Repurposing: A Cosplay Journey

IMG_4023Hello, all! Been a long time, hasn’t it?

Like a lot of people who sew, I have a lovely collection of garments that just don’t work. Sometimes, as in the case of one full-length, forest green peasant dress that I unearthed a few weeks ago, they are the result of a baby seamstress first figuring out technique and design, and not thinking about – let’s say, long-term wearability.

This dress was made for a 4-H sewing competition as part of a cosplay Time Lord outfit. Before cosplay was cool.

It struck me that peasant-style tunic-dresses are in, so I made a plan to repurpose the long, mostly useless dress into something fun and functional for (mostly) everyday wearing.

 

IMG_4040
Here’s the sketch I drew to convey the idea I had for the alterations to my sisters: Trendy off-shoulder with shoulder straps, high waist, straight skirt, and a buckle to allow a cosplay option.
IMG_4028
First, I cut out about 15 inches between the waist and the skirt length that I wanted. This turned out to allow too much for the bodice, so I shortened that by a couple more inches.
IMG_4032
I cut the sleeves into a cap-sleeve length, and used the fabric from one to bias-cut the shoulder straps and buckle loop.
IMG_4036
A tuck here, a seam there, a generous application of elastic, and voila! The dress turned out very cute and wearable, just above knee-length and perfect for summertime. The buckle, by the way, came off of some old pair of sandals: Never throw away anything! (kidding)
IMG_4038
With the skirt buckled up, it takes on an elven, cosplay look. And looks amazingly like my original sketch! (love it when that happens)

Perhaps I will edit this post to include a photo of me modelling this – with the waist cincher!

I love repurposing one garment into something totally different! A red plaid Highlander skirt has become one of my favorite dresses; and my pretty, princess-y Easter dress this year used to be a hideous ’90’s affair of pleats and sailor collars. But I forgot to document the process!

I hope you are inspired to try some repurposing this week ūüėÄ

-Abigail

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Photographing Food

I love food. Food makes me happy.

valentines-day-cake

And occasionally I remember to take pictures of the dishes we make! So I thought I’d share a few of those photos here.

Admittedly,¬†some dishes,¬†like pilafs, are really hard to photograph. And another difficulty I find myself facing is that we usually have our main, photo-worthy meals in the evening when the lighting is… difficult.

The beautiful heart shaped cake to the left was made¬†several¬†years ago for Valentine’s Day. I forget what¬†recipe we used for the cake, but it was delicious.

And something I’ve noticed more recently is that¬†we didn’t serve the cake on¬†a Fiesta Ware plate, which¬†we normally would’ve done… so¬†it was pre-Fiesta Ware¬†days!

img_2385

Then there are also times when I happen to have my camera with me – or nearby – and I notice something that would be interesting to photograph…

which was the case with the coffee grounds pictured on the left. It was just too interesting looking for me to resist, especially since my current camera focuses very nicely. In this case I like how it either looks like chocolate or dirt or like what it actually is. Naturally, I took lots of pictures, but I liked the way this one turned out.

img_2364 I believe this was the mince pie we made recently. It was looking so wonderful and yummy in the light that, of course, I had to take pictures of it!

Solid things seem to be the easiest to take pictures of. Like I said before, pilafs or rice pudding, or anything with a squishy, gray-ish color makes it difficult to photograph. The best thing to do with those dishes, if you want to take pictures of them, seems to be to put a nice garnish on top and don’t get too close… allow people to imagine what the gray-ish dish is.

img_2852

The most recent food thing I’ve taken pictures of is the hot cocoa to the left… the wonderfully thick, rich, amazing Hot Cocoa.

I was trying to take pictures of it, and for some reason it was pretty unsuccessful. Maybe the lighting was off. However, I did manage to get this nice close-up of the surface, in which you can see the reflection of the orange slice and a little of the room. Yummy!

winter-orange-2A couple years ago I decided to challenge myself to taking pictures of food. It’s an ongoing challenge, since a dish will sometimes strike me, while others don’t work. Tonight’s meal of carrot soup and chicken with couscous was pretty, but I doubt it would be easy to photograph.

So,¬†this year, I think I’m going to challenge myself to something even tougher. And… I’m going to challenge you too.

Find something you find especially difficult to capture, either photograph or paint or whatever the case may be, and try to capture it.

img_3043In my case, I’m going¬†to challenge myself to Photograph my family. For some reason I find it difficult to photograph people, which is sad considering they’re much more important than¬†most¬†(if not¬†all)¬†things I take pictures of.

So, anyway, I challenge you to¬†photograph or paint something you’re unfamiliar with this year. Challenge all the photographers or artists you know. I’ll go ahead and do a blog post on my process and the final results by April (although I should be able to manage it in March)

So there we go! Now the challenge is out, and I’d better get to it ūüôā

Hoping everyone has a great finish to their week,

Sarah

 

Friday Featured Favorites: Redo

(I wrote this blog post – like… a month ago, and discovered recently that I hadn’t published it! Terrible mistake, considering the featured shop ūüôā )

I found a really fun shop a while ago…

and then I lost it. Fortunately, I found it again, and today I will feature it! This shop is known as VintageRedo, operated by Pamela.

il_570xn-733919732_skv2What caught my eye and made me want to feature this shop? First of all, I liked the art. Then, I love how Pam remakes something old¬†– not only new –¬†but she seems to completely reinvent it!

I’ve been looking around Etsy recently, and realizing that there is a lot of interesting retro/vintage things to find there. We’ve even discovered lots of stuff that we have, so apparently we could start up our own vintage shop!

I saw the art here on this shop, as shown on the left, and I really liked it. It’s surprising, unique and pretty.

I contacted Pam, thrilled to be featuring such a fun shop. I was especially interested to find out how she got started doing this art.

Apparently, she started when she was a young girl, and she always loved making¬†jewelry. Her first¬†project was using her grandmother’s buttons and jewelry to make a picture.

il_570xn-722749850_tr5m

Pam started her Etsy shop because, as she put it, “I’m an empty nester“. It turned into more of a business because of her love of jewelry and,¬†as she puts it, a girl can only wear so much jewelry.

I asked her what her favorite era of history is. The Victorian era is one of her favorites, but she also specified the last 10 years of the 19th Century (also known as the Gay Nineties) as a favorite because of their intricate and beautiful buttons.

I looked up the Gay Nineties for myself, to see more about this era, and the buttons Рamong other things Рare quite amazing.

il_570xn-816480541_h39n

I found it difficult to figure out what photos to use from this shop, to capture the beauty Pam creates, so I definitely recommend you check out this vintage shop!

There are several necklaces and brooches, and I love all of the beautiful art pieces she created out of the jewelry!

Once again, the name of this shop is:

VintageRedo

I hope everyone’s December is going well so far, and everyone’s weekend is great!

Sarah

Thankfulness Thursday: Tiny Treasures

Phew! Craft Fairs are over;¬†deep breath, refocus, and…

Well, life is still really crazy and more than a little stressful. Not only is the holiday shopping season upon us, which means that we must devote more time and energy than usual to our Etsy shops, but also several things around us are breaking down or otherwise unreliable. It’s crazy, and emotionally draining, and sometimes too much.

And in the middle of it all, Thanksgiving is a week away – reminding us to take a little time to be thankful. So… Another deep breath, and I notice all those things that are truly wonderful around me!

Like, the refrigerator working and full of amazing treats awaiting the feast before us.

And furry animals in general (Annie our dog especially, although I am quite fond of cats too!).

And Etsy.

Etsy is a huge part of our lives right now; and naturally we’re grateful for the opportunities it provides. In fact, please head over and check out our shops! We have some really cool Autumn and Winter, Thanksgiving and Christmas and Hanukkah things coming out (plus sales and coupon codes, in case you need something!).

But I’m also thankful for a few treasures that I found on Etsy. Yes, for the first time I went there and actually did some shopping! Hannah gave me a gift card for my birthday, and with it I purchased three little perfumes and some makeup.

 

img_3030
It’s also NaNoWriMo, so my novel gets to be my backdrop!

 

Since it’s Friday, when we Feature Favorites, and we’ve always meant to do reviews, here you go!:

Addictive Cosmetics

img_3026I’m not quite sure if AddictiveCosmetics is actually addictive yet – though I admit it is highly tempting to go back and try out more! I ordered a foundation sample (Ivory 2) for my picky skin: It has nice texture (satiny might be the best word), pretty good coverage, and a pleasant smell.

My second purchase was the one I really wanted: Warm ‘N Toasty liquid eyeliner. I’m experimenting with eyeliners right now, and found this one to be a beautiful coppery color which complements my coloring.img_3029

Then, as an extra blessing, they threw in a powder eyeshadow! I don’t have a good photo of it (since it tends to cloud every time I open the tight little container), but it is a gorgeous dark copper – the perfect shade to match the eyeliner.

Deep Midnight Perfumes

This shop might be my new obsession! It kind of appeals to the (ahem!) goth side of my personality. And to my love of interesting, unusual scents. Because…

 

img_3038
My wonderful assortment of perfumes: Pumpkin Gloom, Pumpkin Fiend, Pumpkin Pixie, Seven Veils, and Blood and Donuts

They have pumpkin perfume!!!

 

This makes me very happy.

I¬†chose the Gothic Pumpkin sampler set, which includes Pumpkin Pixie (sweet and playful), Pumpkin Fiend (darker and, for me, nostalgic), and Pumpkin Gloom (dark and woodsy). And the seller threw in a sample, Seven Veils (floral and feminine). And another sample! – Blood and Donuts (chocolatey and perfect for my horror novels!), which reminds me of New Mexico’s very own shop, Rebel Donut, which anyone who comes here must try!

 

img_3036
She also threw in a skull charm, which I find amusing and have attached to my journal ribbon

 

I wish I had space to fully review each of these scents! It is so much fun to experiment with each of them, and (even though they are itty-bitty bottles) they will provide me much pleasure for a long time!

 

It is, you see, not merely Etsy for which I am thankful: It is the little treasures – moments of brightness, pleasure, happiness, community, that it has brought me. These small blessings lighten the dark times, and make life ever so much more fun!

-Abigail-

P.S. Thank you, Hannah! Awesome gift!!!

Cogs & Gears: Craziness!

Sometimes, in the midst of all the insanity, you have to find a moment of rest.

That’s what we’re up to this week, and it’s definitely time!

 

img_2797
A few props from a recent item photo shoot. They looked so perfectly Autumnal that they deserved a picture of their own!

 

What with one thing and another, things have been really crazy around here – as evidenced by the fact that we keep forgetting to blog! It’s been something like this:

  • Finally found a way to increase visibility on Etsy – which is wonderful, except that it means spending a lot of time and attention.
  • The holiday shopping season is fast approaching, and there are so many ideas that we want to make and put out there on our Etsy shops!
  • The dryer isn’t drying, which makes laundry days slow. And then –
  • The washer developed homicidal mania (apparently), which makes laundry days impossible!
  • And the oven door won’t close.
  • And I stepped on a thorn! (Ok, that one’s a personal complaint!)
  • November’s coming, which means NaNoWriMo! and also:
  • Craft Fairs!

So – with all of this craziness happening and requiring urgent attention and lots of work – we’ve decided to take a week off from Etsy!

Counter-intuitive? Yes! But it’s a good time to step back and get a bit of perspective on where we’re going, which projects actually require our attention, and where our emphasis should be.

It should be interesting: No Etsy work, or talk, or shop work, is allowed. Instead, Hannah and Sarah and I will work on sewing some personal Autumn and Winter clothes, and focus on planning the novels we’re writing in November.

Sometimes, you need to step away from it all and take a break!

 

img_2350
Some of the very fall-like earrings that I have been feverishly listing!

 

(Of course, you can also use the coupon code “Halloween” for %15 off anything in my store, where I also have free shipping on Autumnal items. I’m really pleased with how my Autumn Ephemeral Earring line came out! Please feel free to take an inspiring look!)

And here is a slideshow of our recent excursions, for a bit of distance-recreation:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

-Abigail-

Cogs & Gears: Sunflowers!

Around this time of year, an explosion of sunflowers hits the arroyos around our neighborhood. They’re everywhere! It’s¬†a lovely small variety of sunflower, which started somewhere (either in somebody’s yard, our from a wild area of the Bosque) and then seeded and spread year by year. They’re also very pickable, and make for the most amazing arrangements.

img_2225

Inspired by all of this amazingness, I created my very first Etsy Treasury!

(Here it is)

It was surprisingly easy to make, since sunflowers look beautiful and make for beautiful jewelry, shawls, vases, and too many other things to mention! I discovered that having a strong theme is an asset for a Treasury: It turned out beautiful and vibrant, please take a look!

Hannah’s stunning painting of sunflowers made it on the Treasury, of course (Here’s a link to it)

 

img_2076
I also put a pair of recent earrings from my own shop on it. (Technically, you’re not supposed to do this, but they turned out so perfectly that I couldn’t resist!)

(Please have a look!)

Sunflower Nuno Felted Scarf. Summer Silk Scarf. Flower Felted Shawl. Artistic Accessories. Felt Clothing. Nuno Felt Wrap. Black Summer Wrap
Here’s another of my favorites – though you should really check out the Treasury to see them all!

(Voila!)

I couldn’t fit these two items on the Treasury, both from new lines on my shop which I will have to introduce in a later post! But here is a link to their listings: Sachets, and Fingerless Gloves.

Bumblebees, also out in full force in our neighborhood (and landing disconcertingly in one’s hair), made it onto my Treasury too. So here are a couple more pictures to take us out on¬†the sunniest of¬†notes!

-Abigail-

Cogs & Gears: Play

I was going to name this post “All Work and No Play,” but on consideration decided that that might conjure images of a really crazy Jack Nicholson, which would be regrettable.

Image result for jack nicholson joker
Not this crazy Jack Nicholson (though – yikes!)

 

Image result for jack nicholson the shining
This one! (Haven’t actually seen this movie, but you get the idea)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And anyway, I think I’d rather examine the idea of play all by itself.

It’s my Ladybug Week again! As Sarah was saying recently – a planned time to step away from all Etsy stuff before it totally overwhelms me, to step back and get some other stuff done, to relax and not worry about things like business: Sort of an every-seven-weeks vacation.

Now, I’ve always had trouble with the idea of play and recreation – an occupational hazard for someone whose work is what they love: I like crafting – but should I stop making stuff this week? I love writing¬†– but having just finished July’s CampNaNoWriMo with a lot of hardcore writing time, should I take the week off? What do I do instead?

I came up with a very depressing list of things To Do every day this week:

  • Yard work for 2 hours – weeding, digging, bug control, etc. – even if its 90 degrees outside.
  • Attack the mending pile.
  • Clean and declutter an increasingly chaotic house, for 2 hours.
  • Study really hard for 2 hours, to get back into regular schooling.

This excellent program is probably something I actually should do some week, to kick-start several projects that need doing. But, while it would be different work from Etsy-listing and novel-editing, it would be anything but relaxing and restful.

What makes this Ladybug Week harder is that, 1) I feel like I didn’t get that much Etsy-work done in the last few weeks, and 2) CampNaNo gave a lot of momentum to my writing that I don’t want to lose. However, 1) I did manage to establish a routine of listing a new item on my shop every day almost – and that’s quite the accomplishment, if you think about it! And, 2) I generally find writing very recreational.

I was telling my helpful sisters about all of this, and that helped me realize that I should make this time off into a restful thing and not fill it up with extra stressers and hard labor. I do need this, to put myself back together or keep from falling apart, to get some perspective, to refocus on where I’m going rather than floundering about,¬†and to¬†enjoy some random things!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So, here’s an actual list of the fun things I want to do this week:

  • Put some music on my phone (which is smart! yay!)
  • Create some art, which I began last year. It’s time to bring it together!
  • Sew a purse for myself out of some very fun Parisian fabric (again, I’ve had this project hanging around for a while, and it’s a little daunting – so it’s the perfect time to take it on!)
  • Figure out and blog my goals for the month
  • And blog about what our theme this month will be (spoiler: it’s gonna be fun!)
  • Watch some “Daredevil” (probably while sewing)
  • Continue writing – this chapter is exciting!
  • Play some Taptiles and other games

There you go! It still looks busy – but it should be fun rather than arduous work!¬†Bonus: the New Mexican monsoon season has begun, so it looks like it’ll be gloriously stormy for the next few days.

What are your plans? Do you have any fun-and-frolicsome ideas that might spice up my relaxation?

-Abigail-