Posts Tagged ‘jewelry’

Potato-Stamped Postcard Set (March 2010)

I’ve been busy.  The last few months have been a flurry of activity: first AWP and a million department events, then turning in my thesis, then finals, then graduation, then a nice long visit with D & friends (and another IV wedding!) in NorCal; then I moved back to the East Coast (I’m living with my parents for the summer) and promptly got sick and lay around flat on my back for four days, after which I then proceeded to spend a week living in a cave while I was working on putting up the first issue of Lantern Review.  In short: no time for personal blogging.

Case in point: Back in what must have been February, I committed to blog for Ada Lovelace Day (in March).  Unfortunately, (as you can see) I never got around to that.  I did write a poem about Ada Lovelace, though.  Does that count?

However (as the photo at the top of this post — which shows some potato stamped reply postcards I made to send with a fellowship app — indicates), I have still been crafting and baking and gift wrapping (bento, not so much), despite my silence here.  And since I took pictures of most of the mini projects I completed, anyway, I thought I would share them now.

Cookie Thank You Gift (March 2010)

Back in March, when I applied to the fellowship for which I sent the postcards I mentioned earlier, I baked up some of Katie Goodman’s White Chocolate Chip Pistachio Cookies to thank the professors who wrote letters of recommendation for me.  I colored the stars on the tags red to complement the cute polka-dotted ribbon I picked up in the dollar bin at Michael’s.  I didn’t get that fellowship in the end, but apparently the cookies went over quite well with their recipients.  So that, at least, was encouraging. 🙂

Refashioned Rosette Tee (March 2010)

The idea for this tee was inspired by Charissa’s beautiful Double Ruffle Gift Topper post over at The Gifted Blog.  I’d been seeing a lot of embellished tees in the stores for some time and had been thinking that I might be able to find some way to do it myself.  Charissa’s technique gave me both the idea and the impetus to actually attempt the project.  So I took an old, rather faded t-shirt, recut the neckline, chopped the sleeves to 3/4 length (which you can’t, unfortunately, see in this set of photos), and used the scraps to sew little rosettes in the yoke area.  I’ve worn this tee several times since, and I’m pleased to say that despite my initial worries, it turned out to stand up pretty well to machine washing (I usually turn it inside out and line dry it just to be safe, but I think it would still survive a trip through the dryer if one day I forgot to take it out before transferring the load).

Lime Cookie Gift (March 2010)

I baked a batch of Simply Recipes’ Chocolate Cookies with Cocoa Nibs and Lime (although they weren’t exactly that, as I subbed chocolate chips for the cocoa nibs–I cook on a budget and your average Indiana supermarket does not carry such niceties) and sent them off with some candy and a card to D for our 5-year dating anniversary.  The tag on this box matched the card and the tag on the candy box.  Unfortunately, I don’t think I did the best job coordinating everything else in the suite of gifts, so I’m just showing you this one, which came out the best, in my opinion).

The end of March and all of April was incredibly nuts (seriously: I attended four conferences, D visited, and there seemed to be a department-sponsored panel or reading almost every free night that month), so not much crafting or baking (let alone sleeping or breathing) happened then.  But when graduation time rolled around, I found myself back in crafty mode once again, what with goodbye gifts and thank-you gifts.

Nest Necklace & Box (Late April 2010)

I created this bird’s nest necklace using this tutorial as a thank you and goodbye gift for my friend R.  She’s doing a publishing internship in the city this summer, so I modeled it after the ModCloth-ish kind of jewelry I used to see some of the Brooklynite types in my office wearing last summer. The chain is longish — around 18″ I think? — and the nest itself is about an inch and a half in diameter. I used my last two faux pearls (they are vintage, from my late paternal grandparents’ stock, and the finish is chipped, but I liked the feel of that in this necklace), and a filigree bead (also from my grandparents’ stock).  The box was created with thin white cardstock, using Patricia Zapata’s matchbox project (though I messed up the final set of instructions; hence the slightly wonky sides).  I cut the butterflies out of cardstock with an X-acto knife and used rolly tape (out of a dispenser-applicator that looks like one of those rolling tape white-out dispensers — I officially love that stuff now) to stick them onto the top.

Blue & Brown Gift (Late April 2010)

This is a more successful version of the same box as above.  This time, I used it to wrap a thank you gift for a professor.  This time I followed the instructions correctly (though I’ve discovered that you have to notch the long sides before folding them in at the end to get them to fit snugly with the added thickness of the cardboard on the short sides), and used a Triscuit box. I lined the inside bottom with the same blue cardstock I used for the sheath and cut the tag out of the Triscuit box, too.  The ribbon is also (sort of) recycled — originally the gift had been wrapped in another box, but that box got rather crushed in transit, so I just reused the old ribbon on the new box.

ED's Bracelet (May 2010)

Another handmade gift and its wrapping.  Stretchy green glass bracelet for a friend who loves the color (once again, all the beads except the white focal are vintage), and the wrapped version (makeshift mini-box from the leftover bits of the Triscuit box wrapped in cream tissue I’d recycled from another gift, twine, and a red heart cut out of scrap paper).

Wrapped Sweet Pea (May 2010)

This thank-you gift was one of the miniature versions of Kim Westad’s “Sweet Pea” pieces, which I packaged securely into a kraft box from Michaels, tied up with twine, and topped with a red-rimmed tag (the inside of the vessel is glazed in a deep terra-cotta red, so I tried to reflect earthy tones in the packaging) and a Martha-Stewart style tissue flower (made from the tissue that had wrapped a graduation gift I’d received, no less!).  I tucked the ceramist’s card in under the string so that the recipient would know where it came from.

M's Gift (May 2010)

My friend M loves a particular roll of striped wrapping paper that I have, and has borrowed it to wrap gifts before.  So I thought I’d use a square of it to decorate her gift.  The idea of using a graphic, sans-serif initial on the square was inspired by this post at Bugs and Fishes.  (Please excuse the weird stripey texture — that is a result of my taking this photo too close to my screen door, which gets good light in the morning).  As you can see, the box is another one of Patricia Zapata’s matchboxes.  I was a huge fan of them by that point (and still am!)  What’s inside, you ask? A pair of handmade earrings.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to snap a photo before I wrapped them.

Bananagrams Replacement Bag (May 2010)

This was part of D’s birthday present.  (I always try to give him one thing that’s store-bought, and a little something that’s handmade).  We both love to play the game Bananagrams together (partly, I’ll admit, because I am incompetent at most board games, but actually “get,” and get excited about, this one) — but unfortunately the cute banana-shaped case that holds the game broke recently, so D had been temporarily storing his Bananagrams tiles in his Scrabble tile bag.  Which, we both commented, was sort of a shame, because the banana-shaped bag is part of what makes Bananagrams Bananagrams.  Hence, I decided to surprise him with my version of a replacement for his birthday.  I am, admittedly, very much a beginner sewer.  And I don’t own a machine.  So a simple, rectangular drawstring was the most I could do (no banana shapes for me – figuring out how to line it was hard enough!)  To compensate for that, though, I added a little embroidered felt monogram in the shape of a banana, and used banana colors (white fabric, yellow ribbon).  I even wrapped the thing in white tissue and yellow ribbon (didn’t get a picture of that, though).  D liked the bag a lot, but the best payoff came the next day at his party when his brother and sister-in-law asked, “Where did you get a Banagrams bag that has a banana with your name on it?” To which D replied, “Take a guess: it’s hand-sewn and hand-embroidered,” and pointed at me.  🙂

J&J's Wedding Card (May 2010)

Okay, this is the last one, I promise (and then I really have to go to bed).  As usual, I couldn’t find a wedding card that wasn’t dripping with sappy sentiment in the store, so I made one.  the invitation was cream and light purple, so I decided to follow a similar theme.  The caption under the hugging pears says “To a perfect pair (pear?)”  Which is cheesy, I’ll admit, but — in my opinion — at least rather more cute than sappy (plus, I got to write the bride and groom a nice long personal note inside, which was nice).

And now — to bed.  But now you know, in part, what I’ve been up to since March.  Hopefully I’ll have more time to post this summer.


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Do you remember this post from a few weeks ago?  Well, that little mess eventually turned into this:

It’s a brooch, made of yo-yo’s I sewed from an old sheet that had ripped in the middle.  I embellished them with pearlescent beads and swarovski beads, sewed them to a felt backing, and added pins.  So far I’ve only worn it once, in a manner inspired by a shirt I saw at Ann Taylor Loft:

I was so excited about jazzing up my old and slightly careworn blue oxford shirt (I’ve literally been wearing it since high school).  I can’t wait to mix up the brooch with other outfits.  I think it’d look really cool on a tee of some sort, or perhaps on a sweater or cardigan.

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First, a birthday cake for my roommate M.

Nigella’s Honey Bee Cake, to be exact.

With Marzipan Bees and Roses.

Closeup of the bees.

(They’re staring at you).

I did not have a springform so I baked it in two tins and layered it with raspberry jam. Would’ve tasted better if I hadn’t let it dry out and burn a little (I baked it for the suggested time, and with foil for part of it, too!). :-/ Oh, well. People said it was good, anyway.

Second, a birthday gift.  A detachable bracelet set. (Also for M).

Tied together.

Bracelet #1.

Crystal, pearlescent beads, metal filigree, toggle clasp.

Bracelet #2.

Metallic ball beads, filigree bead caps, purple and clear iridescent glass, pearlescent beads.

Both bracelets are strung on clear elastic thread to make them stretchy and easy to put on and take off (the toggle on the one provides another option for closure, but is more for show).

Modeled after the general idea of this Forever 21 bracelet set. I may not like all of their clothes, but Forever 21 does have some lovely vintage-inspired jewelry this season (I don’t trust the quality or make of it, though; I generally don’t buy costume jewelry anyway, because I usually end up wondering whether I can make it myself . . ..) I was thinking about texture for this set.  The mixture of smooth, milky pearl colors with the sharp sparkle of crystal and the slightly more liquid gleam of intricate metallic filigree, the hardness of beads and metal juxtaposed against the soft white of the satin tie.  Texture is a lovely thing.  I’m glad it’s “in” at the moment.

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It’s a new semester, and a new year. I have two new roommates again (one of them remained the same, one changed, and we added a fourth this semester), and a new schedule of classes, as well as a bunch of new commitments (in addition to Bible Study, I’m doing a once a week Hosea Study over the phone with my bf, I’m becoming more regularly involved with my department’s service work at a local homeless shelter, I’m helping Oceanic Tongues prepare material for – and will be flying out to help them present it at – the Listen to the Silence Conference next week, and I’m working on getting a summer job, for which all of my options involve unusually extensive application processes…)

I have a huge backlog of photos that I’d like to post from the break, but as I’m already in hyperdrive mode with the amount of work I have to do, I’ll only be posting intermittently in the next few weeks – whenever I feel so led.

The holidays were wonderful. It was awesome to have three FULL weeks of break, and my bf came and visited my family for a whole week, so we got to spend lots of quality time together. I took him to Philadelphia’s historic district and Chinatown, and we visited the USS New Jersey, the city war memorials, and the Franklin Institute (which has an awesome new Narnia exhibit). My grandmother was extremely happy to have three kids in the house to eat her cooking. My mom tells me that she loves it when I’m home because I have the biggest appetite out of everyone in our family – yes, I even eat more than my athlete brother – and Grandma feels that the quantity of food one consumes is directly proportional to its deliciousness. You can imagine how delighted she was to have D and his big appetite around! There were feasts practically every night! 🙂 I also got to spend lots of time just hanging out with my family, and catching up with old friends. My parents took me shopping, and to the bookstore, I played music with my brother, and I pitched in at my dad’s business for a few days. My friend L and I took an awesome day trip to Longwood Gardens to photograph the flowers, fountains, and Christmas lights, and I was also able to grab lunch and coffee with my friend B before I left.

I got absolutely no writing done (just some revision here and there). My brain needed the break. As a result, I spent a lot of free hours leafing through cookbooks, baking, reading prose instead of poetry (for a change), and (in the days leading up to Christmas, at least), crafting.

Here are the handmade gifts that I gave out this season

For my roommates…

…Cute makeup pouches from Etsy seller OpheliaMiller, into each of which I tucked coordinating Swarovski crystal jewelry sets that I made myself, American chocolate (holiday Kit-Kat), and felt flower brooches with crystal centers, which I made after being inspired by this tutorial.

* * *

For my mom, an Auntie (close family friend), and one of my mom’s colleagues (after seeing the photos of the brooches I made for my roommates, my mom “commissioned” two: one for her, and one for her friend)…

…More felt and crystal flower pins.  These were a little more elaborate than the ones I made for N & M.  If you look closely at the center of the red poppy, you’ll notice that I did some embroidery on the petals, as well.

* * *

For my dad, a chemist whose company’s product is used to monitor the health of dairy cows…

…a Scientist Cow painting (on a miniature 4″x6″ canvas; in acrylics).

* * *

For my boyfriend (a gamer who just moved into his first apartment)…



…a throw pillow shaped like an Xbox 360 controller (I snuck a little applique’d heart on the back – I know I always say that I’m “allergic” to sappiness, which is why I don’t write him love letters, but sometimes I can’t help throwing a little cheese into the equation, in spite of myself).

That’s enough for now. I’ll save the food and Longwood Gardens photos for a later post.

And oh, yes. The bf also gave me a copy of Adobe Creative Suite for Christmas (!), so I’m going to try and do more careful post-processing from now on. My albums will still be housed online at Picasa, however.

Now, off to attempt some work…

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My blog has had an inexplicably high number of hits today.  According to my dashboard stats, it’s some sort of record.  And I have no idea why (if anyone knows of any high-traffic outside links that are coming here, I’d be very curious to find out).  Strangely enough, the top post appears to be my Macaroni Soup post from last spring. I wonder whether I should be excited, or concerned?  (At the very least, I’m flattered that people are reading my stuff today).

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled content . . .

* * *

I actually have a lot of non-school-related loose ends to finish up before I leave (in addition to writing my 20 pager that’s due Monday – the draft of which I haven’t yet touched).

After having stayed up most of the night and worked right up to the deadline for the 10 pager I had due Wednesday, I took Thursday “off” (aka dedicated it to loose ends).  Finished up and mailed some Christmas cards.  Began a business letter that I need to email off by Monday.  Worked on roommate gifts.

Here’s a little in-progress shot of what I’m working on:

Oh, yes – this portion of my desk seems a little messy, you say?

Ahhh. Well, let’s zoom out a little:

Yea.  Never say my desk is “messy” until you’ve seen it in full-swing disaster mode.  Be thankful.  I’m only showing you the left hand side.  The other side is even worse.

I apologize if your eyes are now burning from the sheer entropy of it all.

Here’s a slightly cleaner image (literally) to make up for it:

Special present for a special person (to be mailed today).  A poet/artist friend of mine, who’s back in California. Simple satin bows and crisp, beautiful paper make me smile, and I hope it will make her do the same. 🙂

– s.

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