Gift of time

My birthday is at the end of the month so I've decided to give a little gift to myself. The gift of time! I'm going to be taking a blogging break until mid September. I haven't had as much time for the handcrafting part of this blog so I'll be focusing on that. I'm sure I'll be sharing some makings on my Instagram and if you're worried you'll miss my return please sign up for my monthly updates. 

Last week when I was working on my weekly post (which you'll notice I never published) I had the revelation that I needed a break from the computer screen and some of the steps that it takes to put out a weekly post. I was hoping to get in that one last post as I scheduled some time off on my calendar. That didn't happen because just after I made that decision I saw this article on white space breaks from fellow blogger Sage Greyson. It was clearly a sign! I decided I'd finish that post later and focused on having a fun weekend (past) in LA instead. So as Sage asked, I'll ask to. Do you need a white space break?

Pip pip hurray! DIY paper flower stamen.

You know those little fake pollen bits you see used in paper flower making... Anatomically they're called stamen but in paper flower world they're called pips. And they're not so cheap for something called a pip! You'd think they'd just cost pip cents each. Well some are reasonably priced but I've become enamored with the vintage glass variety. I figured I could make something a little more similar. So I did. Pip! Pip! Hurray! You can to!

Supplies
— Cotton String
— Bees Wax
— Nail Polish (multiple colors)
— Aluminum dish (for making a double boiler)
— Wax Paper
— Tape
— Lidded Jar
— Crayons (optional)

Making your pips

The second pan has a purple crayon added to the bees wax.

The second pan has a purple crayon added to the bees wax.

1. Get your wax melting in a double boiler while you're setting up the rest of your materials and work area. I used a pan on my stove filled with water and set to simmer. I put my wax in a disposable aluminum container and floated it in the water.

2. Lay out a sheet of wax paper on your work surface.

3. Cut several lengths of string roughly 18 inches each. Each string will make 6 pips.

4. When your wax is liquid begin to dip strings one at a time. I dipped the string making a spiral pattern and then pulled the string straight out of the wax. It will dry nearly instantly when it hits the air. Lay your waxed strings flat on your work surface.

5. Cut off the end of the un-waxed string where you were holding it. Cut each string into thirds.

6. Dip the ends of each smaller string back in the wax 2-3 times. Alternate sides to allow for cooling. A ball of wax will be created on each end forming the pip!

7. Lay the pips on top of a jar to finish cooling so the waxed orb shape doesn't get a flat side.

8. Fold each pip in half and dip the each pip in nail polish of your choosing.

9. Tape the ends of the pips to a jar or ledge to allow to completely dry. (I tested a lot of ways to dry the pips without letting them touch each other and this was the best I found).

Pip pip hurray! You can easily vary your pips with color of nail polish or by adding a crayon to your melted wax. I also tried out using alcohol inks. They worked out great but I preferred using up some of my nail polish. There's only so many times you can paint your nails yellow. 

After you've made your pips and made some paper flowers bury your nose in them and you'll discover it smells like honey! How perfect.

 

Show and Tell: Summer Renegade SF 2014

A couple Sundays ago all of San Francisco was drenched in fog. A little winter like made it perfect for going inside to the summer edition of the Renegade Craft Fair. Held at Fort Mason it's also a good reason to walk by the bay and hear the clickety clang of all the sail boats in their berths. Renegade is one of my favorite fairs and there was so much good stuff this time around. One of the stand outs was all the variety of ceramics. Each vendor had their own twist on the medium. I could have done a whole post on that. 

If you missed the fair or don't live near one of the host cities it's worth checking out the vendor list. Especially if you're in the market for some handmade goodies. If you want even more handmade to look at I wrote about summer Renegade last year also.

Below are some of my favorites and unique finds. I've been pretty wordy lately in my posts so I'll keep things brief and fill this one with pics.

Jo Boyer

At first glance I thought these were crazy shells I hadn't seen before. Nope just porcelain with lots of details. 

At first glance I thought these were crazy shells I hadn't seen before. Nope just porcelain with lots of details. 

I had recently bought some earrings by Nikki at a local shop called Gather which features hand made goods here in SF. I've been getting lots of compliments on them so I was excited to stumble upon her booth.

I had recently bought some earrings by Nikki at a local shop called Gather which features hand made goods here in SF. I've been getting lots of compliments on them so I was excited to stumble upon her booth.

Of course I found some adorable cat goodies.

Of course I found some adorable cat goodies.

These would make a very unique gift. And bonus they're made from recycled liquor bottles.

These would make a very unique gift. And bonus they're made from recycled liquor bottles.

These kits are adorable. A great way to learn about embroidery.

These kits are adorable. A great way to learn about embroidery.

Great modern rustic pieces. Is modern rustic a thing?

Great modern rustic pieces. Is modern rustic a thing?

I loved Madeline's cake display! Also I know Madeline but I didn't know she was going to be there so it was a fun surprise to run into her booth.

I loved Madeline's cake display! Also I know Madeline but I didn't know she was going to be there so it was a fun surprise to run into her booth.

I'll let you figure these out. They are really beautiful on their own as an object. I was told they could also be used for incense.

I'll let you figure these out. They are really beautiful on their own as an object. I was told they could also be used for incense.

I'm friends of the Weekend Press and knew they've been diligently printing goods for the last couple months. So proud to see it all together!

I'm friends of the Weekend Press and knew they've been diligently printing goods for the last couple months. So proud to see it all together!

For an easy five bucks I got my membership (complete with membership card) to the Letter Writing Alliance. Check it out and get yourself a pen pal!

For an easy five bucks I got my membership (complete with membership card) to the Letter Writing Alliance. Check it out and get yourself a pen pal!

Here's the cumulative list and links to all these fabulous makers.

Jo Boyer 
Nikki Montoya 
Trelabela 
Reclamation Etchworks 
Kiriki Press 
Salt and Pipper 
Miwak Junior, Ceramic Connectors 
The Weekend Press 
Letter Writing Alliance

Now I'm getting excited for all the Christmas fairs!

A crafty bachelorette party

What's a crafty bachelorette party? Well it's kind of like a regular crafty get together except the craft is folding paper penises. Add in paper flower craft and you can create bouquets, crowns, or corsages for the bride to be. And when you're crafting "origami penises" there's bound to be some laughter.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of hosting the crafty bachelorette party pictured in this post for two of my gal pals with upcoming weddings. This was a pre-party on a Saturday afternoon to make bouquets that they can take out on the town during their individual celebrations. 

None of the gals in attendance had ever made paper flowers so I gave a little tutorial. Everyone did great! Each guest folded a penis and made a flower to contribute. Some opted to embellish their paper penis with tattoos and piercings. Scroll through the pics to see all their fabulous creations. 

At the end of this post is everything you need to know about hosting your own crafty bachelorette.

Decorate, cut, fold, and glue.

Decorate, cut, fold, and glue.

Making flowers.

Making flowers.

The brides holding their crafty creations.

The brides holding their crafty creations.

Paper penises in all their glory, drawn on, taped, decoupaged, and pierced!

Paper penises in all their glory, drawn on, taped, decoupaged, and pierced!

CraftyBach_4918.jpg
I finished off the bouquets by wrapping the stems with ribbon.

I finished off the bouquets by wrapping the stems with ribbon.

Want to have a party of your own? You're gonna need some templates! (Includes instructions).

You can incorporate paper penis craft into your party in a number of ways and I lay out some options below. Also an FYI; there were 10 girls at the party I hosted and we created enough paper penis's and flowers for two bouquets. You can get a lot done with crafty team work.

Basic activity
Have the crafting be one component of an evening/day/weekend of fun. As a game alternative have everyone decorate and fold a paper penis. Hole punch and attach a pipe cleaner stem. Pair the penises with pre-bought fake or real flowers to create your bouquet. Tie the bouquet together with a ribbon. (Allow for 1 hour of crafty fun. You can especially keep this activity to an hour if there is some prep work done ahead of time to cut out the parts).

Glue a paper flower center inside the paper penis or use a hole punch and pipe cleaners to create stems.

Glue a paper flower center inside the paper penis or use a hole punch and pipe cleaners to create stems.

Advanced
The full shebang. Make the whole party about dirty crafts and spend an evening or afternoon folding paper penises and making flower craft. Instead of pipe cleaners use the floral wire technique in the above picture.

Paper flower craft resources
— Check out the post I wrote about the book Paper to Petal. It's full of options and flower petal templates.
— You could make a flower and penis crown instead of a bouquet. Honestly WTF has this great tutorial that could be modified. She demos several types of flowers. Note that she uses glued crepe to secure her flowers and stems instead of floral tape. For a beginner using floral tape will be easier.
— If you really want to customize your color palette you can dye your crepe paper!

Paper penis materials
Templates!
— Scissors (if you don't own a ton like me ask guests to bring there own)
Glue sticks OR a tub of Yes! Glue. Perfect for paper crafts. Apply with q-tips or craft sticks.
— Things to decorate with (Markers, colored pencils, stickers, washi tape, etc.)
— Hole punch
— Green pipe cleaners for stems
— Ribbon to tie the bouquet together

Optional materials
— Some of my friends were more comfortable with x-actos, rulers, and cutting matte 
— Flower craft supplies (crepe paper, tissue paper, floral tape, floral wire, pips, cotton balls)

Bonus tips and tricks
— It's likely not all the guests will have the same crafty skills. Prep some penises ahead of time so there are options for all skill levels.
— If you make paper flowers I recommend choosing the paper in a limited color palette so everything coordinates.
— During the opening of gifts save all the ribbons and notions so you can incorporate them into the Penis bouquet. 
— At the party I hosted I served fondue along with phallic vegetables because it seemed like the most crafty food one could serve. Well, let's just say there were lots of giggles and wincing when we pulled our vegetables from the cheese. I've got tons of pics here of penises but the fondue photos make me blush so I'm going to spare you. It was however hilarious.

Lastly if you love the idea of the paper penises but aren't throwing a bachelorette party I also sell them as individual cards.

Tenugui gift wrapping

This past weekend Heath Ceramics in San Francisco had a lovely exhibit; Akio Nukaga and friends which included several events. One of the friends events I saw on the calendar was a Japanese gift wrapping demo. So you know I had to be there!

As part of the festivities the Japanese textile company Kamawanu brought their beautiful Tenugui cloths. What is Tenugui? As it says on their promotional materials:

"Tenugui, a piece of dyed cotton cloth, has always been an essential tool for the Japanese. Not only was it used as a wiping tool such as a towel or handkerchief, it was also used as a bandage and a headwear in the old days. On the other hand, since it was possible to dye various graphic designs on the Tenugui, it also came to be used in the place of a greeting card or a business card."

Gift wrapping is a newer use that Kamawanu is promoting for the Tenugui. You may have seen Japanese gift wrapping with cloth before. The other variety is Furoshiki which uses a square cloth for gift wrapping but it is an entirely different tradition. Wrapping with Tenugui employs similar concepts but is different because the cloth is a long rectangular shape.

Megumi Inouye was the demonstrator and came up with many ways to show us how to wrap with the Tenegui. I'll admit with all my wrapping love I have been a little hesitant to dive into wrapping with cloth. Megumi made it look approachable. Watching her manipulate the cloth you can easily see the benefits of wrapping with Tenegui.

With just a few concepts in mind you can wrap many things.

— Laying your object at an angle to the cloth allows you to cover your object completely. 
— Alternatively if you have a larger object don't stress about covering it completely. Partially wrapping it with the cloth will still make it special.
— Round objects can be rolled at an angle in the cloth.
— And while you're at it use that same idea with boxes. Throw out the western idea of positioning objects at 90 degree angles.
— Twist the cloth to wrap around a wine bottle neck. Or twist the cloth to hold an object inside.
— Knot the cloth. Optionally tuck the exposed ends of your cloth into the knot for a different look.
— Work with the shape of your object not against it. 
— It's ok to get an assist from a simple modern tool like the rubber band! But for this lets definitely say no to tape.

An example of not needing to hide the wrapped object. The ends of the knot are tucked inside the knot to create the clean look.

An example of not needing to hide the wrapped object. The ends of the knot are tucked inside the knot to create the clean look.

Examples of twisting. There are 3 apples wrapped in the left with a twist between each one. Reminds me of how a balloon animal is created.

Examples of twisting. There are 3 apples wrapped in the left with a twist between each one. Reminds me of how a balloon animal is created.

Magumi took inspiration from the shape of the candle holder by tucking the fabric into it's cavity and creating a flower with the ends. This is a great example of letting the object dictate how the fabric forms around it. Maybe this will work for wrapping a small cup too!

Magumi took inspiration from the shape of the candle holder by tucking the fabric into it's cavity and creating a flower with the ends. This is a great example of letting the object dictate how the fabric forms around it. Maybe this will work for wrapping a small cup too!

The wrapping on the far right uses a rubber band as an aid. Instead of twisting the excess fabric a rubber band is secured around it and the fabric is tucked under.

The wrapping on the far right uses a rubber band as an aid. Instead of twisting the excess fabric a rubber band is secured around it and the fabric is tucked under.

The top view of the rubber band aided wrap.

The top view of the rubber band aided wrap.

Megumi and I actually have an interesting connection even though we've just met. In different years we've both participated in the Scotch most gifted wrapper contest. Megumi was runner up the year she participated. So this was a treat to connect with her and chat about wrap.

One of the important things she emphasized is that the Tenegui can elevate simple items for gift giving. This technique doesn't need to be reserved for wrapping only precious ceramics. That's one of the principals I think is so important about gift wrapping whichever kind you do. The act of taking the time to wrap something imposes a significant to the act of gifting however big or small either physically or monetarily the item is.

Impromptu wrapping using twisting and knotting. This might be sturdy enough to carry a smaller object. Perhaps a special way to present a garden clipping.

Impromptu wrapping using twisting and knotting. This might be sturdy enough to carry a smaller object. Perhaps a special way to present a garden clipping.

During Q&A someone asked how Magumi would wrap a plant. She took the challenge and quickly came up with the above idea. I think for a moment she felt like she was back in the wrapping contest.

The twisting method would be a perfect way to wrap eggs. And how perfect to wrap them in this egg patterned Tenegui. If I had chickens I would definitely be using Tenegui to deliver the eggs as gifts to friends.

The twisting method would be a perfect way to wrap eggs. And how perfect to wrap them in this egg patterned Tenegui. If I had chickens I would definitely be using Tenegui to deliver the eggs as gifts to friends.

Some other facts about Tenegui.

Tenegui comes in many patterns which are often chosen by the gift giver to fit the interests of the receiver. The patterns are made by creating paper templates that the dye is pushed through. The Tenegui cloth is cut from a continuous roll so each individual cloth has two cut edges and two salvage edges. (I'm not sure if there is a different terminology for salvage when it comes to this particular cloth). To dye the cloth it is starched. Brand new Tenegui cloths have a crisp feel to them. As they're used and washed they become soft.

You can read about the history of Tenegui on Kamawanu's website. 

I know that there isn't a full demo here but I encourage you to get any bit of fabric that is not very thick and just play around with melding it to the form of objects. The wonderful thing about fabric is you can re-wrap as many times as needed without damaging your material. That's much harder to do with crisp paper. Megumi has a couple Furoshiki classes up on Creativebug that could give you a start.

If you're in San Francisco head over to the Heath Ceramics tile factory to snap up some of the remaining Tenegui still in the store. I'm not sure if it will be a regular item that they'll retail but I hope so.

If you have any additional info to share about wrapping with Tenegui or cloth please share in the comments!

In case it's not obvious all wrappings are done by Megumi Inouye.