Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Personal Projects - advent calendar and wedding tree

When we were kids my mum made a simple but very effective advent calendar made from paper for my brother and I. Every day we opened a 'window' to a Christmas image (just cut from festive shopping catalogues I believe). It was something I looked forward to with excitement and anticipation and this was a feeling I wanted to create for P every Christmas as she grows up.

I had seen different versions of advent calendars around but I really wanted something that I could put little objects or pictures or sometimes sweet treats (mmm!) inside. In one kids' shop a few years ago I saw a wooden box version with drawers, which I loved, but the one we decided to go with is easier to store year-round as you can just roll or fold it up. When I first spotted this project in a craft book I knew it was exactly what I had been looking for.

I'm useless at sewing. The best I can do is sew a button back on and even that's usually done clumsily, so I enlisted Mum to do the sewing on this one. It's just calico that has been cut up into squares, hemmed and attached to the large calico panel (thanks, Mum!). Kim and I painted the Christmas images with acrylic paint. We wanted them to be bold, colourful and appeal to children. I have to say, it's worked, as it's currently P's favourite thing to look at. She points to all the pictures at different times but because she has just learned to say 'Santa', this is the pocket she points out the most. I haven't put 'things' in it this year because she's little enough that the pictures are exciting enough. But I'm looking forward to Christmases to come where I can fill it with little treats of one kind or another. And I'm hoping this will turn into a bit of a family heirloom, made all the more special because it was handmade.

By the way, if anyone's interested in the measurements and instructions I got this project out of a book I borrowed from our local library: Homemade: Gorgeous things to make with love by Ros Badger & Elspeth Thompson - the project is on page 202.

The other project I wanted to post about was a great honour to be able to work on. Before her wedding my friend Yve approached me with an idea: to create a 'wedding tree' which would serve as a guest book. I had never heard of this before but when I started googling it I found lots of different examples and it's such a great idea. Basically, it is a single image of a tree which guests sign and their names become the 'leaves' or the 'flowers'.

Yve's wedding had a blossom theme which tied into the beautiful Japanese obi she wore around her wedding dress and also a gorgeous decorated cake. I created the tree on a canvas board as I thought it would be a lot more robust than paper and it could also be framed later if desired. I was really happy with how it turned out (so much so that I wished I'd known about this idea when Kim and I got married!). I was also very honoured to be a part of her wedding in this way as we were unable to make the trip to Adelaide for the nuptials. This is a photo of the tree before I presented it to Yve but I have seen it since the wedding and it is now covered in gold with the joyful jottings of her many guests' names.

Congratulations Yve and Jon!