Friday, February 25, 2011

Crafting Archives: Alice Swap

About 2 years ago, I participated in an Alice in Wonderland-themed craft swap. The one item that I was most excited to make was a shadow box. The inside is filled with a hand cut-out Alice silhouette, surrounded by sprays of flying playing cards, and mounted on a checkered rose background.

Out of the box...

...and inside the box, mounted on the wall.

Favorite part, flying cards!
This was my first shadow box, and I enjoyed making it so much that I spent the bulk of my budget for this entire project on supplies for this. This is still the only shadow box I've ever made, but in the future I'd love to make more literary and/or fantasy-themed ones. Wizard of Oz, anyone?

What would an Alice-themed set be without a Mad Hatter piece! This was made to be worn as either a mini top hat, or a just as a nice shelf decoration.

My swap partner mentioned that she liked necklaces, and I just happened to have these adorable tea set charms laying around.

Paired with a Casual Lolita sweater!

This next piece started out as a rather Mister Rogers-looking cardigan, so I added a card appliqué and replaced the buttons with playing card ones. Then I jazzed up the collar with some venise lace.

After a few fairly large pieces, I thought I'd add in some items more appropriate for everyday use...

Victorian hair pins...
... and some background music to set the mood for your next tea party!
After making all of this stuff in 1 day, I worked up quite the appetite. Luckily my neighborhood back home in Philly is home to a wonderful bakery called Bredenbeck's, which has been around since 1889! I picked up a box of petit fours, brewed a pot of mint melange, and threw on my "Tea Party jams". It was a good day.

Tiny frosted vanilla cakes filled with jam...I always have to visit when I'm back home!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Madeleine is Here!

Good news - I've finished what was previously known as "that pearl necklace". It is now known as "Madeleine", and is now available for sale in my Etsy Shop, at a *Grand Opening* introductory price for the first customer!

At first I was having trouble coming up with a name, but as I was writing the Etsy listing I was listening to Madeleine Peyroux, a superb jazz singer/songwriter and guitarist, and it just stuck. For some people classical music puts them at ease, but my jazz ladies always get me in the mood to design pretty things. :) Without going too far off track, here's the finished product:

As some of you may have noticed, I changed the length of the main strand to keep the lower strand from weighing it down too much, and added a linked chain on the end for length. This way, it can be worn as either a necklace, or a choker!

...or shorter? (it can go even shorter than this!)

And a few close ups:

Pendant detail.
My favorite, the little bow charms.
And as a bonus, my finished mirror necklace:

My next goal is to finish gathering supplies to put these up for sale soon, and then it's on to finishing that top secret pink pearl project, plus some Spring pieces!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Crafting Archives: Pirates and Fancy Hats

As many artists do, I get stuck in a creative ruts every now and then. Looking at some of the stuff I've made in the past sometimes helps to get the wheels turning, and that's what these "Crafting Archives" (for lack of a better phrase) posts will be for.

Let's flashback to October 2008, right before Halloween. I was planning my outfit for the Henri David Ball, and wanted to wear my new Alice & the Pirates houndstooth suit. I needed a matching pink tricorn, but every store in State College, PA was fresh out. So I decided to borrow my friend Angela's method of using a cowboy hat at a base, and my local Michael's happened to have a few pink ones in stock. It was made of craft foam, and made for a child's head, but I went with it.

I folded the edges up to make a tricorn shape, and decorated the edges with pink & white ruffles and lace. I also found a little satin bow for decoration, and stuck on of my "Victorian" craft buttons in the center.

Side view...
...and from the front.

While I was out getting supplies, I also picked up some charms to throw together a pirate earring:

The eyes are hearts!

 And a glittery "parrot", which I think was actually meant for holiday season décor:

 Put it all together, and here's the final outfit!

As you can see, I got a bit carried away when it came to purchasing everything in sight that looked like it could work with piratestyle or lolita in some way. While in the "hat section", I also picked up this mini top hat. Which again, was probably made for someone much smaller than myself. Maybe a teddy bear, or a doll...

At first I wasn't sure what to make with this, but a few hours later I had just gotten confirmation that my pre-order for Meta's Swan lake series had gone through. Swan hat needed to happen.

Same satin bow from the last hat, with a different button in the center this time. I wrapped it in white ribbon, and added some beaded faux "Swan" feathers. It isn't shown in the picture, but a member of egl with more hat knowledge suggested that adding black bias tape to the edge of the brim would make it appear more finished, which it did! After letting this one sit on my desk for a few days, I had a feeling that it would look too tacky and cheap, but it ended up going with the skirt very well.

Hopefully I can find more pictures of older projects, writing this post was so helpful to me that I just sketched out a design for a new eyepatch. :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Samples, Samples, and More Samples

Happy [belated] Singles Awareness Day!

I spent the day treating myself to some long hours of crafting, specifically beading. Some of my supplies finally came in, and I've been working on a few sample pieces that will eventually make their way to my Etsy shop. :)

First up, pearls.

They're all gone now...

Now, neither beading nor making necklaces have ever been my forté. I've always been known as the "earring girl"; making accessories out of re-purposed items like buttons and Scrabble tiles, or sculpting Skittles charms out of polymer clay. So with this particular project, I was able to work on my wire patterning and crimping tool skills, and apply some of what I've learned in Physics class to jewelry making. So far so good! I really wanted to go for a classic lolita aesthetic, something reminiscent of Juliette et Justine.

Unfortunately, I went through almost my entire supply of cream pearls making this, and I need a few more findings to refine certain areas, so it will probably be a few more days before I can put it up in the shop for orders. In the mean time, I'll be working out some of the "gravitational kinks". Luckily I have plenty of tiny brass bow's, which will be seen many more times in upcoming pieces. Never have I been so inspired by such a tiny piece of metal, they're super cute in person! :)

Next up, is a Singles Awareness Day gift to myself. I received a package a few days ago from one of my closest friends, Catrina, for our "friend anniversary", which just happens to fall on February 14th. One of her lovely gifts to me was a silver colored chain with a mirror pendant, which coincidentally was on the list for my next sample supply purchase! (my friends & family pretty much know by now that most jewelry given to me is probably going to be taken apart in some way lol.)

Mixing metals!
The lovely scroll work on the back.

I love the look of linked pearls, but linking them by hand is such tedious work. Right now I'm in the market for more pretty mirrors, these should be up by the end of the month!

And finally, something *top secret*. 


So this season it's all about bows, pearls, crystals, and 2 more secret ingredients that I hope to post about soon. ;)
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