Monday, November 24, 2008

Handmade Holidays: Complete Embellishing

Welcome to week 2 of Handmade Holidays, where I'm devoting weeks during this season to talk up the greatness of making and purchasing handmade items for your friends and family this year (and maybe even for yourself).  I thought I'd kick this week off with a little embellishment...

But first, let me make a confession to you--I'm no handmade purist.  If I think that I can cut a corner, or modify something that I already have, I'll jump at the chance to do it!  This is why I am loving my new book, Complete Embellishing, by Kayte Terry, and may have to do a few embellishing projects myself this season.

The book lays out a pages of embellishing techniques, from applique to embroidery to adding ribbons and ruffles and beads.  These step-by-step instructions, complete with photos for the visual learner, are followed by more pages of actual project ideas.  Following Terry's guide, you can turn a bland sweater into something fabulous, or spruce up a plain accessory, or embellish your home decor.  And reading her ideas will definitely spark ideas of your own.

One of the things I like the best about the idea of embellishing is that it is a great way to repurpose things that you already own.  For instance, I can think of more than one neglected sweater in my closet that could use a makeover.  Now--I know that we might tend to feel a little sheepish about giving gifts that aren't brand new, but the common alternative--giving gifts that are mass-produced in factories across the ocean and sure to be in every shop window--isn't always best either.  I'm not saying that you should take your threadbare cardigan, throw some ribbon on it, and hand it off to a friend.  But I am saying that maybe the black silk fabric from those slacks that never really fit well could be used to recover a classic clutch (in a less than classic color) with some added sequins and beads to become the coolest couture handbag in your friend's collection.  And she would even appreciate the story!

Needless to say, I've rummaged through my closet to find a few garments worthy of the embellishing cause, and hope to bring you their story this week.  Stay tuned to hear more!  And please Email Me your embellishing ideas or post them here!

Missed last week's Handmade Holiday posts?  Catch a sample below:

Also--don't forget to check back in later today to read about another inspiring female entrepreneur, part of my ongoing Marketplace Maven series here on DD!

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