Recycled Wrapping!

I have a habit of saving paper shopping bags. In fact, before moving here I actually snapped a picture of some of my favorite shopping bags collected from around the world before I gave them up to the recycle bin. Shopping Bags

I find myself reverting back to old habits…I have already  been tucking away a shopping bag from Lush and several from Trader Joe’s.

This year I really wanted the presents to have a rustic, handmade feeling to them and went to Michaels looking, specifically for a big roll of kraft paper…the kraft paper that looks like a paper bag. They weren’t in stock, though, and I bought a roll of white kraft paper instead. But when I got home, while putting away the groceries, I felt like an idiot because there was a bunch of brown paper in the form of Trader Joe’s paper bags sitting right there in my pantry. Not only would I get the look I wanted, but I’d  reuse and recycle the bags instead of hoard them.

Before:

Wrapping

When I began to cut them up I noticed what pretty designs they had and started to feature the bag’s design in my wrapping. The handles even served a fun purpose as a wrapped up a bottle.

AFTER

DSC_0050

I also ADORE the red and white baker’s twine I got at Paper Source and was lucky that it matched the Trader Joe’s bags so perfectly. The twine looked so pretty simply wrapped around a little twig.

Wrapping

The paper is stiff, so I had to get a little creative with it to make it work, but that was part of the fun! Unique, free gift wrap that reuses something that can then be recycled? That’s a bunch of win-win-wins.

 

 

Meet Max and Roxanne

Here’s the latest custom order creation from Happy Handmade Headquarters:

Meet Max and Roxanne:

Max and Roxanne

For those who don’t know, Max and Roxanne star in A Goofy Movie, which features Max at 14 years old and a finishing freshman in high school. We are introduced to his love interest, Roxanne, in a dream sequence where everything goes well until she is scared off by Max turning into his father, Goofy. Max is convinced Roxanne doesn’t notice him and thinks the choke/laugh he inherited from his father (a-hyuck) is to her disliking. He thinks that ‘she looks right through him’, though several moments tell us otherwise. The movie revolves around Goofy believing he is losing Max and taking him on a fishing trip for some ‘father-son bonding’ while Max lies to Roxanne that he was going to the famous Powerline’s concert in L.A. and that was the reason he couldn’t take her to a party he promised. By the end of the film, Max and Goofy note they are stuck together but wouldn’t rather it be anyone else and actually do make it to the Powerline concert, even appearing (accidentally) onstage. Max arrives home to apologize to Roxanne and introduces her to his dad (after he crashes through her roof). (excerpt from Wikipedia)

Max

Roxanne

I’m always so worried about body shape and hair, but when it comes down to actually making one of these, the noses are usually the hardest things to do right. I like their little body shape! I might use that body shape again for other guys in the future.

 

Simple Watercolor Christmas Card Tutorial!

We all have just one more week before Christmas! I can’t quite believe it. I’m feeling the need to prioritize the last of my holiday plans so that I can relax and enjoy what’s left of the holidays. In recent years I’ve sent handmade Christmas cards to my close friends and family. I have loved the process of making and sending them, but this year, in the midst of amigurumi orders and having to, for the first time, ship off all our family’s Christmas gifts so they’d arrive by Christmas, I just couldn’t come up with a new card design in time.

But then, while I packed up my very last box, the package of matching goodies inspired me to get my watercolors out and try something. I wish I’d tried it sooner, because I like the results and the technique was SO simple.  You don’t have to know how to draw or paint to make your own customizable handmade watercolor cards.

I remembered a wax crayon I’d saved from an easter egg dye kit I’d bought earlier this year. It is called Dudley’s Magic Crayon which, after a quick Google search, looks like may only be available in easter egg kits? However, a white wax crayon or candle are said to accomplish the same thing: resist the watercolor paint so that the design you’ve drawn shows through the paint.

I got out my trusty Strathmore watercolor cards and hastily drew a basic Christmas tree and star shape on the front with my crayon. I found some of the inexpensive watercolor palettes I’ve had forever that had exactly the three colors I wanted and, with just a few swishes of my brush, I had this!

watercolor cards

OK, I think that one was my second or third try. The first couple times I tried this resist technique I hadn’t gone over the lines with my wax crayon enough times. It’s really hard to see where you’ve drawn because the wax crayon I have is clear. I could hold the paper up to the light to see it, but that doesn’t help when you’re drawing. I found that if I went over each line a couple times, the watercolor paint resisted better. Thus, the design needed to be simple, without any intricate detail. Luckily, that’s what I was going for. I also wanted the color to be more vivid, so once my first coat was dry, I did it one more time: a couple gold swishes, wet my brush, a couple green swishes, wet my brush, a couple rust swishes. Then I tipped my paper a bit so the colors would bleed into each other a bit, and here’s the result!

watercolor cards

So simple! I had a few failures, but the process is so fast, who cares!

I used an old snowflake stencil I had stashed and came up with this one:

watercolor cards

Hey, they aren’t masterpieces, but they are handmade and doing something creative, even though it left my dining room table a mess, helped perk me up one chilly evening last week. I hope the cards perk up their very few recipients. I may have to perfect the designs and use them again next year.

watercolor cards

I’ll have a few more Christmas-related posts before the holidays. I just put my shop on vacation so I can finish up a project or two for Christmas and start the new year refreshed. Thank you so much, everyone, for your support, encouragement, time, and orders this year! I can’t wait to see what creative adventures await in 2013.

 

It’s beginning to feel like Christmas!

It’s the time of the year when I begin to feel like Santa’s helper. Yesterday, I put the finishing touches on six packages filled with crocheted buddies being shipped to all four corners of the country, put them in what happened to be a red reusable grocery tote to take to the post office and felt the glowy feeling I imagine Santa would feel on Christmas Eve as he heads out from the North Pole with his red sack of presents. The glowy Christmas feeling was exaggerated knowing the fate of my creations.

One of my turtles was headed to a grandmother who was replacing her granddaughter’s “travel turtle” that had been lost somewhere in the Caribbean. When I asked where this replacement turtle would travel first, I got a little teary-eyed when I learned that the replacement turtle’s first trip and photo shoot would  be to none other than my previous home-away-from-home, Walt Disney World. They would be travelling there for the Goofy Marathon. When I read this news, I couldn’t help but send them an accessory their travel turtle couldn’t live without.

One of my custom orders, Weenie the Dachshund, was just sent off to Canada to replace a beloved stuffed dachshund toy that had been lost in a house fire.

I made a big space egg for a lovely little lady and return customer who collects all things Angry Birds, which intrigued my son who is currently also obsessed with the game.

It is so fun to think about how these crocheted creations will be pulled out of stockings and gift bags on Christmas morning. Someone out there is getting a corgi and a turkey, a Pokeball and a jellyfish, a narwhal and a Baneling, a monkey and a pig.

I’m always torn at Christmastime because it’s the busiest time of the year for my shop, but it’s also the time of year when I want to make everyone I know something special. Slippers and scarves, cats and hats…there’s never enough time to make everything I want to make for my own friends and family. Maybe my new years resolution for 2013 will be to think further ahead so that, by this time next year, I’ll have a full inventory for my shop and all my homemade gifts ready to ship by Christmas. ::sigh:: Yep, maybe next year.

I hope you all are enjoying all the beautiful things the holiday season has to offer and that, at some point along the way, you feel glowy, too.