2016 Holiday Cards

This year for our holiday cards, we went a different route and decided to print one design, as opposed to previous years, where we crafted individual cards for each family.

img_0183When brainstorming ideas for the cards, we knew we wanted a holiday appropriate design that would also be representative of this past year. Since this year has been very focused on remodeling and really settling into our home, we decided on featuring our newly finished fireplace and hearth.

img_0181We started with a pencil sketch, and then digitally did some cleanup, and added color. I love that the cards have the hand sketched look to them, making them warm and inviting. Happy Holidays!

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Recipe Cards

IMG_9880We recently acquired a few recipe cards from James’ late grandmother’s collection, and it has inspired me to get better about writing out recipes on cards myself. To continue expanding my small collection, I decided to design my own, rather than purchase existing cards.

IMG_9883The cards we received from family contained some variety, so when deciding on my own pattern, I knew I wanted to make something unique with a floral motif for my own recipes.

IMG_9879The cards were first created digitally, incorporating an antique wallpaper pattern, and then printed. I then embossed a teapot and teacups using a set of stamps, and used a gold ink with clear embossing powder, following the same process as when we made our wedding invitations.

IMG_9884Once the design was printed and cut, it took just a few minutes to stamp and emboss a whole set of cards. I love the finished product, and am very excited to collect all of my recipes in one place.


Handmade Table Runners

IMG_9826When thinking of the decor for our dining room table, I knew that I would want to use table runners, as opposed to full tablecloths, to show off the oak wood. I also knew that I would create my own runners, since the selection at a fabric store is so much wider than what would be available prefabricated. Initially I went to the fabric store thinking that I would make one or two runners to switch out. However, once I started walking the aisles I wanted to grab a lot more options. Ultimately I settled on three unique fabrics to have a good variety, and to be used with different dishes and seasons.

IMG_9788IMG_9819Each runner followed the same general layout: a strip with pointed ends and tassels. I cut out rectangles in each piece of fabric, hemmed around the edges, and then folded the tips in to create the points. Then, I sewed on a decorative edge for a couple of them to give a bit of extra contrast, and created simple tassels for each using string and yarn.

IMG_9825IMG_9827For the first runner, I selected a light blue fabric with an off white pattern that I thought would work well with our main set of casual dishes.

IMG_9830IMG_9832For the second runner, I picked out a light green fabric with a beige leaf pattern. This one compliments our wedding china, which I love to take out for special events, or small gatherings with friends. I decided not to give this one an edge since the pattern has a lot of detail on its own.

IMG_9821IMG_9824For the final runner, I used a light linen fabric with a beautiful embroidered pattern. I gave this one a blue rope edge to give it a bit more color, and created gray tassels to compliment the colors of the stems in the pattern.

IMG_9820Although this one has a lot going on in the pattern, it is perhaps the most neutral of the three for our dining room table. With just a couple of center piece items, this runner makes our table feel complete without being too heavy and cluttered.

IMG_9822Although I may use table cloths in the future for some events, I am very happy to have these new runners to alternate with our decor. Each runner was very simple to make, and I’m so excited to have these options when entertaining.


Staining and Upholstering Chairs

When we started to look for dining room furniture for our home, I knew that I would want round back chairs. I have always loved the style, and the soft curves would be fitting for the look of our living room. We searched high and low for an affordable option that would match our color scheme, but finding the perfect ones seemed impossible. A couple of months ago, we found the correct style for sale, but when we received the chairs they were no where near the color of our table, so I decided to re-stain and re-upholster them myself.

IMG_9526The process was long and complicated, but this was the best way to guarantee that we would have the style of chair we envisioned. Here you can see the original chair, which was very gray covered in a rough gray fabric.

IMG_9530IMG_9532We took off the original gray fabric, and removed the old finish. After prepping the wood for staining (I read a lot on the nuances of how to properly remove old stain, sand, and condition wood), I applied a gel based stain that would closely match the color of our dinning room table.

IMG_9541Once the process of re-staining and finishing the wood on the chairs was complete, it was time to re-upholster. We looked at several fabric swatches, and decided on this light champagne color to create a soft, neutral space.

IMG_9542The last part of the process was to make piping for the bottom and back of each chair. Thankfully, I have plenty of experience with a sewing machine, so this was the easiest part of the project.

IMG_9529I made the piping on the bottom a bit thicker than the one on top as it seemed more fitting for the proportions. The piping not only hides the staples put in to hold the fabric, it also makes the chairs look complete and elegant.

IMG_9527This has been one of the most difficult projects I’ve taken on, but absolutely worth all of the effort. I love how the chairs look in our space, and can’t wait to finish the rest of the dinning room changes, which we will reveal here as soon as they are ready.

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Embroidered Christmas Cards

IMG_9454For this years Christmas cards, we decided to incorporate embroidery, which is something that I had never done with paper before. The designs themselves are simple, but the colored thread adds an extra element of dimension and texture.

IMG_9453Each card started with a print out of a sketch that was cut into an oval shape. I then punched small holes using a needle along the images to make the embroidering go smoothly.

IMG_9456These cards were a fun way to practice my love for embroidery, and a great opportunity to make cards that are unique from those that we’ve made in past years.

Wishing all a very Merry Christmas!


Moving Announcement

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Now that we’ve settled into our new home, we decided to make a little moving announcement to mail out to our close friends and family. It’s a great way to let others know of your new address, while making it a little more intimate than a social media update. As previously noted, I’m a big fan of snail mail, so naturally we went the old fashioned route and decided to print and mail out little cards.

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After printing a photo of our house, the contours were traced using hatching to simulate the look of engraved illustrations from 19th century newspapers. We then added text to convey our new address, and a small border before printing. The finished product is cute and personal, and was very simple to make.


Crochet Gifts for Baby

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Over the past few weeks there have been three new babies born into either our family or that of our friends. As I’ve mentioned before, I love to crochet and jumped to the opportunity to make blankets, hats, and shoes for the new little ones.

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For one of the baby girls, I made this sweet little set using a dark reddish pink as my primary color to step away from the traditional baby pink, and softened it with light pink and white accents.

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For a baby boy, I made a two colored blanket to resemble one large granny square. I was able to accomplish this look by using a very thick yarn. I love this emerald green color that also serves as a departure from the conventional baby blanket colors.

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For the second baby girl’s blanket, I used lavender and periwinkle squares with white trim to tie both colors together into one cohesive pattern. I used a medium sized ultra soft yarn to make each square large enough without feeling too heavy and bulky.

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I then made a few extra baby hats using a variety of colors and patterns to add to each of the gifts. I’m sure each baby will quickly outgrow their hats, but I do hope that the blankets will give them warmth and comfort for a few of their first years. Welcome to the world little ones!

 

 


Handmade Pottery

The California drought has really put an emphasis on the role that native desert flora can play in Los Angeles landscaping. Recently, we decided to add some small succulents to our patio, and created a few handmade clay pots to put them in.

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We used a self hardening clay, so there was no firing necessary. We don’t have a potter’s wheel, or anything like that, so the pieces have a certain roughness to them that we accentuated with the paint job.

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The dried pieces are not waterproof, but simply painting them creates a seal to solve that issue. We created different shapes for each of the little pots and painted them all a little different.

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The finished pieces feel right at home on our patio, and we’re excited to have new drought friendly plants to decorate with.


Cocktail Gift Box

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When I was in high school I would occasionally give my friends gift boxes filled with their favorite candies and snacks for their birthdays. Recently for a friends birthday, I decided to resurrect that idea and put together a little cocktail kit with all of the ingredients you would need for two cocktails, and some charcuterie inspired snacks to go with them.

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Since he was getting a year older, and whiskey is his drink of choice, I decided old fashioned cocktails would be perfect. I simply used small bottles to hold each ingredient, and added them to a box along with dry salami, crackers, and cheese. The gift was easy to put together, catered to the recipients tastes, and is something he can enjoy on a night in even after the birthday celebrations have come to an end.