Christmas sweaters make festive fashion fun
Few things make Chrisanthi Bartley happier than time with her glue gun, paint brush and X-acto knife.
The 32-year-old got into face painting in university. Since then she has added henna, airbrush, glitter tattoos — and most recently ugly Christmas sweaters — to her creative repertoire.
She spoke with Lifestyle about her holiday designs and why she thinks they are on trend.
Q: Why ugly sweaters?
The first time I made an ugly sweater was actually last year in December. An acquaintance was attending a family event on Christmas Eve and she knew I had my hands in all things creative. From there, making ugly Christmas sweat tops was born — as they say.
The first sweater I did had garland, baubles, pom poms and mini presents attached to it. It was a fun piece.
I finished in about 90 minutes and when I sent the woman an image of the finished product she replied with about five smiley faces and two thumbs up. She was happy, so I was happy.
Q: They seem to be trending now. Why do you think that is?
I feel like the trend has taken off more in the last three or four years due to social media and people having the ability to share their funny pictures and feed off the next person's creativity. I feel that this has pushed people to get into the festive spirit even more and what better way to express that than with an ugly sweater?
Q: How many have you made since you started?
Since I've started I've probably made about ten to 12 of these sweaters, for everyone from adults to kids.
People tend to either hear about it via word of mouth, Instagram or Facebook.
I start by asking the individual a few questions, like how ugly do they want it?
Mine tend to be cute ugly. They include pom poms, different characters, lights or no lights (depending on the person's preference) and writing.
Some people decide to leave it up to me so it's more free flow, which is actually a favourite of mine because I get to see the person's reaction after they see it. The unknown of it all gets me excited. That's what makes it rewarding.
Q: Have you ever looked at a sweater and thought that's not ‘ugly' enough?
Those are some of my challenges, how do I make it ugly enough?
I tend to Google images for inspiration and then get deep into the workings of it all.
But I know, even though it may not look like tinsel threw up on the shirt, it's an authentic creation and my clients have always been happy with what has been designed for them.
Q: What would you say is the biggest reward?
Knowing that I was able to create a special, authentically ugly, sweater for the client.
They are the first priority in it all. I'm aiming to please them, one project at a time.
Q: How did your company, Scribbles Creative Services, get started?
I started my creative ventures with face painting. That was my baby from university days.
Then along came henna, airbrush and glitter tattoos from attending two conventions.
But more or less since my son, Cayden, was born five years ago, the creative side of me has flourished even more. I call it the birth of my God-given talent.
As people's demand for various things come about they contact me and I advise them if I can assist or not, but I also assist parents with kids' costumes and do party planning along with two other girlfriends.
Anything that I can use a hot glue gun, paint brush and an X-acto knife for, then I'm a happy camper.
Q: What kind of creative activities do you do with your family at this time of year?
Christmas for me is a time to be spent with family and friends, but above it all I love being able to help families or those less fortunate, because it's a hard time for many.
I tend to get pretty creative around the holidays. During Christmas our family gathers together and we all have our allocated foods to provide. Christmas involves lots of cooking.
We also partake in fun and fellowship all day and night. We spend the holiday reminiscing about the good old days and family members that have gone before us.
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