Tuesday, January 22, 2008

three dog weekend

I know that everyone else has long since moved on and left Christmas behind in the old year where it belongs, but in our house, Christmas did not officially end until yesterday. That's when the last of my in-laws dispersed and left our house feeling strangely, sadly, but also gladly empty again. We were host to my sisters-in-law, father-in-law, his girlfriend, and her little dog too. Oh and did I mention we were also dogsitting for friends who'd jetted merrily off to Panama?

The hair of the dog indeed. I don't even know what that expression really means. I think it's some sort of British hangover remedy which sounds worse than the affliction itself. All I'm trying to say is that the weekend was as much fun as it is possible to have with your allergies in an uproar.

My sister-in-law Amy is a very non-materialistic person, which is one of her many admirable qualities, but makes gift-giving a challenge. Fortunately, the stockings were still hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that the aunties (as we collectively call my sisters-in-law) soon would be there, and I was sitting staring at them absently when inspiration struck, as it so often does, at the eleventh hour. I noticed – not for the first time – that Amy's stocking was a pathetic contrast to everyone else's: one of those cheap red polyester fuzzy-felt numbers with her name written on in glitter glue – you know the kind I mean – that I think was procured at the last minute before the first Christmas Amy spent with our family (she is Jewish, so she did not have an ancestral stocking of her own). So I decided to make her a nice new stocking that would not be embarrassed to hang with the rest. Here it is, entirely from felted sweaters, wool felt, and buttons already in my stash:

Now, I have a bad habit of deciding to prototype a new project when I need to make a gift for somebody, then giving it, warts and all. That is what I did for my sister-in-law Ronica, but in this case, fortunately, the result was not too wart-ridden. I made her a blank journal from this handy tutorial:

I printed pictures I've taken and glued them back-to-back for both covers, so there was an inner and an outer face to each, a little deviation from the tutorial which worked out nicely. For the pages, I used a combination of plain paper and graph paper and embellished with a few stamps (of the ink variety) on random pages. I was glad I invested in a paper cutter for this stage. The spine is Italian gift-wrapping paper which I saved from a present Iris received back at regular Christmastime. I did make a few mistakes along the way, but I was still uncharacteristically happy with the final result.

One great thing about this project is that it consists of several short steps, ideal for when you are rushing around trying to get a million other things done and do not have a half-day stretch to devote to crafting.

Finally, at the risk of repeating myself, I'll share the present I made my father-in-law even though it already debuted on Flickr. When he finally became convinced that his kids were not returning home to roost and converted their old bedrooms into guest rooms, he jokingly gave them B&B-style names: Windchimes and Whispering Pines, after the sounds that drifted in through the open windows in summer. I've long wanted to make him little door signs for those rooms, but I never knew how to do it until one insomniac night last fall, when it hit me. Little wood rectangles + rubber stamps + ink + twigs gathered in the park + hemp twine + hot glue =



Anonymous kirsten said...

everything looks awesome. i LOVE that book - that's a project i'd love to do - but keep forgetting! i think i'll take better care of my scrap (reuse) paper and make one-sided pages. that could be fun...

glad you had a nice visit, too many dogs and all! :)

6:31 PM  
Blogger house on hill road said...

all great gifts, but the book - that is genius! i bet your father in law like his signs, too. they are great!

4:43 AM  
Blogger honeybunch said...

Aghhh! The twiglet signs. Love them. I made twiggy photo frames last year. They did not have the cute factor these do. They looked like, well, like twigs with a lumpy photo uncomfortably jammed behind. But these. These are adorable. Bravo.

4:41 PM  

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