Posts Tagged ‘etsy’

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!

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 ….

One thing I love about creating new clothes from older pieces is that you never really know how they’ll turn out until they’re done. At least that’s been my experience. And here we have Exhibit A: a great little denim jacket that I appliqued with vintage denim, adding a flower and two leaves.

Kind of sad looking — not at all what I was hoping for. But that just meant it needed more work, right? The floppiness of the flower petals was fixed by stitching them into place, but it was still missing something. And then this arrived …

Yes, hand-spun art yarn from one of my major etsy faves, FromMyArtToYours. Pictures don’t do this yarn justice — it’s soft as a cloud and such a dreamy color. Originally, it was going to go on a pale blue camisole, but as soon as it arrived, it was obvious that it was destined for that denim jacket. Are these the perfect couple, or what?

Adding yarn vastly improved the little flower, too.

There’s a little more yarn on the front:

Plus, there’s enough left over to make something else. Or not. When yarn is this pretty, I just want to keep it in a bowl by my desk to look at. In this case, “art yarn” is an absolutely accurate description!

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

Because I found a not-too-bad denim jacket that’s already got the embellishment process underway. Here’s the front:

And the back:

Now to figure out what to do with the rest of it. My first impulse was to add something right below the fabric that’s already there, like a lace ruffle. But I’m afraid that’s going to make the person wearing it look like a linebacker, since that’s already the biggest part of the jacket.

So most likely the front panels, collar and cuffs will be where new stuff ends up. Heading for the red, blue and purple fabric stash boxes right now …

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?

I was so excited to find this great dark red corduroy Juicy Couture jacket at an estate sale a while back. It’s such a beautiful color and the corduroy is so soft … yum! Plus, I had a gorgeous piece of embroidered cotton that looked pretty good with it. The fabric was hideously expensive — something like $112 a yard!!! But there was a small section that was being sold as a remnant for a significant discount, so I bit the bullet and brought it home.

Here’s how the embroidered cotton looks on the jacket from the back …

And here’s the front …

Not too bad, huh? But here’s the problem. Hand-stitching the fabric in place like I usually do wasn’t working, because the edges of the cotton were just not looking very good. So now the whole deal is being restitched around the edges with recycled silk sari yarn to cover the edges. In other words, I’m going to have about 300 hours of work (okay, maybe not that much, but a lot!) into this jacket by the time it’s done. And I don’t think anyone is going to pay what it’s really worth, from a labor standpoint.

On the other hand, some projects have turned out to be much easier than I expected, so maybe it all comes out even in the end. Who knows? Anyway, back to work … it’s too nice not to finish, even if it is a labor of love at this point.

Ready for a refreshing take on handmade clothes and accessories? Then Come Shop Pink Lemonade with me, and check out a fabulous fellow etsy BESTeam member!

One look at the dazzling palette in this store, and you know that shop owner Paige has a gift for eye-catching creations and fearless use of color. Her embellished ladies’ tank tops and t-shirts are all standouts. For example, I love the “Wow!” combination of black and turquoise in this tshirt.

And that color confidence carries through to equally inspired combinations like this tone-on-tone purple/lavender top, too. Gorgeous!

But even though Paige’s tops are clearly a specialty, the details on this little black bag knocked me out.

The first thing that crossed my mind when I saw that bag was “WANT!” Actually, that was the second thing that crossed my mind, too. I love the intricate ruffles and the way she arranged them in unexpected ways. Plus, that gorgeous bright “peacock” blue lining could take your breath away.

Then there’s this adorable little gold satin flower, perfect for adding some shimmer to your hair on a hot summer day.

Did I mention that Paige is fourteen years old? If not, it’s probably because I’m so jealous. I’ll get over it. But I hope she doesn’t get over her interest in making clothing and accessories, because this is one talented designer with a spectacular future ahead.

You can connect with Paige at her blog:
and on her Facebook page:

Actually, more than a few. And they’re not so much about time management as about clutter control. The time headline was just an excuse to highlight that beautiful image of the Antique Gold Alpine Pocket Watch Steampunk Pendant. It’s from fellow etsian TimeandPlace, and if you like inspired, one-of-a-kind jewelry, click on either link to see the rest of an outstanding collection. In fact, you should do that first, and then come back and read this. I can wait …

Back? Okay, good. I’ve been thinking a lot about how to use time more effectively and figured out a few things that might be helpful to other people who create for a living. So along with the usual “here’s what I’m making now” posts, during the next few days, there are going to be some short pieces on time-related subjects. (Note: This is not one of the short ones, because there’s backstory … I promise the rest will be snippets compared to this.)

First, I’m thinking that creative people need a creative approach to time. I’ve read more books on the subject than I care to admit and have tried to follow the suggestions. While they all sound great on paper, very few worked for me. That’s not intended as criticism of the books or authors. It’s just that they’re about things like dealing with 79 folders or delegating tasks (delegate to whom? So far, the dogs haven’t expressed any interest in doing the things I need done) or putting up with the other corporate nonsense that so many of us are thrilled to avoid.

In other words, a lot of time management programs tend to use a one-size-fits-all approach involving linear thinking. Personally, I don’t know if I’m capable of linear thinking, and most creative people I know are the same way. We don’t go from A to B to C, but more like A to LMNOP to ‘oh, what if I turn this whole thing upside down — that might be interesting.’

My own thought processes — using the term very loosely here — are all over the place, especially when I’m making something. I might be thinking ‘maybe some kind of buttons would look good, and what if I cut off the bottom, but then I need the measuring tape, where’d I leave it, only wait, first I have to start the laundry and those bananas needed to be made into banana bread or frozen like yesterday, and I should check the Hollywood Bowl schedule and see if anyone interesting is coming up and is the credit card payment due but where’s that piece of paper with my new password, and maybe some embroidered silk would work here, except where did those good scissors go’ and like that.

For years I thought I just needed to be more disciplined, which led to reading a lot of time management books, which was quickly followed by major fails in implementing the ideas. Then one day it dawned on me that the scattershot thought processes are me, that’s who I am. Rein them in, and I might as well be an accountant or sell life insurance (no offense intended to accountants or life insurance salespeople). The real issue is not how to change my thinking, but how to change the way I think about it. Resistance is futile, you might say, so what are the other options?

Since organizing my thoughts was not a realistic goal, it seemed like organizing my environment could work, because a lot of the random thinking was related to the chaos surrounding me. I had been wasting untold hours looking for things in piles and boxes, and ending up frustrated and angry. If my insignificant other dared to suggest organizing my stuff a little better, I could provide him with plenty of reasons why that wouldn’t work — I knew where everything was (oh, really?), this is just the way I work, creative people can’t live that way, I don’t have time and on and on.

Finally, in the midst of a major teeth-gnashing, “where the eff did I put that” episode, I noticed that some of the paperwork I was searching through was from 2007. Why did I have stuff that was nearly 4 years old sitting on my desk like I might need it at any second? And that pile of yarn and the stack of fabric, those should be in boxes and stored away. Everywhere I looked, there was more of the same: half-finished projects, books and magazines I planned to read “some day,” mail that was sort of important but not really life or death and was now stuck in the postal equivalent of limbo. I suddenly felt like a future candidate for that tv show on hoarders, and the way things were going, the future wasn’t that far off.

So … I decided to use a trick that had worked before. Here’s how it goes: I wanted a serger in the worst way. My sewing machine just wasn’t capable of doing what I needed, but a serger was. So I made a deal. I would get the serger, but I could not use it until my room was reasonably organized, the sewing table cleared off and I could actually see what color the top of my desk was.

Okay, it was a cheap trick, but it worked. The magazines and books are gone, either shelved or donated, the fabric and yarn are stored in boxes according to colors, the unfinished projects are in their own box in a place where I can’t see it, so it no longer triggers thoughts about what’s still needed for this or that and why don’t I ever finish anything and blah blah blah. The sewing table is cleared of everything except what should be there (tape measures, needles, scissors, etc.), the top of my desk is white — and the serger is awesome!

But what’s even more awesome is that now when I walk into the room, there’s no sense of dread from the defeat all that clutter represented. Meanwhile, I get more done, because I’ve eliminated a lot of the distractions that interrupted really focusing on anything.

In other words, clearing the clutter created more time to be productive.

Don’t take my word for it. Here’s a good companion piece on getting organized from Flying Solo, an Australian website devoted to small business and entrepreneurs in the world of microfinance. At the moment, that term sums up my business perfectly!

Have you found a time wrangling trick that works for you? I’d love to hear about it, because there’s a lot more to this process than putting stuff away. Come on — tell!

Isn’t this sweet? So much interesting detail on the top — even the little spaghetti straps are great. Maybe because it’s already got a lot going on, I don’t have a clue what to do with it.

Then there’s this one:

Love those little posies or pansies or whatever they are. But they’re so one dimensional. They just don’t have that “ZOMG, that’s so great!!!” thing going on. Unlike the blue one above, though, I know exactly what I’m going to do with this one. Stay tuned …