Friday, December 30, 2011

Handmade Parade: Dreaming of a Green Christmas

You haven't heard from us for awhile at least in part because we've had our heads down at the studio making gifts for friends and family. Now that the big day has come and gone, we're ready to share. No spoilers here!

Here's an idea for those of you who get a lot of beautiful Christmas cards, and hate to just toss them in the recycling bin come the end of the season. I saved last years cards to make the gift tags for this year's presents...

And I'm excited to update this idea next year using my recently-acquired paper punch!

Since I have been making a gift tags for the past few years, the older tags that survived are still mixed in as well:

A simple hand-carved robot lino cut

Manila tags stamped with purchased stamps

This year, I made some cloth bags for gifts, which can be re-used in place of paper in the years to come. It was fun to whip up a bag or two each time Meg and I went to the studio to craft. I used up little scraps of fabrics and ribbons and got to be creative and spontaneous with my designs.

While you don't get to rip the crap out of these like wrapping paper,
the addition of a few jingle bells makes unwrapping fun and festive!

I even made a couple of bags for my mom using the leftover scraps of embroidered fabric that didn't make their way into the recycled vintage embroidery baby quilt that I wrote about before.

Stay tuned to see some of the presents Megan and I made for our peeps... and for each other!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I see a free thing and I want to paint it red...

This summer, while on the bus on the way to meet a friend, I passed a pile of furniture and housewares out in front of a house with a "FREE STUFF" sign. How could I possibly resist? When I met my pal Jodi, I mentioned the pile and she was immediately all in... have I mentioned that I have the best friends?! She drove us back post-haste, and was rewarded with an unusual blue handmade blown glass vase-type thingy. And I manhandled this beast into the back of her convertible:

This long cabinet is solid wood and I thought, when I saw a glimpse of it from a moving bus, that it had really cool scroll work on the front. Well, the door is actually kinda plastic-y, with a finish that makes it look like the rest of the wood... but hey, scavengers can't be choosers! 

I had originally been thinking that I might refinish it with Megan for her place, but when she determined that she didn't have room for it, I found a way to fit it into my space. I had some immediate ideas -- I wanted a glossy, slick colourful finish to play off of the outdated design -- but it stayed on my covered patio for a month or two, until Megan happened to offer a can of red paint that she no longer needed. The cupboard pull was simply revived with some black spray paint I had leftover from a past project. My fab new red cabinet works really well in my living room, which already had some red accents, and the entire project cost me $0!

Inspired? Here are a couple of places you can look for free goods in your area:
(These can also be interesting to peruse just for fun, since people post really strange things...) - click on 'Free' under 'For Sale' - click on the 'Free Stuff' link

Do you know another great place to find free stuff, or have a tale of an awesome free find? Please share in the comments!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Material Girls: Neon Tropical Fish

In our 'Material Girls' feature, we dive into our giant collection of fabrics to choose a weird, heinous, or awesome pattern (this time the fabric could be called all three of these things!) and then challenge ourselves to make something great out of it.

This week's version: Neon Tropical Fish. Who would buy such a thing? Snort!

Okay, okay, I'll fess up here. The cloth I worked with here is actually purchased. From a store. On purpose. By me. In my defense, though, it was the very early 90s (true story) and times were different. My mom let me pick this out so that I could try to make an outfit out of it. It was going to be a matching neon tropical fish tank top and Bermuda shorts set, of course. But alas, I only half-finished the project and, while I rocked the tank top at the Wildwood mall on many occasions, the shorts were never made. I had other important stuff to do (GAWD!) like draw, listen to NKOTB, talk about boys, and watch Entertainment Tonight.

So when I came across this in my big bin o' fabrics, I immediately recognized it. And I obviously kept on to my earlier positive feelings for it, because when I pulled it out to show it to Megan, the exchange went something like this:

Me: "Wow! Look at this fabric... It's awesome!"
Megan: (silence)

Me: "I'll bet I can make something RAD out of this!"
Megan: (long pause) "Ummm..."

Well, I'll admit that it's perhaps a fabric that's best in small doses. And it's not like I would wear the tank top/Bermuda shorts set now (probably).

Anyway, I set off to make something rad. My first attempt, appliqué on a canvas bag, was a project that sought to honour the fabric's storied provenance...

Next up, I used the fabric in a quilt for a friend with a new baby.


I think it turned out quite sweet in a child's gift, so I whipped up a matching owl pillow as a gift for the baby's beautiful older sister.


I'm sad to report that the tank top's whereabouts are currently unknown...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Happy Birthday to Us!

We haven't been very active Crafty Chroniclers lately. It would be fair to say that this summer threw us a few curveballs, to say the least, and we've been focusing on non-crafty things. We are grateful to hear that, in our absence, many of our loyal followers have still been checking in with us. And we were surprised and delighted to find a mysterious package on our doorstep this weekend --

We may have overlooked the fact that we started this blog one year ago yesterday, but our friend Janet reminded us with a thoughtful 'birthday' gift of two kinds of essential creative fuel... Diet Coke and rocking tunes from badass girl groups. Thanks for coke-ing us!

So we're revitalized and we're gearing back up to get creative -- it's time to make things!

Thank you for reading, and expect more from us very soon...

Friday, June 3, 2011

Birdhouse Update: Tenants Move In!

Remember the personalized birdhouse that I gave to my father-in-law at Christmas? 

Well, it's finally summertime... and some new tenants have moved in. What fun!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Handmade Parade: Mini Portraits

Two years ago, I made mini portraits of my sister- and brother-in-law's menagerie. These sweet keepsakes are on 6 x 6-inch framed cradled panel.

I used a Chartpak blender marker, black, grey, and white coloured pencils, graphite pencil, acrylic paint, and a matte gloss medium.

It's a techinique that I've also used to make people portraits for other family (because as previously reported everyone needs some art with their own face on it!).

They can be hung on the wall and are also deep enough that they can stand up freely on a bookshelf or mantle...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Material Girls: Kitschy Knots

We at Five Corners have been lucky enough to have two separate coworkers gift us with giant bags of fabric in the last few months (Thanks, ladies!). We tend to be attracted to cute, vintage, or just plain weird patterns, and now that we have so much, we are starting to wonder what the heck to do with it all...

So we're introducing a new feature called Material Girls, where we pick a wild pattern and challenge ourselves to make something great out of it!

I started it off with a challenging fabric - a cool, but very busy, pattern of knots in primary colours. I actually think it's wonderfully kitschy and fun, but it's so... MUCH.

So I took the route of isolating some of the details, backing them with interfacing to stiffen the fabric, and giving them more breathing room for their new life appliquéd onto a snazzy navy v-neck shirt...


Saturday, April 2, 2011

You Asked, We Answered!

You decided what project we'd take on and you've waited long enough.

We changed the design quite a bit -- to update it and to make it work for our space. But we think you'll still recognize the "seating system" inspiration in our final design.

The first step was to customize it with our awesome logo, so we dusted off our screenprinting supplies and got to work!

Ladies and gentlemen, may we present to you... our new version of the mid-70s seating system!

To make it a seating "system", everything comes apart and can be moved into different formations:

Knowing that it would be used in our messy messy studio (by messy messy us!), we decided to use a button closure, so that the covers can be removed and laundered.

Ahhh, just what we need in the studio -- a comfy spot to relax, put up our feet and not get any work done!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Handmade Parade: Recycled Vintage Embroidery Quilt

My grandmother and great-aunt, like many women of their generation, were skilled embroiderers. When they passed away, my mother inherited their hand-stitched tablecloths, napkins, and table-runners. Though many of them are too small for my mother's table, are worn/slightly damaged, or are out of fashion, she has kept them with respect to the work that her family put into making them, and for the memories and meaning they hold for her.

Some of the best cloths made an appearance at my brother's wedding a few years ago and my wedding last year, to honour my grandmother, who would have been so happy to be with us on those special days. But mostly, they've been folded up and stored in a cabinet.

My brother and his wife recently had a child, a beautiful bright baby girl named after our great aunt. To welcome her, I recycled some of the embroidered cloths that her great grandmother and her namesake stitched so many years ago and fashioned them into a baby's quilt.

The idea of my little niece cuddling up against vintage embroidery that was hand-stitched by her ancestors is so beautiful to me. I'm sad she'll never get a chance to know these strong and loving women, but she will definitely hear their stories... and she'll have a little part of them beside her as she grows into a strong woman herself.