Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Fresh Start

I'm sure I'm not alone in spending some time at the end of the year in cleaning and decluttering. Being on the cusp of a new year, it seems fitting to freshen things up a bit. I spent some time the last few days attempting to sort, clean, and reorganize my craft room. I'm a collector of stuff, and boy do I have lots of it! Some of it I've moved across the country a couple of times because You Never Know! When it reaches the point that I can't function any more, something's got to go. I forced myself to get rid of things I know I'll never miss. For example, I've held onto a good-sized stack of hard back book covers, because I like to use them as a canvas. It dawned on me that it's hardly worth having them take up space when I can get a book for 15 cents from the bin at Goodwill. I think my space is worth that, not to mention the emotional heaviness that I find comes from too much stuff.

While cleaning, I also looked for new ways to store some items that hadn't found a permanent home yet. This little overnight case belonged to my grandmother. My sister brought it to me a few months back, along with many other treasures from the past. (Thanks, Ann!) It sat in my room since then, lonely and without a purpose in life. It occurred to me that it would be just the right size to hold several large spools of baker's twine I had bought online recently. I cleared out a space on a shelf that seems made for it, and now I can use it and enjoy thinking of my grandmother each time I see it and open it up.

I also love labeling things, but I didn't want to use my labeler with the sticky tape on this lovely vintage case. I remembered some decorative paper tags I bought (you never know), and pulled one out. I used one of my favorite alphabet stamp sets, and a little baker's twine to tie it to the handle. Form and function, all in one!

I hope 2011 ends well for you! 2012, here we come!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gift Bags

I can't believe how long it's been since I've posted anything. Naturally I'm crazy enough to try to get it going again in December. It will be interesting to see if I can manage any more this month. I started this post quite a while ago, but left it hanging. So without further ado...

Creativity interests me, but I don't really understand how it works. I see projects that others have done, and I think "I could never have thought of that!" I wonder how much of creativity is derivative. I know that soaking up the ideas and work of others can spark something seemingly unrelated in me. Or perhaps I'll start with their idea, but make it into something that reflects my own vision.

This project began from an idea I'd seen that I filed away in my mind to try sometime. I've become slightly acquainted with an artist who lives in Florida because I stumbled on her blog. I read her profile, and realized that we had the same church in common. I don't know too many people who like paper art the way I do, so this was intriguing. She has been published many times, and runs her own online business. Occasionally, she will post a video tutorial and that's where these bags enter the story. You can see the original tutorial here.

I watched the video, and loved the idea. It combines sewing, paper, and using up odds & ends. What's not to love?! Like many ideas I think are awesome, however, it sat unused for a while in a dusty corner of my brain. Sometimes I get aggravated with myself because I seem to collect ideas more than execute projects.

When I had some friends over for a jewelry party, I wanted to present the invitations in a fun and (dare I say) creative way. I thought that the folded invitations would fit into these cute little gift bags.

Now, this is what I call fun! First, of course, I had to run out and buy the bags. No luck at Target, but Walmart came through for me. Then I gathered up random pieces of paper, ribbon, fabric, buttons...whatever I thought I could sew or glue down. I grabbed whatever was handy and started sewing. It was hard to stop, so I did end up with a few extra. I think they'd be a great holder for a special card that can be hand delivered.

Happy December!