This was my first month participating in a craft swap with my mother. She and my father moved to New Hampshire last summer and it's been very different not having her around for spur of the moment runs to the farmers' market or hardware store. Several weeks ago I had this fantastic idea to convince her to participate in a craft swap with me. She and I both enjoy making things with our hands, and in her new house she has a great set up for a sewing or crafting room.
At the end of the month, at least until the spring madness begins, she and I are going to send each other something we have crafted. There aren't really any guidelines apart from my aim to use this as an excuse to learn how to do new things.
My mother's first craft for me, which arrived a few days before I even sent mine out, is a fantastic gardening apron. I kind of knew this one was coming, actually. She had heard me rant about the absence of really awesome gardening aprons for sale, and so together we picked out a pattern and she went from there. The fabric is beautiful and sturdy in a geometric design of browns and black, with a backdrop of tan.
I'll have to take a photo of myself in the apron some time when the house is a little warmer since I've got more layers of clothing on than I care to count right now.
For my craft this month I decided to learn to use some of the tools we received for our wedding and some of those that I received for Christmas as well. I knew I wanted to make something practical, decorative and I wanted to use our new dremel stylus, which proved to be a really fun little tool! I read up on bird houses and what dimensions encourage which birds and decided to make a wren house for my mother. We've always loved wrens, and they've been a real constant in my life since my grandmother had a fantastic little wren bottle hanging on her garage when I was a little kid. We would always sit on the porch and listen to the wrens singing out their little hearts. It remains one of my favorite memories.
I decided to add a Celtic knot around the opening and originally thought I might just paint it on, but I then decided I didn't want to use any paint; I wanted to use the dremel! What a crazy aspiration. After just a few little tests I dove right in, and while using a dremel on cedar is not necessarily the easiest first project (rough cedar flakes and chips very easily) I think I did pretty well!
My biggest regret is that I kind of lazily used the jig saw rather than learning how to use my new circular saw for the straight cuts. The Jig saw is old, wobbly and makes for some pretty wonky edges if you're not terribly skilled (ie Me).
My edges ended up much less clean than I had hoped, but the bird house is still functional and from a glance looks pretty well made.
All in all, this was a perfect way to begin our monthly craft swaps. I have tentative plans for at least two other crafts ahead of me, both of which push me to learn new skills. I'm now feeling more confident when working with wood, and I can't wait to do something else using the dremel stylus!