Thursday, January 10, 2013

Fishtail Braided Necklace

Hi Everyone! I have missed you. Like most MIA bloggers, it is a new year and one of my new commitments is to blog more. So here is my first post back in action for 2013.

There is something very relaxing and meditative about threading seed beads over and over again. When I was young I would spend every penny, and hours, collecting and sorting my bead collection but my neighborhood bff's. I love this necklace because it evokes the nostalgia of beading but adds a bit of sophistication that was missing from the necklaces I made in my youth.


The Basics: Seed Beads, Jump Clips, hoops, Chain and Clasp

String the entire package of beads on one long strand. Divide in half and then divide in half again. Now you should have four equal length strands. You are welcome to do each one and measure them again each other, but this just moves much quicker.
Fold each strand in half and attach a jump clip to each side. This will bulk up the look of your necklace.
Attach to your jewelery loop and then tape down to the counter or table. Now just fishtail braid the four strands. If you don't know how to fish tail braid there are a million tuts for your hair on Pintrest, it is the same concept. Attach jump clips to the other jewelery hoop to hold the braid in place. Attach chain and clasp. Easy Breezy. I would urge you to experiment with color and bead size. This would also work with a basic braid concept. If I were more patience I would do one with like 32 strands, I bet that would be stunning. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

finally something new for you to make...

The look right now is all about layers. Especially when it comes to your arm candy. I am loving the mix of leather and sparkles right now, but not loving the price tag. This cuff from anthropologie is $220! While the price point is crazy the style is hot and very replicable but with an artstar twist.
Anthropologie Inspired Leather Sparkle Bangles
This is a great project because the supplies are minimal and inexpensive. They can be whipped up in just a few minutes, which makes them perfect for sharing.
All you need is a length of wax cord, the package I got from Michael's was $3.99 and it had enough to make 7 bracelets. Rhinestone chain, again from Michaels they have multiple colors too. Embroidery floss, everyone has some laying around from the friendship bracelet days. Buttons, vintage, found or new ones.
I hit the jackpot the other day and got a huge freezer bag full of vintage buttons when I was out thrifting a couple of weeks ago. 15lbs worth for only 6 dollars. So expect some button projects in the future!
The how to....

  1. Cut a 20 inch piece of wax cord, a 20 inch piece of embroidery floss, and the rhinestone chain the circumference of your wrist.
  2. Fold in half and make a loop large enough for the button to fit through.
  3. Tie the floss on, and wrap around five or six times to cover the tail and the knot.
  4. Keep the cord flat and side by side and lay the rhinestone chain on top.
  5. Wrap one loop in between each stone.
  6. Once you get to the end wrap about five or six times to mimic the start of the bracelet.
  7. Tie a knot with the cord and floss.
  8. Thread on button.
  9. Tie another knot to finish.
  10. Trim extra cord and floss.
Repeat many, many, more times!I wore mine mixed with my favorite Alexis Bittar bangles for an even brighter layered look. I know I have been a little MIA on the blog scene. July has been a wild and crazy month for my art career, but I promise a much larger presence this August, and this fall!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mini Pyrotechnics

This grouping is a collection of 12x12 inch mixed media and acrylic paintings. They are sample sized, for those who like the style and process but can't commit or invest in a larger piece. You get all the flavor but a much smaller price tag! They are all resined and framed in modern black float frames. "Electric Garden #1-9 are part of my Pyrotechnics Series.  You can read more about them here.
I love all the options small pieces allow for. You can create a large grouping for a dramatic, modern look. Or pair one or two in an existing group of photos and other small pieces for a more eclectic look. Each of  these pieces have a selection of small doilies, ranging in color collections- rainbow, warms and cools. The doilies are arranged on either black, grey or brown neutral grounds. Just like fireworks exploding in the night sky! These are all going to be added to my website asap. Contact me if you are interested in purchasing. I think four of them are already SOLD!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Feather Cuff Tutorial

I feel a little late to the party, but here in the mid west trends find us a bit later. Ha! Right now I am loving the feather trend. I was at a graduation party this weekend where I was surround by super cute feather hair extensions, and found myself with a bit of "feather envy." I whipped this little guy up it a matter of minutes with stuff I had around the house.

Easy Breezy Feather Cuff
Feathers, Glue Gun, Cuff, Ribbon, Scissors

Measure the ribbon to be just larger then the circumference of the cuff. Make sure your ribbon is not wider then your cuff. Glue the feathers directly to the top half of the ribbon. I trimmed my feathers to be similar in size.  Glue the ribbon feather side to the cuff inside, hiding all the bottoms of your feathers and giving you a clean finished look inside your cuff.
Easy, breezy, and in less then 15 minutes you have trendy feather cuff ready to wear out and about. If you can't find a cuff in the color you want think about spray painting it. Mine was originally orange but I used a metallic spray paint, and it really looks like silver. Summer is my favorite time for bracelets. Short sleeves and tank tops give you the perfect stage for sporting arm candy.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Shoe Redo Tutorial

I have a bad habit, like most ladies, of buying lots and lots of shoes. My problem is that I ruin them as quick as I get them. There is nothing worse then spilling on a new pair of leather shoes the first time you wear them.
I loved these shoes so much I couldn't bare to throw them out, so they sat in the back of my closet, so sad and so stained. Until one day, I thought what could I do to bring these beauties back to life. My first thought  was to paint them, but I thought that the contrast of paint and leather would cheapen them. Also the front detail was stain free so I wanted to do something that would highlight the ruffle. I decided that fabric would be the best solution for my desired results.

So I present to you my fabric covered shoe tutorial!
The basic concept in this fabric covered shoe is decoupage. What you need-
Shoes (either damaged or in need of any update, the less complicated the better)
Scrap fabric to create a template for your pattern pieces
Marker to trace pattern pieces
Fabric, any cotton. Mine is decor weight by Anna Maria Horner
Mod Modge and a paint brush
Fabric Glue
Spread a thin layer of Mod Podge over one section of the shoe. Cut a piece of the scrap fabric larger then that section and smooth it over, making sure there are no air bubbles. Trace out the basic shape and peal it off. Next cut out the shape you traced. Now use this piece as a template to cut from the real fabric adding .5 inches on all sides to aid in hiding the raw edges.
  Cover section generously with fabric glue and smooth fabric making sure there are no air bubbles. Tuck under the bottom edge and rap other edges around into the shoe. Cover completely with Mod Podge. This will create a protective coating to prevent the fabric from getting dirty too quickly. Repeat for the remainder of sections on both shoes. 
The final result is a pair of cute, saved from the trash shoes, that get to have another day in the sun. One tip I will pass along that I learned the hard way. DO NOT MOD PODGE THE INSIDE OF THE SHOES. It harden the fabric making it sharp and scratchy. If you would like a cleaner look inside the shoe, apply a ribbon with fabric glue over the raw edge. It is softer on your toes!

Friday, June 10, 2011

What I have been up to...

I have been very distracted, and very inspired for the past two months and all this has amounted to a new body of work. Maybe you remember these? They were taken during the first stage of development.
After many....many... many long days, weeks, and months I have finally finished a group of paintings that I am really proud of. Here are three new pieces from my "Pyrotechnics" series. These paintings are named and inspired by fireworks and nostalgia. These is an explosion of color in this series as well as an optical illusion of moment in the forms. I image these pieces could be sold separately or they are very dramatic all together in one trio.
Boomer Ladycrackers 20x20 acrylic and mixed media
Headbomb Crackers 20x20 acrylic and mixed media
Whooping Crackers 20x20 acrylic and mixed media
Here are three more paintings from the "Pyrotechnics" series. These mixed media and acrylic paintings are a combination of vintage and made doilies as well as very fine glitter. Did you know that every firework was named and designed to explode into different abstract flowers? 
The painted forms in these pieces give hints to specific floral forms with out trying to be exact representations. I love how the shapes and colors of the doilies are reminiscent of the abstraction of fireworks. The glitter becomes a literal translation of the idea.
Dynabomb 20x20 acrylic and mixed media on canvas
Electronic Bomb 20x20 acrylic and mixed media on canvas
Supercharged Thunderbomb 20x20 acrylic and mixed media on canvas
It was a lot of hard work but it was worth it. I am really excited by this new body of work. Something finally clicked, once that Michigan Winter was gone and the sun came out so did my inspiration. What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts, even if they are just about how much you love fireworks!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Little Miss Fancy Nails

For as long as I can remember have I bit my nails. Sometimes out of boredom, but mostly caused by stress... It's stressful being an artist. A nasty habit I know, but over the past year I have been obsessed with patterned nails, and it has really kept me from nibbling.
It all started with my first Minx. For those of you who don't know what that is, they are patterned and colored tapes that are trimmed to fit and heat bonded to last up to 10 days on your fingers or toes. I have to say they looked great for the first three days, but after that they begin to look a bit ragged. I got my toes done too, and they would have lasted forever! I left them on for four weeks and finally took them off due to regrowth. They peel off like a sticker.
Because I (and Mr. Aletha) are not big fans of the $125 mani/pedi (that is what the minx costs) I looked for different solutions to give the desired look with out the huge price tag. I have tried several different brands, and now I will share my nail wisdom with my fellow DIYers. I ordered Trendy Nail Wraps from England. They average out to about $10 a pattern (one pattern can do two full sets of nails and toes if your nails are stubby like me.) They have some good patterns and the metallics really look metallic, they even have tie-dye, which looked super cute on my toes. It takes a while for them to ship to the US (like two weeks), and they are thicker then Minx but they go on easy and look good with about the same lasting time. The biggest flaw is the glue, it is a mess to clean off your nails and they feel extra thick on your nails and it takes a little bit of getting used to.
Chic Nail Prints by OPI is another option to choose from. They have less patterns to pick from, but they do add new ones for each holiday, so keep checking. I got some super cute stars at Halloween that I am saving for a special night out. They were created by Minx so they have about the same lasting time. I have about 10 sets tucked away right now. (I am a bit of a hoarder at times when I find something new to obsess about.) One set of Chic Prints has 16 different size patches and can be stretched to do a full set of fingers and toes, if you nails are short. They can be purchased at Sephora and run $15 per pack.
For the longest wear time, I am in love with Sally Hansen's Salon Effects. They have the least amount  of patterns and colors to pick from, but they are actually nail polish and wears like nail polish so you don't have the added thickness on your nails like the other tapes.  I love the black and white floral print, they match everything!
They run $9 each but Walgreens has them BOGO 1/2 off from time to time, so they are worth stocking up on when they are on sale. I always add a top coat to them which helps extend the wear. The fishnet print has a soft gold ground that sparkles.
The last brand I have tried is Broadway Nails, Nail Dress. They are by far the cheapest. I picked some up at Meijers for $4.25. I have to say you get what you pay for. They don't stick very well and last about two days before they start to fray and peel. I love the floral print it is far more vibrant then the Sally Hansen version, and they look the most similar to the Minx retro flower, which I love, but they are for special one night events only. (Sorry the picture really sucks. It is surprising hard to take a picture of your own finger nails!) They really won't wear much longer then one or two days.

If you have been thinking about this very cute patterned based nail trend, I hope these tips will help guide you to find the product that works best for you. If you give it a try send me a pic I would love to see your fancy nails! Or let me know if you have a source that I haven't tried yet!