Archive for the ‘accessories’ Category

My latest, and the first in a series of coin purses.

So exciting — finally there’s time to make things again. For some strange reason, I’m really into these tiny coin purses right now. Maybe it’s because they can be finished quickly, even though these have a lining. I couldn’t find a pattern, so I made it up. One of these days, I’ll write it down and post it here. Fun to make and only needs a small amount of yarn.

Mellow Yellow

Posted: May 16, 2011 in accessories, handmade, hats, hats

I love using up leftover yarn! There was just enough of these two yellows to make a hat. It’s much cuter on someone, so if I find a new victim model, I’ll post another shot. yellow hat

Stripes!

Posted: May 13, 2011 in accessories, hats, hats



Leftover yarn put to good use in a striped hat. The pattern is “Poppy” from Interweave via KnittingDaily. Fun and easy, knit on straight needles and seamed later. It’s supposed to have flowers and beads, but it’s kind of nice just as is. (Click on the image to get a larger, more detailed view.) 

Think of it as a work in progress. This is the first time I tried this technique and the result is not perfect, but at least it looks like it’ll work with a few changes.

The idea was to make a partially felted bracelet by combining a beautiful hand-spun wool yarn with an eyelash yarn in similar colors.

The surface of the bracelet would be decorated with “beads” of plain wool on top. I knit a bracelet-size piece, about 8″ long and 2″ wide, and then stitched little mounds of the wool yarn on top and did the felting thing.

The problem is I didn’t make the wool beads big enough, so I added more yarn for the next trip through the washing machine and the new yarn didn’t mesh well with the original beads. The end result isn’t bad — okay, it is pretty awful! — but it’ll be a lot better next time!

The "Pittie in the City" bag with removable flower/bow

My latest — a one-of-a-kind tote bag, created for the upcoming auction to raise money for the outstanding pitbull rescue group, Even Chance. The San Diego-based group is devoted to re-educating the public about these exceptional dogs and helping temperamentally sound, abandoned pitties get a second chance at forever homes.

The “Pittie in the City” tote bag is an homage to the over-the-top style of “Sex and the City,” a show I rarely watched but wrote tons of ad copy for back in my copywriting days. The show was okay, but the clothes were so much fun!!! And if there’s one thing people should know about pitbulls it’s that they are FUN! Smudge, my pit-mix (looking unusually serious, below), is just as much of a puppy now, at age 9, as she was at nine months. Forget the nonsense about them all being dangerous. When they’re treated with love and respect, it’s just their nature to be little clowns.

My dog Smudge, part pit bull, part goof ball

Anyway, back to the tote bag …Not long ago, this bag was a pair of vintage velvet pants, just begging to be deconstructed. The front of the bag (shown up top) can be dressed up or down, with the removable flower and bow, all made of scrap fabric. It’s lined with recycled black fleece, so it’s pretty durable and easy to clean.

The other side (below) has a cell-phone (or dog treat) sized pocket with a hand-made “button” closure. I embroidered the pocket with cotton and metallic black and gold yarn, so it wouldn’t get lost in the black velvet surroundings.

Bag from the back showing pocket

At the last minute, just as I was about to mail the bag to the organizer, inspiration struck — how about a matching dog collar decoration? So I made one (below):

but wait, there's more ...a matching flower for your dog's collar!

The dog collar flower is equipped with a velvet cord loop on the back. You can slip it on (or off) easily, so you and your pupster can get some style on together.

And now the bag and decoration are in New York, where they’ll be photographed for the Even Chance auction. As soon as there’s a link, I’ll post it. Thirty-plus other artists have designed bags for the fund-raiser, so there are going to be  some fabulous pieces! In the meantime, you can check out all the contributors’ bios at artforpitties.

Or Why I Cut a Big Chunk Out of a Brand New Beaded and Embroidered Skirt

Pretty nice little skirt, and NWT, in eBay speak (New with Tags). Check out the beads and detailing:

I’m pretty sure the reason someone got rid of it is because, the way it’s gathered at the top, it would make even a thin person look like a Weeble. I was planning on using some of it on a cami. But then I read the care tag. The only way to clean it was with spot cleaning — no washing or dry cleaning. Personally, I don’t want a camisole that can’t be washed or cleaned somehow. So I put the skirt aside.

And then one day, I was in a flower-making frenzy — picking out this and that and experimenting with turning them into flowers. I even made a flower out of a used dryer sheet and, to tell the truth, it wasn’t bad. So when I spotted this skirt in one of the boxes, I just went at it. Ta da!

The backing is soft black felt without cardboard or stiffener of any kind, so it’s completely floppy, kind of like the clocks in the famous Salvador Dali painting, “The Persistence of Memory.” There’s a standard safety clasp, so it can be put on pretty much anything — jacket, sweater, hat, etc. (Apologies for the crummy images, they’re from the camera I swore I would never use again and now I remember why.) Anyway, as soon as I get some better photographs, it’ll be listed at etsy. Now to find a new camera ….

Some days I avoid the news like the plague, especially lately. It’s profoundly distressing to read about all the horrific things going on in the world and feel like there’s nothing you can do about most of it, other than write a letter to some politician, and we’ve seen how effective that can be (not!).

The best antidote, for me anyway, is to make something. It’s probably a control thing, I admit it. But it’s nice to feel like you’re doing something to make the world a little better, a little more beautiful. That’s especially true when using something that would otherwise be trashed.

And that’s one of the great things about the people who sell on etsy — the amazing wealth of talent and creativity devoted to reuse and repurposing. Which brings us to my latest find — JustineJustine.

When a store describes itself as “handmade colorful jewelry and upcycled bottle caps,” how can you not check it out? Here are a few of Justine’s wonderful creations:

Bottle cap earrings! They’re so cleverly designed, it takes a while to figure out exactly what they are. And here’s another pair, also from recycled material:

Broken mirror bits and wire — brilliant! Not just because she’s reusing material that would end up in a landfill, but also because they’re so stunning.

Last, but not least, here’s a sample of one of her many items made from acai berries:

Gorgeous! And this is just a little taste of Justine’s work. Where does she get her ideas? I asked her that recently, and here’s her reply:

My travels! before I settled down in Mexico I traveled a lot … I saw so many beautiful colors and different materials in each country! I wanted to capture that colorful exotic vibe and I think both bottlecaps and açai do that pretty well.

It’s rare to find a shop with that truly offers “something for everyone.” But the amazing diversity of jewelry at Mystic Wynd is impossible to ignore. Just check out the shop sections — everything from Angels and Faeries to Funky/Modern to Vintage. Then click on a few images, and you’ll find the work of a self-confident designer who can move deftly from one look to another without missing a beat (or maybe that should be “bead”).

Here’s one example, the “Aqua and White Necklace Glass Heart with Ribbon – Love Grows”:

Contrast that sleek, streamlined look with this exotic, nature-inspired “Telescopium Shell and Seed Bead Necklace with Charms”:

Click on the Gemstones section and you’ll find treasures like this “Green Apple Turquoise with Pearl Necklace”:

Green apple turquoise … who knew? Plus, the detailed descriptions include fun information on various stones, including their metaphysical, astrological and numerological properties. How cool is that?

In a world where most people are pretty happy if they can manage to do one thing well, Karen, the artist behind Mystic Wynd, has applied her talent to lots of different styles with stunning results.   Why the wide ranging approach? As she explains: “One of the first things the entrepreneurial gurus tell you to do is to determine who you want your products to appeal to. In my case, it was obvious – everyone!”

She’s not kidding! No matter what your style or taste in jewelry, there are pieces here that are not to be missed. But don’t take my word for it. Connect with Mystic Wynd and Karen at:
Her blog
On twitter
Become a Facebook fan
Or be notified automatically of new listings by subscribing to the shop feed

Beautiful, yes? And my camera isn’t even doing justice to the colors. Unfortunately, it was also missing the pin thing on the back.

I checked with my IO (Insignificant Other) to find out if it could be soldered. He suggested throwing it away, because it was not fixable. Of course, he thinks the world would be a better place if all costume jewelry completely vanished, so naturally, I ignored him and started thinking about how to repair it.

Step One: Clean it

Toothpaste,  an old toothbrush and a tiny bit of water are the best. Just scrub gently to avoid loosening any of the stones and pat dry. I wanted to do this first because my fix involved a piece of felt, and I didn’t want that to get wet. After the cleaning, the piece was allowed to completely dry overnight.

Step Two: Make a Backing

Very simple! Just cut a piece of felt the size you’d like on the back of the piece. Done!

Step Three: Hot Glue

This is actually two steps, but let’s not drag it out. First, hot glue or sew a new brooch pin to one side of the felt. Then hot glue the other side of the felt (duh!) to the brooch.

You’re done! Go do something else and let it dry for 24 hours or so. Not so bad, huh? This little brooch is going to go on a new top I’m altering. This is what it looked like before I got my mitts on it.

Those things that look like white blobs are actually sweet little pale pink crocheted flowers.

Other than sticking with the pink/black theme,  the “after” shot is going to be quite a lot different than this “before.” But that’s the whole point of altered couture, right?

Very cool little bracelet created by designer Tara St. James. You can make your own with nothing more than a broken zipper (who doesn’t have one or two of those around?) and a needle and thread. The complete tutorial is at Ecouterre, a fabulous online resource for anyone interested in sustainable fashion design. Enjoy!