I try never to make New Year's Resolutions. Okay, sometimes I do little snippets of them and because I read somewhere that there's a bigger chance of actually achieving goals when they're written down and maybe put out there (in cyberspace, no less), I may have done those too.

This year, I tell myself that it's the year to be an actual Maker. It's a new term for people who make things. I used to call myself an artist and a crafter because I really loved making things but nowadays, the right term seems to be MAKER.

Just before 2015 came to a close, I found myself in a slump. Thankfully, the maker in me refused to get store-bought Christmas gifts (unless it was absolutely necessary). That propelled me to the work table. I think the first step in getting out of a creative slump is to sit at your work table and surround yourself with your tools of the trade. When that doesn't work, the next thing is to pull up Pinterest for some inspiration. Sometimes I go to Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Then I plug into an audio book.

I ended up making some scarves and bento bags, most of which I've shared via Instagram. Instagram lets me do a triple share so the posts go to Facebook and Twitter as well.

The scarves were fun to do. I really love working with linen.

This one was for my niece. I used craft foam that I mounted on foam board for the stamp. The stamp will probably have a shorter life than the ones I carve but it's a good way to keep me making new designs. A good way to "preserve" them is to do a digital scan. That way, they can still be used for creating digital patterns.

My son asked for a painted scarf for Christmas and this was how I started it. I used a Gelli plate to create the background. Gelli plate printing makes filling in a background much faster.

The dragons were added using stencils I cut out using a Cricut machine. Then it was just a matter of sewing up the edges and letting the paint cure for a couple of days. I didn't like how I could smell the paint so I hand washed the scarf then twisted it for a crinkled finish.

Next up, the carved stamp! This one was for a bento bag/furoshiki wrap that I was going to use to hold some oranges in. The gift I had in mind was a glass juicer that I found on Food 52 and I thought it would go well with a stamped bag filled with oranges. Okay, that link leads to the shopping page. It's not for you to buy (unless you want to) but I didn't want to get into trouble by posting a photograph that I didn't take. I got the white one to give away. I think I'm going to get the green one for myself at some point.

There were also the embroidered linen tea towels that I posted on Facebook as well as a couple of others that I stamped and embroidered on but I forgot to take photos. I still have to remind myself about taking photographs. I get too excited about wrapping up finished items.

I began my 2016 by carving out a fish on an easy carve block. Not sure why or how the fish came to mind. I'm not much of a fish person but well, there you go. I found myself sketching one and sharing it on my Instagram feed.

Is it a koi? I was asked that a number of times. I'm pretty sure it's not an anatomically correct rendition of a koi. I just drew what I could see in my head.

Here it is, transferred to the carving block.

I stamped a bit of color on the block so I could see what I was carving out better. 

The finished block and a test print.

I used the fish stamp on a bag I'm painting. The flowers stamp was cut from craft foam, again using a Cricut machine with a deep cut blade.

Here's one side of the unfinished bag. I have yet to sew up the lining and the handles. I've begun to paint and stamp on two other bags and will be printing and sewing up more linen towels.

Meanwhile, there's a story that's niggling away at me so maybe 2016 will be when I once again work with words. And that's not exactly a resolution but I've put it out there!


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