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Archive for hand-crafted

make . Paper Pumpkins

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Last week I spent a little time restocking my Small Pond “pop-up” shop with some fall items and a new collection of stationery. The pop-up is located in the Liza Tye & Company shopping mall on Academy Road in Starkville, and I hope you’ll take a few minutes to take a look and shop all the great vendors there if you are in the area! Some of the fall items I included are a couple of paper craft pumpkin centerpieces I created from hand-decorated paper, and today I’m sharing a little of the process. They are not difficult to make at home, and are a great way to repurpose already-used paper.

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I found a few colored sheets of paper in various textures, and hand-painted some with patterns. Card stock weight paper works best for what’s required for crafting this piece.

The pattern for the individual pumpkin parts can really be any shape you want, as long as it’s symmetrical. Creating your pattern along a fold helps to ensure it is identical on both sides. For the two sizes of pumpkins shown above, I used 20 pumpkin shapes for the larger 8 1/2″ centerpiece, and 16 pumpkin shapes for the smaller 5″ version. Each pumpkin shape needs to be folded in half to create the centerpiece.

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Once all the paper parts are cut and folded, they are stacked together in the repetitive order you would like to use for your pumpkin. Tie the shapes together tightly with twine at the center point to hold them all together. I chose a small jute twine that could curl around the pumpkin top like tiny vines.

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Hot glue or some other very quick-drying version works best for this project since the pieces will end up fanning out into a sphere like an accordion. For the best fanning look, I alternated gluing tops together and then bottoms of the pumpkins as shown above. Keep going all the way through the stack until the piece forms a full pumpkin.

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Pumpkin definitely needs leaves and vines, which I cut from one of my paper colors. Card stock can be easily spiraled by twisting it around a pencil. To finish out the pumpkin, I used a square of thin, kraft packing material to form the stem. I wadded up the paper first to crinkle it, and then rolled it into a loose tube and twisted for an organic look.

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Make a slit in the bottom of the “stem” and hot glue to the top of the pumpkin. Then, add leaves and vines to suit your tastes.

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For our Thanksgiving table, I’m working on a version of the pumpkins made from all white and off-white paper, some in hand-made flower petal-infused paper I found. I’m hoping to add a little hand-dipped watercoloring for some subtle harvest look. There are so many options for decorating paper to match any tablescape style — from fun craftiness to artisan elegance. You can purchase the pumpkins at Liza Tye or create some of your own!

Happy pumpkin-making!

small thing . Happy Spring to Me

It’s cold here in Mississippi this week! We are enjoying temps down in the teens, and my children are disappointed that it hasn’t brought snow flurries. I have to admit I’ve fallen prey to a little Spring weather teasing. Last week we had a little bit of warmer, sunny weather — the way winter seems to waffle in the deep South. The days of Spring-like temperatures sprinkled in between these frigid days are just enough to make me wish for new blossoms.

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I have another confession. Sometimes if I’m looking for special inspiration or, like lately, wanting a little touch of Spring to brighten a winter day, I browse Etsy for to find a little happy just for myself. I thought I would share the latest sweet inspiration. This lovely hand-crafted linen flower brooch was created by Wild Peace Organics. The crafter is located in Portland, Oregon, and describes this pin as “eco rustic,” a style I’m loving these days. The packaging was wonderfully simply. The delicate petals, not-quite frayed edges and soft blue-green color let me close my eyes and think of Spring. I can’t wait to wear it when the weather is warmer! But for now, I’ll content myself with simply looking at it 🙂

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I hope you’re staying warm wherever you are, and finding your own reminders of the Spring to come.

a new creative project

I have a new personal creative pursuit to share with you today to celebrate Friday! Over the extended holiday the kids and I took for Christmas, I was thinking through some of my goals for 2013. I kept coming back to wanting to draw and make things. I’ve always been a “maker.” Tinkering with this and that to make little treasures, whether jewelry or hand-made books or gift wrapping. During the first two years of Small Pond Graphics, I’ve focused more on digital work in getting my business off the ground. I’ve spent a lot of time in front of a computer or ipad screen! But, with the loss of my husband, Mike, this last year and dealing with the changes in our lives, I realized that sometimes tangible things can be comforting. And inspiring. There’s a joy and discipline in creating something with your hands that helps us move forward. Maybe.

SO, I’ve been getting back into “making”, experimenting with block printing again and enjoying a little watercolor painting. The ideas are new and sometimes half-baked, but I’ve enjoyed letting my kids watch and hearing their sweet “Mommy, I think you’re doing a good job with your artwork.” I love how there is never any “high” art with them. It’s all equivalent to pulling out the washable Crayola markers, and I like that.

The product of this renewed “making” adventure I’d like to share is a new Etsy shop! I’ve named it The Frog Kisser, and I’m slowly adding hand-painted and block printed notecards, gift tags and small prints. Here are a couple of the first designs, and I hope you’ll stop into the shop and let me know what you think! I’m always happy to hear what might make these designs more “kissable”. Happy Friday!

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font crush . Portagol

Font Crush alert! Lately I’ve been so enamored by the PORTAGOL ITC font. Stencil-type fonts aren’t always cool, but I love the narrow scale of this one and the uneven-ness of the lines. It just reminds me of literal hand-stenciling — hand-crafting, hand-built. That’s a lot to ask from a digital font ;). I used it this summer as part of this logo for a client’s Low Country-themed food and beer event, and I’ve been looking for excuses to use it ever since. [And I’m not above manufacturing an excuse!] If you’re looking for a look that’s crafty and earthy, mixed with a little grunge, this may be a good download.

favorite things . Be Prints

You know I’m a huge fan of hand-printed designs. I have fallen in love with the “BE” prints from Honeycomb Print Shop. These imperatives paired with bold type and bright colors make me want every one. And, you can even suggest a “be” phrase for printing!

inspired by . Chalk Lettering

I’m starting out the week completely amazed and inspired by the work of Dana Tanamachi, a custom chalk letterer and graphic designer. In this digital age, the drawing of letters is almost a lost art. But, I love the gritty and personal quality of these large-scale pieces. I love the whimsy inherent in conveying a message in the chalk medium. I also love the idea of possibly moving our digital tools in reverse — scoping out designs and messages in the digital sphere, and THEN translating that message back to a hand-wrought medium like chalk. [I think I may be gushing.] Be sure to check out the time-lapse video Dana made of the process of creating one of her pieces.

Ace Hotel Room 1021 from Dana Tanamachi on Vimeo.

favorite things . Chalkboards

This week, my 6-year-old is back in school. And since I’ve had him at home for Christmas vacation these last 2 1/2 weeks, I’m sorely missing my sidekick. SO, in honor of his return to first grade, I decided to share a collection of chalkboard products I’m excited about these days. Enjoy!

1. Chalkboard placemats — Great idea! from b.a. friend

2. Chalkboard tray from Her Majestys Pug

3. Chalkboard gift tag/labels from TLG Crafts

4. Chalkboard wall border decal from Wallies.com

5. Chalkboard globe from Concept Furnishings

signs . Magee, MS No.7

I saw these specimens of artistic ingenuity on the facade of one of the buildings in downtown Magee, MS last Fall. The cool color palette is really inspiring me in today’s summer heat. But, I also love the effort applied to adding just a touch of creative warmth and attention to an otherwise hum-drum surface. I can’t help but imagine that the person who put them there really loves what they do. And they love where they do it. What details am I giving attention to today that let folks know I’m following my passion?

favorite thing . Your Coordinates

I saw this very creative pillow idea from Savannah, GA-based Love Lane Designs in the April issue of Southern Living, and it really struck a chord (with a smile). It’s such a small thing–a simple set of numbers and symbols, really. But, I guess it’s a pretty big small thing to know your coordinates, that spot on the planet where your heart resides. Sometimes the coordinates are right where you lay your head and sometimes they’re traveling off somewhere with those who carry your heart around. Regardless, I love this tangible reminder of one small and simple fact… where you are. {and it’s hand-screenprinted, folks!}

Visit lovelanedesigns.com for more of the beautiful work of Lane Huerta. The “latitude” pillow can be customized with your chosen coordinates.

favorite things . Analog Postcards

Daily PONDspiration [for well-designed low tech}… I came across this set of postcards from Yellow Owl Workshop and couldn’t resist the great black and white illustrations and reminders of time-honored tools. Even their hand-screenprinted process gives a nod to now-rare techniques.

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