This Christmas I went all out in making handmade gifts. In fact, I spent most of November and December unweaving flannel for homemade blanket scarves for all the girls in my family – more on that later.
Aside from the scarves, I also gifted both sets of my parents and grandparents an original hand embroidery.
I decided to do a different design for each couple and the design I’m sharing today is the one I completed for my grandparents.
This design features three snow-covered pines, standing elegantly in a winter wonderland. I was inspired by winter-themed embroidery art I found on Pinterest, and was particularly drawn to this idea as my grandparents can now display this artwork all winter, instead of having to take it down with the Christmas decor.
I would highly recommend a design like this for artists looking to get into fiber art. With its limited color palette and simple line-art design, it’s a very approachable piece. In fact, it only took me a few hours to complete!
If you’re interested in tackling a pine-inspired embroidery, check out some inspiration here.
Words cannot explain how excited I was to have a white Christmas this year! With all the Christmases of my childhood having been buried under several feet of snow, the green holidays we have experienced lately have left me feeling – ironically – a tad blue.
This year in New York, much to my excitement, we were surprised with a dusting Christmas Eve which continued through Christmas morning.
Those of us who had the pleasure of growing up in chillier climates know that to a child, snow is just about one of the most wonderful things there is, especially around the holidays. Snow days, sledding, building snow people… the possibilities are truly endless!
Combining the everyday magic of the element with my excitement for this year’s beautifully white Christmas, I was inspired to create my most recent colored pencil drawing:
Living in a seriously snowy region, a favorite pastime of the adults in my community is complaining about the winter weather. “It’s difficult to drive in,” “I hate shoveling,” “I’m freezing,” etc., etc. Another beautiful thing dissected and tarnished by the pessimistic eye of adulthood.
In this drawing, I was aiming to capture the love of snow that some of us (myself included) have managed to hold onto into adulthood and perhaps remind others that even as adults, we can still find magic in our everyday lives.
This winter, I set about making my first snowman-inspired embroidery, inspired by the idea of making my grandmother a homemade gift.
Growing up, like most children, I was quite the expert in homemade gifts, constantly gifting my family members with the crafts and artwork I labored over in school and during my free time.
I’m happy to say my craftsmanship has improved quite a bit over the last 15+ years or so, but my desire to give homemade gifts has remained the same. Knowing that my grandmother would appreciate a handmade gift the most, I set about creating this embroidery for her in late November.
The process started out much the same as my other pieces, beginning with some google research (imagery inspiration is so important) and moving on to a pen sketch on fabric. When designing this piece, I knew I didn’t want to go too big (I was working on a limited time frame) but I also knew that it had to be big enough to make for a substantial gift. Not to mention a larger piece allows for more intricate details.
Another design decision that had to be made was whether or not I wanted to embroider snow falling in the background. While French knot snowflakes would have furthered the piece’s sense of whimsy, I ultimately decided against them, not wanting to distract from the main element and focus (the snowman). With the design being so clean, I decided against the clutter of snowfall.
After filling in all of the colors and patterns, I framed the piece and tied a festive blue ribbon onto the fastening, allowing the artwork to be easily hung. Although the snowman in the drawing is wearing Christmas colors, I designed him with the intention of being left out all winter, knowing that my grandparents would want to enjoy him all season, as opposed to only one month during the year.
While I’m in no hurry to embroider another snowman any time soon, I’m happy to report that the gift went over extraordinarily well! Having been the person who first got me hooked on embroidery, I know my grandmother was able to appreciate the time and effort put into each and every one of the countless stitches.
Today marks the first official day of winter, also known as Winter Solstice.
A season that tends to get a bad wrap due to the raised energy bills and driving inconveniences, it’s undeniable that winter also possesses the ability to be the most beautiful time of year. (It also happens to be one of my favorite seasons!)
This year in Central New York, it’s looking like we may actually, finally get a white Christmas! While the Christmases of my childhood were always white, the last few years have left us New Yorkers in a green-spell, dooming us with rain and warm weather on Christmas day.
Sending out some white-Christmas vibes, I’m sharing with you a recent colored pencil drawing of mine, inspired by Disney Frozen protagonist Elsa, the Snow Queen.
It’s no secret that I love Frozen and have mentioned before my fascination with winter-themed magic.
This drawing was fun to do from the fan art perspective as the imagery was not taken directly from the film. Rather, I modeled the drawing after a real-life image of an arm and added my own Frozen-inspired touches.
Although New York doesn’t have its own personal winter sorceress to ensure we have snow this Christmas, I’m hoping the wishes and prayers of its residents is enough to allow this holiday to live up to its fullest and most magically picturesque potential!
P.S. Only 3 days until Christmas!
As you may have noticed, the holidays are coming. This is fantastic because the holidays are full of family, fun, traditions, baked goods,etc. etc. However, they are also extremely stressful, especially today on Black Friday!
But don’t let my ranting work you into anxiety. And if I already have, rest assured that there is a cure! That’s right, a cure for stress and an extremely trendy one at that: COLORING!
I had heard about this coloring trend a few months ago and was eager to return to what I once loved as a child. It was not until recently that I was given a coloring book by Andy’s brother and sister-in-law and was surprised by how much I love it.
Here’s a few reasons why you (whoever you are) should try coloring:
- It’s FUN! Enough said.
- It’s relaxing. Something about simply focusing on filling a space with color is cathartic and can be especially great for those of us who suffer from stress and anxiety. Filling in color and seeing a complete page can give a sense of accomplishment which is great at the end of the day when you are just lazing around watching TV.
- No experience necessary. Coloring is a great hobby because literally anyone can do it. You don’t have to be a great artist to enjoy it and make visually satisfying coloring pages.
- It’s cheap. As with anything else, there are a lot of different options and prices when it comes to buying coloring books. And even if you don’t want to invest in a book, you can simply print adult coloring pages off of the internet. Be sure to check out Pinterest for some great pages!
- It can be social. If coloring alone is fun, imagine coloring with friends! Invite your friends over for a night of coloring, wine and cheese.
As an artist, part of me wants to hate coloring as your creativity is somewhat limited. But it simply is too much fun to hate. On top of that, for those of you who are artists, I find that when I am coloring I am often inspired and find myself thinking about possible new art pieces.
Another possibility I have thought of is using my completed coloring pages for art-materials. In other words, you can take your colored pages and turn them into art pieces or craft projects.
Here’s a few DIY ideas off the top of my head:
- Homemade cards
- Christmas/Gift tags
- Wrapping paper
- Book covers
- Book Marks
So, long story short, no matter who you are, you should give coloring a go. It’s fun, cheap and can undoubtedly help you get through the stressful holiday season.