Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Bon Voyage Birthday

Jake's birthday isn't until July, but we let him have a party super early this year, so more of his friends could come. This year it seemed especially important to make sure his friends could celebrate with him, since its almost time to say goodbye. We had his fete at one of those indoor kids play places (on a beautiful, sunny, summery day of course), and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. I made goody bags for all, and included little favors that marked both Jake's birthday and his departure. He designed the bags and assisted with making some of the contents.
Here's what we came up with:

Jake wanted red drawstring bags with black ribbons for the boys and yellow bags with white ribbons for the girls. I made a total of 25 of them, assembly-line style, over the course of a week and a half or so, using my favorite simple drawstring bag tutorial from Skip to My Lou. I made chocolate lollipops using the same molds and sticks and stuff I had left over from Charlie's party in the fall. (The chocolate was not left over. There is never left over chocolate in this house.) I printed out some stickers that I made with the American flag and the Union Jack and stuck those on the wrappers.

I made tattoos using printable tattoo paper. The girls got Rosie the Riveter (whose speech bubble I changed from "We Can Do It!" to "Girls Rule.") The boys each got their names in a sort of comic strip/super-hero-y looking benday bubble that I lifted off of the internet. I included a little piece of paper with instructions for applying the tattoos, and stuck each one in a little glassine envelope.
Charlie models his tat below.

For the goodbye portion of the program, I got a pad of airmail paper and had Jake self-address an envelope for each bag. We stamped them (a dollar and five cents now to send a letter to the UK-ouch!) and included a little printed card inside each asking his friends to please write to him this summer. He promised to write to them too, and report back on life in England. We also included a blank vintage air mail postcard in each bag, just for fun and to keep with the theme. To write the letters (and whatever else they want), each kid got a pencil with "Happy Birthday Jake!" printed on it. I didn't make those; I ordered them from Miles Kimball.

Finally, I couldn't resist making bath bombs with "BOMB VOYAGE JAKE" stickers to seal the bags. Each kid got two bombs (they were kind of small). I listed the ingredients on another sticker, and was sure to avoid using any nut oils to make this batch, since several kids in Jake's class are allergic. I also skipped colorants, but I did used oils of lavender, lemon and clary sage (not all together). I hope Jake's friends don't think they're too smelly or girly. My boys love them. I used the recipe I like for water softening fizzies from the Teach Soap website.
Charlie couldn't wait for the party-I had to give him his bag early.

I probably went a little overboard on the whole handmade goody bag thing, but I wanted to make something memorable. Jake loves his buddies so much. They're a super sweet gang of kids, and I know he'll miss them a lot.

Monday, May 21, 2012

End of An Era

This was my table at Crafts in Chelsea, a wonderful craft fair that my Etsy New York team puts on twice annually, as a fundraiser for the local public school. I don't typically post about vending at fairs, but this one was pretty significant because its the last craft fair I'm doing in the U.S. before our big move to England in (gulp) two months time.

I also totally had to post this picture of my favorite customers of the day, these two sisters who each bought one of my totes. Apparently sister number one, carrying the 7 Deadly Sins tote (pride and envy and a bit of gluttony are hidden under her arm), is the more virtuous of the two. But maybe sister number two can aspire to the 7 Heavenly Virtues she's parading around, even if she's a bit of a sinner.

A million thanks to all of my supporters past and present who have come out to these events and helped me to make a creative living. I hope the English are as kind to me as you all have been. I'll miss you. xxx

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Knocking a Block Off

I had so much fun teaching an introductory block printing class to some folks in the neighborhood recently that I thought I'd share a few pics of what we made. I love printmaking so much for its affordable and low-tech ease. Its an art form well suited to the kitchen table any day of the week. With just a basic set of Speedball cutting tools, a block or two of rubber and a little ink, my friends and I whipped up these designs before the class was through. (Okay, so it was just my friends who did the whipping up. I sat around watching and chatting.)

Melissa made some envelope prints (above), since she's obsessed with the dying art of letter writing. I want to give her a special shout out for her workshops that teach kids how to correspond the old fashioned way. Be sure to check out her website Viva Snail Mail! to learn more about how she does it. She inspired me to incorporate a snail mail element into the goody bags I'm currently cobbling together for Jake's birthday party. Look for that in a future post soon.

Dari, Jessica, Pete and Gaby also made beautiful designs. My poor photography skills were not equal to the task of capturing their lovely work. But I thank them all for coming out to the class and sharing their creative spirits with me. I'm going to try and squeeze in one more embroidery class over at Hootenanny before the big move. Details to come.