Wednesday, October 26, 2011

12 by 2012

Okay, so a couple of the blogs I follow have done this. And it makes my mind tick: what would my 12 be? As I start to think of it, I probably only get to point two (ha!); then my mind wanders elsewhere. So if I write it down, it is bound to be easier, right?

So here I am, this is me. I am attempting to get my 12 out there! At the conclusion of 2011, I will look back and reflect on how far this ambition-filled post actually got me =S

1. Create a balloon-animal inspired colouring book
I have been encouraged to do so, and I am very willing. The plus side of this is having fun drawing the pictures, and then there is the earning potential. Emphasis on the potential ;) hehe
I already have a willing customer, will make the motivation come along easier.

Above are some that I have already done, but there are plans to be more focused around balloons not just those who twist them ;)

2. Make some fun hair accessories
I cut my hair very short in January. When I could finally tie my hair back, it was a great relief. It's fun being able to wear cute clips again, however I believe I need to amass some new trinkets. There are some great tutorials that I would love to try! For instance, this headband tutorial by Flamingo Toes:

Picture (c) Flamingo Toes

3. Organise the girl-cave
Well, this area of the house is a little bit scary. It's that room of the house which is rather like the black-hole of loose ends. You know that item that you need a place to put, and rationally you know it should not just get added to the pre-existing room of doom; yet physics demands the natural order of things... Ergo you see my problem. 
Motivation to fix it: We will swap and that will become the master bedroom (well, it is bigger...)

No picture for you!.jpg

^ That was a community service. There is no way I would subject you to the sight of it. I'll reserve that for my loved ones who would be more forgiving... Because they love me.

4. Buy some things for my balloon business that I have been coveting
There are some amazing people out there doing amazing things with their balloons. I have actually already placed my order for one of these books, and the other will come when the opportunity arises.

The dress, flowers and more are made of balloons! Picture (c) Rie Hosokai

Amazing balloons and the bestest colour as the title of the book! Picture (c) Tan Lily

Rie Hosokai makes balloon dresses that will take your breath away. Tan Lily makes balloons so adorable that I almost can't stand it! Ladies of amazing talent and so very inspirational..!

5. Sew a Christmas dress
Something fun and festive. Oh yes. I'm thinking a take on the Ms Claus outfit, complete with fake fur. Oh yes.

Inspirational... But imagine the skirt longer and more work-appropriate. Oh yes, the plan is to wear into work ... for the Christmas party.

6. Make fun butterfly creations
Maybe you've seen my tutorial? Well I want to try making more and seeing where they end up. I has plans for rainbow butterfly domination. No need to be afraid!

7. Create a balloon-twisting PDF
Similar to the first 1/12, but rather instructions on how to twist some of my favourite girly things. I've already enlisted the aid of a friend to be my photographer, so I just need to actually sit down an plan and get things done. Let the idea of monies be my inspiration haha =P 

8. Post on my blog at least once-a-week (possibly the hardest?)
I try to be a better blogger, and when you come to think of it; it's only 8 posts! I will do the noble thing and not count this one of course.
If there is any suggestions on content you'd like to see... Let me know, ya know?

9. Sew a skirt
I have sewn a couple over this past year, BUT they are almost all pleated skirts (well, I do love me some fine pleats!). I like the classic pencil skirt with high-waisted detail. And a peplum. Gotta haves me some of a peplum!

Skirt inspiration courtesy of Asos 

10. Finish a dress refashion
I purchased a 2nd-hand dress recently which I've had a fiddle with, but no snip-snip action. Plans: I have them. Now I just need to make them happen. I think this dress has been unaltered since April. Aw man.... Way to place that one on the back-burner!

11. Create a pair of shoe-clips
Well, not the actual clips per-se, that is just a little more technical than productive! I've had inspiration, just no creation. Thanks to eBay, I have the mechanical means I just need to decide and execute on the decorative design.

12. Update my website
It's unfortunate yet true. I need to update my website. Especially since I'm planning on increasing my rate per hour, I want to keep any visitors to the website fairly in the loop.
Besides, I've done some work that I'm proud of, and I'd love to share that with my visitors. Heck, why don't you go visit even?

Thanks for reading, and wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rainbow Butterfly Trinket Tutorial

So, some of you might know - I'm engaged. My working theme for my wedding is: Rainbow Butterfly Garden. It always sounds cheesy when I say it out loud, but trust me when I say I have a good feeling about this ;)

On my agenda of fitting the theme, I have seen some gorgeous decorative butterflies for sale at the markets. I've considered my options available on the matter; which range from potentially hiring a display from the vendors, to forking out the dollars as a bonbonerie (<- Possibly the best wedding word ever!). But I imagine the male guests wouldn't be as thrilled to be gifted one, so phooey to the wasted expense!

That got me to thinking one lazy Sunday that I could make them myself! Dingdingding went the alarm bells... I decided to take some pictures as I went along, so lucky you as you score a free tutorial.

These are the materials I used:

1: 3x Transparency film w/butterflies | 2: Various beads for decoration
3: Jewellery findings (crimp beads only used with nylon thread) | 4: Nylon thread
5: Needles (only 1 needed! A sharp pin is also OK) | 6: Glue (preferred was hot-glue, not pictured)
7: Puff glitter glue | 8: Scissors

I started off by Googling for free butterfly images and found the outline of a butterfly that I liked. Using Photoshop, I coloured certain areas in full black; and others I used the gradient tool to colour the wings, and altered the opacity of some of the butterfly's colours.
Once I had a page of 8, I went to the local Officeworks and requested 3 colour prints on transparency film. The total cost: $2.91.

Using scissors, I carefully cut around the outline of three butterflies of the same colours. You only need to cut the antennae for the one that will go on the bottom, not all three.

For the first butterfly, you do nothing. The one that will be in the middle, gently fold the wing up where it meets the body, on each side. You will do the same for the 3rd, however if you make the third more pronounced it will help the viewer see all three sets of wings.

Next, glue the three layers together. For my first attempt, I used the glue shown in the picture. It was akin to superglue, and I'm not sure that I recommend it. For the subsequent two I have made, I used a hot glue gun and it seemed to work even better! Make sure that the glue is only placed on the body of the butterfly, not the wings. You want them to be free to move, remember?

Allow the glue to dry, and carefully you can use glitter pens to decorate any areas of the butterfly. I'd only recommend decorating the wings of the top-most layer, but I also added spots to the ends of the antennae. 

Be careful with this next step! Using a needle, I pierced through all three layers and the glue so that I had a small hole running through the middle. At first I wasn't sure it would work, but it did. So if you have any of those moments.... Perseverance will pull you through!

In the above image, I have already begun to thread the hanging nylon with decorative bits. Pull that need through at this time though, but wiggle it around a bit to make it wider for your thread or eye-pins, as required.

When I created my first butterfly, I did not buy clear jewellery thread as  thought I had some at home. I was mistaken, as it was the nylon and non-clear kind. As a result, I wasn't 100% happy with the finished look. But it can be used! When  made my next two, I used my jewellery supplies and made it with fine chain instead. I prefer this look, but go with what you like!

I used decorative pieces that I brought from the local Spotlight to gussy up the hanging parts. It is recommended that you have the butterfly firmly between beads on the bottom and the top so it sits right as it dangles. So make sure it is flush and it won't sit awkwardly on your decorative line.

If you...
Use chain:
I used eye-pins to thread the beads on in my 2nd and 3rd attempts. The sequence can vary, but it basically needs to go: eye-pin, bead, butterfly, bead and then twist the remaining straight end of the eye-pin to make another 'eye' and enable it to be attached to chain.
Use nylon thread:
You can replace the chain with the nylon thread; but to ensure the butterfly sits nicely, you will need to re-thread your line through the first point of entry to your bead at least one extra time. This will help your bead to stay where you want it to. 
When using the crimp bead, I threaded it first onto my line. Then, I threaded the end bead. I threaded the end of the line back through the crimp bead and then squished it tight with the pliers. I had to add in a few knots for my own piece of mind too. 

I finished off the last end with a lobster clasp. This allows it to be secured at any point of the chain; but also where I have put it on my rear-view mirror, the clasp encircles the entire circumference of the chain allowing it to adjust to its perfect cinch.

And voila! Here you have 3 finished treasures:

There is some assumed knowledge here about how to do basic jewellery work. There are some great tutorials out there though if you are new to it. I even have one here which can help you! Please ask any questions if you need to, I'd be more than happy to help!

Oh, and why should dangly decorations get all the fun? I took a boring pen, old bit of ribbon and golden decoration I appropriated from the last wedding I attended and whipped up this pen. Don't forget the hot-glue! It's currently spicing up my pen caddy at work ;)

To have fun with this craft, you only need to stop the butterfly after the glueing stage, then you can let your imagination run wild!  Decorate mirrors, headbands, make magnets.... Have fun! I know I will <3

Disclaimer: Please ask if anything does not make sense, towards the end my head literally started pounding! Do not hesitate to ask any questions at all.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cue: The Knock-Off

Recently, I started a new job. Not the job I coveted, but maybe things have worked out for the best. At least for now. One of the best things is the ability to have no restrictions on what I can wear (besides thongs and shorts!). A downside of this is gives me the challenge of what to wear each day!

I purchased a dress from one of my favourite shops, Cue. The hardest thing about buying from my favourite shop is the prices. Ouch to the $229 that the dress cost me! Given my sewing mind, I realised I could do my own version of the dress for a fraction of the cost! And so my challenge was set.

The original dress has salmon pink for the bodice, and chocolate brown for the skirt. I was excited to chose my own colours for the dress, and chose a deep purple and an amazing Japanese fan print for the skirt. 

My skirt features a different style of pleating and a lower neckline. The original neckline cause irritation to my collarbone area. Spotlight, where I purchased my fabric and other bits and pieces didn't have the colour purple I wanted for the zip, so I went with pink instead for a fun detail.
When I wore the dress to work, it was with a brown skinny belt and matching kitten heels. 

Would you like to see some of the building stages? Read on!

The toile was draped on my dressmakers dummy, Bumble Bee. She is padded to my dimensions, and was purchased from the fashion school at the end of my course. Although the term 'draping' conjures images of folding and draping fabric onto the dummy to create a garment, it is not the only meaning of the term. Its a means to make patterns utilising the curves of the body that is not the same when drafting a flat pattern.

One thing that really excites me about this dress is the finishing techniques used. Thanks so the two tutorials from The Slapdash Sewist, and on from The Musings of the Dedicated Housefiancee, I made a dress with fully sewn arm holes and enclosed lining around the seam around the zip and where the bodice meets the skirt.

This is what the lining looks like on the inside. I love how it looks so much that it will feature in my next dress. It will be made from suiting material in purple and grey.

Well, that's it for now. I'm off to watch Spongebob Squarepants and Ren & Stimpy as I cut out the pieces for my next dress. 

Until next time!

Update!: The dress in Action. I wore it today, and it also happened to be a day that a Police License Plate competition I entered had their press release. I was invited along as 4 of my suggestions were chosen, and the biggest vehicle on the fleet was one of them! Woohoo! :D

Read the article on the NT Police Facebook Page here. How cool right? (the green highway patrol vehicle to the side reads: PATROLN which was one of the other 3 ;) The two not pictured are BSAFE and YDUI which will go on motorcycles (so I'm told!)
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