I’m not sure if you guys have met my sister before, but she’s really pretty.
Not only is she pretty, she is also getting married! Unfortunately, I think she would kill me if I posted pictures of her in her wedding dress on the interwebs, so instead I am going to tell you about her bridal shower, which we hosted last week in Pennsylvania.
My sister (let’s call her Cat, because that is an animal like a Bird, and it is cute and also maybe somewhat related to her actual name) double majored in Biology and Russian, because she is a slacker with a low IQ (<– sarcasm, in case that wasn’t completely obvious from the double major in two crazy hard subjects). She also spent a semester in Russia, so we thought a Russian theme would be fun. Also, my family has always had several Matryoshka dolls around the house, and we have given them to each other for holidays, so it seemed like a perfect representation of the Russian theme. You know, Matryoshka dolls and, of course, vodka.
Given that I’m in grad school and have several jobs, I could either outsource this whole thing or take advantage of the opportunity to get crafty. As it turns out, my idea of a pretty perfect evening is one involving: 1. wine, and 2. making things. Happily, I managed to squeeze in the time to consume wine while making things over a few weeks prior to the shower.
I started with a pencil sketch of a nesting doll. This was actually one of the hardest parts of the whole thing.
I found a bunch of pictures online and used pinterest to collect images I liked; from there I narrowed it down to simple things that I thought would be easy to draw and easy to carve. For example, the below is beautiful, but just not feasible given my time and level of print-making experience.
As you can probably see on the above picture, I traced over the pencil sketch with charcoal and then rubbed it onto the linoblock to transfer. From there, I traced the whole thing in Sharpie, and then proceeded to cut away!
This was my first time using a hard linoblock rather than rubbery stamp stuff, and it was much harder to cut. Sadly, I actually stabbed myself three times. Luckily, you can’t see any of the blood here. One time? Fine, it’s my first time with the project. The second time? Okay, I’ll learn from it this time; it’s a little slippery. The third time? Really? Do you not learn from the consequences of your behavior, you silly behavior analyst??
After that, it was time for tea towels! I bought flour sack towels, which worked really well. It was definitely a little more labor-intensive than I had originally expected: 1. unfold towels; 2. iron towels; 3. refold towels for proper centering of print; 4. put block on towel; 5. go crazy with a kitchen rolling pin; 6. let it dry; 7. iron the back of the towel so the fabric paint sets; 8. wash all towels and hope and pray the paint both sticks and does not smear/leak/wash away; 9. do a happy dance that the paint did not smear/leak/wash away; 10. iron all towels again; 11. fold towels; 12. bring towels to Pennsylvania; 13. iron again; 14. fold again; 15. GO TO PARTY!! Oof, a lot of steps. Totally worth it, though, given that there was wine for pretty much all of these steps, and also given how much I love how they turned out!
Besides this, we needed some smaller dolls to decorate the space. I honestly had no clear purpose for them starting out, but I thought we needed more than one nesting doll in order to have a real life theme, so here they are. This was easier and less painful for me (literally – I did not stab myself even once with these!), though original iterations of this print were somewhat creepy.
Solution to the creepy? No faces. At first I thought this would be creepier, but I thought it actually looked pretty cute. However, hundreds of anything are not cute. Here they are having taken over our house.
I ended up using some of these on the vodka bottles, as you can see above, and on the gift table:
To continue with our theme, the game prizes were all Matryoshka kitchen ware: measuring spoons, measuring cups, salt and pepper shakers, and storage containers, plus an extra towel and extra vodka, because why not?
Finally, our activities were a quiz about my sister and her fiance (see prizes above) and decorating a bunch of nesting dolls! This was my favorite part and it was fun to see a lot of the cute touches on these.
All in all? It was a hit, both from my art-making perspective, and, I think, from my sister’s bridal perspective. Plus, it was a great excuse to wear my new bicycle tie. Happy Bridal Shower, Cat!!