Sunday, May 2, 2010

DIY Hand-Stamped Fabric

This is where I spend a lot of time in the summer - my deck.  Here is where I sit:

Here is where I eat and sit in the hot tub. (Usually not at the same time!):

Here's the view that I have, so it's easy to see why I like to spend hours swinging and listening to the wind blow in the aspen leaves.

It doesn't always look quite so barren on the decks - wood, wood and more wood with no color and texture to break it all up.  But it's looking that way right now. Last summer we had to rebuild all of our decks. The house was built in 1981, and after 25 years, the decks were collapsing on the hillside.  After investing quite a chunk of change, we're so happy with the results.  But the project was completed just in time for the fall winds to start blowing, and then we got distracted with back-to-school and ski season.  Needless to say, I didn't spend any time putting the finishing touches on my outdoor room.

The biggest positive AND negative to this area is the south-facing arrangement.  Sun-loving plants grow like crazy in my hanging baskets, but little people get fried from the 10-12 hours of direct sunlight per day.  My Mother's Day present last year from the family was a giant umbrella which cranks open and closed and can be angled to block the sun.  Boy do I love that thing!  It doesn't, however, do anything to help poor parched porch swingers.

But these might help.  (No, I'm not talking about the shimmering pool or the gorgeous ocean - although those would be nice, too.) I'm talking about the outdoor curtains. Don't you love the way they soften the hard lines of the cabana and the porch posts?

BUT (isn't there always a "but"?), outdoor curtains are expensive, and I'm cheap!  Serendipitously, Kate over at Centsational Girl is hosting a giveaway from Saffron Marigold. This India-based company is comprised of artisans who make these beautiful hand-stamped linens.  I had never seen Saffron Marigold's work, and I was inspired. Check out their website, and enter Kate's giveaway while you're at it.

I also discovered Galbraith and Paul. Liz Galbraith & Ephraim Paul, are a Philadelphia-based team who make stylish hand-printed textiles of all sorts. I can think of so many places I could use these in my home.

BUT (again, right?), being an avid DIY'er, I started mulling around ways to combine the beauty of hand-printing with the durability and shade-providing quality of outdoor curtains.  Could it by done?  If Todd Oldham can do it with bed linens, why can't I do it with outdoor curtains?  This video is my inspiration:

And I have this book en route from the library. The book, written by Lena Corwin, offers all sorts of tips for hand stamping, silk screening and lots of other fabric-based projects.  I can't wait to get it.  Lena also has a blog with lots of tips and great photos.  Or you could just stop by her Brooklyn-based studio and sign up for one of her classes.

So, I'm off to find some hardy fabric (I'm thinking that the Home Depot drop cloths I've been hearing so much about would be just right) and to rig up a hanging system.  Then I can get to stamping.  My goal is to have the deck finished by the end of May.  The curtains are just the first item on a long to-do list, including painting my Adirondack chairs*, staining and sealing my porch swing* and getting all of my spring planting in order.  Then I can enjoy a glass of this:

*Can you believe that Grandpa Hausfrau, my dad, made my chairs and my porch swing.  Such a handy guy!

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