you leave it, the less you learn.

Search your heart
and see 
the way to do 
is to be.

-Lao Tzu


I wasn't able to continue with the handmade gifts for Christmas because I'm alone with the kids, my little one has been a bit sick and I'm hammered. So hopefully I'll continue with it on Monday.

--I wanted to thank you all who left a comment on the giveaway. I loved reading all of your answers and as always I wish I had a gift for each one of you.

For this reason I have decided to do another giveaway (one of my garlands and one handmade notebook), but this time only on my Facebook page (so you'll have to go there to read about it). 


So with no further news, I say congratulations….




KIM!! Please get in touch with me with your details and your preferred notebook!

Have a lovely weekend and excuse the purple/blueish tint of the pic above, I've no idea where it comes from!
Giova.

Monday, November 10, 2014

DIY- Handmade coasters using scraps of fabrics

To continue with the idea of handmade presents that can be personalized, easy to make, that don't break your budget (or mine for that matter) and just in time for Christmas, I decided to make some coasters using fabric scraps.

I love coasters, and use them for almost everything. To put little flower pots, trays with trinkets, and even candles, and the best part is I can change them depending on whatever color mood I'm in.

Lately I'm into blues (also the music genre) but fabrics in this case;  beautiful indigos, navy blue, denim blue and the color of a bright and sunny day, with a splash of red.



 What you'll need:

  • fabric scraps in your preferred color/colors
  • bigger piece of fabric for the back
  • needle and thread
  • scissors
  • sewing machine optional (I used mine to make these), but you can also do it by hand. I made last year's coasters by hand.


1. Cut out 5 or 6 pieces depending on the size you want your coasters to be. The four I made are all different sizes, but the coasters range 10x7.5cms for the smallest one (which is the one with the letter "G" embroidered) and 10.5x8.5cms for the biggest one (which is the one with the red stitches).

2. Arrange them how you want, and also whether you want a square or rectangle

3. Sew them together. By this point you are probably thinking no way, too much! But since the squares are so little, it really doesn't take that much time. The pieces of fabric are more or less 4x5cms.

4. I first made the top part and when I was done I cut out the piece of fabric for the back. I used the same fabric for all 4, but only because I had leftover fabric from another project, but you can use different ones if you like. 

5. Make the top and bottom part the same size and iron them (this helps a lot) and then sew them together.

6. I actually left the personalization for the end but you can always do that before putting the 2 pieces together. 

Even if you are sending 2 or 4, just make sure you make each one special. It doesn't take much time to add a few stitches, embroider an initial or a word. I think it does make the gift more special.

The other nice side to this present is that it is flat and doesn't weight at all, so you can send it via post with no problems. For more "flat ideas" go here.

Just a little reminder that there is a really nice (ahem) giveaway going on and there is still time to join!

Wishing you a crafty week ahead,
Giova.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

DIY- Handmade notebooks for watercolors or sketching

For the next few weeks I'll be sharing some crafty ideas that can be easily made and just in time for Christmas. I know my favorite presents are always handmade things (not the ones I mentioned on the giveaway), but really there is something so incredible about handmade things. The love, time and dedication that goes into a gift, makes it so much more valuable than anything store bought.

After visiting this mill, I knew this was bound to happen (pun intended). What else was I going to do with the lovely "zaansch bord" I bought there?

I recently made a little notebook of scraps of paper that I learned at this e-course, but actually I learned this very easy binding technique here. Igloo letterpress sells "make your own notebook kits" if you want things already cut out for you.


  What you'll need:

  • thick paper for the cover (obviously these were purchased at the paper mill)
  • a bookbinder's awl (if you have one)otherwise a thick needle will do. My awl is a little one and  apparently for children, I can't think why you would let children use these, as I actually pierced myself with it, and boy does it hurt
  • paper for sketching or watercolors (I got Canson's Montval 185gm)
  • x-acto knife or scissors to cut the paper
  • linen thread
  • thick needle
  • and things to decorate the cover such as rubber stamps, scraps of fabrics,beads, stamps, etc…)

First: Cut the paper in the desired size and fold . This instructions that follow are for 3 holes, but you can add as many holes as you like.

Top left to right: Make 3 holes with the awl, 3 cms apart, and insert needle on the first hole leaving a long piece of thread in the back (I like how the long strands look). Then insert needle on either hole bringing it to the back.

Lower left to right: Insert needle on last hole and then insert needle in the center hole. That way both strands end up together.

Tie a knot and then tie another knot, this time include the strand that goes from lower hole to upper hole, that way they're tied together.

Personalize the cover, that way you'll be adding an extra touch to the notebooks. For this one I made I rubber stamp and added some beads to the thread.

Have some beautiful stamps? Well sew them on to the cover. I used my sewing machine, but it can be sewn by hand.

Lately I'm a bit obsessed with scraps of fabric, and I think this indigo dyed piece, looks rather nice. You can always add the person's name or initials or a word to the cover, anything goes really, it just means taking the extra step.

I hope you like them and give them a go. They are really easy to make, and I'm sure the recipient would be delighted, I know I would be.

As I mentioned on the giveaway there was a present missing. This is it! One of these notebooks (winner gets to pick which one) will be included. I hope you decide to join in, all you need is to answer my question here on the blog or on the Facebook page.

Have a fantastic and very crafty weekend, and see you monday for another handmade gift idea!!
Giova.
P.S: These will be included in The Flat Project as they are perfect for sending via mail. Light and flat (just my type).


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