Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wine Cork Board- Another Project Completed!

For the past year I have been saving up corks to finish this wine cork bulletin board. It is about four hundred corks, and even if you are a lush- it is still A LOT of drinking. I had my parents help out, so whenever I visited them they had a plastic bag full of corks for me to take home. Adam and I took a wine class and the teacher sent me home with a large bag of corks. Pretty soon I had a ton of corks lying around the apartment, taking up space, and an unfinished board that I was too busy to finish. Shocker. The story of my life. So one day I thought, I have to get rid of these corks! I pulled out the unfinished board and just motored through it. I find that once I start up a project again, it re inspires me and is so much easier to complete. The most difficult step is taking it out of the closet (or other dark hole) I've stuck it in. Well I began going through corks and it was very easy to finish the second half and I was SSSOOOO proud of myself when it was done. It is now hanging by my front door and I love looking at it every time I open or close my door. It is really great to try to remember where all the corks are from. The Nickel & Nickel cork (towards the middle) is from our 5th year anniversary dinner in Big Sur.

If you are feeling green and would like to recycle your corks, it is super easy. What I did was go to an art supply store and bought a simple wooden frame (remember, the larger the frame the more corks you need, and the longer it takes to finish). Make sure the frame is about 1.25" deep so that it can hold the corks. Once I had the frame I cut out a piece of foam core that fit into the frame exactly. In order to make sure the corks fit, I placed the foam core into the frame and then fit the corks in from there. You can do lots of different designs- mine is fairly straightforward, but it is like a puzzle, I would piece in about eight corks and then glue them onto the foam core. I did row by row, width wise. I used tacky glue- I went to a craft store and asked the salesperson what would work best (any strong craft glue will work). When I had pieced together a good amount, I would pick up the corks and just put a line of glue on the bottom and then press it down, hold it for a moment and move on to the next one. The only difficult part was the end of the rows. Sometimes a cork wouldn't fit into the last space, so I would just cut it up with a knife to a size that would fit. (Special note: I didn't use any plastic corks). Once all the corks were glued in place (about a year after starting the project), I turned over the form core and placed it in the frame corks first. Voila- after hammering a couple of framing tacks to keep it in place, I wired it and hung it up on the wall and now have a beautiful self-made showpiece!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Embroidery with Heather Ross

During November of last year I took a couple of different crafty classes because I wanted most of my Christmas gifts to be handmade. The only successful gift that came out of the process was these (former) napkins. These are the fruit of my labor from an embroidery class with Heather Ross at Purl Patchwork. My goal was to embroider four napkins with designs that my mother would cherish enough to use. I decided to find/create images of my two daughters. Heather showed me a book of embroidery by Piu Sudo, an illustrator whose work I immediately fell in love with, and I used the bottom two designs which were originally from her book, Delightful Creations with Embroidery and Applique (I tweaked them a little bit). The top two are all mine.

Now let me preface this story. I have been a huge fan of Heather's fabric prints forever, so much so that at times I probably wish I were her. So how do you act when you take a class with a person who is an idol? Yeah, I didn't want to seem like a drooling puppy or a stalker, but it is somewhat awkward. Well, when I am nervous I talk a lot, so needless to say I was quite a chatty patty. I told everyone about how my mother was very particular so I needed to make the napkins just "SO" so that they wouldn't end up in the closet never to be seen again.

I think they thought I was a little nutty- why wouldn't my mother love anything I made?

"No" I said, "She's a Virgo, so the napkins have to be a certain way or else she won't use them. It is really difficult to explain."

They just gave me "whatever" looks and then changed the conversation to the rules of defriending on Facebook.

Well I finally finished the napkins for my mother and she loved them. I went home to New York (she lives outside SF) and she calls me a couple of weeks later and says,"Oh Patricia, I made the most adorable coasters out of your napkins." Figures.

I just want to say to my class (who will never read this) "I TOLD YOU SO".

Does anyone else have parents who always put gifts in the closet never to be seen again?

Another gift that my parents received this past Christmas was a wine holder that they had been given last year from my bother and his wife. My brother's wife had been so insulted to find it in their garage that she took it and rewrapped it for this year. Maybe she thought the timing was better the second go around.

Anyways, I wanted to write about how much I really loved Heather's class and she just came out with a new book Weekend Sewing that we were able to sneak peak in class. I think it is great and I highly recommend it if you would like some fun sewing projects.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Welcome Back Maira!

I was following my morning ritual blog-hopping and happened upon one of my favorites by Heather Ross and via her blog, found an even more favorite (sorry Heather) MAIRA KALMAN. Yes, finally after waiting two years...okay, maybe more like one and a half (but it felt like ten) she's back blogging In the Pursuit of Happiness and I couldn't be happier (I'm hanging all over her coat tails). I cried immediately when I read it. Thanks Maira. I missed you.