Saturday, December 3, 2011

Miniature Handbag Earrings

Silk mini handbag earrings silver by b-a-boop
Silk mini handbag earrings silver, a photo by b-a-boop on Flickr.

Dangle earrings in the shape of miniature purses, perfect for holiday or New Year’s Eve parties. In beautiful midnight blue silk or ultra-suede, each handbag is hand sewn and the chain handles are made from upcycled jewelry. Each pair is uniquely embellished with different kinds of beads. Some have silver findings, some gold. I hope to get more varieties made in the near future. Also great for gift giving.

Friday, November 25, 2011

New Flower Bobby Pin

A new flower bobby pin just listed at the Reformatory. I tried a little something different with this one. I put the flower at the open end of the bobby pin. That way if you are pulling back bangs or the front section of your hair, the flower is at the far end of the bobby pin. I like the way it looks, will be making more this way. This ones also eco friendly, all fabric is upcycled.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Miniature Rose Flower Ponytail Holders

I make loads of fabric flowers hair accessories but usually for adults. I recently started adding some for small girls, toddlers or babies. These are two rose buds, only about 1" in diameter and made of upcycled fabrics. The ponytail holders are the small elastics also about 1" diameter. Look for them and some tiny hair clips in my hair accessories section on Etsy.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Handmade Pillow Covers

Handmade Pillow Cover by b-a-boop
Handmade Pillow Cover, a photo by b-a-boop on Flickr.
I finally finished the pillows I made those covered buttons for. The fabric is from the piles of designer samples my girlfriend gave me which I'm always using for my craft. This was one of the few fabrics that I had large samples of, 4 matching pieces about 20" x 24". After looking at them many times and debating what to make with them, I finally realized they would go well in my own living room. And luckily I had some coordinating brown cotton to make the edges with. I'm so pleased with how they turned out.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Don't Shrug Me Off - Treasury

Living in South Florida, I tend to wear summer/resort wear most of the year. I therefor don't often shop for knitted items or jackets often, but I'm always admiring them on Etsy & other craft blogs. Lately I've really been getting into shrugs, I think I may have to acquire some, they'd come in handy over strappy dresses and tops when we do get some slightly cool weather. 

So check out this treasury of lovely shrugs I put together on Etsy, perhaps you'd like one too.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Jack-o-lantern Ideas

Jack-o-lantern Ideas
Jack-o-lantern Ideas, a photo by b-a-boop on Flickr.
My favorite part of Halloween is carving the Jack-o-lantern, well not so much the carving itself -leave that to my husband, but designing the face. I do have fond memories from childhood of cutting open the pumpkin and scraping out the meat with a spoon so mom could make us a pumpkin pie. We still use our pumpkin for pies and I've been craving one for weeks. Here are some of the many sketches from over the years of eyes, noses, mouths and whole faces we've come up with over the years.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Tutorial on Covering Old Shank Buttons

I’m making some pillows for my sofa and needed some large buttons for them. I didn’t find any in my collection whose color satisfied me, but I did find 2 rusty old metal buttons and 2 very plain black plastic ones. I decided to look for fabric to cover them. The piece I found was a ribbed knit (the kind used for neck bands on t-shirts). A woven fabric would probably work better for this project as it won’t stretch around the button as easily, but I found that mine came out well enough to use for my project.
I know it’s easier to just buy a covered button kit, but I hate having to spend money on something new when I have so much stuff that needs to be used up here at home.

Here’s a how-to:

Step 1)
Choose a shank button and cut a circle of fabric about 1/2” to 5/8” larger in diameter than your button.
Step 2)
Sew a tight running stitch around the outside edge of your fabric circle.
Step 3)
Place the button upside down on the wrong side of fabric and pull your thread so that the fabric gathers tight around the button. Securely knot off the thread.
Step 4)
Cut a circle of felt or lightweight pellon smaller than the button but large enough to cover the raw edged on the fabric on the back of button. Cut a slice in the center for the button shank.
Step 5)
Run a circle of glue (I used Ilene’s Ok to wash it) around the stitching. Place the felt on top and press firmly down and secure with some clothespins until dry. I placed a piece of plastic wrap on top so any glue that seeped out wouldn’t stick to the clothespins.

As you can see in the photos, it worked a bit better on the 2 black plastic buttons because they had a recess on the back, but the metal ones are still usable.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Halloween Decor Roundup

Here are some recent finds I've come across for Great Halloween Decorations.

Ric Rac Pumpkins at Eddie Ross

Bat Wreath at Did someone say party?

Decoupage Pumpkins at Makes and Takes

Framed Pumpkins at Indie Pretty Projects

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tribal Earrings

While working on ideas for the hoop earrings a few posts below, I started stringing together various beads from my collection. There was one set which I was quite happy with; in which I used some turquoise beads, red glass beads and various upcycled bali beads and bead caps. I had to put them to good use. I grabbed some silver hoop findings and hung them from the bottom of the hoops. I then had to string together one more dangle for the center of the hoop. So in no time flat, a birthday project also resulted in a new item for my ReFORMAtory Etsy Shop.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pink Rose Hair Clip

In a previous post, my niece made her first sewing project, a tote bag. We decorated it with fabric flowers. At the time, I gathered a strip of the pink fabric to make a flower, but we ended up choosing an alternate flower method for her tote. That ruffled flower has been begging me ever since to do something with it. Since this is breast cancer awareness month and pink is everywhere, I finally got to making it into a hair clip, I added both white & pink tulle and a pearly button & attached it to a spring clip. Great for weddings, anniversaries, parties, etc.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Halloween 1977

Minnie Mouse Attacked by b-a-boop
Minnie Mouse Attacked, a photo by b-a-boop on Flickr.
Since this is October, I thought I’d scan my old Halloween Photo Album for something to post. Here are a few photos from way back in college for Fashion Design. I think most of us in class were dressed up, but these two were my best friends, Gloria as the Ghoul, in her handmade costume of gauze fabric and Cheryl as Dolly Dagger, an idea we created from the Jimi Hendrix song. The three of us worked together on her costume. The body suit with the flames was handmade, the boots were spats we made from vinyl and studs that strapped over spike heeled shoes and I think the choker was a dog collar. She had a dagger in her boots and handcuffs chained around her hips. The cape was my grandmas nursing cape which has since gone missing (wish I knew where). I had made the Minnie Mouse hood/ears years before and the red satin skirt was from a box of costume items that had been in our family for years (mom made us many a costume over the years). I just got a ruffley thrift store blouse and a scarf belt to go with it and used some cut off black hose over my arms. I’m pretty sure we all went out partying together that night; it may even have been the year we saw Billy Joel in concert & saw some truly amazing costumes in the audience.

Monday, October 3, 2011

New Treasury, New Team on Etsy

I recently joined the new 'Hollywood Craft Mafia Sidekicks' team on Etsy. It's a newly formed team of crafters in Florida, headed by the great duo who bring us the local Odd Duck Bazaar
I just created a treasury from team member items in Black since haloween is coming  

Friday, September 30, 2011

Hoop Earrings in Silver Copper and Khaki Metallic

My husband asked me to make a pair of earrings for his friend's birthday. She lives very far away from us in Russia, they became friends on flickr; both admiring each others great photography.

He knew from her photostream that she wore hoop earrings. It just so happened that we came across a pair of hoops a few weeks later. The hoops were silver with a ball chain wrapped around them. They had many little silver drops dangling between the balls which I removed. I tried a few combinations of dangles from my existing beads, but Bob wasn't really happy with them, so I took him shopping and he picked out a great match (doesn't he have good taste). After they were finished, it took a few weeks for them to arrive, we were anxious to hear what she thought. Here's a lovely photo she posted on flickr of her wearing her new present.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Variations on Recycled Calendar Gift Bags

We recently had a family party to celebrate 4 birthday’s. I needed gift bags for most of the presents. If you’re a follower of my blog, you know that I enjoy recycling wall calendars into gift bags. Every year I buy beautiful art and photo calendars for my walls. For years I have saved them for the pictures, as I sorted through them last week I was surprised to see how ancient some of them were.
I am constantly trying different methods for constructing them, some have held up better than others. I’m hoping to put together a tutorial, but as I’m always throwing thing together at the last minute, I don’t have pictures to include and I’m sure they’d be needed. Here are the latest bags I put together. 
This was the simplest; I needed a bag strong enough to hold a big book so I covered a cardboard box using calendar pages and slices from a magazine page that matched the prints.
I also needed a bag for the shag pillow; it needed to be wide to fit the pillow. A paper grocery bag fit the task, just folded down the top to the right height and covered it with a cute dog calendar and a piece of used birthday wrapping paper. I used my decorative edged scissors to cut a strip to add on top of the calendar page as it wasn’t quite tall enough.
The last one was for a lightweight object, so I just used the calendar pages, calendars with pages the weight of cardstock work best for bags. The pages weren’t quite wide enough, so I pieced in some white glossy paper and covered it with a magazine page too. For this bag I constructed the bottom out of a cereal box. On all the bags I used some braided yarn for the handles.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Upcycled Jewelry for a Birthday Gift

I planned to make some earrings for my sister-in-law’s birthday, so it was time to rustle through my huge collection of beads and the old jewelry everyone passes down to me for upcycling. I came across some rectangular glass beads in purple that I put aside, and then I came across a necklace with assorted types of purple beads. I thought the leaf shaped beads were nice.
I removed the bar end of the clasp to get some of the leaf shaped beads and as I was removing them, I realized there were way more beads than I needed for just earrings and that I could just rearrange and shorten the necklace into a matching bracelet. It ended up as a lovely set and Joann was really thrilled with it.

I save plenty of old gift boxes, so I had a nice one for the jewelry. But being an avid recycler, I try not to buy new wrapping paper too often. Since I was already working on recycling old wall calendars into gift bags for other birthday gifts, I decided to just use a calendar page for gift wrap. I chose one that was a fairly lightweight paper with a pretty photo of a field of flowers and mountains in the background. So, if you’re ever in need of a small piece of gift wrap (even if you don’t horde old calendars for their pictures) you can always look through the months of your wall calendars that have already passed, it works great.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Making a Welcome Sign

My younger sister asked me to make her a welcome sign for her front porch. She wanted something that wasn’t too cutesy. Since she’s an avid birder, I decided to work up an idea for a bird on a branch.

First step was to look around the house for materials. I found a scrap of wood trim that was a nice height and a nice small pinecone. The wood piece had a corner that was beat up, but decided it would give the sign a rustic look. I cut a small branch off the scrub pine tree in our front yard, but my husband advised me that it would probably deteriorate quickly. So instead I found another small branch of a denser wood which I knew had been laying around for at least a year (just shows how messy a house I live in). The branch had a really nice curve to it so it was perfect.

Now I just needed a wood bird cutout. I went to both of my local craft stores and to my surprise, neither had a bird. I always seem to come up with ideas that I think the materials will be readily available & it turns out they aren’t. My husband said to buy a piece of balsa wood & he’d cut out the bird. So then I had to sketch up different bird shapes and decide on the shape & size of the birdy. He did a great job cutting it out.

I didn’t want to try to paint it like a real bird, thought an abstract swirl design would be more interesting. I looked for ideas online and in the old letraset catalogue I also used for font ideas. Here’s a photo of my swirl & font ideas.
After choosing the font & pattern for the bird I hand painted them both and sealed it all with polyurethane. I used some craft wire to make some feet for the bird and glued them to the back of the bird, then used a heavier wire for the hanger.
It turned out just as I had pictured it in my mind.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Handmade Beauties Gallery

Handmade Beauties, a gallery on Flickr.
A Gallery I just created on flickr of some of my recent fav's from the many craft & handmade groups I belong to.
Jaime, camaleónHandmade bookmarkMy newest creation!schmuck broochantique button cardFoldover Pouch Make-up Clutch Bag Purse Organizer Winter Ice Blue Flower Shimmer

Friday, September 9, 2011

Dreamcatcher Necklace

My niece commisioned me to make a necklace for her to give as a gift to one of her best friends. She came over to look through my collection of materials. She said her friend liked African and Tribal looking jewelry. She chose a few different beads for us to work with & then made some mention of feathers. I remebered I had recently recieved some dream catchers in the mail from some charity I'd never heard of. I went & found them & she decided she like them too. Here is the resulting necklace. Her friend loves it.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Shag Pillow

Shag Pillow by b-a-boop
Shag Pillow, a photo by b-a-boop on Flickr.

Another handmade and upcycled present I recently made. I was inspired by a photo in a book of a denim rug I saw that was similar.

I began with two 14" squares for the front & back of the pillow, cut from a purple tee shirt.

I then cut 12" wide strips from some fleece remnants left over from a top made decades ago. I cut as many as possible from the odd shaped leftovers I had.

I roughly accordion folded the longest strip forming approximately 1" loops to estimate how wide it would end up and didn't think I had enough to cover the whole front. I then cut additional 12" strips from the purple tee shirt.

I started by centering the longest pink strip on one 14" square, leaving 1" of the purple hanging out on each side for the pillow seams. I then sewed a straight seam down the middle.

I folded over a 1" loop and sewed another seam about 1/4" from the first one. I repeated this until I didn't have enough fabric left for another loop.
Since it was knit fabric and going to be stuffed as a pillow, I just eyeballed the loops & seams, some were a bit crooked. If you wanted more precision you could measure & mark each fold & seam.

I then repeated looping the pink on the other half. I trimmed off the remainder of pink strip 1/4" away from the last seam.

I then overlapped a purple strip on top of the pink 1/2" and sewed over the same seam 1/4" from it's edge. Then I continued looping the purple in the same manner. After a few inches of purple loops, I trimmed it off and started another row of pink. As I was working with remnants, some small strips only made a few loops, so I patched pieces together as I had where the pink & purple meet.

I stopped the last loop about 1" from the edge and sewed the strip down to the square with a second seam to keep it from sticking out when sewing the pillow closed.
I thought it would be easier to leave it just with the loops before making it shaggy when sewing the pillow closed. I then placed the other 14" square face down on the loops and sewed the 1" seam around 3 sides of the pillow, sewing as close too the edges of the loops as possible.

I turned it right side out, stuffed in my pillow form & hand sewed the last edge closed.

Then it was time to make the shagging. I just took my scissors and cut the loops approximately every 1/2" (again just eyeballing it) and being careful not to cut completely down to the seams or to slice the base fabric.

And wallah! a cute shaggy pillow out of recycled materials.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Etsy Find of the Day

I came across this while searching for birds on  Etsy. Isn't it just so adorable.
Bird on a Branch by MyWireArt

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Etsy Listing Titles, Etsy’s new search settings, spelling & SEO

If you don’t subscribe to Etsy newsletters and are not aware, this week they changed the default setting for searches to finding ‘relevant products’ first. This means that items with your search terms will appear at the top, not necessarily in the order of most recently listed. I have also been trying to revise my listing titles and tags to optimize for searches. Yesterday, I was revising a set of pillows I have relisted numerous times. The pillows are fuschia in color. I changed the listing title and then did a search on “throw pillows fuschia”. To my surprise it didn’t find my pillows at all. After numerous tries at revising and searching on a few different terms, I discovered that my title had the spelling for fuschia as “fuchsia” because that is the correction that Microsoft word gave me & is the actual spelling of the color & flower (named after a man named Fuchs). On my search, I had spelled it the way I assumed it was spelled, which also seems to be the way the rest of the world prefers to spell it “fuschia”. After revising my listing for the pillows with the incorrect spelling, I finally found them on the search along with everyone else’s fushia pillows. I hope this helps them get more views now.
I guess the moral of the story is - it’s a good idea to find out alternate spellings on your titles. I wonder, if Etsy had a spell check in the search would everyone else’s pillows get lost.

Miniature Journal Pendants are Available

Well I’ve finished the 1st batch of my mini journals and added some chains & chords. Since I’m using these little clip art squares from an old catalog, they feature different pictures on the front & back covers, it’s fun sorting through the book looking for two I like together. I particularly like the one with the old typewriter and adding machine keys. One of the nice things about them is that they are so lightweight, nothing heavy around the neck. I’ve listed a few in my Etsy shop.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Old Sewing Patterns for Sale

I've started listing some old patterns on Ebay. I need to clear out clutter in my craft room. Most all of these patterns are from a company I'm not too familiar with called "Sewing Step-by-Step" and they are from the 1990's. They are uncut, never used and have multiple sizes in each pattern. There are patterns for blouses, dresses, skirts and more to come when I finish scanning the covers & typing descriptions. A lot are basic patterns and can be adapted to update the looks. So if you like to sew, check them out. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Industrial Chic Necklace

I relisted my necklace made from a recycled auto part at my Etsy shop.

The curved piece in the middle is called a c-clip & I think it’s used mainly on the brakes, but you can find variations of these parts for other uses. I added some dangles made from agate stones and shells and put on some old vintage buttons with beaded centers, a gunmetal chain makes the length adjustable. My husband thinks it looks African.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Bathroom Window Valance

I finally got around to finishing & hanging my bathroom valance. We renovated the bath over a year ago and a few months later I can across a remnant at Joann’s Fabrics that matched the tile I used to repair the windowsill. I originally planned to make a horn & swag valance, but the pattern showed it was cut on a curve, which didn’t go with the square background on the print. I put it aside for awhile and after passing by the fabric so many times in my craft room, I finally decided to just go with a traditional pleat. It was easy to construct and it really does go perfect with the tile, so I’m glad I finally knocked it off the ‘to do’ list.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Closing my Artfire Shop

This weekend I will be closing down my Artfire shop. I had tried it as a supplement to my Etsy store, adding items that I didn’t relist right and had recently listed old sewing patterns to weed out my inventory. I’d only set it up on their basic plan, which is free and only had 3 sales in 2 years. Artfire is now eliminating the basic membership and I’d prefer to just stay focused on my Etsy shop if I’m going to be paying fees. It’s generated a few views on a few items, but not enough traffic to keep juggling 2 shops. After I close, I will probably list the sewing patterns and other destash on ebay. 
So if you’ve had any items you’ve been watching, now’s the time to check them out again. Most of the handmade crafts will move to Etsy if they aren’t already listed there now. And a big THANKS to all of you who have visited the Artfire site.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Miniature Journal Pendants

I’ve been working on these for a few weeks. I was inspired by a metal charm in the shape of a book. I decided to recycle a bunch of junk mail, scrap paper, magazines and clip art from an old letrastat catalog (picked up in thrift store). I’ve never handmade a zine or book before, I figured a mini one would be a good start. The journals only have about 8 pages, depending on how small you can write, you could jot down your favorite words, spell out your loved ones name one page at a time, or paste in mini photos & use it like a locket. Not sure yet if I’ll just be adding ball chains, or making ribbon or chord necklaces, or just listing them as the pendant alone. How would you hang or list them?
Coming up in the jewelry section of The Reformatory.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mini Purse Earrings

My latest creation, a birthday gift for a great friend. Took some small scraps of ultra suede and made tiny pouches, gathered the top & crimped on a ribbon end. Then attached some recycle bits of chain for handles. I originally picked out a lighter beige faceted bead for the top, but the shape was too flat, didn’t like it. I needed a more oblong bead. Spent forever trying to locate 2 matching beads the right shape & color, the hazards of working with recycled materials - and of course, I just have tooo much crap!

Possibly planning another pair in blue silk with chains that have some crystal beads on them, they’ll be a bit more dressy.

Just a small sampling of my hordes to sort through


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