Thursday, January 20, 2011

no t-shirt left behind

Do you ever have one of those days where everything seems like work, even the basic stuff. Today was one of those days. But in the spirit of being the person I am trying to be (not one who wastes the day eating chips and watching daytime TV) I decided to make a few more t-shirt necklaces to share with you.

I posted a full tutorial last week, but here are a couple variations I made this afternoon.
The process is the same, but with these I cut 1 inch strips from the hem to the armpits. I set two strips aside to cover the hemmed side seams, and in under an hour I finished all four colorful necklaces. These were all made from women's size small t-shirts that had been shrunk by my evil dryer.
The black and the green were made from striped tees. I like the slight variation of color. This was the perfect thing to do today. It is an easy no brainer, with immediate satisfaction. And you really don't need any supplies but a scissors so clean up is a breeze. I think I will have to give some to my sister, I am acquiring way too many new necklaces lately and they are all too pretty not to be worn.
This is one of my favorites of the day. I am going to dye it later because I tend not to wear much white anymore due to make lack of a tan, and my tendency to spill everything, all of the time. For this necklace I used a men's large t-shirt. It was one of those promotional shirts my husband took, but never wore, that I told him not to take because it was just junk, and he took anyway because it was free. This shirt also had very little printing below the armpits.
This is the perfect kind of shirt to use for this process, because there are no hemmed sides to cover later, and it is long enough to double loop around your neck.  Then it becomes more scarf like. Now all I need is a box of RIT dye. I am thinking a nice pea green or a mustard yellow. You could mix two shirts together and have a very thick scarf. I am wearing it right now while I type and it is keeping my neck quite warm. What do you think? Send me a picture if you give it a try. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pretty... Simple.

This necklace is close to my heart. Everyone knows I have a strange love affair with dollies. I made a necklace similar to this one a year ago for my art opening when I showed my mixed media paintings for the the first time. It is so simple I don't even need to make a full tutorial to share it with you. My necklace is inspired by this Anthropologie necklace which was on sale last time I checked. Although the sale price was still $30.00 and mine was made for about $3.00.  I would save my money, make one using my tips and get a cute top instead!
All you need is some chain, a clasp for the back, a 99 cent doily from Jo Anne's (they are in the crafting section by the felt and pom poms) and a glue gun.
 Glue the back of doily to the chain.
 You can stop there, just fold the top edge down to really mimic the anthro version. I (of course) had to bling mine out a bit more.
Pretty... Simple. 

On another note. The traffic has been wonderful on the blog so far. To celebrate I will be hosting a jewelry give away at the end of the month. I would love your help spreading the word. Repost your favorite posts on your Facebook, Twitter or email you friends. There is a simple uploader at the end of each post to make this easy and quick. Become a follower of Artstar by Aletha to make sure you don't miss out! Thank you for visiting, happy making!

Monday, January 17, 2011

What's Currently on the Easel

I have my hand in about a dozen different projects right now, everything from sewing to jewelry, home makeovers, crochet, painting and mixed media works. In hopes of trying to finish some of the things I've started, I am going to share them and give myself mini timelines for finishing them. Let me know what you think, if one project is much more worthy of my time then another. I would love the feedback on some of my new ideas.
I have been wanting to make a change in my paintings for a while now. I have always had a love for paint by number paintings. They have a very rich history dating back to the 1950's, and they definitely tug at my nostalgic heart strings. This is my attempt at modernizing this historic process of painting.
I am not convinced I have found the best subject matter yet. I promise I do not have a foot fetish, maybe a minor shoe fetish. These are both images from Anthropologie's wall of beautiful multi colored shoes. I am hoping to merge the paint by number process with my love of color and pattern. The trick will be finding the best images to articulate this idea. I have a few images (not of shoes) collected and ready to go, but if you have any you think might fit the bill send them my way!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Refashioned t-shirt necklace

I have a giant pile of t-shirts that have shrunk or are too small but I can't bear to part with them. I keep thinking I will come up with the perfect repurposing project for them, but nothing has come to mind. I realize I was thinking too literally- how can I take this shirt and turn it into a new shirt, or how do I keep the integrity of the shirt in tact while still making something out of it?
Then I saw this rug while I was doing some home decor research, my other favorite time waster. I used to have a jersey shag rug in my old flat. It was actually 6 smaller rugs that I sewed together to make a large floor rug. I loved that rug, but I think I would need a lot more shirts to make it. What I like about the rug is the effect of the shredded tubes and how the shadows alone vary the color. It got me thinking... The result is the the

    Refashioned T-shirt Tutorial
All you need is
  • Old T-shirt
  • Fashion Beads (Mine are off the clearance rack at Michael's for $1)
  • Rotary Cutter (optional scissors would work)
  • Clear Ruler (optional but very helpful)
  • Cutting Mat (if using to two supplies above)

Flatten out the t-shirt and cut .5in strips off through both layers. Cut 12 pieces, leaving you with a dozen circles. (You can make these wider, as well as increase the quantity of strips to increase the bulk of the necklace.) Stretch each circle out causing the tee to wrap around itself like a tube.
Put two of these tubed circles to the side and cut them both open. Now you have two ropes. Next gather all the rest of the circles together and line up all of the old seams on one side. Use one of the ropes and wrap around all the pieces, covering the seams and reinforcing the stability of the necklace. Keep wrapping until all the exposed seams are cover and you have a knot like area. Tie off and tuck the end of the rope under the wrapping to hide it.
Cut of the side with the other exposed seams. 
 Thread your accent beads on. Hold the necklace up in the mirror to determine the best length for your desired look. Tie the ends together and trim off the extra. Use the remaining rope to cover the knot.
Easy Breezy. This is for a small more subtle necklace, but I encourage you to experiment. You could make one that is larger and more scarf like, or add shiney silver or gold beads to each strand to give your necklace a bit more bling! The variations are endless. Good luck!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Another Anthropologie Inspired Necklace

I am a sucker for big necklaces that sparkle. Anthropologie has the best statement necklaces on the planet. This tutorial was inspired by a bib front necklace that I loved but had a bit too much fabric, and I thought I could make something similar for far less money.

Anthropologie Inspired Bib Front Necklace Tutorial
Almost everything I used was found in my craft box before you head to the store see what you have. I highly suggest starting one if you like crafting, it is a catch all for lot of things that might otherwise get thrown out. This is the perfect necklace to use parts of broken jewelry, and scrap fabric. I used
  • About 18x4 inches of silk (any fabric would be fine, silk looks more expensive)
  • Beading string
  • Glue Gun (every crafter need one)
  • Box of pearls (you can repurpose a necklace, I got mine at Michael's for $3)
  • About 24 inches of chain ( I used a broken necklace)
Gather you supplies and cut your main piece of fabric to 18x4 inches. They use your glue gun to hem up the bottom edge to keep the necklace from fraying. (you are welcome skip this set, Anthopologie's necklace included a fraying detail, I wanted a cleaner look.)
Trim the corners take about three inches across and one inch down off the top. This will help the necklace to curve better. I think the shape is called a trapezoid?
 Do a simple stitch across the top and gather the fabric. I held my up in front of the mirror to see what size I thought worked best on me. Tie a knot on each end to hold the gather.
Once you figure out the size that works best for you, use your iron to flatten out the gathers and wrinkles. This will help it hold it's shape, and allow the bid to hang more flatly. Use your glue gun to attach both ends on the chain. Make sure you leave a couple of inches slack on both ends above the gathered edge. They will be important later.
 Next attach your next set of chains. They should be more decorative, even a strand of sequins would look great, or a second strand of small pearls. Get creative, and add some bling.
To finish off your necklace, string a small strand of pearls and estimate the size of the top edge. Hot glue the pearls to the top edge to hide you stitches where you gathered to silk. This will keep you necklace from folding in on itself. Attach jewelry chain to both sides where you left slack and add a clasp. Enjoy. You just created another head turner that will jazz up any simple cardigan or tee.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Anthropologie Inspired Necklace

I don't know if there is a person out there who loves Anthropologie more than I do. (If you are out there I hope you have better control of your addiction then I do!) I would spend every penny there if I could.  Mr. Aletha would have to agree, he rations my Anthropologie sprees from time to time to help control my addiction. So when I am not shopping in the store, oohhing over the website, or aahhing over the catalogs, I am constantly becoming inspired from some great DIY projects. Here is the first of many Anthropologie inspired tutorials.

Anthropologie Inspired Beaded Necklace Tutorial

Here are the basic things that you will need. I found everything at Michaels for under $5, with coupons of course!

  • Beading thread 
  • About a dozen wooden beads 
  • About a dozen spacer beads 
  • Accent beads ( I decided to change my accent beads to pearls that I had from a broken necklace but anything would look great.) 
  • About 3 feet of pattern ribbon, 1 inch wide 
  • You may choose to have a clasp in the back, I like a longer necklace so the clasp was not needed

  • String your beads alternating your wooden beads and spacer beads. Notice I did not center the accent beads, this adds a bit of extra interest and helps balance the weight of the bow that will be on the opposite side. 
  • Tie a small bow using about 12 inches of the ribbon. 
  • Trim and extra and coat all ends with clear nail polish to prevent fraying. 
  • Sew the ends of the beaded strand to each end of the 24 inch ribbon using a small hand sewing needle, make three to four small stitches to secure them together strongly.
  • Hot glue the bow to the ribbon, opposite side of the accent beads.
Now just wear your new Anthropologie inspired necklace out and about and collect complements everywhere you go!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

More Mixed Media Paintings

This past year I took part in a mixed media show. I was quite excited by the opportunity to challenge my self with new materials. As you can see in the images I combined my decorative style with crochet dollies that have be painted and dyed. Each piece is then coated with a very thick layer of resin. This helps unify the entire surface and really make the colors pop.
 This piece is called disco flowers. It has a pair, that somehow I forgot?? to photograph. They both were sold right away, so I guess that one will be undocumented like so many other images in the past couple of years. I really need to get better about that.
This piece is called soul blossoms. In this painting I really tried to challenge myself to use different colors, I tend to always use brighter colors so doing something in the more neutrals and earth tones was a fun mini challenge. I love how the shape of the dollies mimic the shapes of the painted forms. This piece is still available at Water Street Gallery.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mixed Media Paintings

These two paintings were the first of a new body of work. I have to say I was very nervous if people would "get" what I was doing or if they would even like them. Sometimes whey you are in your studio working, you get so far up in your own head that you head in a direction without considering your audience.
You can see these pieces are created in layers of color and forms. With a literal layer of dollies.
Everything is hand painted and hand colored so the colors of dollies and match the colors of the painted forms. These are definitely my go to colors, the brighter the better.
These two paintings only last two days in the gallery before they were snatched up. That is such a great feeling. Putting something new out there and having that "they like me, they really like me moment."
I still have quite a few dollies left, I plan on making more paintings but I am always on the look out for more exciting dollie crafts. Let me know what you think. I have a few ideas in my keep checking back to see what I come up with.