Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Bit of Earth

Growing up my dad was always cultivating things in the backyard. At one point or another there were tomatoes, corn, carrots, peas, oranges, strawberries, raspberries, watermelon, pumpkins and a consistent assortment of herbs. The green figs stand out in earliest memory, honey-sweet and salmony pink on the inside. The plum tree had deep violet bark and a knotty, convoluted trunk. Its fruit was of the tartest variety, but in springtime its spindly branches were sprinkled with delicate blossoms whose petals fell away in the slightest wind. And right around the time school started again, the apples started falling to the ground, green, blushed with deep red. We'd haul them back to the house in buckets after dinner, and I'd help my mother measure oatmeal and brown sugar for apple crisp. I miss that away at school - having a "bit of earth," in the words of Mary Lennox. There's something almost noble, about gardening, perhaps it's the requisite patience or maybe it's simply the pure and basic reliance on nature. Up at school I've been gingerly tending a windowsill garden since the spring, learning along the way just how green my thumb isn't. Too much water, too little water, too much sun, seeds that never sprout, pesky bugs that won't go away. Oh, my. But I finally have some healthy new seedlings in tiny terracotta pots, complete with homemade plant stakes (Popsicle sticks + chalkboard paint). And the zinnias are even ready for a larger home!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pretty Maids

Those vintage stamps from the flea market left me craving envelopes, labels and postmarked paper which ultimately led to this "bridesmaid's guide" I created for Project Wedding. It's kind of like a mailable inspiration board. You can download the template to make a little accordion fold booklet, fill in relevant details (important dates, the dress shop's card, fabric swatches, etc.) and tuck it all into an A2 envelope. And even if you're not planning a wedding, there's a handy set of apple green address labels included in the download! Find it all here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Craft Closet Part II

It's finally finished! A rosy, colorful little room behind an ordinary closet door. A place for buttons and rickrack and ribbon, for planning, making, drawing and painting. It's been in progress for a while - I shared illustrated plans back in May and I've been slowly collecting things since December starting with the sewing table I bought without having any closet dimensions handy - luckily it fit perfectly.The table is absolutely my favorite part of the closet. I found it on Craigslist for $15 and my dad adjusted it so it would work with my sewing machine and even made an additional piece to fill in the "hole" in the tabletop when the sewing machine is removed. This means it can double as a craft table. I sanded it, gave it a few coats of paint (Ionic Sky, by Behr), topped it off with water based polyurethane for extra durability and added a knob I've been saving for just the right project.
Pegboards just seemed like the most practical solution for frequently used and awkwardly shaped tools, but at the same time I wanted to dedicate some of the very limited wall space for a writable surface (to make lists and quickly jot ideas) -the chalkboard-pegboard was born! I originally planned to make them magnetic as well, but from what I read magnetic paint is both expensive and not always successful. Making these was a quick project and I'm satisfied with the results; I use them with a set of fine tip liquid chalk pens which work well for writing in between the pegboard holes. Right on the inside of the door a memo board hangs from a pink satin ribbon. This was a must since I'm always collecting interesting paper things - postcards from museum gift shops, old photographs from the flea market, pretty calling cards and vintage stamps. It's also a great place to pin loose drawings or notes.The top shelf provides the bulk of storage - it has a lot of depth and vertical space. I love the way everything up there acquires a pinkish glow from the paper lantern that hangs from the ceiling. I've been using those stacking plastic storage boxes for craft supplies for a few years - they're inexpensive, visually neutral and easy to find in case I need more. As part of the closet project I made some magnetic chalkboard labels with extra paint so in the event of future rearranging and reorganizing, I can change what the labels say and where they're situated on the box.
I couldn't feel more fortunate to have a place to entirely dedicate to creative pursuits. I hope this inspires you to set a side a little time and space - however small it might be for the things you love to do!