I love giving gifts, I love making gifts, and of course receiving them. Of all the gifts I give and receive, some of my favorites are those that are handmade. Don't get me wrong, a good iTunes gift card makes me smile (and usually dance later on)- but there's something about a homemade gift that's just extra special.
This year I'm trying to make things for my close friends and family, in addition to things from their wish lists. It's been a lot of fun, and I haven't seen any of their reactions yet- but I'll be sure to share some photos after the holidays.
Way back over the summer, I spoke with my friend Christyn of BeadUp about doing a trade of sorts. She works in beads (which you probably know, as this isn't the first time I've recommended that you check out her blog) and I was in search of some unique jewelry for a wedding I was in. We settled on a trade: two pairs of earrings, a necklace, and a bracelet for some screen printed t-shirts (from me). I was expecting to churn out a few BeadUp! shirts for the lovely lady.
More recently I received an email from Christyn saying that she wanted to use her shirts as gifts for friends. Feeling the way I do about handmade gifts, I was beyond thrilled to accomodate her wishes. We went back and forth a little bit about her designs (and they were designed by her, 100% so I take no credit there). Mainly we were trying to settle on some designs that she liked and I felt would screen print well.
Screen printing by hand can be very tedious. Some of you may know about the freezer paper method, but I prefer to do it differently. I use a large embroidery hoop, very sheer curtain fabric, a design (printed on paper), a pencil, and some glue to create my screens. That way, I can reuse the screens with ease. It takes me a while to make a good screen, and every time you print from it the design will look a little different.
Christyn emailed me a design that said "I love cupcakes" that she wanted printed on a small pink t-shirt. She told me she was giving the shirt, as a gift, to her friend Cheryl (of Cupcakin' It Up). I've been brainstorming an idea for a similar shirt for a while, so I was excited to try this out.
The shirt in the photo above, was the result of the screen that I made. Unfortunately some of the cute details in the cupcake didn't come out as well as I had hoped. It's awfully hard to make such a detailed screen by hand- at least for me. Overall, I thought the design came through nicely.
Besides, I received a glowing email from Christyn telling me how awesome she thought the shirt was. Then, I got an even better follow up email saying that she'd given the shirt to Cheryl and she'd proceeded to wear the shirt around work for the remainder of the day. That was definitely a nice boost to my ego.
And now, I'm off to finish up some more handmade gifts for the holidays. Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season!
*Photo courtesy of Christyn, BeadUp