Clearly the world is not a fair and balanced place, because though I gave no handmade gifts, I did get some! My parents gave me a Kindle, a totally unexpected and wonderful present. I'm already halfway through my first downloaded book and I'm really enjoying using it. I like that it'll fit in my purse or backpack, which means I'm more likely to read when I'm out and about. Anyhow, on to the point: my mother, appalled at the prices of cases for the Kindle, made a really cute one! It's slightly padded, so it'll do a great job protecting the Kindle from the cruel world.
I also got some sewing-related items from my husband that were on my wish list. First off, The Party Dress Book, by Mary Adams. I'm about halfway through this already, and it's an interesting read. Mary Adams describes the evolution of her design aesthetic, which tends toward fluffy, layered, colorful party dresses. What I find interesting is how strongly focused her body of work is. It's more what you would expect from a (fine) artist, whereas I tend to think of fashion designers as covering a broader range, since they typically put out an entire line, and are attempting to ignite new trends. (Not to say that fashion designers aren't also artists, but it's a different niche.) Adams is working with a very simple silhouette for the most part, but she finds lots of interesting ways to add creative detail that fit with her own design "rules". Anyhow, interesting book, and even if you don't want to copy her style, you might be inspired by the way she works.
I also got a pleating board and pressing cloth from Clotilde. On the last season of Project Runway, Andy South used a pleating board quite a bit in his final collection, and it seemed an interesting and fun toy. It took me a while to find one, but when I did, onto the wish list it went! I tried it out on some scraps yesterday, and while I did not do a perfect job the first time out, I was happy with how it looked, and will be finding ways to incorporate this sort of embellishment into future sewing projects.
Finally, my husband chose a handmade pincushion from Details by Des' Etsy store for me. I have been using one of those ubiquitous tomato pincushions, which serve the purpose, but not much more can be said for them. I know there are some good patterns out there for making pincushions (and they do look fun to make), but there were already so many pretty ones on Etsy, and I'm focused on clothes sewing at the moment. Anyhow, I love my new pincushion -- it is so big! It's already full of pins, and I expect to spend lots of quality time with it today.
Finally, my husband got me this fancy set of markers. This doesn't have much to do with sewing (unless I start drawing my sewing plans ... ) but I am trying to get back to drawing after many years of neglect. It's a painful process, as I don't yet know what I want to draw, or how, after so long. I need to start sketching more consistently, if I want to make progress. I am finding these markers support color layering and blending quite nicely, and I really enjoyed using them in the test doodles I drew yesterday. Hopefully they will help me find my artistic groove.
Happy Sunday everyone!