My thanks go out to Anne for imagining an exchange of handmade joy and getting it to happen.
I had the pleasure of creating a gift for Michelle. She has an absolutely delicious little girl who currently has the starring role in her blog, leavingthecocoon. (How easy it is to fall in love with little ones via pictures!)
With Elly absorbing her focus, and knowing family and friends have been sending/bringing presents for this sweetie, perhaps Michelle would like to have some special note cards to express her thanks...
I bought a simple cardboard pencil box at Michaels, plain white inside and out. I used a Kona Bay oriental print called Tranquility Floral Garden which I purchased at Stitchers Crossing in Madison, Wisconsin the day I drove to hear Jennifer Chiaverini at Mill House Quilts in early February. I ironed a piece of this fabric to Heat n Bond ultra hold. (Once the fabric is adhered to the heat n bond, you simply remove the paper backing and iron it to whatever you'd like to attach it to, clothing, purses, pillows, greeting cards, notebooks, magazine boxes, hats, whatever.)
I learned the technique of dry embossing at a stencil shop in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, many many years ago and have been in love with the technique and obsessed with collecting stencils ever since. I learned using a window as my light box. That's a bit tiring for the arms and not very easy to do at night. Also, so many of my stencils require a good deal of precision with the stylus. For a while I tried using a lamp without its shade resting on the floor in front of me with a glass shelf balanced across my spread knees. (Not a pretty sight!) Better than a window, but that light bulb would get pretty hot. Eventually I purchased a real light box from an art supply store. It is one of my grandest tools, useful for many jobs besides embossing.
In the hope that Michelle would like to learn the technique, I enclosed a stylus and a tin "M" stencil to get her started. Included were ten little gift cards, only one of which I embossed with her initial so she could do the rest. My note to Michelle included a link to the technique, so she could watch what I tried to describe in my letter and then finish the remaining blank cards by her own hand.
And my gift? I received it from Laura, of Italy by way of the UK. (I often wonder if my mail lady is curious about contents when she delivers packages from far off places into the mailbox out here on the farm.)
A visit to her bilingual blog reveals a spunky, lovely young woman. And her gift reveals a kindred spirit in that she loves to crochet too!
Within the pouches:
and a set of crocheted face scrubbies, perfect for removing the sweat and grime from my face after hours in the gardens out here in the midwest USA.
I really am intrigued by the necklace design and Laura graciously sent me directions for crocheting it.
Thank you, Laura, for the tiny, perfect stitches and happy collection of "beads." And for responding to Anne's request. It's a pleasure getting to know you, and you, too, Michelle. I'll be watching your blogs for news of your art, your journeys, your lives.
Happy celebration, everyone!
Isn't life grand?