Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Upcycled Christmas Gift Wrapping

I have always loved the time of gift wrapping for Christmas though it taken a lot of patient and effort. I have used brown paper with personalized stamp prints previously and this year I will just up-cycled old magazine, paper scraps, broken artificial flowers and fresh pine leaves plugged from my neighborhood.

I love the quality of this weekly business magazine. I have kept this copy since few months ago for this purpose.

Using recycled items save money, save the landfill and create amazing and unique gift wrap. I have my little calligrapher to do the tags and wrapped some of the gifts. The washi tapes and red jute twine were the only fresh materials.

The gift tags are made with original scraps (without cutting) from making paper flag lines few years back.

After ran out of artificial flowers, I used the beautiful pine leaves plugged from nearby.

Recycle and up-cycle are not merely a trend; it is our responsible to reduce waste to make this a better place for our future generation. I can't live with zero waste but I try to cut the waste produce in the way I can.

Merry Christmas to you and may you love God and His creation.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Christmas Theme Table Runner from Up-cycling Textile Sample Books

It is the time of the year I love making something for my home. A table runner for dining table was just what my home needs to make the few sessions of feast extra special and beautiful.

An up-cycled table runner from those home decor textile sample books I had would be perfect without spending $$$ on some good materials. I got them from a friend's workshop. You can either ask or buy from home decor showrooms for their discontinued profiles; go through your scrap fabrics; old clothes, cushion covers and curtains ; bargain corner of a textile shop.

I started by picking Christmas colors with red as major color. Pre arranged them on the floor for a beautiful combination before cutting them to the right sizes for stitching. Here I designed a simpler combination for one side and a more decorative on the other, making it a two sided table runner. An easy guide for a good combination is mixing organic motifs, geometric patterns; plain, small motifs and larger patterns. Besides colors and patterns, I have with me different textures materials too. It takes a good control over stitching materials in different weights and textures.

The idea length of a table runner would be two feet longer than table length, allowing each end with one foot drops to the side. The width would be based on the available space after setting up the two plates of opposite sides. The width of the table runner must be wide enough to place a dish on it. 

Glass beads from the Malaysian indigenious people

Most of the luxurious home decor materials are made with natural fibers which required dry cleaning. Table runner on dining table gets stained easily and required frequent wash. I am not planning to pay for dry cleaning. Therefore, careful selection is important. Red usually runs. Avoid mixing red with very light colour especially plain fabric when little stain made obvious. Best to match with material has stain resistant like the stripes material I used above. I pre washed all the materials to test its colour fastness and also for them to shrink according to their percentages before joining them together.

The design being decided by the available materials and the finished work is a spontaneous and often a surprise. Love the warmness of the red!

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Christmas Throw Pillows

Christmas is around the corner, I am in good mood to make something for this season. This has become a yearly routine for me :)

10 weeks prior to Christmas I started my throw pillows making. Initially I just planned to make few throw pillows for the sofa in the living room. Then, a friend approached me to make some for his Christmas booth sale. So, I ended up making so many of them.

After 3 weeks plus of labor between my available time I made 21 beautiful throw cushions. Some are kept for personal used and some going to the shop.

Christmas palette in shades of red, gold, champagne and ivory
Big square, small square and oblong throw pillow, which do you prefer?

Many of the exquisite fabric used in making these throw pillows are from fabric sampler boards. I am fortunate to have collected these sampler boards when a friend cleared some discontinued and last seasons sampler boards in his workshop. The design of these throw pillows were worked and designed according to the sizes of the available fabrics. Because of this restriction, more interesting design being produced.

Like these patched throw pillows...

and this design when the available fabric are only sufficient for one side of a throw pillow

Ivory, cream, champagne, and pale good make a good classic combo.

Looking forward for Christmas to arrive. Hope you have done something for your homes, shops, and churches to welcome the season.

# This is an overdue post from last year.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Upcycled Shoe Bag

This was a delayed project that I had wanted to work on when I first joined a fitness center last year. I had used a plastic bag, where one gets when buying groceries from supermarket, as my shoe-bag. Though convenient as it may be, it is an indecorous shoe bag for me.... Yes, I admit, I am a perfectionist.

I wanted something special; so I decide to make one. So I went through my stashed up old clothes and cushion covers that I had saved for upcycling projects. To be honest, I will never have the time to use them all. But being a person who is passionate about textile, I find it wasteful to throw away materials which could be reused, upcycled.

I like ethnic style; so I gathered materials based on that theme. You may select the theme of your preference if this post inspires you to make one too.

 Upcycle materials used for this project: 

An old bolster taken from an Indonesia teak bench - The shape which is ideal for the project. I had salvaged a few bolsters which had faded into unpleasant shades. 

A stained old skirt trimmed with Hmong textile

Stained and faded Akha cushion cover 

A piece of cloth hung above the door in my previous home during Chinese Lunar New Year

After hours of labor, the first shoe-bag was completed. One old bolster fully utilized in making one shoe bag.  I simply pleated the extra length of the bolster without trimming it. That added sturdiness to the material to firm the body.

 Added an ethnic trinket from Thailand to the zipper.

A little highlight was added to the bag handle. 

The finished work can be turned into a reversible shoe bag as the hem was sewm with cotton
bias binding.

After the first bag done, I made a second shoe-bag which was for my sister.

Added a leather strips onto the handle. My first try in leather embossing was unsatisfactory.

An elastic band sewn to the hem....

....which can hold a pair or two pairs of socks.

Alas I can say goodbye to using plastic shoe bags. I can now proudly use my handmade shoe bag when I go to the gym. It is also a useful shoe bag when I travel.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Creative Chinese Zodiac Sheep Year Red Envelope Design-

Red envelope, red packet or 'hongbao' is a monetary gift which is given during Chinese Lunar New Year or other special occasions such as weddings, the birthdays or graduation.

Traditionally the 'red' envelope comes in red which symbolizes good luck with gold print or hot stamping of auspicious greetings. Today, besides red, we see them in gold, pink, orange, yellow & hues close to red. 

Recently, a friend gave me a set of creatively designed red envelopes which she received from a printing company. It came in multiple colors including an unusual teal.

Each envelope are conceptually designed with spring couplets (duilian) in balanced four characters for the Chinese Zodiac year of sheep.

Too bad I can't do a good translation on them. And seriously please do not try to Google translate these couplets as it would distort the meaning and turn them into jokes.

I find the glue-less concept with just a die cut slit is brilliant idea for the closing the envelope. Just a piece of square paper with few folds, it is transformed into an envelope.

This is a good idea for other stationery and gift packaging designs besides red envelope.