Monday, January 31, 2011

Hand Crafted Gardener's Note Cards

These EcoArt Note Cards were created from old gardening catalog pages. The flower and leaf is an origami design fashioned from page photos with a saved dried squash seed as it's center, the background is made of a written page from a catalog as well. The main body is card stock, with the decorations constructed with scissors, a paper punch, glue and tape. Entire card is comprised of 90% recycled materials.   

My Note Cards are made to fit invitation size envelopes and are left blank inside. I often provide a box of hand made envelopes made from recycled pages and regular plain colored envelopes as well. So that the customer can choose one to go with each card purchased. Since the hand crafted cards are usually from printed materials they make a nice addition to cards handed out personally, whereas the plain cards sometimes work better for mailing. I leave it up to the buyer to choose which they prefer. 

A similar design incorporates mixed photo and written word gardening catalog pages in the flower design, which is set against the simple card stock background for a cleaner, less frilly look.

You can find instructions for making basic origami star flowers here. I have expanded on the basic design somewhat, and the appearance can be changed by using different paper patterns and textures. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Display of Family Keepsakes

This antique Cobbler Set belonged to my paternal Grandfather, Thomas Anthony Hall. My Dad brought it home as a remembrance of his father, soon after his death. When I was a young child it was kept near my Dad's workbench in the basement, these smaller tools were stored in the old wooden cigar box that they were found in at Grandpa's house in Pennsylvania. The larger shoe lasts and hammers were kept, along with the cigar box, in a large cardboard box in a metal cabinet where they would be safe. My Dad would sometimes bring them out for me to use when I was working on some childhood project, and used them himself at times. But they were always returned to their special storage place after being utilized. Each time we brought them out Dad would explain how to use each tool I needed and answered the many questions I always had about my Grandparent's lives and what my Father's and his sibling's childhoods were like in that place and time. .

My Grandfather was a Coal Miner, and this cobbler set was used to repair the families shoes, as money for new shoes was often hard to come by. He also fashioned many other useful items from scrap leather to replace worn straps, handles and hinges. And create change purses and small useful items for his young son.  

 When I was a teenager I wanted to put them on display in the basement game-room, and Dad and I worked together hanging the separate pieces on the wall and arranging the standing shoe lasts beneath them. Now that Dad has passed as well, I decided to create a more protective display for them, while still leaving the more useful tools accessible. By drilling holes in the top of an inexpensive shadow box, I now have the more worn, and smaller delicate pieces encased in glass and the tools that I often make use of are stored safely through the top edge of the wooden shadow box. The other tools are positioned underneath the shadow box and I have incorporated the old cigar box as a small shelf to hold the smaller items. In this way I can keep them all together in remembrance, to admire and use them.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Meditation Beads

These hand-strung meditation beads, in bracelet and necklace form, are meant to bring a sense of ritual to daily meditations. Taking them in hand alone, helps prepare for focus, and moving them through your fingers during your practice aids in keeping your mind on your mantra or affirmations. They provide a simple and convenient means for timing sessions as well. The soft wooden beads, will in time, take on a smoothly polished, and familiar feel bringing comfort and personal energy through them as they are utilized. They are delicate and attractive enough to be worn through the day, to remind of the importance of always being present and will be handy whenever the need to become more purposely centered arises. Mostly recycled materials are used in their creation along with meaningful beads, stones, or charms reflecting unique spiritual / religious beliefs or personal interests.

"Praying is asking God for help, meditating is listening for God's answer." ~ Unknown

“If you want to find God, hang out in the space between your thoughts.” ~ Alan Cohen