Thursday, December 24, 2009

All Lit Up

Here's the tree with its tiny string of battery-operated lights.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Live, small holiday tree

I don't usually have a Christmas tree, I have a WREATH on my front door. But this year, I kept buying little tiny ornaments, and while I could have put them on a wreath, I realized I wanted a tree, and the scent of pine in the house. So I bought a dwarf Alberta Spruce. It's not gorgeous, but I'm hoping that as it grows, it will improve. Its full height is only six feet, so eventually I will plant it in my yard.

Last night, I had great fun making an extemporaneous garland from red wire and fake pearl beads. I even have lights on it, but until I buy 2 C-cell batteries, they won't light up.

Happy holidays!
--Rachel Holmen

Handsewn leather

Years ago, I made a split-cowhide vest for my brother Scott. He outgrew it, and gave it back to me, barely worn. (Around the same time, I hand-sewed -- ENTIRELY -- two jackets, one for my Dad and one for my boyfriend, out of shearling -- sheepskin with the fur still on it; but I later realized that nobody could wear them; the fur made the sleeves so bulky, nobody could get an arm into the jacket sleeve.) I ran into the vest recently in a closet, and I recalled how I created the design I put on the back of a thistle - I went out into my yard, sketched one, simplified it, stylized it, cut it out of colored suede, tacked it in place with rubber cement, and hand-sewed it on with a glover's needle.

Glover's needles look really odd -- instead of a sharp point and smooth, cylindrical sides, they have 3 sharp edges for a quarter inch or so back from the point. And you must sew with a sure hand. If you make too many attempts at one stitch, instead you have created a hole in the leather.

Here are a couple of photos; I'm still proud of the design, and the workmanship.
--Rachel Holmen