Archive for the ‘collections’ Category

Decorative Jewelry Organizer
April 10, 2012

Lately I have been looking at a lot of jewelry storage online, getting ideas for a new project. Not only do I have a TON of jewelry that is always getting tangled up together, but I also have a bad habit of taking off my necklaces and rings and leaving them in various places, only to wonder where they are later. I really like this concept because it turns your jewelry into a sort of framed “art” while hanging, so it’s beauty can be enjoyed even when it’s not being worn. In feeding my recent Pinterest obsession, (which has shown no signs of subsiding) here are some great examples I have found: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

I had some time off work recently, and on friday I got a little frustrated with myself because I feel like I have been wasting this time off, and haven’t been very productive in the wake of the rush to get inventory off to my aunt’s store opening. On Friday, I sat down to make a list of weekend project ideas, and then made a shopping list, and set off for Goodwill and Home Depot.

This project set me back about $25, mostly because of the hardware. I bought a few hooks that I didn’t end up using, so I haven’t included them here, but otherwise, here is a breakdown of the cost:
Frame: $6.99 (used)
Mesh screen: $10, for 3’x5′ roll
1/8th” ‘s’ hooks: $7.49/100 (this seemed highly overpriced to me ūüė¶ … )
gold clip hooks: $3.99/100

here’s the before shot: jewelsplosion

I bought the frame at Goodwill – it appeared to be a fairly cheap, simple black frame. When I went to drill and staple into it however, we discovered it was actually made out of oak, which is a tougher wood to deal with. The issue with the frame is that you want it to be sturdy enough to be able to support the force of the mesh being stretched and stapled across it’s back, as well as the weight of the jewelry. It’s also important to consider how you will hang your frame, when deciding what style to use. I originally wanted to go with a decorative, beveled frame like this one, but I knew that I had a lot of jewelry to hang and I didn’t want to start off with such a heavy frame. I also wanted to keep it simple, so that the frame wouldn’t distract from the jewelry.

First, I gave the frame a few coats of a light blue spray paint.

Then, my dad helped me staple the screen to the back. This proved a little challenging… we couldn’t fit the screen on the inside of the frame, like where a picture and glass would nestle in. There just wasn’t enough space. So we fit it across the back, which left about a quarter inch of space all the way around.

We left a few inches around while we stapled, which allowed us to hold and stretch the screen, to make sure that it was evenly and taughtly attached. Next, we trimmed the screen down to size. This part was a little tedious, as the only way to trim the screen is to cut each individual bit with skinny trimmers. A word of advice, for anyone who attempts this project: These trimmed edges, no matter how carefully you cut, will still be able to scratch the hell out of you if you brush up against them. We could tell at this point that we would have to cover the back somehow, to prevent not only personal injury, but also to protect the wall.

(alternate post title: Dad Crafts 2012: Easter Edition)

Once trimmed down to size, my dad drilled holes along the bottom, so we could screw in some clip hooks, to hang rings.

Now that we were getting near finished, we assessed the inside gap between the frame and the screen. My dad ingeniously suggested I sew some little tubes of fabric, and glue them on the inside. The best part was that I didn’t have to worry about any seams showing, so it was a cinch to put together. I layered some cute flannel with strips of felt, and folded them into the gap with glue.

I had actually already decided to hang this display from the second towel rack in my bathroom, rather than worry about trying to find a nail strong enough to hold it on the wall. But just in case I decide in the future to hang it like an actual picture, and to protect from the deadly spikes of wire on the back, I glued strips of felt to the back of the frame. You can’t see this at all from the front, but it allows for a nice finished look on the back.

click to enlarge!

I originally intended to hang this from the towel rack with a large S hook, but the one’s I bought wouldn’t fit around the frame. Then I remembered that I had these clear plastic shower curtain holders, and they did the trick quite nicely. I added a third clip in the middle for reinforcement.

¬†Admittedly these little s hooks aren’t ideal – they look nice, and I prefer them to a hook that is attached more permanently to the board, but things must be removed fairly gingerly or else several pieces come falling off at once. These were the absolute smallest hooks I could find, and in fact they weren’t even hanging within the hook display at Home Depot – they were shoved underneath, and the package was taped, as if it had been kicked around for some time. It led me to believe they don’t typically make hooks this small or smaller anymore, and this was old product. If I do this kind of project again I will probably do some scouting for a better, cheaper hanger.

I really love how all my jewelry looks on here, and I think this will encourage me to vary my wear more, as I often get into the habit of wearing one piece repeatedly, when it is new and my favorite.

This… made me realize I have a TON of rings. This is not even all the rings I own! I do wish there was a way to display them so they are facing up, but I couldn’t think of any. Further development may be required….

Until next time!

Imagination Emporium
April 4, 2012

I am very excited to announce that my aunt Lisa has opened up her own retail store in Grafton, North Dakota called Imagination Emporium. The store will feature all sorts of beautiful home decor, decorating, and apparel items, some purchased and some handmade. Not only does my aunt have great taste, but she’s also got a really keen eye for displays and merchandising, and I have no doubt her store will do very well. My mom and I were invited to contribute to the stash inside, and we had a great time sewing and crafting together in preparation. ¬†We were able to get three boxes mailed out by the end of last week! It felt GREAT, especially as I was able to send off some creations that have been sitting around my apartment for a while. ¬†While it would be nice to have a few extra dollars coming in each month, I ultimately just want to show my support by helping the fill her shelves. Any earnings are just a great bonus! Also, now I can add to my creative resume that I have several wares for sale in an actual shop!

The first two photos here are ones I received via text showing the excitement of setting up the store.

And now, a photo dump of all the handicrafts I am sending:

adult sized slippers

This is a slipper pattern my grandma taught me, and it was the first project I learned after learning the basic stitches of knitting. She used to make these slippers for her own children, and then all the grand-children… I’d guess she’s made at least 20 pair just for our family. She can’t really knit anymore because it’s too hard on her hands – and these are knit in double strand, on size 8 needles, it’s tough on my own hands! In fact, I’d like to take this opportunity to brag that I actually have developed a knitting callous on my left pinky. Now that is what I called hardcore knitting!

baby slippers

I’s hard to see the proportions here, but these booties are only about 4″ long, while the adult slippers are about 10″. I adapted this pattern from the adult sized slippers. These are an excellent way to use up yarn that is leftover from other projects.

crochet flower headbands

The pattern for these flowers and leaves comes from this book, “100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet.” I believe I have posted about it before. This is an excellent book for creating realistic and detailed flowers for all types of embellishing on projects. The patterns range from beginner to advanced, and the instructions are detailed, including symbolic diagrams. The author, Lesley Stanfield, has created a similar book called “75 Birds, Butterflies, & Little Beasts to Knit and Crochet” that is equally cute and fun.

The flowers on these headbands are made from nice wool yarns that I bought at a garage sale this past summer. The seller had them in medium sized bundles for 25 cents each. I think she was a weaver, but she had no use for them anymore. The colors are just amazing together!

crochet flower pins

This is the same knitted flower pattern as above, but made with a thinner yarn (actually, the yarn I got from Goodwill in this post!) I made leaves for these too, and glued them onto hair clips. My mom was thinking that these flower headbands would be a hit for girls for Easter.

I cut little felt discs to glue on the back, to hide the hot glue and the clip.

Everything looks more legit when you put it in a plastic bag with a price tag on it!

covered button bobby pins

These next barrettes you may recognize from a holiday bazaar I did about a year and a half ago. I was really excited to be able to send these, because since the bazaar they have essentially been in storage. I thought about listing them at my Etsy store, but since there is such a large amount it would be very time consuming to take pictures of them all, and potentially expensive in listing fees, especially if they didn’t sell. I also think they really are best presented in person, and it’s more fun for a potential customer to look through them all together and choose their favorites. I’m very excited to see how these do in the store.

I tried to use all different, fun fabrics, and all sizes of buttons, so there’s bound to be a pattern and style to interest everyone!

bow bobbies

these are just some fun little bow pins I made from glittery ribbon I got at JoAnns.

I will update this blog with updates about the store’s success, so stay tuned! in the meantime,¬†Click here to ‘like’ Imagination Emporium on facebook¬†and show your support!

Refinished Vintage-Style Bookcase
March 27, 2012

I bought this bookcase last summer at a garage sale for $8. I don’t know exactly how old it is, but it is at least modeled in the style of mid century furniture, with the short, angled feet and the cutout on the top shelf. And it was certainly beat up enough to show it had been kicked around for 50+ years. I asked my brother for some help, as he is a professional house painter, and lately has been moonlighting as a “furniture flipper” on the side. It was pretty dinged up, so rather than try to sand out all the imperfections and refinish it, he suggested a bright coat of paint. He said he’d help paint it, and that we should use spray paint to get a smooth finish and avoid the lines that brushes leave in paint. At first I was skeptical, because I’ve seen many a shoddy spray paint job on larger pieces of furniture, completely uneven and graffiti’d looking. But he assured me that spray paint can actually create quality results, and he has a pretty steady hand.¬†I washed the bookcase and sanded down the dings as much as I could, and we went to pick out a color. I went back and forth on bright cherry red, mint green, or a medium shade of blue. Eventually I settled on¬†Krylon’s Indoor/Outdoor satin paint in Oxford Blue.

I¬†left it for him to work on when he had time, and about a week later he sent me a text message picture, showing his masterpiece work ! I thought it was really cute how he “staged” it in my parents house, with the doily and plant.

Here it is in my apartment – with a few touches of my boyfriend’s own decorating accents ūüôā It fits dvd’s perfectly! The spray paint really went on beautifully, and it has a nice sheen to it.

Repurposed Vintage and “Inspired” Findings
July 10, 2011

¬†A new interest lately has been creating adjustable rings using vintage clip-on earrings and other jewelry findings. ¬†I always love the super gaudy, huge beaded and rhinestoned vintage clip on earrings, but not only do I have pierced ears, I also have really tiny lobes and those things tend to look gargantuan on me. ¬†So I found another way to use them! ¬†I’m much more of a cocktail ring type of girl myself, I think most of the time larger jewelry looks better on fingers than it does on ears. ¬†I have more of the vintage earring rings I haven’t photographed yet, I’ll post them as soon as I do.

I also came into these really great disc brooches with beads and velvet, that had come apart from their backings. with a little imagination, I was able to turn them into some pretty fabulous cocktail rings! I really love these, ¬†and it’s going to be hard to part with them, but I’ve just listed a few of them on etsy if you’d like to take a look at some more pictures.

The Sexy Librarian Fanclub
July 9, 2011

click to view larger!

Some of my most coveted collected items belong in my vintage glasses frames collection. I started this stash a few years ago, but have always been completely obsessed with vintage frames. I can spend literally hours looking at frames online. After much lamenting and google searching, I bought my first pair of black lenses¬†from a website* called Allyn Scura around 2004 or 2005. Those trusty “female Buddy Holly”s lasted me up until a few months ago. ¬†¬†I recently became¬†eligible for¬†eye-care¬†insurance again, and came into a little money after receiving a settlement from my car accident, so I treated myself to three new pairs of frames from Hollywood Vintage in SE Portland and took them to my eyedoc to get filled.¬†¬†The process is surprisingly simple!

Anyway, vintage frames have always been on my radar at antique stores/expo, junk shops, and garage sales. ¬†All of the frames pictured above came in some form of second hand, with the exception of the ones I have prescription lenses in. ¬†(In general the frames that I collect are used/have someone else’s magnifiers installed, while the ones I wear are NOS, or New Old Stock. This means they are vintage, but technically “new”, as they’ve never been used. Such a label comes with a much higher price point, and less stranger’s face grease.) ¬†I kept my old frames in a cigar box, and brought them out to show friends, but the box started to get beat up and soon I had too many frames to keep it closed. Displaying collections (see: my take on the Wunderkammer) is something that is really¬†intriguing¬†to me, and I think is often what defines the thin line between collecting and hoarding.

I had the idea for this elaborate glasses display for quite some time – it took a bit of reworking my ideas, but the end result I think is pretty damn rad. This was a project I ruminated on for a while, and then went to my dad with my ideas. My dad is the kind of guy you can ask to construct anything, and in 10 minutes he will come back with an intricately designed plan. He is also a huge inspiration in the sense that he can make something out of literally anything – or nothing.

This case actually started out life as a somewhat unfortunate looking display box for “trinkets” that I bought at Goodwill, and used for a while to store “random crap I’ve crocheted”:

The frame and top shelf have this awesome bevelled edge, which was the main reason I thought this would be the perfect body for a glasses display. The weirdly shaped-and-spaced guts were added in later I believe, specifically to fit someone’s collection.

I didn’t take any production pictures, but over the course of a few weekends, we worked on the box. Dad cut a new back piece that was thicker than the original plywood, and we covered it with a thin piece of foam plus purple velvet. ¬†It took us a while to figure out what kind of hangers to use for the glasses so that they would be evenly spaced and float away from the back of the frame to get dimension, but that wouldn’t distract from the display. Eventually we decided to use electricians wire, which is copper and coated with a thin plastic covering. I wrapped each peg in purple yarn, and added a dot of purple hot glue to cover up the end, so that they all matched the backing. The electricians wire was also a pretty genius choice because I can bend it to meet the specific needs of each pair of glasses – some need to hang higher, or have their pegs wider apart, and this allows me total freedom with that.

We ended up keeping in the top shelf, partly to help stabilize the frame, and partly because I loved that edge and didn’t want to get rid of it. I am thinking about adding a little mirror to the top, because now that the frames are displayed they just beg you to try them on and fluff up your bouffant. I also want to use the shelf to display vintage glasses accessories like the little rhinestoned pin you see in the first pic, or glasses that won’t hang up.¬†I wanted to display my bespectacled spaghetti poodle (1st piece of a new collection???????) on top, but the shelf turned out to be too narrow so she’ll just have to be satisfied with chilling close-by.

you can’t tell, but she’s winking!

*                    *                    *                    *

Another website I absolutely love to browse is Vintage 50s Eyewear on Etsy, which gets updated once a week and each frame is more fabulous than the next.

Click here to view my favorites on Etsy – unfortunately I can’t sort them to only show my favorite frames, but if you flip back through the most recent 10 or so pages you will see a ton of frames that I couldn’t stop drooling over. Most of them are now sold, but I like to keep them in my favorites to admire back on, and swoon over, every few months.

*I’m not necessarily a huge advocate for buying online, as vintage frames are often quite eccentric – and a good fit (both size-wise, and shape) is important, but I was able to pick a relatively simple style for my first pair and my optometrist helped me to choose from the two measurements available on the site. It helps that they have a decent exchange policy, which is something I would definitely¬†recommend¬†checking out before buying anything of the sort online. ¬†But keep in mind, trying on a TON of different styles and knowing you have many great, fitting choices is half the fun of getting new glasses!

The Relentless Urge To Create
June 16, 2011

paint works of Earl Joseph MartellPhoto © Earl Joseph Martell. Click the image to be taken to his blog.

This is a really wonderful article I found during one of my lengthier perusals of craftstylish.com. I find the interview to be really inspiring, and have stopped back to read it every so often. This is such a wonderful example of creativity working itself into every person’s reality and daily life. I love this man’s ability to see beauty in something someone else wouldn’t even take a second glance at, and his urge to capture the beauty in that last fleeting moment, before it becomes something else entirely.

Q: I always ask people whether they believe the urge to create‚ÄĒto make something beautiful or useful‚ÄĒis something that is inate in people (or in some people) or whether they think it’s something that can be acquired or developed. Which side of the question do you come down on?

A: I say, realize what you’ve got, what you’ve been given, what’s in front of you, and either embrace it and move forward or settle into something less than your truly authentic life.*

Read the entire article and see some great captures at the Craft Stylish website, or visit Earl Joseph Martell’s blog.

Knittn’ Kitten, and Other Recycle Shops
May 8, 2011

Knittn’ Kitten
7530 NE Glisan St.
Portland, OR 97213
www.knittnkitten.com

Knittn’ Kitten is a really great craft supply thriftstore on NE Glisan, in Portland. My friend Nichole took me there a couple years ago, and I’m hooked. They always have a really great supply of buttons and beads, fabrics, sewing notions, yarn, and knitting needles at really amazing prices, often mere cents. A lot of the fabric, buttons, and notions are vintage. I always come out of the store with a whole bag of stuff, and never spend more than $15. ¬†The last time I went in, they had a ton of little animal noses, and I had been wanting to make some little crochet dogs so I bought them out.¬† The store is always extremely clean and organized, small things are bagged up and labeled, and fabric is always measured out and wrapped up. The store is run by a mother daughter team who are both friendly and helpful!¬† I also just feel really great not only supporting a small business, but recycling craft supplies too!

During my last trip I also came out with this really great bias tape, that I am still pondering how to use. I was thinking a guitar strap for my SG would be super cool. What do you think?

East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse
4695 Telegraph Ave.
Oakland, CA 94609
www.eastbaydepot.org

When I lived in the east bay, there was this other amazing store called the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse. (This is an old pic, they have since moved locations. But whenever I think of it, this is the store front I see.)¬† They always had a huge mish mash of potential craft and art project supplies – huge drums of old vacation slides from the 70’s, mountains of fabric samples, pallettes of little corked bottles, old binders, paper, a whole section of old magazines and national geographics… the store was usually crowded and things were thrown around but it kind of added to the atmosphere. I went in there many a weekend with friends, and a lot of the things I bought went into projects for school or boredom-sucker projects. The guys that worked there probably thought I was a crazy hoarder, (well, let’s be honest, I kind of am) but it seemed like everytime I went up to the cashier, whatever I had was always $3. Always. How could I resist making routine weekend trips?

SCRAP!
(School & Community Reuse Action Project)
2915 NE Martin Luther King, JR Blvd
Portland, OR 97212

I’ve only been to SCRAP in Portland once, and it was long ago before they moved to MLK, but I am always hearing great things about them, and I had a great time there back in the day.¬† I think the only reason I haven’t visited more often is because my craft hoarding has sort of gained a tunnel vision away from paper and odds and ends, and prefers yarn and sewing supplies like at KK.


SCRAP (Scrounger’s Center for Reusable Art Parts)
801 Toland St
San Francisco, CA 94124
http://www.scrap-sf.org/

There is another SCRAP in San Francisco, which I have heard equally great things about, but never had the pleasure to stop by.¬† It’s probably better, as I’m running out of craft storage space as it is…

If you ever stop by any of these stores, leave a comment or pics with your awesome finds! I’m also interested to hear about any other shops in the area similar to this!

“Masculine, Feminine” Book Project
September 30, 2010

This is a book project I did in my junior year at Mills for my class, “The Artist Book In A Gendered Space.”* In it’s tag, it is listed as a self-proclaimed “unique artists book made of woven metal sheets, wire, hinges, balsa wood, paint, small pleasingly touchable things, and lots and lots of glue gun.”¬† The assignment was pretty conceptual; what I was going for was an interesting juxtaposition of supposed “feminine” things (scraps of lace, ribbon and fabric, buttons, a key, rick rack, rhinestone hair pins) confined within a “masculine” space (the solid frame, metal structure, little to no color or frills.)

At the time I was becoming very interested in resin and testing what I could and couldn’t embed in it.¬† I originally intended to pour resin into the frames to suspend all the objects, but it proved to be harder than I thought to figure out how to create a sealed tray for the resin to stay within.¬† I like that embedding things in resin makes them like a tiny display, even when they aren’t surrounded by a frame or put in a traditional setting where it is obvious that you are supposed to “view” them.¬† I think even without the resin, the frames are pretty successful at making it obvious that this is not merely a book with pages, but more like a collection of “works” held together with binding.

I bought the metal screen in the clay molding section at Michaels, and folded pieces into crude pages.  I used some tiny metal hinges and wire to bind the book, and I painted balsa wood black and formed frames for the pages.

This book was featured in an exhibit put on by the class, shown here outside the book art studio at Mills.¬† There were a few places on campus open to the department where we were able to set up our work for display, which was really exciting.¬† This exhibit was called “Rendered Gender”.¬†¬† Each exhibitor wrote an artist’s statement to accompany their book in the case (you can read mine by clicking the link at the top of the page.)¬† My senior year I also took an independent study on book art where we learned how to curate a book art show, and all the special nuances that go along with displaying books and other 3D works of art.

*This class was, I believe, where the previously mentioned “period book” came from.

The Littlest Dachshund
September 20, 2010

I crocheted this amigurumi dachshund for Rian for our 1-year anniversary.  A few months into our courtship Rian and I got on this kick, kind of an inside joke I guess, about how much we loved dachshunds and how funny they are. It has become a full blown obsession now, and we talk all the time about getting one whenever we move in together.

how could u not luv me, my nickname is sausage dog!

It’s funny because all my life I really have not been an animal person at all – I never grew up with any pets, and friends pets and animals in general kind of turned me off – but for some reason I have been changing. Call it the maternal instinct in me, or whatnot. Also, since my brother has gottten a dog (two years ago now!) and I have really bonded with her, I like spending time with an animal as a companion, it’s just so comforting. They have basic needs, and when those basic needs are met they love you forever! They are especially fun when they have such character and charm as Zowie!

I had originally planned to make this ‘lil badger hound for his birthday in June, but at the time I got really stuck on how to make the face realistic. I had originally gotten the idea here, and just planned to copy it from sight. The original dox has a yarn nose that is sewn in after, and it looks cute as is, but for some reason mine was not turning out the same way, which is why I gave up.

Then a few weeks before our anniversary, I came across a few packages of these plastic safety noses at a garage sale for 10 cents each, and then the idea really started to come together. The nose makes the face look sooooo much more realistic! I started with the face and once I saw that was coming together, the body was a cinch. I wanted to make the body just long enough to be comical, and the ears had to be pretty big. It was an added bonus when I figured out how to sew them on so that they could stick up, if so desired.

we’re going for accuracy here, people.

The really funny thing is that Zowie went crazy when she saw the finished product. I think she recognized the dog face, and thought it was a real life, tiniest dog ever. Of course I had to tease her by making the dox “bark” at her, and pretending to sniff around. She approached with intense curiosity, and a little caution.

Of course, they soon became bff 4evR ūüôā

As a bonus feature to this post, I would like to highlight an Etsy shop I recently found that has a special place in my heart and firefox bookmarks…

Young Urban Puppy on Etsy

Click the text or image to be taken to the most amazing Etsy work of art you will ever experience. After a few minutes of browsing, you too, will feel the intense desire to own a mini dachshund of your very own.

Aunt Irma’s Prized Poodle
September 13, 2010

On a recent scouring of Goodwill, I came across this absolutely stunning piece of handiwork, which my mom was happy to model with. It appears to be needlework/latch hook worked onto canvas which was then attached to a carpet sample and mounted on a round plaque. Please notice that the dog is tethered by a gold chain that is attached to a real piece of driftwood.

Do yourself a favor, and click it to view fullsize.