Thursday, 8 December 2011

6 Ideas for a Handmade Christmas

 So no doubt by now you've already got the decorations up, the cards written & posted, the presents bought & wrapped and a stash of home made mince pies ready for any unexpected visitors who might just pop by.... no?... me neither!

Not sure if I've ever been organised for Christmas - it always just kind of creeps up on me and then before I know it, I've left it all too late and I beat myself up over how I should have done it and promise myself it will be different next year. I'm sure I'm not alone here (right??!)

Part of my problem is that I over commit my time - there are always commissions at this time of year, as well as the private sales I hold locally for my Get Smitten items and I usually have a whole list of gifts I want to make as presents too... not to mention the ideas I have for decorations for the house

Here's a round up of all the things I wish I had time to make this Christmas...

 First up is the totally gorgeous pompom wreath by Danielle Thompson... oh, I love the colours she has used in this (actually I love most of her work, Danielle is my kitschy vintage heroine!) It took her forever and she recommends using a pompom maker - as opposed to the good old fashioned 2 rings of cardboard way. A lot of work but totally worth it! You can see her Candy Coloured Christmas post here

A quicker version is the vintage decoration wreath by Georgia Pechez - what a stunning statement piece! I'm totally in love with vintage xmas decs and have a small collection that I started last year - right now I feel too precious about them to hot-glue-gun them to a wreath but I'll keep my eye out for a few bargains on my magpie hunts so that I can make one for next year. The tutorial on how to make it is here at Retro Renovation

 These printed Christmas tree ribbons are ones that I made for a Living etc photoshoot last year, they're really easy to do and you can use whatever text you like. I wanted to re-do them for this year using the lines from The Twelve Days of Christmas and using paler colours, in keeping with my vintage tree decorations like the ones used in Georgia's wreath. The full tutorial for the printed ribbons is here

Next is the felted Christmas tree from the super talented girls at The Purl Bee, they also do a green stripe version with a white snow-cap but I love the hot neon pink against the white. Simple but so effective. The tutorial for making both versions is here

 Staying with the felt theme, I love the simplicity of these snowball tree decorations, again from The Purl Bee. I like the subtlety of the monochrome but would be tempted to make these in hot neon pink too! The step by step tutorial for making them is here

And finally, how about some tinsel swizzle sticks for jazzing up your egg-nog! I'm not a massive fan of tinsel (some people need a serious lesson in how to use it effectively... just sayin') but these I love. And they would see you into the New Year party vibe too! The beautifully photographed tutorial is here on Odessa May Society blog

Are you organised for Christmas? Do you hand make any of your gifts or maybe support indie designers by buying handmade gifts? What amazing tutorials have you seen online that you've earmarked for next year? I'd love to know

Lisa xx

{photos in order of appearance by Danielle Thompson, Georgia Pechez, The Purl Bee, Odessa May Society}

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Penguin Classics Embroidered Covers

{sigh}   When I was studying textile design at Uni - I specialised in embroidered textiles - this is the kind of project I dreamed of... I love literature books, I love colour and I love threads. Imagine working on a project that enabled you to pick your favourite literary classic and interpret it, using fabric and thread into a beautiful book cover...    {sigh again}

This became reality for embroideress Jillian Tamaki when she was approached by Penguin Threads creator Paul Buckley to hand embroider the designs for the latest re-prints of three of their timeless classics: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Black Beauty by Anna Sewell and Emma by Jane Austen. What a dream job... and what a mammoth undertaking! Aren't they stunning?!

The books themselves - released this October - have deliciously embossed covers to accentuate the embroidery detail and make it look as 'real' as possible, I've not yet actually handled one of these beauties but The Secret Garden is so going on my Christmas wishlist {yeah, that's a hint!}

Here are the full covers, I just love how the back includes a small snippet of a quote from the book - a real book lovers treat!

The inside flap shows the back of Jillian's handiwork, which I think is a lovely nod to the tactile quality of hand produced work - they say the mark of a quality embroideress is that the reverse side is as neat as the front!

Be sure to check out Paul Buckley Design's full range of shots on Flickr to see the whole collection. Work is already underway for the next three books; The Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum, Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. This time stitched by the expert hand of Rachell Sumpter and due for release next year

I am besotted with this collaborative project. Which books would you select? I would love to see Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol and, of course, my all time favourite, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen!


Lisa x

{images by Jillian Tamaki}

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