Gifts from the heart and hand

Cre­ate your own home­made presents

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Weekend Life - DEB­BIE T R AV I S

Ev­ery year as the hol­i­days ap­proach I prom­ise my­self that I will get or­ga­nized early and give my­self the time to re­ally think about my gift-giv­ing. And al­though I still end up rush­ing around the week be­fore, it’s the planned gifts, the presents that make a per­sonal con­nec­tion and have a hands-on touch that I cher­ish most of all.

A hand­made of­fer­ing says love in a big way. “It’s the thought that counts,” my mom used to say. How true! If you love to cook, then home­made pre­serves and bak­ing, in­clud­ing lus­cious jams and pick­les, rich cook­ies and deca­dent cakes, are de­light­ful to re­ceive.

Go with your strengths when de­vis­ing your list of hand­made gifts. True to the spirit of my pas­sion for paint, I have some favourite items that please, and can ac­com­mo­date any age group, male or fe­male. This year I was drawn to a new se­ries of sten­cils from Royal De­sign Stu­dio that fea­tures the many faces of lace.

They are wall sten­cil de­signs, but can be used to gor­geous ef­fect on fur­ni­ture and fab­ric as well. Their names are de­scrip­tive. Span­ish Lace Scal­lop is rem­i­nis­cent of a fan, lovely in white on blue, dra­matic in black and white. Snowflake Lace is a del­i­cate, play­ful de­sign that’s fun for a child’s room. Grand Flo­ral Lace be­fits a ro­man­tic bed­room or ladies’ sit­ting room.

Shown here is the stu­dio’s new­est de­sign, Prim­i­tivo Lace, which cap­tured my imag­i­na­tion for the many ways it could be trans­ferred onto fab­rics. It works its magic on place­mats and nap­kins. You could also trim a table­cloth or fash­ion a ta­ble run­ner. For a spe­cial cook on my list, I can see this de­sign on a can­vas apron in two or three bold spice colours — pa­prika, saf­fron and nut­meg.

Royaldesig­nstudio.com has videos and in­struc­tions on sten­cilling for be­gin­ners and ex­perts. You can choose any sten­cil paint that is de­signed to go on fab­ric. They rec­om­mend An­nie Sloan’s Chalk Paint, which gives a matte con­tem­po­rary ef­fect to a sten­cilled pat­tern.

I had the plea­sure of chat­ting with An­nie Sloan when she was on tour for her lat­est book, Colour Recipes for Painted Fur­ni­ture. Since I was work­ing on this col­umn, I asked her what she would cre­ate as a gift from the heart and hand. An­nie loved the idea, and her sug­ges­tion, which she has ac­tu­ally done, is as sim­ple as it is charm­ing.

“Find an old can­dle­stick at an an­tique or sec­ond-hand shop. Paint it. Put a can­dle in it and you’re done.”

An­nie’s Chalk Paint (an­nies­loan. com) cov­ers vir­tu­ally any sur­face, in­clud­ing metal. The cast-bronze wall sconce shown here has been painted in cool colours, pri­mar­ily Paris Gray, Louis Blue and Olive. The paint was rubbed back to show some of the bronze be­neath. An­nie points out that gold colours are warm and work well with cool colours, they make an agree­able bal­ance for the eye.

There are so many gifts you can per­son­al­ize with paint. For the teen in your life who uses up all the hot wa­ter in the morn­ing, sten­cil a shower cur­tain with mu­si­cal mo­tifs or crazy shapes. Chil­dren of all ages love floor cush­ions, trin­ket boxes and bed cov­ers that fea­ture their name or favourite colour and de­sign.

Din­ing rooms get an un­ex­pected lift with drapes edged in a painted pat­tern. Kitchens brighten up with hand-painted de­tails on tiles, and even plates and glass­ware. All su­per gifts that will be cher­ished. DEB­BIE TRAVIS’S HOUSE TO HOME COL­UMN IS PRO­DUCED BY DEB­BIE TRAVIS AND BAR­BARA DIN­GLE. PLEASE EMAIL YOUR QUES­TIONS TO HOUSE­[email protected]­BI­ETRAVIS.COM. YOU CAN FOL­LOW DEB­BIE ON TWIT­TER AT WWW.TWIT­TER.COM/DEB­BIE_­TRAVIS, AND VISIT DEB­BIE’S NEW WEB­SITE, WWW.DEB­BI­ETRAVIS.COM.

Torstar Syn­di­cate

An­nie Sloan’s Chalk Paint trans­forms a metal sconce to cre­ate a home­made gift that will be cher­ished.

Royal De­sign Stu­dio

A sten­cilled de­sign on fab­ric, such as this Prim­i­tivo Lace pat­tern from Royal De­sign Stu­dio on mat and nap­kin, is a gift for food­ies.

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