Doings, Makings, and Findings

I'm finding myself again in the in-between time of the pattern making life.

Too busy to work on personal projects.

Too in-the-middle to share progress (or at least much progress)

And about 50% of my time has just been administrative work and updates.

Add to the mix visiting friends and family and trying to soak in the remainder of the fleeting summer, and you have a whole lot of nothing blog post wise. Summer is busy! Except, I guess I have a lot to blog about, it just doesn't fit into a pretty, neat singular post package. Have you had that feeling before, bloggers out there?

So this post is a combo of one of my 'Findings' link roundups as well as a little update on shop happenings.

Here's the Blueprints update:

The last few months I have been working on paper versions of Saltbox & Geodesic. This process has had a lot of stops and starts (Saltbox was supposed to be released in July :x ) While paper versions are super exciting, they don't make for an exciting story pre-release. It's just editing and proofing and editing.

I am also working on a new pattern! This one is in the very early stages, so that's all I'm going to say. Ok, fine, here's a hint: it has pockets and it's warm.

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I also have a few more tricks up my sleeve that I have to wait to share. So exciting right?

Here's the personal update:

I try my hardest to still do fun, creative stuff for myself outside of Blueprints work and class prep. It's hard to have your hobby also be your job. It's easy to get burnt out. I've been teaching a lot lately, especially some new classes I haven't taught before, and a lot of my time has gone into preparing for these awesome classes.

I have a queue of personal sewing things in progress, one of which is my very first full bed quilt.  Lately, quilting has been my way to indulge in sewing outside the garment world and it's been working. I feel recharged sewing-wise when I get to work on these projects. I only have two more 12" blocks to go before I can put the whole thing together.

Recently, I also helped piece together a quilt with my guild to send to Orlando for #quiltsforpulse. These types of projects, a part of the craftivism spectrum, are very grounding. I also learned a lot piecing a large groups' ever so slightly different sized blocks together.

And finally,

Findings

This is an open source computerized jacquard loom. Though just a simple prototype (the loom is still partially manual) the concept is very cool. Jacquard looms are not new, but are typically inaccessible to the home sewer or crafter. I look forward to seeing how this project evolves!

Photo via  thecreatorsproject.vice.com

Photo via thecreatorsproject.vice.com

This Berlin based art collective Raubdruckerin uses architectural infrastructure in cities to print garments and accessories. Not just as inspiration...they litterally ink up manhole covers and use them to print tshirts. Like the opposite of graffiti.

photo via  Ecouterre.com

photo via Ecouterre.com

Create your own 3D printed dress design using Nervous Systems Kinematics Clothing App

I learned about this group after seeing the #Techstyle exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts. Threadcult, one of my favorite podcasts, just did an episode with these guys that is super interesting. Also, they're local (based out of Somerville, MA). Their designs, while still a bit expensive to produce and maybe not super comfy are incredibly cool to look at and have fantastic drape. While a tiny part of me cringes at the idea of 3d printing making sewing obsolete, its potential and possibilities are also very exciting!

That's all for today! Have you come across any exciting developments in craft, art, technology or the intersections between?

Findings: Inventory and making the most of things

In the throws of pattern testing, I haven't had much exciting news to report aside from the fact that the new pattern will be ready this month.

But so as to not shirk my blogging responsibilities, here's another edition of Findings!

Precious Plastic is an open source program designed to allow anybody to build their own plastic recycling and fabrication studio. I can imagine all sorts of cool objects you could make with this stuff...all their examples are awesome.

I'm always thinking about the disposability of things like seam rippers and plastic spools (and, honestly, disposable culture in general) and this project has me dreaming about a line of recycled sewing tools and notions. Now if only somebody could invent a consumer level machine that could quickly process scraps of fabric into raw material to be woven/spun/etc.

While we're on the topic of 'stuff'...

I recently came across this piece by artist Simon Evans (well, artist duo really, as his wife has been his collaborator for years under his name...a discussion for another time) that got me thinking about inventory. As I work through my wardrobe revamping and thinking about living with less, slow everything, Marie Kondo, etc, the idea of creating an inventory is extremely appealing to me.

Simon Evans  Everything I Have

Simon Evans Everything I Have

This Evans piece is more than just a visual inventory of course...if you examine the text below each item you'll find a variety of odd references and social commentaries, which is typical of their work. For the purposes of this blog post, I'm thinking about the work in a visual and loosely conceptual context.

I've tried to do projects like this in the past...making a visual catalog of all my clothing & accessories. I've actually helped other people do this as well, with varying success and levels of commitment. I'm such a visual person in terms of thought processes and organization, that I think seeing all my clothing at once would allow me to better curate. I could think of the collection as a whole. But the daunting process of photographing everything leaves me uninspired. If I were more of an illustrator, I might do drawings of everything, but that would take time I don't have. However, I think creating a visual wardrobe lexicon is a nice long term goal to have. Maybe on a long weekend...

Detail: Simon Evans  Everything I Have

Detail: Simon Evans Everything I Have

It gets me thinking though...how will people in the future remember us and what our lives were like? Will they examine our culture through facebook updates and vine videos?

That brings me to my next finding....

As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, I'm currently reading a book called The Making of Home by Judith Flanders. The book examines how our idea of 'home' in America & Europe was conjured over the course of the last few centuries, through developments in technology, practice, and culture. I'm only half way through it (I'm a slow reader, especially when I'm not taking public transportation: my preferred reading scenario) and in each chapter I've already discovered some wonderful thought seeds about women & work, homesteading, the social power of furniture, etc. I'm a total nerd about the history of domestic experience.

A detail from  The Arnolfini Portrait  by Jan Van Eyck

A detail from The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan Van Eyck

Archaeologists and historians often rely on legal documents from the time (such as probate inventories taken at the time of death to value an estate) to figure out what kinds of items people had and draw inferences about how they lived. Part of this is because paintings, though reflective of their times in a variety of ways, are not always direct representations of 'the real life'. Things change a bit when photography is invented.

Inventory from 1792, including 1 pair leather shoes, 1 yard black gauze, 1 oz white thread, and a thimble.

Inventory from 1792, including 1 pair leather shoes, 1 yard black gauze, 1 oz white thread, and a thimble.

So, how would future cultures interpret our lives by watching episodes of the Kardashians and reading an Ikea catalog VS. looking at a collection of photos of everything somebody owned? Or reading a sewing blog? Or looking at your amazon purchase history? Of course, all of this relies on our technology surviving us ;)

Anyway, a bit of a rambling of what my brain is doing when it's not thinking about pattern layouts. I like thinking about the future in relationship to history...it gets me thinking.

Do you have any creative methods for recycling your sewing leftovers? Have you ever created an inventory of your clothes or anything else?

Thoreau's Cabin

Though sewing has always been a part of my life, it's undeniable that I've spent a considerable amount of my time engaged in the art world, in professional and academic contexts. While this blog is mostly for sewing and fiber, I'm excited to also use this blog as a platform to discuss other fine and applied arts and delve a little deeper into the world of craftsmanship, aesthetics, and ideas.

Yesterday I was finally able to make to over it to the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, MA. If you've never been, the DeCordova is an excellent contemporary art museum outside Boston, famous for its expansive sculpture garden.

Currently, they have an exhibition on view called Walden, Revisited. The Walden referenced here is both the well known book by Henry David Thoreau and Walden Pond, located in nearby Concord, from which it takes its name. I thought it would be fitting to discuss this show, as Walden's story prominently features a cabin!

The show is divided into two discernible sections, two different 'Re's, that each break down into their own series of connections to the author and his canonical book: re-interpreting and re-evaluating. While some of the work in this show seeks to re-evaluate the mythical solitarian, the majority of the work re-interprets Walden through the aesthetic, ideological, or intellectual qualities of Thoreau's original project.

Most of the work on display seemed to be inspired by Thoreau's core project at Walden Pond: observing his natural landscape and documenting its many facets in a variety of ways. What for Thoreau came to be as journals and logbooks has been translated into imagery and objects by many of the artists. In the photo at the opening of this post, artists compare colors observed at the pond to Monet paintings and take aestheticized measurements of the ponds depth.

As I thought about the show later on, an unexpected theme emerged: A great deal of the works included achieve this re-interpretation through collaboration. One of the big themes in Walden is of course solitude, which seems to contrast the idea of collaboration. Though as I worked through these connections in my mind, the strict definition of collaboration started to unravel.

Jane D. Marsching with Matthew Shanley,  Ice Out at Walden , 2010

Jane D. Marsching with Matthew Shanley, Ice Out at Walden, 2010

For example, Marsching's work above, a print made using both digital and traditional printing techniques to create a visual representation of wind patterns at Walden. Marsching also collaborated with a dancer to create choreography inspired by these wind patterns.

Gina Siepel,  Re-Surveying Walden , 2014

Gina Siepel, Re-Surveying Walden, 2014

Gina Siepel chose to re-survey Walden Pond in collaboration with a few others in the spirit of Thoreau in a self-built boat. Her museum-within-a-museum included discussions of flora and fauna, colors, gestures, and a cross examination of a lake in Germany with a transatlantic collaborator.

Another collaboration, one of my favorites in the show, was a sound piece developed by Ana María Gómez López and Pamela Jordan. You stand on a circle of carpet under a directional speaker, listening to a composition of ambient nature and city sounds while looking at a small a snapshot of Thoreau's cabin pasted on the far wall of the gallery. Something about the sonic experience paired with the distance of the cabin as a snapshot on a wall seemed very intentional and effective. Additionally, what I thought was field recordings of telegraph wires turned out to be the rattling of a vent in the room. Unintentional, but just as effective.

David Brooks,  Myopic Wall Composition (w/ chainsaw- cut wood found in historic Walden Woods) , 2014

David Brooks, Myopic Wall Composition (w/ chainsaw- cut wood found in historic Walden Woods), 2014

David Brooks,  Myopic Wall Composition (w/ chainsaw- cut wood found in historic Walden Woods) , 2014

David Brooks, Myopic Wall Composition (w/ chainsaw- cut wood found in historic Walden Woods), 2014

I suppose however, that one could also view many of these works as being collaborative with Thoreau, in an indirect way. Perhaps, thematically, this (and Walden) mirror the success or failure of collaboration with nature as a society and as an individual. Brook's work - he creates a lot of installations that cross examine nature and the built world - seems to dig into that space between failure and collaboration with nature. His Myopic Wall Composition infuses the iconic gallery wall with chunks of wood salvaged at Walden, but also chooses to reveal 'behind the scenes' of this construction.

Deb Todd Wheeler,  Searching for Imposters , 2014

Deb Todd Wheeler, Searching for Imposters, 2014

Deb Todd Wheeler's video installation takes a keen look at a failure of that collaboration. Her porthole videos show what appear to be jellyfish - apparently one spring brought mysterious freshwater jellyfish to Walden Pond - but are in reality, plastic bags. This is perhaps where we transition into where this collaboration with nature falls apart. This disharmony between man and nature is what inspired Thoreau's Walden project and arguably, the reason for its partial undoing.

Oscar Palacio, photograph from  Walden ─ then and now , 2013-14

Oscar Palacio, photograph from Walden ─ then and now, 2013-14

Corralled in a separate section of the museum are more directly critical works, like Palacio's photographs above, showing a different kind of human 'collaboration' with nature.

Still from Jennifer Sullivan's  One-Week Walden , 2006

Still from Jennifer Sullivan's One-Week Walden, 2006

Still from Jennifer Sullivan's  One-Week Walden , 2006

Still from Jennifer Sullivan's One-Week Walden, 2006

Also included in this grouping is Jennifer Sullivan's video One-Week Walden, in which her character, inspired by reading Walden, ventures into the 'woods' of suburban upstate New York and attempts to commune with nature while living in her dad's pop up camper. The result is a lot of funny introspective monologues and dance sequences, wigs, and images of garbage.

Hilary Wilder,  Greatest American Hero (Thoreau’s Desk Eight Times) , 2011-2014

Hilary Wilder, Greatest American Hero (Thoreau’s Desk Eight Times), 2011-2014

Hilary Wilder,  Greatest American Hero (Thoreau’s Desk Eight Times) , 2011-2014

Hilary Wilder, Greatest American Hero (Thoreau’s Desk Eight Times), 2011-2014

Hillary Wilder dismantled - literally - the iconic notion of Thoreau by reconstructing the famous desk upon which Walden was written in painted paper.

Corner of James Benning's  Two Cabins . The two channel video is just a part of a larger project by filmmaker Benning. In the only shot I took of this installation, I chose to be snarky and capture a misplaced mouse pointer in the projector view.

Corner of James Benning's Two Cabins. The two channel video is just a part of a larger project by filmmaker Benning. In the only shot I took of this installation, I chose to be snarky and capture a misplaced mouse pointer in the projector view.

One of the few works that actively engaged the cabin itself could be construed as most critical and perhaps the creepiest. The two channel video by James Benning featured the window view from replicas of the cabins of Henry David Thoreau and Ted Kaczynski. Bennings study of the two cabin dwellers is loose and investigational, not a direct comparison. After having built a replica of Thoreau's cabin on his property, he created Kaczynski's as a counterpoint. However, it begs a reconsideration of the recluse when a known antagonist's ideology can find ties - if only a minute few - with one of America's sweetheart literary naturalists.

Gina Siepel   After Winslow Homer: Untitled Study ,   2010

Gina Siepel After Winslow Homer: Untitled Study, 2010

Another work by Gina Siepel shows a more humorous critique of the 'solitary man in nature' trope. (FYI - The backdrop of this shot is a cluster of decorative fake birch trees in a high-end suburban mall outside Boston)

In this show, the connections are many to the world of craft and society, beyond the 'naturalist' perspective. Thoreau's cabin is the original 'Tiny House' (we missed the lecture on Tiny Houses, unfortunately) or summer artists residency. Many other works took opportunities to work with nature positively as inspired by Thoreau. But I'll save that for your visit to the museum, or at least the website.

In a sense, Thoreau's work in that cabin - writing, surveying, his very form of living - would, taken out of its obvious influential context, be right at home in this show.  As I think about it, the dialogue between the artists exhibited in the show and Thoreau himself becomes more and more interesting.

One quote from Thoreau that I felt best exemplified my experience of this show (and it was included in several places) is the following:

I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.

One chair: Thoreau, Two chairs: Thoreau and the artists in dialogue, and Three chairs: trans-generational conversation between the three - our role as artists in society.

The theme of the show appears to me more dynamic than that of pure inspiration. After shedding all aesthetic and critical framing, we find another contrarian 'artist,' observing the world around him and responding in a variety of media. And, like many of his young artist/writer non-contemporaries, he often did laundry at his mother's house and had dinner with his mentors.

A last minute gift DIY: Stamp Kit & gift tags

It's no secret...I love stamps. As a bit of a paper-media champion, stamps are such an awesome way to personalize stationary, decorate fabric, or create art.

I mentioned I'd create a DIY gift tutorial and this is what I came up with. I'm surprised I didn't think of this earlier...I make stamps for myself all the time!

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Materials

  • A speedy cut stamp block, available at most art/craft stores. Usually about $5.
  • A linoleum cutting tool. Mine are on extended loan from the woodshop where I did my undergrad, but you can pick one up ( made by Speedball ) from your local art store or online. They usually come with a set of tips...the one you'll mostly use is the V-gouge or U-gouge
  • Scrap paper
  • A pencil and marker (sharpie works fine)
  • An ink pad of your choice. I like the ink from Yellow Owl Workshop, since you can use it on fabric. (They also have lots of awesome DIY kits, though I have never used them)
  • A box to put the final stamps in

First, decide how many stamps you would like to carve, and what size. I chose to create a group of stamps that would fit, along with an ink pad, into a box.

Look for inspiration! Creating groups of themed stamps are nice, and you can theme them for whomever is set to receive them. I chose to create stamps of architectural details pulled from one of my favorite books.

Once you've decided on your designs, draw them onto your block in pencil first, then copy in pen. *You'll want to draw your designs on the stamp in reverse, so they will print the correct way, especially text!*  Most of my designs were symmetrical, so it wasn't necessary to reverse the image. If you need to do this, draw your design on tracing paper, then flip the paper over and copy the design onto the block.

When making stamps, simple shape with thick lines are easiest to cut. Drawing your design in pen will help to create thicker lines. You'll be cutting away the negative space.

After drawing in your designs with marker, you will want to cut apart your stamps if you have not already. An exacto knife (or sharp kitchen knife) works best for this purpose. Be careful and place some cardboard or a cutting mat underneath while you work!

Once your blocks are ready, begin cutting away the negative space with your cutting tool. If you have scrap cutting block, try some practice cuts until you get the hang of it. Luckily, with stamps, the more 'hand-cut' they look the better. Don't get hung up on nicks or small mistakes.

Once you've carved your design, ink it and stamp onto scrap paper. You'll be able to see any parts that you've missed cutting out or negative space that aren't cut deep enough. Go back and fix these spots and test print again.

**A note: If you've drawn your designs in sharpie, you'll want to take a swab with alcohol and remove the sharpie before printing using lighter color ink, otherwise you'll get black sharpie ink in your print and possibly on your stamp pad. You can see this in the picture below where the black sharpie shows through the blue ink.**

Once all of your stamps are complete, cut a sheet of paper that fits in the inside of your box. Layout your stamps where they will sit in the box, then stamp each one in its place, so they can be put back nicely after use.

Add a stamp pad and any other drawing accessories to the box and you're ready to go!

Once you've created your stamp kit, wrap up your box with some ribbon and a gift tag!

When writing up this tutorial, I felt compelled to make some Cabin inspired gift tags for you all to use and enjoy, especially if you plan on giving Cabin as a gift!

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I printed my tags on kraft paper card stock, which looks particularly nice. Keep in mind, if you have a laser printer, sometimes the toner doesn't stick well to heavier paper, so be sure to test first. The printout includes a few different sizes and a few blank tags for you to draw your own cabins if you like!

You can download the Cabin inspired gift tags here!

 

It's that time of year

The holidays are upon us. Whatever holidays you celebrate, nearly all of them involved food and/or gifts.

I love all the holiday stuff. I was raised in a fairly secular household. My extended family runs the gamut from born again christian to orthodox jew, with a few Buddhists thrown into the mix. But family has always been important, so that is what holidays have always meant to me. Plus food.

While I love food and cooking, I'll save my arsenal of recipes for another time. Today we'll talk about the later: Gifts.

I love giving gifts. In fact, I'm a year round gift giver. When I find something that reminds me of someone, I like to give it to them right then and there, without having to wait for a designated time. This, however, probably makes me a bad holiday gift giver. As soon as I need to find gifts for somebody, inspiration vanishes.

My business is new. I wish I had all sorts of fun promotions and specials to offer you all, but I do not - though believe me, my brain has been bursting with ideas for next year! Since I only have one pattern, Black Friday and other holiday promotions seemed like overkill.

So I thought instead, my gift to you would be a collection of gift ideas for all types of people. This collection includes things you can make and (for those who have yet to realize their true crafting potential) things lovingly crafted by others.

A note about this list: These are all online resources for gifts, since this is a blog gift guide. I've tried to show only items by artists, craftspeople, and small businesses. If you are able, shop local for some of your holidays gifts and help out your local economy! Also, this list is far from complete, so if you have awesome shops you'd like to recommend, leave them in the comments!

Don't forget to check the links page for more places to find awesome, ethical, fair trade, usa made, and more!

*Click the image to reach its retail page*

Art

Art is an awesome gift. People can always use more art in their life, regardless of what type of person they are. Most people have a few empty walls to call their own. Art is not always expensive, but it is always valuable. Plus, isn't it cool to give your gift money to an artist trying to make a living instead of throwing it at Target or Walmart?

Dogs Watercolor Painting  by  LizzyStewart  (etsy.com)

Dogs Watercolor Painting by LizzyStewart (etsy.com)

Golden State of Mind  by  Jenny Sharaf   (thetappancollective.com)

Golden State of Mind by Jenny Sharaf (thetappancollective.com)

The Dream Catcher III  by    fricdementol   (etsy.com)

The Dream Catcher III by fricdementol (etsy.com)

The Old Frontier - Las Vegas  by  stoopidgerl  (etsy.com)

The Old Frontier - Las Vegas by stoopidgerl (etsy.com)

Etsy is a great place to find all kinds of art in any size or medium. The nice thing about Etsy is, due to the volume of artwork on it, it is easy to search for "boat" for a fisherman uncle or "Pomeranian" for a pooch loving aunt to get a truly personal gift.

Other websites like The Tappan Collective and Saatchi Online are places to buy art at a range of prices as well. Look for local galleries in your area if you want to support your community.

Are you an artist (even if it's just after work and a few cocktails)? Be bold and make some art for your friends and family!

Useful Things

It's often tempting to get somebody something super cool and exciting, but one thought that rarely crosses the gift giver's mind in this instance is, "is this useful to the recipient?" Why not get somebody a super nice/cool version of something they will absolutely, 100% use?

German made dustpan and brush set from  Schoolhouse Electric

German made dustpan and brush set from Schoolhouse Electric

Brass Scissors from  Present & Correct

Brass Scissors from Present & Correct

Net Grocery Bag from  Kiosk NY

Net Grocery Bag from Kiosk NY

Pallarès-Solsona Aragon Knife from  QuitoKeeto

Pallarès-Solsona Aragon Knife from QuitoKeeto

Clockwise from top left, a selection of super useful gifts from some of my favorite places:

Schoolhouse Electric- Lighting, as well all all sorts of other fine home goods and accessories. Well made useful thingd

Kiosk - A shop in NY that sources all sorts of interesting objects from around the globe. Sort of like a globally curated general store.

Quitokeeto- A kitchen supply shop run by one of my favorite chefs, Heidi Swanson. You may know her from her recipe blog 101 Cookbooks (if you don't, there's a start on the recipe guide mentioned above)

Present & Correct - The most delightful stationary and accessories to brighten up any desk or office.

Clothes & Accessories

Now I know what you're saying: A. How do you buy clothes for other people and B. Aren't you supposed to tell me to make the clothes? Well, certain kinds of clothes are supposed to make good gifts. Here's some novel clothing type gifts:

Settlers of Catan Socks by  Betabrand

Settlers of Catan Socks by Betabrand

The Ten Year Hoodie from  Flint & Tinder

The Ten Year Hoodie from Flint & Tinder

Seed Stitch Raglan Sweater by  Everlane

Seed Stitch Raglan Sweater by Everlane

The Albatross Skirt  from  Paridaez

The Albatross Skirt from Paridaez

Betabrand is based in San Fransisco and makes all sorts of clothing novelties (and not so novelties) including bike-to-work pants, discoball hoodies, and brain-scan print dresses. Everything is made in SF. The Catan socks above come with sock insurance, meaning they will replace your lost socks!

How about the most basic, comfy, and lovely sweater from Everlane, a clothing company that makes awesome basics and preaches radical transparency. Their webshop used profits from Black Friday to build recreational facilities for their factory workers. Awesome.

I recently helped a friend Launch Paridaez, a yoga apparel company geared towards women who need more versatile clothing that works both inside and out of the studio. The kickstarter ends Christmas Eve, so you have plenty of time to get the yogi in your life something special. While items won't be delivered before Christmas (you'll receive a nice 'coming soon' postcard), they'll help you get a good start on your new years resolution ;)

Made in the USA, Flint & Tinder's 10 Year Hoodie is guaranteed for 10 years. They even offer free mending service!

Books

When I was a kid, the rule was that I only received toys on holidays or my birthday, but I could buy a book anytime I wanted to. Books are awesome...and in a day and age where so much is digital, kind of special? Here are some cool ones:

We received this book one year from my grandparents in Maine. It is an awesome visual dictionary of farming illustrated by Julia Rothman. Always a pleasure to pick up and peruse.

We received this book one year from my grandparents in Maine. It is an awesome visual dictionary of farming illustrated by Julia Rothman. Always a pleasure to pick up and peruse.

A gateway book for those who don't read yet. This dollhouse book has pages for kids to draw their own interiors by   Rock and Pebble

A gateway book for those who don't read yet. This dollhouse book has pages for kids to draw their own interiors by Rock and Pebble

Home Comforts  by  Cheryl Mendelson  is to housekeeping as Emily Post is to etiquette. This is a great gift for those who are too old to live with their parents, but too young to have taken home economics in High School. Maybe even for anybody who's just bought their first home. I use it as a reference for how long certain types of leftovers stay good in the fridge and pre-treating stains.

Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson is to housekeeping as Emily Post is to etiquette. This is a great gift for those who are too old to live with their parents, but too young to have taken home economics in High School. Maybe even for anybody who's just bought their first home. I use it as a reference for how long certain types of leftovers stay good in the fridge and pre-treating stains.

Full disclosure: I helped write this book on Knittings, Crochet, and Sports. However, I think it would make an awesome gift to anybody interested in crafts, activism and/or basketball. As a bonus, 50% proceeds before x-mas go to sister organization  Voces de Cambio .

Full disclosure: I helped write this book on Knittings, Crochet, and Sports. However, I think it would make an awesome gift to anybody interested in crafts, activism and/or basketball. As a bonus, 50% proceeds before x-mas go to sister organization Voces de Cambio.

Subscriptions

Call me old school, but there's something really cool about somebody gifting you a magazine subscription. I also recall as a family getting fruit-of-the-month which is a little weird but pretty cool. Here are some subscriptions for all kinds of people in your life.

The old school gift subsciptions:  Fruit of the Month Club from  Harry & David

The old school gift subsciptions: Fruit of the Month Club from Harry & David

Why get somebody a tie when you can get them a tie-of-the-month subscription where ties are mailed back for new ones, a la original netflix:  Monthly Tie Subscription from  Tie Society

Why get somebody a tie when you can get them a tie-of-the-month subscription where ties are mailed back for new ones, a la original netflix: Monthly Tie Subscription from Tie Society

For the Green Thumb or aspiring greenish/grey thumb:  Green Box Subscription from  Homegrown Collective

For the Green Thumb or aspiring greenish/grey thumb: Green Box Subscription from Homegrown Collective

Or go with the traditional print based magazine (we have to keep them alive!!). Wired and Frankie are two of my favorites.

Last Minute Handmade Gifts

You love making things, especially for other people. But you lead a busy life, are working on a budget, or need a gift for a ton of people. Here's some quick and awesome DIYs.

Tea towels are super quick to sew and most people use them. The above tutorial from Spoonflower shows you how to create fabric of beloved family recipes and create tea towels. They also have a great selection of yearly calendar tea towels by designers...or design your own tea towel. One yard of fabric will make four!

Tea towels are super quick to sew and most people use them. The above tutorial from Spoonflower shows you how to create fabric of beloved family recipes and create tea towels. They also have a great selection of yearly calendar tea towels by designers...or design your own tea towel. One yard of fabric will make four!

Fancy washcloths are a lovely gift and very classy. These are designed by Kate Alvis and you can find the free pattern on  Ravelry .

Fancy washcloths are a lovely gift and very classy. These are designed by Kate Alvis and you can find the free pattern on Ravelry.

Coasters are always nice, and this tutorial from  Purl Bee  is no exception. Their website is a treasure trove of DIYS, so check it out if you have not already fallen in love with their style!

Coasters are always nice, and this tutorial from Purl Bee is no exception. Their website is a treasure trove of DIYS, so check it out if you have not already fallen in love with their style!

Diy Pet pillow, easy to make one of any of your furry friends, or friends furry friends. Here's a  tutorial !

Diy Pet pillow, easy to make one of any of your furry friends, or friends furry friends. Here's a tutorial!

I wish you the best of luck in all your gifting this season. But remember, it's the thought that counts! (No, seriously...it's the thought that counts). If you know of lovely stores in your area or awesome items, share them in the comments!

Stay tuned...next week I hope to offer up some cool and super last minute DIY gifts and corresponding tutorials!