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!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Tulip Time Tunic

Have you all seen what's going on over at Made By Rae? It's that time again for 
I have never participated in the past but have always been inspired by all the amazing clothes that people have made for themselves. (Also a bit jealous!) With Spring Top Sewalong as my motivation I have been sewing up a storm. I have a goal this year to make my own clothes, the problem is that everything I have attempted either doesn't fit, or looks like I made it myself. I have wasted so much fabric!
Until today! May I proudly present the

Tulip Time Tunic
This is the first garment I have made that I would and will actually wear. The fabric is two vintage sheets that I recently thrifted.  It is light weight, super soft, and perfect for summer. Plus I love the pattern, it is so 70's and it has a bit of an Anthropologie vibe. The tunic pattern is from one of my Japanese dress books. Happy Homemade vol. 1 Dress E
If you don't own any Japanese dress books, you are missing out. They are full of simple silhouettes with beautiful details. The only problem is that all the instructions and patterns are in Japanese. This could be one of the reasons that I have had such bad luck! If you are new to sewing or don't have a lot of garment construction experience these books can be a bit tricky. But the pictures are very detailed and sort of walk you through the sewing process, think ikea instructions.
The top I made is on the back cover. I love the loose fit. I love a baggy tunic with skinny jeans or leggings, it is my go to outfit everyday. It is have a gathered neckline and beautiful ruffled cuffs. 
I would totally make this top again. Next time I might take a couple inches of each side for a bit more fitted look. Other then that, the fit is great, and I love the next line, and the shoulder seam is in just the right spot and it is so smooth. On my last thrifting adventure I picked up a bunch of vintage linens so be on the lookout for more cute tunics and dresses. I am thinking of reviewing some of my Japanese sewing books. Or maybe all of my sewing books? I have quite the collection growing with four more books on the way from Amazon expected to arrive any day now. Let me know if you think that might be helpful.  I am off to enter my top. You still have time if you want to enter as well!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Boxful of Goodies!

Last week I received two great gifts. New front teeth (long story) and a boxful of goodies from my mother in law(a much better story). She was given a whole batch of drapery fabric samples and trimming samples from a designer friend, and passed them all on to me! The fabric is all upholstery weight and ranges in size from 9x6 inches to 9x12 inches. The prints and colors are so different then all my Anna Maria Horner and Amy Butler fabric, which makes them a welcome addition to my ever growing stash! I was so excited to make something, I made this weekend a sewing weekend. I knew I wanted to make a small zipper tote, but it needed to be extra cute to go with my new super great fabric.
I came across a great tutorial on Noodle Head for her Gathered Clutch Tutorial and knew that would be the perfect project for this fabric. The pictures and directions are very easy to follow. I didn't really have to read them, and I adjusted all the sizes to match the amount of fabric I had. I did not include any interfacing do to the weight on the fabric, and I did have some issues with the tabs on the zipper (I think this again was because of the weight of the fabric). But over all it turned out well, and I would try it again with some minor adjustments. I took pictures of the process to share with you, I think it is more fun to see how things come together. Happy sewing.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What drives you?

Some of you might have noticed the lack of posts in the past couple of weeks. I wish it was because I was so busy making wonderful things to share with you, but sadly this is not the case. After several painting, sewing, crafting, and home decor failures and disasters I am posing these questions to you...

What drives you to create? 
What is the thing that makes you want to create day after day? 
How do you keep creating when nothing seems to be working?

If I thought I had the right answers, or even any answer I would share it with you, but I would love to hear what you think. I am in a point of reflection in my life right now, maybe it is a quarter life crisis! Ha! The problem is all this reflection has filled my head so full that it is hard to create. It is hard to think about anything else. So just like Michael Scott declared "I DECLARE BANKRUPTCY!!" I am declaring "I HAVE CREATIVE BLOCK!!" (Not bankruptcy, just to be clear.)
Now that I have said it out loud (wow that felt good) I am committing myself to manning up. When I feel like I'm flailing I like to embark on a new project, the bigger the better. I have four new mixed media paintings in the works right now. I have taken over our dining room with these new 20x20 inch hopefully wonderful paintings to be. 
I start each painting by laying out the doilies first. I inter mix doilies that I have made, with doilies that I have thrifted, to give myself a basic layout to establish the composition first. I make sure there is a good variation of scale and pattern and that some of the doilies interact with the edges of the canvas. Color does not matter at this point because the doilies will all be dyed or painted later. The next step will be picking color pallets, my favorite! Stay tuned, I hope to be sharing the next stage with you soon. I look forward to hearing how you deal with creative block, leave me a comment or shoot me an email!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Anthropologie Inspired Artstar Necklace

I believe anthropologie called these the frozen globes necklace? Both colors made their way into my collection. I love wearing these necklaces they are so big, they make every outfit better. The problem is that they weight so much, something I ignored in the reviews and went ahead and bought them anyway. Because they get so much wear I decided to make a variation that was a bit lighter and it was the perfect project to use these amazing star beads that I picked up for $1.00.
 All you need is a bit of thick chain, and a bit of thin chain, broken necklaces would be perfect. The contrasting chain is a nice detail. Then find the largest most unique statement beads, and basic jewelry findings. Now you are good to go.
It is a bit more understated then the anthro necklace, but it is totally lighter. I am thinking I might add something in between the stars for a bit of color. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Green Monster Scarf

I am adding another page to the blog, Artstar Hookin'... Don't worry it is not going to be dirty!
I have a new found addiction that distracts me from painting, crochet. It is so much more relaxing to me than knitting. I have a hard time trying to balance and twist the knitting needles! When you crochet, all you need is yarn and a hook. I can throw it my purse if I am headed west side for a the weekend, and it doesn't take up too much space on the couch when I am too ADD to just sit and watch TV with Mr. A. I am completely self taught, thank you YouTube. Mikey has videos to teach you every stitch and advanced projects as well. Best of all he goes in slow motion!
I am not very good at following patterns, I usually get board or they take to long. Also I am such a novice that sometimes I have no idea what all the instructions mean, I am a picture person. So here is the first of many simplified projects that are fun, fast and things you would actually want to make, wear or use.

The Green Monster Infinity Scarf
The Green Monster Scarf is inspired by an infinity scarf I purchased this year but wore so much that it started to fall apart. This is by far one of the warmest scarfs I own.
 It's big, and slouchy and the perfect color of pea soup green. It can be worn long and relaxed or layered for that "my scarf is eating me alive" look that is so hip with a simple wool coat. (Not as cute with my crooked Ray Ban's! The self timer was not so kind that day.)

What you need to know and supplies- 
Stitches used- Chain Stitch, Double Crochet (DC), Slip Stitch

Row 1- Chain 125, join with a slip stitch
Row 2. Chain 1 DC 125 (Careful not to twist your chain)
Row 3-7 repeat row 2 weave in loose ends

If you are a more experience crocheter, I apologize in advance for my simplistic explanations, I do not claim to be a pro but I am having tons of fun learning. I whipped this baby up during two bad movies on one snowy Saturday. It is so quick and easy you can make one in very color, or it is the perfect last minute gift. But hurry up Spring is on the way!

Monday, February 28, 2011

More Fun With Neckties

Sorry I was MIA all week. I lost my camera cord, but the good news is that it was found and I have a camera full of picture and projects to keep sharing with you. I hope you have made time for some Artstaring during these cold snowy winter months. Keep sending images of things you have made inspired by any of my tutorials, I love seeing everyone's unique and creative spin on things.

After my last post I was given a huge stash of mighty cute ties. (Thanks Janny!) I had an idea for another necklace, but I needed a bow tie not a necktie, and since bow ties are the white whale of thrifting, and Mr. Aletha wouldn't be caught dead in one so I couldn't steal one from him, (lame! I think they are rather hip) I decided I better figure out how to make one. What better to use then one of the many ties I now have, they are the same material and now I have a lot more patterns available to choose from.  This necklace isn't directly Anthropologie inspired, but I think it sure looks like something you would find there! This tutorial will show how to make a necktie into a bow tie and then make a necklace out of the bow tie.

Black Tie Optional Necklace
  1. Find a tie, I like stripes or extra small prints for the bow ties, but it is up to you.
  2. From the fat side of the tie measure in 3 inches from the tip and mark with a pin and then measure 5 inches from that pin and mark with another pin. These are your fold guides.
  3. Press with an iron at the pin marks. You need about a 2 inch overlap in the back, and then cut and set aside the rest of the tie. In image three you will notice a bit of the tie sticks out. Fold and iron that under to make all sides even. You should have a 5" by the width of your tie rectangle.
  4. Slip stitch the back closed with a matching thread. You may want to slip stitch the extra fabric down as well.
  5. Pinch the middle together and then wrap several times with thread. You almost have a bow tie.
  6. From the skinny tip measure about 5 inches and cut. Then measure 25 inches and cut. (This should be about  the spot where the tie begins to widen)
  7. Fold each end of the 25" piece over 1/4" and then 1/4" again. Slip stitch the folds in place. This will give you a nice clean strap to go about you neck. It is the perfect width already because it was the part of the tie that was designed to comfortably go about you neck.
  8. I attached two cheep bracelets to the ends in this necklace. You can use anything from broken jewelry, strung beads, old chains, even pearls. 
  9. Lastly attach the bow to the strand using the 5" piece you set aside. Wrap as tight as possible around the bow and the strap, the strap should be behind the bow. Then fold under one end before stitching closed for a nice clean look. 

You could make a DIY bow tie if you just adjust the strap and add a bit of velcro. I ran that idea by Mr. A, he was not on board. For now I guess I will just stick to fashions for me. I made three last week. The striped one is probably my favorite. I keep planning my outfits to match it.  It was made using broken chains and necklaces. The silver looks so great with the navy tie and bow. The print is very prep school chic. I really like the asymmetrey of these necklaces and the contrast between the fabric and the hardware. The oversized bows are a great flashy accent. They have the perfect Jcrew meets Gossip Girl vibe that is very in for spring. Have fun and let me know if you give it a try!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Upcycled Tie Necklace Tutorial

Mr. Aletha has more ties then I have shoes. I am not even joking. Some of them I love, some I hate, and  some of them he hates and then they make there way to the donation pile or to craft land aka my studio. I love ties because of the tiny prints, rich colors, and the beautiful sheen of the silk. But there is not a lot of fabric when they are deconstructed. You could patchwork them, but that can easily turn hippie dippy.

Inspiration hit after purchasing a necklace from Banana for a friend..... I give you-

DIY Tie Necklace Tutorial

These are so quick and easy you can whip one up for every outfit and they are the perfect gift for your hipster friends. Head over the the thrift store if you want to score some really great patterns and colors. Any large beads will work. I found mine at Michael's (40% of course), this is also the perfect project to deconstruct a cheep, ugly, Mardi Gras Necklace. (BIG BEADS WORK BEST!)

A picture is worth a 1000 words, but for those how might need a few more to get the job done...

1. Deconstruct the tie, starting in the back, carefully split the stitches and then remove the guts. Be careful not to tear or put a hole in the the tie. Iron Flat. Trim into a long strip from tip to tip. Mine was about 3.5" wide. This will vary from tie to tie. **Note skinny ties won't  work as well and will need smaller beads.
2. Fold in half right sides together. Sew the bottom end closed, and continue around starting down the length of the tie. Stop after about 3" and back stitch. Skip two inches and start again. (see image 2)
3. Turn right-side out through the opening. Press flat.
4. Tie a knot at about 7 inches and drop in a bead. Knot, drop a bead, repeat about 8 times. I left about 7 inches of space for the bow because I like a big bow and the option to shorten or lengthen the necklace. This will also vary from tie to tie. It will take a bit of trial and error, just move your knots if you need more or less room to keep the ties even. Keep going until you have matching slack on both ends. Hand sew the hole closed. 

Tie a pretty bow, slip it on and start collecting compliments. The uglier the tie, the prettier the necklace. This DIY repurposing project is quick and easy, but best of all chic. Send me images or links, I love seeing what your making.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Here is a little treat to make you, or your secretary smile this Valentine's Day.
This clever ditty is brought to you by the fabulous Design*Sponge. Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

how to make a pom-pom flower

They are everywhere these days. Pretty little fabric flowers.
This time of year they server a reminder that Spring will be here soon....... One can only hope.
These cute fabric corsages are pinned everywhere, on hats, clothing, bags, even on shoes. Anthropologie puts them on headbands, hair clips, necklaces, pretty much anywhere a little pop of color is needed. It is the quickest way to take a basic tee from drab to fab. This little adornment can carry a big price tag too. But you can make your own with fabric scraps, or repurpose an old top. This DIY will cost you pennies, looks like a million bucks.  Here are the basics to making a pom-pom fabric flower.  I like this style, it looks a bit like a carnation, which I think is a very underrated flower. 

How to make a pom pom fabric flower tutorial
First cut a ton of circles out of any scrap fabric. These will be your petals. I traced the top of a glue stick for each one, but don't stress they don't have to be perfect circles. These are all 1 inch circles, but you can do almost any size. You will need between 8-10 circles for each flower if you one at this smaller size. I am using left over raw silk for my pom pom flowers. I like the metallic surface and that this fabric will fray giving the flowers variation. Next cut a circle the same size as the petals out of felt.
Fold each petal in half and then in half. Put a dab of hot glue on the bottom of the petal and start in the center of the felt. Repeat working you way to the edge of the felt until the flower is to it's desired fullness. This is normally about 10 petals. Easy breezy. Now you can add a pin, a hair clip or a rubber band to the back to accessorize your favorite top, jacket, hat, bag, hair... The options are endless.
For this necklace I made five flowers, cut out a felt smiley face, hot glued a bit of ribbon to tie in the back with a bow, and now I have a statement necklace that dresses up all my boring cardigans. This DIY bib necklace can vary in color, and size a million different ways. Give it a try and always send me a picture!