The Sexy Librarian Fanclub

July 9, 2011 - Leave a Response

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!

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The Relentless Urge To Create

June 16, 2011 - Leave a Response

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—to make something beautiful or useful—is 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.

There’s A New Baby In Town

May 13, 2011 - Leave a Response

As my satisfaction has gradually dwindled away over the cuteness level of my last doxie crochet project, I decided to up the ante when I found these mini-tiny dog noses at Knittn’ Kitten.  I designed a little pattern for them, and since it’s a fairly quick project, I want to make a bunch and sell them on my etsy. I may even sell the pattern, which is something I have seen on etsy quite a bit but haven’t designed anything worth writing up all fancy like, before this. My attitude towards patterns is usually just to “wing it”, and I tend not to keep track of what I’ve done, as long as it turns out as I want it to in the end.

made sure to make the ears x-tra large, and borderline *comedic*

fun sized, yet still cuddly!

Terrifyingly, Zowie thinks this is one of her toys. I have found it on the floor more than once. Thank god she hasn’t chewed out the nose and eyes yet, which seem to taunt her with glee. She somehow knows this lil baby doxie is too cute and helpless to terrorize in such a horrific way.

Knittn’ Kitten, and Other Recycle Shops

May 8, 2011 - 2 Responses

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!

SushiBooties on the Martha Stewart Show!!!

April 4, 2011 - Leave a Response

My friend Della was on the Martha Stewart Show!!!!

Della was one of five finalists in the show’s “ReMarthable” contest, to find the crafter who best embodied the style of Martha herself.  She got airtime last friday, to show Martha her Fortune Cookie baby booties. See the clip here! I’m so incredibly excited for her, and needless to say, am living vicariously through her. This kind of prize is pretty much the ultimate reward to any craft enthusiast.  While she didn’t win the grand prize from Martha (a customized bmw) she won the people’s choice award, determined by online votes. I may be biased, but I think she should have won everything.

You can also check out Sushibooties on Etsy!

Happy Floral Shower Curtain

April 4, 2011 - One Response

I have been looking for a new project to work on sewing skills. Often I will find fabric at work, and the only way I can justify not buying it on the spot is that I want to dedicate it to a project first, because I splurge.  I’ve got terrible crafting hoarding tendencies, so I’m trying not to fall down the same slippery slope with fabric.

I have been admiring these cool plastic grommets at work, and have been trying to figure out what kind of project I could make that would showcase them. We have them in all colors, bright yellow, kelly green, cherry red, a dark true blue… They look so fun.  Unfortunately they were a little spendy – $10.99 for 8! I made sure to save coupons.

When I found this bright floral material, I knew I could make a really great shower curtain using the pink grommets. I love the color scheme of the material, the print that is just busy enough to be this side of chaotic, and it’s a poly/rayon that is soft and silky so it drapes really nicely. I added in panels of blue cotton because the material wasn’t wide enough on it’s own, and I didn’t want to have a seam running through the floral print. I also made a tab of cotton at the top to hold the grommets, for aesthetic reasons and also because I thought the cotton would be more stable.

I bought a set of metal shower curtain hooks at Target for $6 and we were in business!

This was a really fun project and a great way  for me to practice sewing. I used a large cutting mat and rotary cutter that I found in my mom’s sewing stuff downstairs, which greatly helped cut straight and clean lines.

I have four grommets left over – I’m thinking of a cute, sturdy cotton reusable shopping bag!

Krafts For Boyz

February 15, 2011 - One Response

As I’ve said before, I make every effort to hand craft all my gifts. This doesn’t exclude boys, and it definitely doesn’t surpass Valentine’s day. Rian is actually really easy to craft for, now that I have narrowed down his two favorite things: video games, and dachshunds.

This plastic canvas “gameboy” ipod holder I made for both Rian and my brother, who just had a birthday. It’s a really simple design, not only practical but a great conversation starter.

doxie approved!

Rian has been requesting a Mario themed Kleenex box for some time now, and I figured it was time to deliver. I sewed the question mark panel first, and then decided to do the other 3 sides as scenes from various parts of Mario games. I had a lot of fun googling pictures for ideas, there is an unbelievable amount of mario themed crafts out there, from plastic canvas to perler beads. Here’s a noteworthy favorite, and probably my next craft to tackle…

(click pics to see larger versions!)

(the shirt was his Christmas gift, got it on etsy!)

last but certainly not least, I found this dachshund pillow kit when I was rearranging the clearance fabric last month at work, and was going to surprise Rian with it. But then I decided it should be saved for something a little more special…. It’s funny because once it was made it looked a lot more like a strangely stunted golden retriever than a doxie, but nonetheless he loveddddd it!! This was one of my first sewing projects, so it was great to practice doing curves and sewing the bottom piece on. I stuffed it really full so it’s a firm pillow, and then as a crowning glory I added the plastic animal nose to make it a little more realistic. HA! I’m thinking now I need to go back and get another one for myself…

 

In case you were wondering about my presents, I got treated to a night away at a nice hotel at the beach, and these amazing gifts! We obviously know each other so well:

Sewing Kitten

February 1, 2011 - Leave a Response


does this even need a caption?

Fleece Penguin Hat

February 1, 2011 - Leave a Response


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 - Leave a Response

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!