Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Barely Beating the Buzzer!!!

It happens every year, as regular as ,say, Christmas.  Gifts are completed at the buzzer. the last to be loaded into the car for the trip to wherever.  Some packages just have no hope of getting mailed in time- thankfully those on the receiving end are thrilled to get them whenever.  You see , they KNOW me, perhaps they don't quite understand me, but they KNOW me!!  ( And I LOVE them for it!!!)  ( Click on each picture to enlarge)

This year the Best Buzzer Beater was this scarf that I knit for my Mother in Law.  The yarn is called Monarch, it is made in Italy.  It comes in glorious colorways and looks really special when finished.
 The gal at the wonderful new yarn shop in Fredericksburg assured me it would only take a couple of hours.  Other scarves of this type had  been a snap,so what could go wrong????  WELL, I was confident till I unwrapped the yarn and saw that all of the wonderful texture and color came from a mass of thin and sticky filaments of fiber that had to be sorted through in order to find the stitch!!! ARGH!!!!!  I quickly had to abandon the metal #5 needles and go out to purchase a set of bamboo needles as the yarn , once stitches were located, insisted on sliding off the metal needles.  Cursing, swearing, throwing of yarn ensued, even the dogs decided that they could find quieter spots to snooze. The 40% off coupon at least cured the sliding stitches bit and the shop had #5's in stock, miracle that!!  We were due to travel north to gather for Christmas Eve with Tom's family at 3 pm.  That was the hour that I determined the baking would be done, I would be ready and gifts would be wrapped tagged and bagged.  The last stitch was taken on the scarf at 2:45.  The wrapping was accomplished with a gift bag- boy do I love gift bags!! I only wish that I could get to a point where I could have the time to make my own gift bags,  Perhaps next year, or not!!!

 I did a bit of Christmas shopping in my studio and took care of the rest of the in laws in that fashion. Very satisfying to pass on some wonderful hand crafted items that had not been purchased yet!  For my college sophomore niece Sarah, I had started a journal project.  This project came in a close second to the Buzzer Beating scarf.  As the cookies for dessert were baking, I was finishing up the binding and binding embellishments on Sarah's journal.  I am not really sure if Sarah is one who might journal but if she had a neat hand made book, made with her in mind, perhaps she would become a journaling type.  that was the justification behind the gift, anyway!

Spine with embellishments of hand made beads, jewelry bits ( some of the ugliest dated jewelry can make the most wonderful embellishments!!) and glass beads.

The cover paper is done with a fun technique that starts with severely crumpled paper.  Then varnish mixed with mica powders is brushed over the wrinkles, allowed to dry and then the paper is sprayed with spray acrylic inks and coated with a gloss sealer.  Pretty snazzy,  eh???   (these colors are perfect for Sarah!)

The foundation of the book was a french bread pizza box.  It appealed to me as it was long and thin and a very unusual shape for a book.  The first signature cover page on the right was done using a gesso resist technique. (Another favorite of mine)

I included several pockets throughout. The pocket on the left was created from a paint brochure that I picked up in the paints isle at our local Lowes home store. Great images with great color and they are free hand outs!!

Here you can see tow signature covers done with gesso resist and messing inks techniques similar to what you find on Roben Marie Smith's fabulous blog!!  Super messy and fun!!
  Sarah has thoroughly enjoyed the hand made gifts that I have made for her in the past and goodness knows I cannot afford the items from shops, that she aspires to own!!  She is majoring in Environmental Studies and Marine Biology, so I added images and used colors that would fit with her interests and hopefully will inspire her to document her experiences or joust use the journal to gather bits of her life.  We shall see.  She seemed to be very pleased when she opened the gift and had to be cajoled to open other gifts as she was quite interested in looking at all of the details.  A very good sign!! :)

 I did get in some holiday baking as these Almond Filled Swedish Coffee Breads have become staple gifts for the holidays!  Wish you could small the incredible fragrance of these babies!! YUM!!

I am still working on gifts to be shipped out to my brother and his family in Ethiopia- yes, they have moved again and are now settled in Addis Ababa ,the capital city.  My Sister in Law Elise  is working at the Embassy and brother Peter  is digging in and creating soil wherever he can find interest and spots to do so!! 
As Elise has her birthday today December 26, a late package seems to be appreciated to extend the festivities! I have started Monarch scarf number two and am working on jewelry and art quilts for the whole family. 
 Wouldn't EVER wan to be without a project!! Check back here soon and you can see what  I have cooked up for that part of the family!
I hope that everyone had a nice Christmas and holiday in whatever form you celebrate and I want to wish a Happy Boxing Day to all of my British, Canadian and Australian friends!! ( Someone please educate me on how one celebrates Boxing Day these days!!)


Jacky said...

Elizabeth I am tired just thinking about all that you have done! You are a wonder!!!! Such beautiful handmade gifts. Every year I aspire to this....and I do fall by the wayside a little I'm afraid.
I like the sound of that gesso resist technique. I would like to try that, and the technique for your cover. It all looks amazing. What a wonderful gift (and labour of love for they do take a lot of making!!!).
Yum, yum. Your baked goodies look delicious. I've never heard of those before ... you dont want to share the recipe with me do you? This year I made some Mendiants (from Jo's Loft on my sidebar). Very easy and went down a treat.

Lovely to hear all about your pre-Christmas activities.

Jacky xox

Saturday Sequins said...

Wow, I love that journal! It's incredible.

I found a book this week that I think you'll love. It's called Making Mini Books, and the projects are so cute! It's definitely on my to-buy list. :)

Peggy Beck said...

Jacky. Happy New Year. Your Christmas endeavors made me laugh as I am a last minute person too and was struggling right down to the last hour to finish up. It almost, and I say "almost" isn't fun at that point but is again when the hand made gifts are opened. Wishing you the best. The book is gorgeous as is all of your art.

Peggy Beck said...

I share your last minute antics. I laughted as I recognized myself in the same dilema this year. Your work is beautiful as always and your gifts are treasures to those who receive them. Happy New Year to you.


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