Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Homemade Holiday

I'm OVER the contractor interview process. The 4th contractor was through the house yesterday...along with a cabinet maker, plumber and HVAC sub. Finito! I'm finished with this leg of the process and am ready to start moving on from the whole come-walk-through-my-house-while-I-explain-every-detail-to-you-and-waste-my-entire-day-doing-it. I'm pretty sure you have had enough of my contractor ramblings as well. So, we will leave this leg of the journey with the following synopsis:

By middle of next week, we will have 4 ballpark bids on our project. We will pursue two contractors for firm bids and ultimately make our decision from there. All things considered at this very point - we will be pursuing our own contractor as hiring a general to execute every detail of the project is not a luxury within our means. Jeff and I have a busy next 4-6 months.

On to something more fun. Growing up, I always remember my mom being very artistic (she still is to this day). She loved making cards, painting, drawing, writing, poetry, decorating, knitting, weaving, spinning (on a spinning wheel that is) and had a great appreciation for textile and design. I have a lot of my dad in me (a "clip board lady" as Jeff likes to refer to me), but often find myself doing many of the things I remember my mom doing when I was young. I love to write and I also love to make cards and other little handmade wallhangings, etc. Not to be confused with a "scrapbooker", Jeff refers to me as a "crapper" (card scrapper)...LOL.

The holidays are a great time of the year to fulfill my handmade goods quota for the year. Here are a few of the projects I managed to squeeze in the latter part of this year:

Gloria's Birth Announcements - Designed by my talented friend Terry Braun
I told Terry I wanted something very monochromatic - a tone on tone design with lots of texture. Lace, pearls, sheen - I think they turned out beautiful...even if it took me 4 months to make them. The picture I used was done by Stephanie Bloom (of Stephanie Bloom Photography) and was taken when Gloria was about a month old.

Oh Paris

This was a little wall hanging I made for Rosemary's room. I absolutely love this polka dot paper (it's hard to tell from the picture that it is an iridescent butter-y cream color that I can also see on the walls somewhere in our main level post remodel). Rosemary joined Jeff and I on a trip to Paris while I was only 10 weeks pregnant. Jeff and I enjoyed that trip so much as it was still our little secret that we were expecting.

While we enjoyed touring the romantic streets of London, Dublin, Waterford and Paris...we were also dying to get home and share the news with our families. In fact, we even recorded a video from the tippy top of the Eiffel Tower to share the news upon our arrival (if I can figure out how to upload it, I will!) So this little wall hanging is a memento from that special time.

Cross Embellishments
Bloomington Drug carries these cute crosses that can be customized with any child's name. My mother-in-law gave me this cross for Gloria's Baptism...which I immediately gave an old Hollywood makeover. Now I just need to find the right spot for it.

Baptism Invitations
I love birds in design (as you may be able to tell by our bird wallpaper or Rosemary's bird rug). And when it comes to Baptism, I can't help but think bird...or rather, DOVE that is. Here's what was sent out in honor of her special day.

Another little creation I had fun with this Christmas was making book plates as gifts. Book plates are a decorative label to put on the inside front cover of your books in the case that you should loan it out. I chose some paper that I liked or that reminded me of a particular person and then scanned it into my computer. From there, it was easy to come up with a decorative design using Microsoft Publisher. I printed them on full-size label sheets and cut them up and it made for a personalized and functional Christmas gift (not to mention inexpensive!) Here's one I made for my sister-in-law Genevieve:

Shadow Box
I love shadow boxes and found this one at TJ Maxx for under $20. I like it's proportion and the linen looking back. This one is still in progress, but I wanted to use it as a way to display photos/mementos from Gloria's first year of life. Shadow boxes are nice because they are so easy to switch out and can evolve with time. Of course it needed a few 'old Hollywood' touches for my glamorous little Gloria - and I thought these vintage buttons and ribbon of roses made a nice touch. Here is a "in progress" shot:

Edible Giftables
I love Mason jars for all purposes - drinking out of them, storing stuff in them and gifting things in them. In past years, Jeff and I have used clear candy bags with ribbon to package our Chex Mix that we give out around the holidays. However, this year we used Mason jars and attached these decorative tags to them.

The tags were actually a sort of advent calendar that I found, but I thought they would work nice when all 25 jars were displayed together (for the 25 days in December). However, to the few random people that I gave them to outside of our Christmas party...the numbers made no sense. Whoops!

I also used these take-out boxes from Michael's to package some of our baked goods. I could have gotten so much more creative with them...but it would have required starting much earlier than I did. I still thought the foggy clear boxes with a piece of parchment paper and a ribbon made for a tidy presentation that was easy to distribute.

I don't have too many projects in the pipeline these days, but love to be inspired by looking on etsy or perusing through Archivers. I am currently in the market for two vintage, gold, 11x14" wood frames for silhouettes that I had done of Rosemary and Gloria. I think they will be a nice addition to our bedroom once we get all the furnishings properly placed.

This weekend we are setting up Rosemary's big girl bed. Stay tuned for a feature on her humble abode.

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