Category Archives: Gift Ideas

New Year’s Resolution – manfiesting!

My New Year’s resolution this year: to spend at least one morning or afternoon each month with other artists and craft-makers to experiment and explore new creative territory together. I was overjoyed that my mom, Connie, and my dear friend Jane, were up for manifesting this New Year’s resolution together.

We had our first “Art Day” together in January and shared thoughts, ideas, creative desires and aspirations to map out our future Art Days. There is no shortage of ideas or enthusiasm, let me tell you!

One of the ideas that came out of this initial brainstorm, was to each create an “Art Day Kit” to bring with us each time we get together, so that we always have “the basics”. The list, as it stands now, is as follows:

  • scissors
  • pens and pencils
  • adhesives (favorite glues, tapes and photo squares)
  • Scrap paper
  • Needle and thread(s)
  • Jewelry Wire
  • Art Day Calendar (project ideas, dates etc.)
  • Arts Journal

The Arts Journal is an aesthetic way to keep track of your arts and mixed media experiments and outcomes. I was inspired by this blog post called “Showcase Your Creative Art Experiments“.¬† I decided that it was the perfect time to start an Art Journal parallel to the Art Day series. I plan to tuck, sew, glue tape and write my creative forays into a large recycled-content book that I made over three years ago. This book has been waiting for just such a perfect use. Stay tuned for photos of the Art Journal!

For our first project we chose to do simple fabric dyeing with sharpies and rubbing alcohol. Between the three of us we gathered a wide variety of sharpie/permanent markers, white and light-colored fabrics, light, even-spray misters, and Jane provided the isopropyl alcohol, embroidery hoops and gloves (very helpful to keep hands free of permanent pigment).

We ended up using primarily cotton and cotton/poly blend fabrics, however the dyeing outcomes did differ on different fabrics and we look forward to experimenting with the creation of silk scarves etc. in future. The embroidery hoops helped keep the fabric taut, which provided a better drawing surface and also encouraged the alcohol to spread the colors more.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we enjoyed experimenting with hearts and warm colors. Seeing the colors spread out into the fibers was magical.

The unexpected results and lack of control with this medium is very much a part of its charm for me!

Gift Idea – wood blocks for a new baby

Colorful Baby Blocks - a fun gift idea!

It’s definitely the time in life for me when many of my friends have gotten or are getting married and have gotten or are getting pregnant¬† – some are well on their way to raising a family with youngsters in their twos and threes. With these new stages and phases in life comes celebration and the opportunity to share the love and give gifts. Because I love to receive handmade gifts, I often try to create handmade gifts to give as well. This spring, I made these blocks to give to my close friends as a baby shower gift. I enjoyed smoothing and painting them, thinking about the unborn little-one looking at the colors and images that I was painting on the blocks.

For those of you interested in making some blocks of your own or for someone else: these blocks are approximately 1 1/2 inch square and made of maple. Having access to my parents’ wood shop made the rounding and smoothing easy, however a simple palm sander would do the job. After rounding the edges and corners and smoothing the sides, I used acrylic paints to paint the designs and patterns on the wood. After painting the blocks, I finished them with food grade mineral oil.