So when I'm not making jewelry out of recycled and vintage materials, I enjoy ... making other things out of vintage and/or recycled materials. Hello my name is Christi and I'm obsessed.
Outside my studio at 1000 Parker Street in Vancouver is a treasure trove of recycling. There's 4 floors of artist studios, so when anyone is doing a clean up, stuff ends up on the shared loading dock outside. It seems that 9 times out of 10, someone brings said "stuff" back inside to re-use in a glorious circle of recycling.
There are a few upholstery businesses in the building and I have found lovely roll ends of fabric out there - one of which ended up being my table cover for at least a year. (mmmm... tweed). My latest score was a couple of fabric sample books that had drop dead gorgeous fabrics in them. Like, high-end hotel, super-rich fancy people's kind of fabric. Even though the samples were pretty small, I grabbed them. The timing has coincided with the purchase of a new sewing machine in our household, and I couldn't pass up free fabric to practice with.
Most of the samples are about 1 foot square or less, not a lot to work with. But I have recently been on a mission to learn how to make zippered pouches after long admiring one in my possession made by Sugar and Candy. I thought these samples had just enough fabric to work into a smallish zip pouch. See the above for a very scientific photo taken purely for, erm, size comparison and no other reason. (Please note he is a larger than average, rather handsome cat).
When you do an internet search for "simple zippered pouch tutorial" you’ll turn up here's about a ga-zillion results. After sifting through those results, here's the posts that I actually ended up using.
I found this tutorial on So Sew Something. I immediately related to her easy, breezy style. (Direct quote "I rarely measure"- Yes, my kind of lady!) Because I'm working with random thrift store found zippers and weird odds & ends fabric, I can't rely on a pattern for consistent results. Also, eww, patterns.
Then I started to get a bit fancy and decided I wanted to make more complicated pouches so I turned to etsy. It has a treasure trove of sewers who will sell you a PDF sewing pattern of just about anything you can think of.
Then I found Indigo Bird Design and immediately fell in love with her design aesthetic. I bought this boxy zip pouch tutorial - again, very well laid out and easy to follow. I was excited to learn how to make those pretty, boxy edges I’d admired in other zippered pouches.
But now that I’ve got a huge pile of much smaller fabric samples to blow through, I’ve gone back to the original simple zippered pouch which I can now whip up like some kind of magic sewing wizzard.
Which brings me to . . .
There seems to be a stash of extremely cute zippered pouches accumulating in our project room. Any friends who have visited the house recently have left with a "parting gift" of a zippered pouch. They may not have know that they wanted a zippered pouch upon arriving, oh but they left with one.
So if I'm giving away these adorable lil pouches to my friends and family, why not give them away to my gorgeous, intelligent, faithful customers?! Right?!
Not all of them are perfect, some have a slightly wonky character. But they are all adorable, recycled, lined and you can, you know, put stuff in them!
All summer long (or until I run out of fabric): With any purchase from either my website (in Canadian $) or my Etsy site (in US $) you will receive one FREE adorable lil' recycled fabric zippered pouch!
I will select a random cutie, but if you have a colour preference, let me know and I'll do my best to make it happen.
Each piece of jewelry will come wrapped in tissue in it's own separate organza gift bag inside the zippered pouch. Just in case you are buying the jewelry as a gift and want to keep the pouch for yourself (shhhhh... I won't tell).
What will you keep inside your zippered pouch?
I love making these and am happy to share them now that I know how to make them easily. But I know soon that creative itch will need scratching and I will be looking towards expanding my repertoire. Maybe one day I can tackle some bigger projects - but in the meantime if you need a majorly cute and well designed bag - check out Paco and Lupe, my new handmade handbag crush.
Picture by Thomas Boyd
So I got hitched about 7 months ago. The quick backstory; I've never been married, never had kids, and met my husband when I was 42. He was 45, never been married, and never had kids as well. When you meet someone in your mid 40s and you know you want to be together, you don't mess around. We got married after 2 years together, on the second anniversary of our first date.
We both agreed we wanted our celebration to be about the two of us joining together in a marriage, not about having a huge wedding and therefore we wanted a low-key, small event.
We also both wanted to keep the event personal. Once I started the ball rolling on the classic cake, flowers, etc decisions, I realized that I had a huge pool of talent to draw from. People I know personally, local artisans who I have done markets and shows with for years! Our goal became to keep it as handmade and local as possible.
Once I had the dress colour nailed down (more on that later) I wanted to coordinate the flowers. I have a background as a floral designer, so this one was close to my heart. Years ago, I did an ethical trade show and I was set up next to Olla Flowers. I was really impressed with their dedication to sustainable and locally grown foliage and flowers, so I knew I wanted to work with them. They created some lovely, low centrepieces that were the perfect colours. We chose separate little square containers so we could give them away to our local guest at the end of the evening. And a simple hand held bouquet for moi.
Picture by Thomas Boyd
Picture by John McDermott
Martin (the mister) is a photographer, so he called up a friend who lives in Oregon to be the "official" wedding photographer. In addition, one of the other wedding guests in attendance was an award winning photographer. Let's just say it was a very well documented event.
Next decision; wedding favours. Because we got married at the "Top of Vancouver" revolving restaurant, which is quite a landmark here, we were initially thinking of getting some cute, kitchy snowglobes featuring this distinctive building in the skyline. But after thinking about if for a bit, it really didn't fit in with our "local artisan" theme at all (cheap, overseas mass-production). So we decided to go with gifts of a small woodblock print of our cat, Theo. It might seem an odd choice at first. But our cat is very much a part of our family - and one of our best friends (and wedding guest), Kris Brownlee (A Cagey Bee), had painted a portrait based on Theo a few years ago. She creates these resin coated woodblocks by hand and was also able to create a personalized paper description which was glued on the backsides of the artwork. She even specially wrapped them with vintage button finish. Such a nice touch and a perfect fit with our theme.
Since the mister is British, we did a second celebration luncheon in Nottingham after we wed. We took the Theo woodblock prints to England to give to our guests, and the photo above was taken there. Sure comes in handy when your husband has a plethora of talented photographer friends from around the globe to choose from!
Cake? Who do I know who makes cake? Ah, yes! The Bake Sale, of course! I fell in love with their salted chocolate caramel cupcakes while selling at Got Craft a few years back. Martin and I both decided you could not possibly ask for a better flavour - so we had a salted caramel wedding cake. (With unicorns on top... long story). People are still talking about how good that cake was.
Whoah, wait, what about the dress?! I did the rounds of a few of the wedding shops and was sorely disappointed. I am not a meringue-floofy-white wedding dress type of lady. I didn't know exactly what I wanted, but I was leaning more towards what a typical bridesmaid dress would be - I wanted pattern & colour. Also, I had about a month to find a dress, so it was most definitely going to be "off the rack". Then I remembered Ric Yuenn. When I worked part time at Dream Clothing in Gastown, Ric had some of his dresses in the shop. His own shop was just a few doors down from Dream and he's been in business there for 20 years. I went to his shop and he picked out about 6 dresses in different style for me to try on. Some of them I never would have tried out, but damn he has a good eye! When I spotted the embroidered aubergine fabric of the dress I finally chose, I sucked in my breath - I LOVE this colour! It fit almost perfectly, Ric just took in the pencil skirt style at the sides a bit. And we added a light lavender wrap on top in case I got chilly.
As for the groom, well men's choices always seem to be a bit more limited than ladies in the fashion department. Even if we knew any local, bespoke tailors, there was simply not enough time to get anyone to actually make him a suit. So we took a swatch of my dress fabric and went shopping. Luckily my man is one of those guys who knows what he wants when it comes to a suit (which was great because I had zero idea). He ended up purchasing a lovely suit at The Bay by British designer Ted Baker. Then we matched up a coordinating dress shirt and the he picked the perfect pocket square. Et voila!
Picture by Thomas Boyd
I may be a jewelry designer, but I'm no metalsmith. For our wedding rings, we turned to Jürgen Schönheit - a master goldsmith who has a studio on Granville Island for over 20 years, and, who happened to be our neighbour!
Here is Jürgen melting down the gold for our wedding rings.
Picture by Martin Gisborne
As for my own jewelry - I left it to the last minute because I knew I could whip something up after all the other details were in place. Once I had the dress figured out, I knew I didn't want to wear any jewelry that was too "statement" because it would compete with the dress. So I kept it simple. I remembered some chandelier glass chain I had picked up in a vintage New York warehouse last year. The glass is lustrous and luminous - literally made to catch the light and shine. My dress had a retro vibe so I made a classic double strand necklace that would be undramatic and simply shine.
For earrings, I chose some of my favourite vintage Swarovski "experimental" crystals. Very special crystals of which only 200 beads of this exact style and finish were ever made. They have an incredible fire, lustre and and an amazing multi-colour range - they go with everything. (Pictures by me).
A sweet added bonus was seeing some of my lady-friends had specifically worn pieces of jewelry that I had created for them. (Aw!) Kellie had added a personal touch to her chalkboard locket necklace by hand lettering our wedding date and names onto it (very first photo, above). And Kris wore her linotype necklace with her initial "k" on it.
Picture by Thomas Boyd
The afternoon/evening went great - we got insanely lucky with the weather (considering it was January in Vancouver) and found ourselves saying "I do" perfectly timed with a glorious sunset overlooking the city. Good times.