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).


Monday, November 3, 2014

A Grateful Giveaway

It is that wonderful time of the year again.  I really can't say why it is that I like November so much, and when this love really started. What I do know,  is that my favorite adopted holiday falls here - Thanksgiving is something I'm always looking forward to. This year (so far) has not been an "easy" one for me, but that does not mean I don't have plenty of things to be thankful for, so as it has become a sort of tradition here in this blog, November starts with a giveaway.

Thank you for sticking around, for your comments and liking what I do.  It really means the world to me!

Here are the few things I've gathered and hope you like them, as much as I do! One more thing is missing, but that will come out on thursday's post.


1. A print by Joseph Segaran. You can see the crafty series here or jump over to his site. I think his work of the buildings of Amsterdam is phenomenal.

2. A 3D ring designed by jeweler Patricia Thomazo. The crafty series is here and her site here. I've seen one of these rings already put together and is quite impressive.

3. A coin purse from leather artist Melissa D'croz. The crafty series is here and her site here. This little leather purse will make a great gift or keepsake.

4. Two flat cards from Miplusdesign. I'm a big admirer of her work and thought the cards would be a great addition to the giveaway.

5. Two rolls of Maste washi-tape, simply because everyone needs washi-tape in their life.

6. A 'fabric scraps garland" made by yours truly.

7. Something that will be appearing on thursday's post but I have the feeling you'll love it, if you like paper that is (wink,wink).

So now for the nitty gritty; THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!!!

-I still don't understand what all the following is about, especially since you can follow one day and un-follow the next. So follow if you really feel like doing it.  I'm here: Bloglovin, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Etsy.

-Leave a comment here or on the Facebook page telling me what is the one thing you are wishing for this Christmas. I know we all want health, love, happiness, etc… But what I really want to know is this, here is my example; I really, really want this and this. I have been wishing for this since last year, so I'm hoping maybe I get it this year!!

-You can leave a comment until the 12th of November 10pm (Amsterdam time). I will be announcing the winner on thursday the 13th! Oh, and it is open for all!

Thank you so much for playing along and stay tuned for thursday's post where you will be able to see gift #7,
Giova
fun fact: Both of my kid's first words were "Gracias." This really happened, when they both decided to speak, this is the first word they uttered. Gracias means thank you in spanish!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Crafty people Series #14 - Melissa D'croz

I'm so happy to finally be able to introduce my cousin and her beautiful work in this crafty series. This is one post that was due I think 2 years ago, but something happened with the pictures I took, and so for the first time in the series, the pictures don't belong to me.

Melissa studied fashion design in Madrid, then did a master degree in accessories design, after that she moved to Florence (Italy) where she did more studies on leather goods and pattern making. Now a days you can find her teaching lots of leather workshops in Florence.

I really love the handmade quality of each of her products and her attention to the littlest of  details. I also think the leather weaving she does is simply out of this world. The pictures that follow are just a tiny glimpse of her wonderful work. To see more of her work check out the links below.









1. First Crafty Memory?
    My first memory is just using toilet paper rolls to make dolls.  I also remember doing cross
    stitch flowers with my mother.  I was very little.

2. Favorite Craft you've ever made?

    A purse I was working when I finished my studies. It involved a lot of techniques and also
    a lot of work. The result left me feeling really proud of what I was capable of doing.

3. Favorite material to work with?

    Obviously leather, a thick piece of natural (no dyes) leather. I love the smell and the color.

4. Inspiring words you like?

   "Persist, resist and never desist" it is actually my sister always saying it to me, but I think
    they are the perfect words for me.

5. Favorite Color?

    The color I tend to always gravitate towards is green, I really don't know why, everything 
    ends up being green.

6. Coffee or Tea?

    I love white tea with vanilla

7. Mountains or Beach?

    I like the beach but I think it has to do more with the heat, which is what I love

8. Where do you find inspiration?

     Things I see on the street. The bags doctors used to carry, or the back packs children   
     used to take to school, old bags, also books and movies.

9. What do you collect?

     I own lots of buddhas and also postcards

10. What do you like to make that you haven't yet?

       I would love to make something really big, like a traveling trunk with lots of compartments 
       to put  things in.

You can find her here, also on Facebook and Instagram


I hope you tune in next week for another exciting grateful giveaway!!
Have a great weekend,
Giova

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