Archive for the ‘embellishing’ Category

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!

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Perler Bead Headphones Embellishment
March 27, 2012

Here’s a cute, fun and easy project you may have seen floating around on Pinterest lately.

Simply slice through the length of each perler bead with a razor or craft knife. Make sure it is sharp, because you don’t want to cause indentation marks when you cut! I found that this utility Exacto worked really well for this project, because I was able to use the ‘tape split’ bit to hold my beads open, which allowed them to pop right onto the cord. As long as you don’t stretch them too much when you put them on the cord, they will mold back to their original shape and you can hardly see the sliced marks.

I did not follow a color pattern with mine, just put them on in random order. I also didn’t fill up the entire length of the cord, I left space so the beads can slide around. It kind of reminds me of a Fisher Price toy. This entire project took me less than 15 minutes to do – it’s so simple it almost seems stupid, but it reminds me of the kinds of toys and crafts I used to play with when I was a kid. And now my headphones match my colorful ipod case!

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.

Fleece Penguin Hat
February 1, 2011


I would estimate that about 75% of my projects start out as a seedling for a great idea. The other 25%, well, they are usually the fruits of a silly idea or a half joke, half challenge.  (Case in point: my boyfriend sent me a facebook comment: “you up for this challenge?” with this photo.)

This idea was actually the reason that Darcy decided to attempt to make me a sock monkey for Christmas, returning the favor of a homemade present.  I’ve noticed a new trend lately of really cute knitted animal hats, and I thought it couldn’t be too hard to make something similar out of fleece. So I prepared myself for the task.

The hardest part, by far, was developing a pattern for the base of the hat. I have a very basic knitted cap with ear flaps on it, and my mom helped me to lay it out and trace the basic design. It is virtually a tube with the top part sectioned off and sewn to created a rounded top, but it was a little tricky to figure out the angles of the cuts.

This was another project that got a lot of help from mom. I think I may need to create a tag for that…

It took a few retries, trying on and adjusting, and a lot of paper pattern making, but we were finally able to design the white face and orange beak to attach to the hat. I cut  little black wing/flippers for the sides, and braided strips of black fleece for the ties. I attached black animal eyes to the front, and sewed circles to the inside of the hat to cover the posts of the eyes.  As a finishing touch, I crocheted a little blue bow, to make the hat a little more…. feminine. Ha!


It was a well received gift!

Crochet Flower Headbands
February 1, 2011

Before the holiday season, I took a trip to Idaho to visit my sister and her family. As usual, it didn’t take long for the craft supplies to come out and cover the living room floor.

Since their last visit, the girls have maintained their interest in crocheting, so this time I taught them how to make little flowers, from a really easy pattern I found in this book.  We used a cotton crochet yarn, commonly used to make washcloths, so the flowers came out bigger and thicker than they would have with regular yarn. We bought some elastic, and the girls colored it with markers to make the headband.  After sewing the flowers together, it was their idea to finish them off with a button center!

We couldn’t stop there though, so after the headbands were done, they crocheted matching flowers for wristbands.

Lily helped me wind balls of string while they worked.

They wore their works to school the next day!

“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.

Cutie Crafts
September 11, 2010

I realized I have yet to make a post about the epic visit I had from my nieces a few weeks ago. The girls are extremely crafty, and can spend hours cutting and glueing, so needless to say we all get along very nicely…

Our first venture included a round robin story-writing conference, where we put my many typewriters to good use:

Next, the girls helped me by modeling many new things I have been meaning to put on my Etsy, but haven’t gotten around to taking good pictures of. Maybe their adorable faces will help me sell out of my Etsy slump!

(custom manicure by yours truly)

In a random fit of what some might call insanity, one night while we were sitting around at 11pm Lily asked me to make her a little owl she found in one of my amigurumi books. I started messing around with it and it came out pretty good! I later made Ashley and Emily these two cute little eggs, with a top and bottom shell. Inside is a little ball shaped chick with a beak and eyes. I didn’t get pics though, I was working on those until the morning they left to go back home.. ha!

with the colors she picked, I think it looks more like a parrot.. but cute all the same.


While at great grandpa and grandma’s for dinner, I showed Ashley and Emily how to crochet. They wanted to learn how to make a ball, so they could make some amigurumi too, so we started with making a square and worked our way to 3D. Ashley took off, but Emily couldn’t quite get in the groove things, until we switched her from crocheting with her right hand to doing it with her left. All the sudden it clicked! So interesting.

this picture cracks me up because they have the EXACT SAME EXPRESSION. concentration face!!!

Here’s a video I made of Emily explaining how to start out, when crocheting.

I really wish I hadn’t stopped the camera when I did, because at the end of the video she says “now, should I show how to start?” as in start crocheting. When I said no, or shook my head, she goes “GOOD, UGH” and everyone laughed!

Last but certainly not least, I broke out a bunch of clearance paper I bought from work for this exact occasion and we all went to town. I had been working on my knitting zine and the girls were very intrigued by a few paper punches I had lying around. And who can resist a pair of decorative-edged scissors??

Aunt Trista’s Works of Art
August 17, 2010

up til last year, this was my bed.

My Great Aunt Trista was a very talented crafter, and I’m proud to say I get some of my tastes and talents from her. We have many of her handiworks in our christmas decorations, including tiny crochet snowflakes like these (not my image) which she would pin to a board and coat with glue to stiffen, and these wonderful ornaments. A few years ago I pulled them out of seasonal boxes and decided they were too beautiful to only be seen once a year. Here are two ways that I displayed them in my room: tied to my canopy bed, and tacked above a high doorway in an old dorm room.  I’ve tried to recreate the ornaments, which she made by covering styrofoam balls with silky fabrics and pinning old jewelry, trims, and sequins to, but I couldn’t get them to look nearly as good as she did. She made so many ornaments that she was able to give many out to my dad’s entire family, as well as decorate her own tree entirely. As I get older I’m really sad I wasn’t able to know her more closely growing up, she passed away when I was young and I only have a few memories of her at holiday parties. She was a very talented and classy woman!

two other really great things she made: framed “scenes” of vintage jewelry formed to look like bouquets of flowers. She had a collection of jewelry to die for, I believe she went to garage sales and scavenged for old jewels. The great part of these kinds of projects is that you can use broken or old jewelry and repurpose it, giving it new life. I have this vague memory of going to someone’s house, it may have been her or maybe not, but I remember in the doorway a framed piece, 3-4 feet tall, and it was in the shape of a Christmas tree.. made entirely of old brooches. WOWW!

Sparkle Pickguard on my Fender Strat
May 29, 2010

The seedling of this idea started forming many years ago (see below.) Once I decided to tackle the project, things started coming together fairly quick, but I had a few things I had to figure out.

here’s the before: borrrrring!!

I bought the silver sparkle paper at JoAnns, in the open stock paper section. I bought two pieces, which worked out well because the pickguard was just big enough that it wouldn’t fit on one sheet, so I had to make a small piecing at the bottom (which you can see below.) I also used most of the second sheet to test out coatings.

First we removed the strings, and all screws that hold the pickguard to the guitar:

coming soon: craftswithboyfriends.com

I was originally thinking we could just take the pickguard off and trace it to make a stencil. Shows how much I know… the guard is actually attached to the pickups and knobs, so removing it isn’t a great idea if you don’t know what you are doing. We ended up having to do a little hunting online, and came up with some outlines of right-handed strat pickguards. Thanks to my wonderful and crafty boyfriend, who was able to not only reverse the image but somehow figure out how to print it at fullsize, on multiple sheets of paper which we cut out and taped together, to make a coherent stencil to trace.

Here’s where my mad x-acto skills come into action:

I traced and cut the stencil out of the sparkle paper, and had to painstakingly trim the pickup and knob holes to size so that the piece would fit precisely on the guitar. I am a huge perfectionist and this part was kind of agonizing, for me. Luckily the screw holes were just the right size for a hole punch.

Then came a tricky part. Attaching the paper to the guitar wasn’t an issue at all, because the glitter paper is conveniently sticky-backed, for optimal useage. But, it’s very textured and I knew that would be a problem when playing because it would not only be scratchy on my strumming palm, but it would scratch off really easily when my pick hit it while I was rocking out.

I tried many, many things, and nothing seemed to work as hoped. A few coats of all purpose craft glue, contact paper (wouldn’t even stick to the glitter,) varnish, spray paint top coat, and an actual sparkly sealant. Finally, I realized the answers to all my troubles were encased in a powerful, magical, and attractively labeled orange bottle…..

I lost count after about 4 coats, but slopping this baby on there did the trick. While the regular glue made the glitter shine a little flat, mod podge coated without diminishing shine. It also stuck to the glitter better than anything I could think of, and by pooling in the cracks the multiple layers were able to almost completely cover all the pieces. The pickguard is still rough to the touch but not nearly as sand-paper-scratchy as it started out. et voila! behold!

as you can see above, the tiny corner still needs to be added on.
A huge advantage of the texture is that seams virtually disappear.

The inspiration:


www.agsfb.com/
www.myspace.com/agsfb

An all time favorite band, I was first introduced to All Girl Summer Fun Band when I was 15, at Girls Rock Camp. Kim, the above pictured guitarist, was one of the instructors for the beginning guitar class. She and a bandmate taught us how to play Smells Like Teen Spirit! I always loved her guitar, lime green with a sparkly pink pickguard… it made my black and white strat look so boring and generic.

AGSFB’s music is just so adorable and fun and innocent, I can’t get enough of it. It has acted as a soundtrack for many fun times in my life, and has been something I bonded over with several close friends. It’s just something you can’t listen to without smiling, and feeling silly and carefree. Kim not only gave me the idea for this project, as early as 9 years ago, she later told me how she did.  Who would have thought it would take me this long to get around to trying it!