Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Handmade Nursery

Today I was at last able to get some decent pictures of the nursery. Baby Orion was born way back on January 8th and almost everything in the nursery was ready for him. I know I've mentioned a few projects in previous posts so here they are, finally!

A few weeks ago in the post about the Martha Stewart Fabric Crafts book I mentioned that I used her tutorial to make a bumper for my crib. I didn't follow it exactly, and thus my bumper is more floppy than I'd like, and I definitely ran into a few crafty disasters, but I'm really happy with it. Kim and my mom helped me finish it in time, only a week before Orion's due date.
We did a patchwork of a bunch of lovely Echino fabrics I bought both here at the Stitch Lab and back in LA at Michael Levine. Getting the order of the patchwork just right was pretty complicated, especially since I've never done quilting!
I'm proud of the finished product and Orion loves to stare at it, especially the black buses. You can also see the signed crib sheet from my shower that I love to read for Orion.

Also from my Texas baby shower, the monster mobile! Now making that mobile was a lot more time consuming than I'd figured, below is the way I did the layout. I actually made two mobiles since I had so many monsters,the second one is for over the changing table, and he loves it!Some of you know the story of my crib, so I'll just tell a condensed version here. Long story short I couldn't find the crib that I'd fallen in love with available anywhere, so I ended up buying it on Craigslist from someone in Orange County, CA! Had it shipped out here and then I painted the ends gray to match the nursery better (they were originally a blue shade that I detested). I had specifically fallen in love with the slats with their little circles, and still, I'm in love with it!We also did a DIY changing table inside our old armoire. Aaron built a little slide out shelf for the pad to go on and it works like a charm. We ended up taking the doors off it though, cause it was annoying to always have to open them up when O needed a changing. Also above on the back of our glider, you can see this quilt a friend of mine's mom made, its pretty amazing!
Here is the opposite view of the room with our little fold out futon for guests, I have been meaning to get it reupholstered so for the pic I just tucked the fabric's on, you get the idea. The little owl guy there is a crocheted gift from a friend in LA who owns Peanut Butter Dynamite, she also made the crochet throw hanging on the side of the crib. And note my Vampire Weekend print I got last year at the SXSW flat stock show.

Next, I'll talk about the lighting. We got this sweet anemone light (I'd seen on the Project Nursery blog) from my awesome Mother-in-law, but when it arrived it was soooo heavy. Probably weighed like 50lbs and the screws were all but impossible to get in, so we had to rig up this system to perch it up against the ceiling and screw it in (mind you I was like super prego during this project and basically no help). You might be able to see in the pic, but we used a bunch of craft books to get the right height, haha!The other lights are an LED strand of lights from Ikea that I added the little balls on. I got the colored balls from Thailand when we were on our trip and hadn't figured out a use til now. I had to hot glue them onto the strand and they ended up working perfectly.

Down in the corner there you can see the octopus chair I designed for Babystyle when I worked there in 2006, a family friend had it as a hand-me-down and was so generous to give it to us!

And lastly, I sewed up these little owls from a kit I bought at the Tate Modern in London when I was there last year, they're puppets!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Visual Indulgence; Arranging Items by Color

Hello Crafters! I'd like to introduce myself! My name is Jesyka D'Itri Marés and I run my blog Visual Vocabulary and my small (but growing!) Etsy shop, in Flore. I'm also a freelance graphic designer and full time mom to one little (a girl version). Beth A and I are besties from High School, and she asked me to be a regular guest blogger here at Get Crafty! Beth mentioned me back in October when she made a post about her trip to So Cal. I'm so excited to be a small part of the awesomeness that is the wondercraft and all that I get to hear about it from way out in Los Angeles! I hope to be sharing part of the scene here in LA with you, hitting up some of our famous flea markets and some great shops that specialize in handmade, as well as sharing some of my own artistic endeavors or aesthetic musings. Today I'll be taking from a topic I have covered previously on my blog, arranging books by color.

When I was a child, I would spend hours arranging my things on a shelf. I would play until my ceramic figurines were just right, place my books in order from tallest to shortest, and in numerical order if in a series. This grew into a general love of the book as decorating device--I still think books are hands down the best things to decorate with.

I started organizing my closet by color when I was a teenager (and by what hanger they were on--luckily, I have only the black huggable hangers now, and I don't have to worry about the color of my hangers anymore. That was just too much!). After staring at a bookshelf that was thrown together pell-mell from a recent room re-arranging, I decided I couldn't take it anymore and thought to rearrange them by color. I also did this to my DVDs. Hell, I even arrange our cereal boxes by color, since they sit on an exposed shelf in the kitchen. Most people think I'm a bit crazy when they notice... usually I get "Who did that?!", and then "Well, that's silly... you have to remember the color of a book, instead of the title...". But I figure I'm looking at these books more than I'm looking for them, so having them beautifully arranged makes much more sense. Apparently, that's what the staff at Dwell think as well. Senior Editor Aaron Brit says "We organize our books by color here (not terribly efficient, I fear, though lovely to behold)". And isn't that the truth!
Bookshelf at Dwell Magazine's office

Bookshelf at Dwell Magazine's office

In the Dwell article about this little phenomenon, he goes on to describe how, while he can't find the book he's looking for (although he remembers it is yellow), he finds an essay in a back catalog of Design Observer by Rob Giampietro pondering arranging books by color. He confirms my idea; if you have to look at it, it should be pretty.

"Our bookshelves often take up a good deal of space in the places we live and work, and organizing them by color transforms them from a banal backdrop into a poppy, rainbow-colored focal point. Books organized by color are cool to look at."

The inspiration for this post came from my recent finding of the photoblog bookshelf porn. Imagine my delight to discover I am not alone (37k and counting) in my love of the visual splendor books and bookshelves. Even though arranging books by color doesn't make sense to most people who see it at my house, I am not alone!

... And while arranging books by color might be more about aesthetic than ease of finding, arranging other things by color can serve a very practical purpose. Often you don't see how materials could work together until you see them near other materials of a similar shade. Arranging by hue is something (that should be) important to all who make! Let's see how people organize a variety of stashes:

Anna Maria's fabric cupboard

rose hip's yarn stash

So, in-depth intellectual analysis and musings beside, how do you all organize your bookshelves? Beyond that, how do you organize your yarn stashes, your embroidery threads, your beads, and your fabric? Does it help you find new ways of using materials you already had? Share some pics with us if you have them!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Baby It's Cold Outside

During the recent snow, I took a little walk and enjoyed watching the people (both grown-ups and kids) playing in the soft fluffy whiteness.

The snow makes everything look so fresh.

It made me think of the Keats poem, Bright Star. "...gazing on the new soft-fallen mask."

One of my favorite sights were these cup shaped leaves with snow in them. They looked like little teaspoons full of sugar crystals!

So of course, I immediately began designing in my head

...and this afternoon I finally brought it to fruition.

Yay! I got to use my dapping block! it's a bit literal...

But it's a bit hard to beat Mother Nature's eye for aesthetics. ;)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Viva Venice Handmade - A Photo Essay of Sorts this post is long overdue, but better late than never, right?

Last year my travels took me to Venice where I found a kindred the handmade kind of way. Meet Mauro Vianello of Glass Handmade. Mauro makes incredible handmade glass figurines.

Immediately upon entering the shop we were impressed and excited by the level of detail and artistry of Mauro's amazing creations.

Rated one of the top attractions by Trip Advisor, Mauro's quaint little shop sits outside the regular touristy part of the city and is well worth the short trip to find.

Mauro made us feel as though we were old friends. He told us about his craft, his passion for handmade, and even gave us a little demonstration asking us what we wanted him to make for us. We told him to surprise us, which turned out to be a great move (apparently people always ask for cats and dogs :)). See if you can figure out what he made for us.

Figured it out yet? :)

Yep! It's a swan...who very soon after was dubbed "Swanie". Welcome to the world, Swanie!

Swanie needed a little time to cool down...which of course gave us a little time to shop.

There was no way we were going to go home with only one new friend from this amazing collection, especially since my friend and I were already having custody disputes over Swanie.

So here's the part where I admit, it wasn't me that found this little gem, but my friend and travel partner. It was thanks to his insistence (yes it's hard to believe, but I resisted at first) that I got to have this wonderful experience. I gave up custody of Swanie and it was a difficult choice, but we ended up taking home just three new friends and making a fourth in Mauro. If you are ever in Venice, don't miss out on visiting Mauro! Of course no matter where you are you can visit his website.