Friday, November 7, 2008

Handmade Holidays: Recycled Paper Snowflakes

I've been thinking lately that I'd like to start a little series on this blog called "Handmade Holidays". Jake and I both try to make gifts by hand as much as possible, and even if you're hard pressed for time, I think there are little things you can do to add a handmade touch to the festivities. Not to mention, you can cut out big box stores and give someone something truly unique. Today I made these little snowflake ornaments for the store Christmas tree out of an old Paper Source catalog. Being a stationery catalog they use particularly nice paper and I liked that all the colors and images were Christmas themed. Plus, I couldn't stand to just throw it in the recycling bin... it seemed better fit for a project. They're pretty basic so I thought I'd offer some instructions so you can make your own.

You will need:

- An old catalog (ones with holiday images might offer similar colors to the ones I made), magazine, newspaper, book pages from a damaged book, etc. (hit up your family, friends, neighbor if you don't have any)
- Scissors or an x-acto knife (I used an x-acto knife)
- Glue (I used Memory Mount because it is archival and doesn't bleed through... also, it's not very messy... you can usually find it at one of the big chain craft stores or an art store.)
- A straight edge ruler
- Thread

Step 1:
Cut out strips of paper of equal length and width. You will need four strips for each snowflake. (Mine were a quarter inch wide by 6 inches long... I just used the width of the magazine for the length of each strip so I wouldn't have to do as much measuring.)

Step 2: Fold strips back so that it overlaps on the back by about a quarter inch. Crease flat. Do this three more times using the first one as a template so each one is the same length and overlaps in the back. Put a little dab of glue to hold each together so that they form a flattened loop.

Step 3: Put glue in the middle of the top and bottom of one folded strips and insert it into another folded strip (holding it open wide so as not make a mess with the glue) so that they cross each other in the middle and press down so that the glue holds. Now insert another strip inside the two of these with another dab on the top and bottom of the strip so that it intersects one of the remaining directions. Do this with the last one too so that you have a a little star-like snowflake. It should puff out a little for a 3-D effect.

Step 4:
String it with thread or tape it to a present for a decoration.

Step 5: Enjoy!

Tip: It's definitely easier than my directions make it sound. Try it out if you like!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

"And we live and we shine and we die"

Hello my deers(hehe),

I am joyfully celebrating my 26th birthday today. This beautiful cupcake was brought to you by my parents this weekend... made by the wonderful and terrific bakery in town, "Seasons Books and Bakery". Ooo! Indeed!

In honor of my birthday, I would like to share with you my "New Year's Resolutions":

1) More breathing... yes, more! I would like to begin meditating everyday, as I used to. It seems an essential step in reducing my worrier tendencies.

2) More painting... drawing everyday... it is too important to put off for later. Making art important in my life again will require many steps on my part. And the first part will be making the necessary time for it. The second will be getting myself a website up again so I can share it with you more freely. The third will be finding places to show my art. I would love to start doing art shows again.

3)Going slow, but with purpose... Sometimes I feel this rush to get things done, but then I lose the purpose. I want to put creativity back into every step. I think this will make me happier.

4) Celebrating! Everything...the outdoors, the dishes, the night sky, all the lovely people I know and love.

I'm sure there's more, but that keeps it simple enough. I'm having a beautiful day so far. Mr. Jake has given me some wonderful presents that I will share later, and now he is singing me songs, so I think I will go listen.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"Maiden Crone"

This is a painting I made recently that I've been meaning to post. It very much reflects my feelings about what has been going on in our country and around the world these days, and the hope that I have in people to make changes big and small, to open up a new world of dialogue and ideas and imaginative thinking and most of all, a world based on human kindness, and not cruelty. I hope that the results of this election will truly embolden people to stand up again for their ideals and not feel that they will only be meet with deaf ears. There are still many things that need be changed about this country, and we need to speak and sing and paint (and curse when we feel it's all not working very right). But I do think this is a start, and I'm very much heartened by the unity and determination I saw in my country yesterday to begin to make these changes.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Voting

Oh my, are your nerves as frayed as mine? The uncertainty! Just have to breathe and remember there is beauty and goodness no matter who rules the land. Hey ho! Hey ho!

Happy Election day everyone! Here are some happy and sinister pumpkins representing the entire spectrum of political ideologies... well, not really, but I wanted to show off our pumpkins. Let's hope, hope, hope that we wake up tomorrow and this country is heading somewhere positive.