Welcome to another year of life on our delicate little planet. While I love Christmas very much, I'm glad it's over--crafting gifts for giving and for selling is super fun, but I'm excited to get back to painting for awhile. Making journals and jewelry does not so much satisfy my artistic needs.
One of the gifts I made for Christmas this year was for an incredible couple, Adam and Annie. Adam is a graphics and web designer who makes awesome stuff out of leather, and Annie crafts all sorts of fun and delicious things. They both love being in the mountains and hiking in the woods, and they are a super creative couple.
I made Annie and Adam a travel illustration kit with drawing pencils, charcoal, an eraser, watercolors, brushes, India ink, a pencil sharpener, an empty jar for water, a travel-sized towel, a watercolor paper pad, and a sketch pad. If you are a 'resolution' person and one of your resolutions is to draw more, this is a great project to make for yourself. Maybe it will be your motivation to get out there and make something beautiful.
About a month ago, I found this sickly wooden box in the trash at some house that was being demolished near our neighborhood. A hideous decoupaged rose adorned the top of the box and the bottom was falling off, but I am a total sucker for well-worn vessels of any kind. The container made its way home with me, and inside the lid was a faded, silver-leafed cameo with the penciled-in date of 1923 (which I thought was pretty cool). I scraped the rose off the top, gave the whole box a once-over with sandpaper, and refinished the exterior with some wood oil.
The small watercolor kit was made by fitting cut popsicle sticks in the interior of an old mints tin and filling in the spaces with artist watercolors. The tin had a bank logo on the lid, so I hot glued a piece of leather to cover the logo and added a little "watercolors" label.
Drawing pencils were cut to length and sharpened.
For the books, I simply cut down a larger sketchbook to fit inside the lid. I found the sketchbook in a trashcan when I was walking home from Felicitous awhile ago (merry Christmas Annie and Adam, here is basically a pile of reused trash). The book had significant water damage on the bottom edges of the paper; I'm really glad I was finally able to find a use for the undamaged part of the book. The watercolor pad is bound together using leather cord and each page is scored for easy tearing.
A small bit of elastic is stapled to the inside of the lid to keep the sketch book and watercolor pad in place, and I glued some scrap leather over the staples to keep things visually tidy.
When I gave the travel illustration kit to Annie, she said she would probably use the empty jar to collect water from a nearby creek to use for her watercolor paintings in the field; that's the dream!