Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A New Obsession - Sewn Paper

I love to sew.  I have been making my own clothes since my Momma taught me how when I was 8.  My first 4-H project was a simple cap-sleeved dress that consisted of 6 pieces. Until I started putting in 60 hours a week at a law firm 30 years ago, I continued to make many of my own clothes.  I also made purses and even once tried my hand at making fabric shoes, which is actually a lot easier than it sounds like it would be.  

I don't know if it is a Southern thing or not, but every woman my age that I know can cook and sew, a skill learned from their mothers, who learned from their mothers, and on down the line.  

My brother Neil and I and the Barbie Doll birthday
cake also made by Momma  -1963 
I wouldn't trade knowing how to cook or sew for anything.  It is an essential part of who I am, being able to create things for myself and the people I love.  As I have often said here on the blog, my mother is the original "mother of invention."  When I was growing up, her sewing machine was in constant use.  If she couldn't make it, we didn't have it.   

Some of my earliest memories are of my brother and sister and me sitting around our big oak kitchen table, which my grandfather made, by the way.  Neil and Tara and I would color a picture in a coloring book and Momma would use the picture to make a fabric applique which she would sew onto a sundress or pair of shorts.   

For the past few years, I haven't had the time to sew as much as I used to, and I miss it.   When I was trying to figure out what to do with the buttons my new friend Kym Hunter sent me for Cindy Wimmer's button swap, I remembered a sewn paper kitchen shower announcement someone had sent me several years ago.  It was made from a paper bag and had a bright red rick rack machine stitch around the edges, a vintage plastic button and some string.  The details of the shower were printed on the face.  The bag was supposed to be filled with a favorite recipe and ingredients for the bride.  (There's that Southern cooking thing again.)
Sister Tara and the cake
(Tara's smock also made by Momma)
I went through several tries before I figured out what worked best, and these are the result.   With a collection of 10,000 plus digital images, many of which are vintage ephemera and advertising art that I use in my polymer image transfer pieces, the sky is the limit on what I can do.  I can make these feminine or masculine.  They range in size from 2"x3" to 5"x7" and up.   The small to medium ones are perfect for gift cards and cash.  I'm going to be listing these in my Caroline Homespun shop at Etsy shortly.

These take me right back to the times when Momma would sit working away on the sewing machine at the kitchen table on a sultry Carolina Summer night, with the windows open and a cool breeze blowing in while we colored with our crayons and she sewed.     

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Button Swap Blog Hop Is Here!

At 2 minutes after midnight, Eastern U.S. time, it is officially May 13, 2012, the day of Cindy Wimmer's Button Swap Blog Hop.  I hope you don't mind that I'm posting a bit early, as I will be traveling tomorrow to be with my family on Mother's Day.

I received these beautiful buttons from my swap partner, Kym Hunter.   Kym sent way more than the minimum 4 buttons, and I had a tough time trying to decide which ones to use.  I knew I had to include the gorgeous handmade heart glass button, and I wanted to use the vintage plastic flower button.

I ended up using several to adorn these sewn paper gift bags, with which I am totally obsessed at the moment.   They are so much fun to make, and the vintage buttons finish them off perfectly, don't you think?   The back two are vintage Barbie Doll patterns and the small front bag is from a collection of digital images I have of antique shell book illustrations.   

The handmade glass heart button became the focal of a citrine and amethyst Swarovski crystal bracelet that I am giving to my mother for Mother's Day later today.  Purple is her favorite color and she loves dainty, tinkling bracelets, to this is perfect for her.  

I used the sparkly rhinestone butterscotch plastic button in a brooch featuring a polymer clay base with a brass dragonfly, and a vintage Czech glass crystal drop.

Finally, I used two of the Sizzix discs on a faux olive jade polymer clay covered tin featuring one of my favorite Asian images, which I transferred to the clay and embellished with burnt orange/red Czech glass feather beads.

I had a great time participating in the button swap.  Kym, it was a pleasure being partnered with you!  I hope you like these items, and thanks again for sending such lovely treasures to work with; and thanks to you, Cindy Wimmer, for including me in the swap this year!  I would love to do it again and hope you'll invite me back next time.  

Now I'm off to visit Kym's site to see what she did with the buttons I sent her, and when I get home tonight  I'm going to visit all the other artists who participated, and you can too!  The list below links to all the participants, so hop on board the button train and visit them all with me!   

Kim Roberts and Partner unable to participate at this time.
* Pam Ferarri and Stefanie Teufel (will share their reveal on a later date)
* Stefanie Teufel and Pam Ferarri (will share their reveal on a later date)
Teresa Gagne and Tania SpiveyTeri Baskett and Line Labrecque
Terry Carter and Sue Hamel
Theresa Fosdick and Melissa Martin
Tracy Bell and Maureen Baranov
Tracy Statler and Marianna Boylan
Veralynne Malone and Shirley Moore