Wish List Wednesday–Handmade from head to toe

I have a tendency to hold on to clothes long past their expiration date. I have a velour tunic I got on the way home from an orthodontist appointment in seventh grade fifteen years ago. I’ve sold holes closed on it more times than I can count, but I love it too much to retire it. Nevertheless, I am starting to think that it is time to buy some new clothes, and when putting together an outfit, where better to turn than etsy?

Topping my dream outfit is this delightfully whimsical asymmetrical gray hat from RetroReproHandmade:

I love the giant curly cue!

For my ears, I would love these elegant floral earrings from vividcolors:

To make a statement about my handmade outfit, I’d wear this fabulous shirt from Phippsart:

I have been drooling over this skirt from couvert for a few weeks now. I love the ruffles, and the zipper, and the general fact that it is awesome.

For a final touch, I would wear this amazing Mohop shoes, tied with orange ribbons:

I’ve got my new favorite outfit for the next fifteen years all picked out!


We came, we saw, we traded

This weekend, the wonderful Jan of PamperPantry hosted a potluck and swap at her house for the members of TeamNorGA. There are many different types of etsy teams, and each has its own appeal. You can’t beat a local team for proximity though! In addition to helping with local business laws and craft show information, a local team allows you to meet face to face and see each other’s creations. So I baked a lasagna, loded up my trunk with hats, fascinators, and all my other goodies and drove over to Pam’s house. My organza flowers turned out to be pretty popular, and I traded several away for some great goodies:

This beautiful fall shrug is from Worthy Soy Candles and Crochet. Erica has created these shrugs in a variety of colors and styles. I love the warm colors and bell sleeves on this one.

This pendant was made from a recycled bottle cap by the wonderful Julie of Cowgirl jewels. I fell in love with the pattern on this one immediately.
This stunning necklace came from Josie’s beaded jewelry. I love the way it sits right on my clavicles. The bead work is so intricate!

I even got something to help me get organized! This clutter cutter tin from C Elizabeth Designs will now hold all of my organza flowers while they are waiting for a new home. It’s pretty empty after this weekend though–I better get crafting!

Wish list Wednesday–Fiber Fun

I’ve been developing a new obsession with fiber as I learn to spin my own yarn. The softness, the colors, just enchant me! I love the way you can take a gorgeous roving, transform it into soft beautiful yarn, and the knit or crochet that into another fabulous creation. For today’s Wishlist Wednesday I’m highlighting a few things from each step of the process that I am wishing for.

WoolyTreasures‘s shop tagline is “Made with a fanatical love of color and natural fibers” and that fanatical love comes through in all her items. Her aptly named “treasure fiber batts” shimmer and sparkle in a rainbow of jewel toned hues. I especially love “seasonal sea:”

“Seasonal sea” is a mix of wool, silk, alpaca and angelina. But did you know that you can also make yarn out of milk? Zebisisdesigns sells roving made from dewatered extruded milk protein! I love the colors of this “berry fest:”

All of these wonderful fibers are just waiting to be spun into yarn. And to do that, you need a spindle. Now, you can make your own spindle or you can buy one. Either way, why make it plain and boring? An artists tools can be a work of art too!

Butterflygirldesigns makes beautiful spindles. The whorls are made from stone, resin, glass, or polymerclay like this lovely here:

In addition to having an awesome shop name, Knotmydayjob makes gorgeous spindles. I like the flower shaped ones since they work notches into the design of the whorl. I love the enamel on the shaft of this spindle:

Put roving and spindles together and you get wonderful unique yarns. I love this “Marigold and Mums” single ply yarn from HeartStringsByDee. The subtle shading of yellows into browns reminds me of fall.

On the opposite side of the color spectrum from Dee’s muted browns and yellows, SpunRightRound has created this Neon Monster handspun weighing in at a full 13 oz! I love the variety of bright colors and the intermingling of solids and stripes:

What people do with yarn once it is spun always astounds me. I’ve been knitting and crocheting for years, but it still feels like magic to me–wave a couple sticks around an voila! Yarn turns into a gorgeous garment. Take for example this goddess wrap from FoxyGKnits, a knitting goddess in her own right:

I just want to wrap myself in that blue softness and curl up in front of a fire with a cup of hot cocoa. For a night out on the town, I’d love this blue and gray shrug from filofashion:

How to Make a Plaster Hat Part III–Decoration

You’ve made a plaster mold of your head and built up the structure. You are now ready to decorate your plaster hat. Let your imagination run wild! By this point you should have some basic design that you are working toward, although it is perfectly fine to make the details up as you go.

Step one: assemble your materials.
Your materials can be anything. You will probably want paint, paintbrushes, water for rinsing, masking tape, newspaper and some sort of glue. I used hot glue for mine. If you want something stronger, you can use E-600. If you are adding large items to your hat, you may need more plaster gauze. I’m adding antlers to the front and pheasant wings to the back, and other feathers for accents. I’m also thinking of adding some organza flowers. Other decoration ideas include wire, glitter, metal foil, mosaic tiles, fabric, ribbon, silk leaves, etc.

Generally I paint first and then add other decorative elements. With this hat though, the antlers lay somewhere between structure and decoration, so I added them first. To hold the antlers in place while I worked with the plaster to attach them, I wired them to the legs of a camping chair:

The masking tape keeps the wire from sliding. Right now the antlers are just resting against the front of my hat. Next, I wrapped wet strips of plaster around the base of the antlers and up onto the hat. With most of this project, I’ve been emphasizing that plaster is heavy and you only need a few layers. Attaching large objects to the hat is the exception to that rule. Things like antlers are also heavy and you want to make sure you use enough plaster to hold them securely. I probably used around 5 or 6 layers.

You want to make sure that the plaster is 100% dry before removing the support structure (in my case the wire and chair legs). I let this sit for two days.

My husband added wire antennae to his hat, which are also attached with plaster and thus happen in the pre-painting stage of decorating.

Once you have your large decorations plastered on and the plaster is dry, you can move on to painting. For this hat, I’m decorating with gold paint, purple paint and glitter paint. I decided to airbrush the hat because it is faster and I happen to have an airbrush we got to make our wedding invitations. A paintbrush would also work. First, you want to use masking tape and newspaper to cover areas you don’t want to paint.

Then, paint. My husband is painting his hat green.

The benefit of airbrushing is that it dries very quickly. Once the base coat is dry you can paint other decorations on it. If you want to paint strait lines, try using pieces of string for guidance:

You can also add your other decorative elements at this point. I added a half-pinwheel of purple feathers right above each antler and glued pheasant wings to the back.

For whatever reason, the purple paint is showing up blue in photographs. I also painted gold designs on the back of the hat:

I’m also planning to add organza flowers in brown and purple to the hat, like a garland around the wings. I need to finish sewing the outfit that goes with this hat first though, so I know how much organza I have to work with.

Improving product photography–Poll and Giveaway!

They say product photography is everything if you want to be successful selling on etsy. To that end I am trying to develop a style that is both interesting, and clear. Erica of Worthy Soy Candles and Crochet suggested including an elephant figurine in my pictures. Here are the results of my latest photo shoot–a brown organza flower. I would love to get your opinion!

Leave a comment letting me know which one you like best and you will be entered to win one of these lovely organza flowers in brown, white or pale blue. Make sure to leave your email address or etsy shop address so I can get in touch with you if you win. Winners will be chosen on Saturday, October 17 2009 using random.org.

Fiber Fridays: My first Spinning project

I’ve been collecting rovings and batts from yarn2spin for a couple of months now. I bought them with the intention of making wet felted hats and cute needle felted wonders, but I’ve recently been rekindling my interest in knitting and crochet. Which of course leads to a fondness for yarn, which then leads to wanting to learn to spin my own. And since I have several drawers full of roving, I figured I should give it a try!

My first attempt failed utterly, mostly because I hadn’t really understood the drafting process. I found this video very helpful, and last night I managed to spin my first single:

It is tremendously uneven, and I’m not sure what to do next. I have a lot more of the roving, but I am not sure if I should draft more roving into this length, or start a new single ply with this one into yarn. I still have a lot to learn, but I’m having a lot of fun!

See what other fabulous fiber artists are doing for fiber friday!