Monday, December 12, 2011

Blocks for my Blockhead Sister

I'd like to share a project that took me from this:

To this:

It all started when I saw a package of plain wooden craft blocks on clearance at Hobby Blobby. I saw them and they screamed at me, "Buy me! I'm fun!" I don't know if it's because I have some inherent love of wooden toys (I think I might have been tapping into some childhood glee-filled memories) or I'm just weird, but those blocks were in my cart with zero hesitation. And then I got home and put them on my scrapbook desk. A week or so later I moved them to a drawer to get them out of my way. A few months passed and I finally graduated them from the drawer to a catch-all basket that is generally filled with "someday projects."

And there they sat for over a year. *Blush* Yep, that's how I roll. Well, I am kind of broke as we dash toward Christmas & New Year's and my sister decided to be born somewhere in all this mess,  so when I saw the scribbled reminder on my calendar, I panicked. "What can I do?" I asked myself, "Don't be a fool!" I cried in return, "You have a thousand promising leads for handmade gifts!  JUST PICK SOMETHING AND DO IT!" Thus, the block idea.

My sister is an avid collector of books. She walks into used book stores and transforms into some sort of publication serial killer. She smells books. She looks at books with funky, tilted eyebrows. She rubs books' bindings and smiles eerily to herself. Once, I had my Norwegian friends send her a copy of Harry Potter in Norwegian and I thought I'd pushed her over the edge into a pool of otherworldly happiness. But, I digress. Point is, the woman likes books and so, in turn, has a place in her home where she keeps them. Simple enough concept.

After spending our childhood in Italy, we grew a love for Italian arts, including their old theatre characters. I decided that the blocks would make a great decoration for her bookshelves and that I should portray some images of our beloved characters and miscellaneous pictures to coordinate. After Google and I threw back a few drinks together, we came up with the following set of images:

You're a good friend, Google. We should hang out again sometime. Anyway, what you see here is the aftermath of me printing and cutting the images to size. They looked a little humdrum, so I decided to ink the edges in such a way that made them appear older. I was really happy with the effect:

Then it was just a matter of Mod Podge-ing the squares onto the sides of the blocks; each block was the happy recipient of two unique images, and then I covered the remaining sides with various coordinating papers.

While the Podge was drying, a thought struck me. What would hold the blocks? How would I give them to her? I imagined thrusting a handful of blocks at her, trailing with a, "Happy birthday!" and it just wasn't settling quite right to me. The blocks needed a "home base." Somewhere that she could set them in a collective manner if she wanted to. And also so I could hand them to her efficiently. I dug up a red dish thingy that was pretty much already perfect the way it was. But what fun is that? So I altered it slightly with some lacy trim, a beaded charm, and some beaded stick-pins, which provided a really nice touch. Now she has the option of setting the blocks up in the dish or separating some of them out next to the dish. Or if she wants the blocks to all be free-floating, she can opt to use the dish for crackers or something. That's when I realized the gift was a two-fer. Awesome. You saw the finished project up at the top, but here is a zoomed up photo of the beaded stickpins & charm on the corner of the dish. I hope she likes it!

'Til then,

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