Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I heart hand made

I have always been a bit of a patsy for the hand made card or gift. At no time is that more applicable than St. Valentine's Day.

To me, a rhyming couplet on a glossy card never trumps hand written heart felt sentiment. When it comes to expressing love, words or gifts should clearly communicate "I know you well enough to know what you want, what you need, what you have been dreaming about". Or even better yet, a gift that indicates "I have been paying such good attention to you that I knew you wanted this even before you did".

When it comes to presenting a gift, a big part of the fun for me is finding some way to conceal the gift that yet reveals the relationship.

Case in point this repurposed map that will serve as the canvas for a hand stamped customized wrapping paper.I decided to revisit my crafting past and use a lowly potato to carve a stamp.

Nearly everyone has a potato and small knife around, and this is a fun way to channel my inner third grader. If you are lucky enough to have an eight year old around to play with, this is an even better project to share. Eight year olds can be careful with a knife, but aren't too cool to appreciate and enjoy simple fun like this.Materials needed for this are a medium sized potato, a small knife, a pencil to get the pattern started, and some paint to use as a stamping medium. I used acrylic paint here but poster paint works fine and I've heard you can use a stamp pad but haven't tried it that way.I like to keep my stamp shapes simple. I start with a larger version than I'll need because I typically end up having to size down as a result of over zealous carving.

If you do decide to try this, do as I say, not as I did. I used a tile table that was uneven. For the best results it takes a level surface to work on so the stamp will fully meet the paper. If you are not absolutely certain your paper won't bleed through, then place newsprint or something under your paper to protect your table surface. My tile table cleans up easily, so I'm fairly careless as you can see.

I like to start with a few practice stamps around the perimeter. That gives me a feel for how much paint or ink to use, how much pressure I want, and I can experiment with whether I like a well covered distinct area or a fainter stamp image that lets the map show through. I can always fill in with more if I want to later.

I let the paper dry completely before trimming and wrapping the gift.

Now comes the fun. I like to experiment with placement and set my imagination loose a little here.

Maybe I want to have a destination centered on top that is a place the recipient has already visited, or dreams to visit? Or maybe my choice will be driven by the colors or shape the top of the gift offers me. I was wrapping an oddly shaped gift that was not boxed but was rather surrounded by bubble wrap, so my gift did not have clear corners or sharp edges play with. If I am wrapping something in a box and the paper size and pattern allows it, I like to play with having the image on top be framed by the edges.

Et voila! I think this will warm the heart of my loved one before they even see what is inside.However (or whether) you celebrate, I do hope you will make it your priority to show those people who are special in your life that you love them over the next few days. Whether or not it is a hand made or store bought or no gift at all that would be your personal preference on St. Valentine's Day, we can all stand to be told in no uncertain terms that we are loved.Postscript: Love is a word some people throw around a lot. I am as guilty as the next one on that count, but I really do enjoy blogging and I especially enjoy the idea some of you visit regularly and let me know you've read and appreciated these posts by commenting. Thanks to each and every one of you and I hope you all have a wonderful warm weekend and feel appreciated by those who love you.


Kathleen Scott said...

I have NO crafting past, have never made a potato stamp but I love the concept here. And hearts are always welcome.

Novel idea to make the wrapping part of the gift. My geologist sister would love a map as wrap. Think I'll look for a topo.

TexasDeb said...

Kathleen: Happy St. Valentines/Chinese New Year to you. If you try this craft I think you'll have lots of fun with it.

We have all sorts of old NatGeo and charitable donor request maps around here. I am one of those packrat types who sees a map and says "I bet I can reuse this some way". In order to justify the resulting Fibber McGeeness of our closet I MUST demonstrate periodically I do intend to actually use some of that map stash. Gift wrapping is my go-to repurpose, although we've matted art prints as well.

Iris said...

I haven't made a potato stamp since grade school, but I'm going to try it right now. With a sweet potato! This cold drizzly day is perfect for it. Thanks for a cool idea I'd forgotten about!

TexasDeb said...

I loved crafts in grade school personally. Some things I think we never outgrow (well... maybe macaroni necklaces...) Have fun with your stamping!

Lisa Carroll-Lee said...

Oh this is such a sweet idea! I just love it. BTW, just found your blog through Kathleen's blog and I love it. I'm really digging exploring blogs from fellow Texans.

Lisa Carroll-Lee said...

Oh this is such a sweet idea! I just love it. BTW, just found your blog through Kathleen's blog and I love it. I'm really digging exploring blogs from fellow Texans.

TexasDeb said...

Greetings Accidental Huswife! Thanks for the kind words. Glad you dropped in - and hope you'll be back.