Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Little Box Necklace

About a week and a half before my Dad died, he gave me a pair of unusual, little silver boxes. (Everyone who knows me knows that I have a penchant for little boxes.) Each box has a tiny sliding door in the back. At first I thought they were snuffboxes. But then I saw that there were holes in one end of each box.

antique French vinaigrette (scent box)

Then it hit me - they were vinaigrettes! No, not salad dressings, this vinaigrette is a small scent box. They were used in the late 1700's and early 1800's to carry a scrap of cotton or cloth which had been dipped in scent. Some of these scents were vinegar-based, hence the name. Sounds quite pungent, doesn't it? But it made sense in a time when people did not bathe regularly.

necklace I made with antique vinaigrette my father gave me

So when my father died somewhat unexpectedly, I decided to make a necklace with one of them to wear to his funeral. It seemed especially appropriate to me because he loved the slightly eclectic jewelry  that I make.

hanging view of necklace made with recycled beads and chain

You can see that it is quite long, but I made it so the length can be adjusted. 

 closeup of recycled beads, capacitor, ^ chandelier crystals

It's made with all recycled materials. I used vintage chandelier crystals, bits of a number of vintage necklaces. Part of the necklace is made from a vintage beaded light bulb cover. I also threw in a capacitor (an electronic component).

recyced / upcycled necklace

I added a large faux pearl to one end. When you shorten the necklace, this will hang down in back as an added element. I love it, and I think of my Dad whenever I wear it.

 Let me know what you think of my creation.

Another Felted Potholder

So I made another felted potholder. But I think I'll keep this one for myself. I like the crazy colors and the abstract design.

recycled sweater felted potholder

And here it is with the banana bread I made for breakfast. Yum!

my banana bread and recycled potholder

I need to make another one so that it will have a mate. And then I have to decide where to hang them in my kitchen. That will be more difficult than it sounds. My kitchen has one standard doorway, one extra    wide doorway, and four windows. Add in two antique apothecary cabinets, each one about six feet wide and eight feet tall. You can imagine that I don't have much wall space left. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Gifts - Felted Potholders

Sorry, it's been so long since my first post. I was all set to really buckle down and blog regularly, but early in December my father became ill. He passed away somewhat unexpectedly a few days later. Ironically he was on his way home from the hospital after beating his pneumonia when he died getting out of his car. Just when we thought he'd dodged a bullet. So I've been busy with his estate and, of course, with Christmas.

I love to make handmade Christmas presents. There's just something wonderful about a gift made with by hand with care. I do it every year, and thought about skipping it this year after my Dad passed away. But the week of Christmas, I was overcome by a need to create something. So I made potholders. I had already machine felted a number of thrift shop sweaters for earlier projects. So I cut out squares of the felt, then added needle felted decorations.

Here are a few of my creations. Somehow I neglected to take a picture of my favorite - I guess I had already wrapped it. It was impressionistic; I wanted it to look like flowers in a meadow.

recycled felted sweater potholder

I'm fairly new to needle felting, but I liked how these flowers turned out.

swirled upcycled felted sweater potholder

This one is very basic but I liked the sinuous shape. I added a coordinating button with contrasting yarn crocheted to form a loop for hanging. 

Van Gogh-esque potholder made from recycled machine felted sweaters

I can't decide whether this one is a meteor shower or a variation on a Van Gogh.

abstract needle felted potholder

This is one of my more abstract ones; I love the colors.

upcycled felted sweater into potholder

I knew these colors would work beautifully in my sister-in-law's kitchen.

recycled felted sweater potholder with needle felted decorations

This one is the craziest. I felted in pieces of yarn, roving, and more sari silk scraps. (Can you ever have too much silk?)

I even fired up my cast iron pan and let it get nice and hot to test them. I picked up the skillet with one of these and then with my store-bought oven mitt. The felted wool worked better. Hooray!

Merry Christmas!