How to turn the proverbial “lemon” into Limoncello….

We have all had those time pop up in our lives.  Times where no matter how hard you try to move forward, things just keep popping up that create a backwards slide.  It’s at these times, we generally have two choices.  We can choose to wallow in our misfortune; to bemoan the fact that our car died, that our hours at work were cut, AND and unexpected trip to the doctor all popped up at the same time.  Or we can pull up our big girl panties and realize that our car will now get better gas millage, we get more time to enjoy with our children, and our family is now healthy and happy. Yes, at these times it may seem over whelming but each and every day it gets a little easier until we look back and say “what was I truly stressing about?”

Each time this happens in my life, I admit I succumb to those dark moments of grief and regret but I also realize these moments are getting shorter and less dramatic.  Age has it’s perks.

So one of the perks of learning from the past is planning the future.  I have decided to follow a dream.   Each day I take one step closer, sometimes it’s baby steps other times I feel like a Kangaroo.  At this moment and time I feel like a hibernating Zombie toad, waiting for the warm rains to stimulate some movement.   There have been alot of recent obstacles popping up that need to be overcome.  The latest in my line of “what now’s?’ is this:

Compounding patchwork... computers should not be quils.

Compounding patchwork… computers should not be quilts.

My primary work station, the one I am delicately writing this little dialogue on, has lost it’s ability to open-close-even stay upright.  It’s one of those wonderful malfunctions that can not be fixed…  The screen of my laptop completely snapped off and is no longer attached to the base… it’s a 5 year old computer and is still running like a champ.   Luckily my absolutely wonderful husband rigged up this snazzy “cast” for my computer.  A wooden base to prop the screen up, complete with a little bit of Sugru and a rubber-band to keep the screen from falling forward quickly (my poor fingers sometimes get caught).

Now my husband is a master at building computers, but pre-fab laptops were not meant to be “fixed”.  He has put together a list of the parts he needs in order to build me a fully functioning desk top, that will not only allow me to expand my photography hobby- but will also allow me to have the ability to set up my own web store front!  I AM SO EXCITED!  I have been designing my web store front in my head for years, and I finally get the chance to do it.

Here’s the hitch(es):  Hours were cut back at my full time job AND we are in the slow season for etsy sales.   Among other things…

Here’s the solution:  I have yards and yards and yards of awesome, amazing, unique, colorful, and completely-ready-to-be-made-into-custom-awesomeness fabric and supplies.  AND at the beginning of august I have 1 full week off of my full time job.  You ask, so what does this mean?  If you would like to help me make my goal of getting a new computer built for my business, by my wonderful husband of course, and stock up your swag bags for the upcoming holiday seasons at the same time, this is for you:

  1. first: contact me to discuss what you would like to have made, it can be an existing design or a custom one.
  2. select fabrics from existing stock
  3. expect your item to ship by 8/11/13
  4. RECEIVE 35% off the price.

* as an extra perk if you order an outfit including a piece made from our wonderful ruffle fabric, receive an extra 10% off that ruffle item.

All items will ship first class, unless priority shipping is cheaper.

This discount is not available for orders through etsy, unless you would like to use a credit card (prearranged custom listings only).  All orders will be done via email,  payment with a paypal invoice.  Our email is ursulaglassgoddess@gmail.com.

Please contact me today to get your order started!  And thank you for helping us reach one of our goals!!!

Bringing Handmade back into chic!

Ba hum bug.  It was August 30 when I saw the first Christmas decorations being stocked in the stores!  Labor day bar-b-ques had not even been lit, let alone their labors been digested.  The consumerism in the winter holiday season has just become ridiculous and unfortunately taking the magic out of the season.  I LOVE fall.  I LOVE harvest, pumpkins, apple cider, chilly evenings, the passing of mosquitoes, frost, costumes, CANDY, and enjoying family.  This is all being drowned out by that which is around us.

I understand there are a couple things that need to be done really early for the winter holiday season.  I mean you can’t take pictures for holiday cards on December 5th and have them sent out in time… hello!  I am not crazy. Also unless you are INSANE you probably can’t quilt an entire blanket in a couple days either.  There are things that take time… but buying ornaments, trees, or tinsel in August? Really?

Okay, so now off my soap box.  I know there are many of you out there who are in agreement.   But as I was walking through a local big-box store today, I was inspired:  my goal for this upcoming holiday season; is Once a week (atleast) I will share an awesome Homemade project that would help make some wonderful and thoughtful gifts.

The economy is slowly starting to turn around (it is really!!! look at the non-syndicated numbers!), ever so slowly, AND you have a choice where your hard earned money goes!  All I ask is that you be conscious of where your money is truly going ~ whether you buy local, support small business, or standard industry.  Just be informed.

The first homemade project that I am passing on, this is truly a fun one and you have plenty of time to make different versions.  How many of you have a loved one with an American Girl Doll?  Here is a FREE tutorial on how to make her some clothes!!!  http://www.libertyjanepatterns.com/2011/04/free-american-girl-doll-dress-pattern.html

Happy projects, and even merrier gifting!

MUAH

Ursula

A continuation of mini-top hats and other fascinators

I love hair accessories, I always have.  Unfortunately up until recently I had always worn my hair short or slightly past short.  It was practical, easy to care for, easy to style, and the biggest factor was my hair just did not grow long.  Though with the shorter styles all I had to do was wash and go, being blessed with slight body and interesting coloring, it was easy-peasy.  During my pregnancy my hair grew, fast and thick, not uncommon for a gestating woman.  But it was incredibly uncommon for my hair to actually grow past my shoulders.  You see, no matter how I tried, no matter how long I waited, my hair would never go past my shoulders… it just stopped at that length.  It has been two years since the birth of my daughter, and I have only trimmed my hair twice.   It has managed to make it just level with my shoulder blades.   I don’t expect much more length, but that is fine. It is the perfect length for adornment!

Mini-top hats have come back with a vengeance, helped in part by the interest in Steampunk.    But, luckily, most people who take part in Steampunk are also incredibly intelligent and love to learn.  So not surprising mini-top hats are just one facet to all the fun hair accessories finding a revival.   A while back I posted a tutorial on how to make fun little mini-top hats, actually that tutorial comprises 70% of the hits on my site.

I love the fact that so many people have seen it, and many have implemented the techniques.  I have written this fun little post to encourage divergence and imagination.  Take what you learn from that fun little tutorial and transform it into something new and exciting!

Facinators can take many forms, from a flat round base decorated with feathers to a fun embroidery headband.  Heck I even have the sweetest crochet octopus with fun googly eyes.  You can even make them into mini-sculptures.  Let your imagination run, and find fun materials to make them with!

Recently I have been having some fun, and I just wanted to share some inspiration with you.  This amazing pillbox hat, has a unique design.  you would think it’s just the mini-top hat shortened with out a brim.  If you made it that way you would end up with a fez.  What makes this design sit perfectly round on top of the head?  It is an oval.  Simple as that, a human’s head is not round. It is misshapen, oblong, oval, and protruding.  The secret to a well fitting hat: expect the unexpected!

Now, onto some less structured inspiration.  Facinators do not have to stick out of the head. They do not need to provide shade or protection.  Their main function is to keep hair in place… either helping the hair to frame the face, or to pull it out of the way.  So to make this most utilitarian of functions more pleasurable we can add a bunch of sparkle and pizzazz.    Here is a fun example of a simple facinator adhered to a metal headband.

Simple, elegant, and incredibly useful!  Again making this fascinator uses the same basic steps as outlined in my tutorial.  There is a buckram base to help with stiffening the glitter fabric (yes. FABRIC not glitter foam from walmart), and giving a great base to build on.  Another example of a flat fascinator, but this time it is attached to a hair comb instead:

This piece has a couple layers to give it’s unique shape. Underneath the glitter fabric, but right above the buckram base is a couple lines of millinery wire. Strong , flexible, and yet incredibly resilient material.  This wire can be gently formed and re-formed without breaking.  It will hold any shape, for as long as it’s allowed.   And it is resistant to corroding.   Granted if you want to frame large top-hats or Bowlers, you will need to invest in some basic crimping tools. But for simple facinators, a sturdy wire cutter is sufficient.

I hope that these pieces can give you some inspiration in your projects!  The age of elegance is sorely needing a comeback.  Bring personality and style back into the world.  Just because everyone else has a certain piece, does not mean you have to have it too, join me in standing out in the crowd!  I’d love to see what everyone is up to.  Please feel free to post links to your projects below, find me on pinterest, or stop by my facebook page and drop a line.   Happy crafting!

Fashion Fabrics… now they are in, ooops- now they are out!

So I love finding all kinds of new fabric, stuff I had never tried before, and just want to make something… anything with it!  I am lucky enough to have a well loved hospice resale store close by, this is where I find most of my “vintage” or one-of-a-kind finds, but I admit I do most of my fabric shopping on line.  Granted each and every computer screen has a little different color set up or resolution, so it is very hard to fully trust what you are looking to purchase is good quality.   But through a couple friends, I learned that most of these online stores are more than happy to send  you samples (usually bolt ends or seconds) for a big $ discount, samples that you can actually experiment with.

But I am going to let you in on a little secret, your best asset is your network.  Most small seamstress businesses are more than happy to share their thoughts on a particular fabric, or even better yet a great source!  I love it when someone gives me a “lead”, even though 90% of the time it is a dud.

This brings me to my point.  When we found out we were pregnant, there were many decisions to make.  Luckily we were both in agreement that she would be cloth diapered.  Not only is it truly cheaper, and incredibly easier than disposables but it also is good for our daughters health and the environment!  So I went looking for supplies, at that time none of the big box stores carried any of the items I needed.  I came across a couple COOP and bulk buy Mom’s blogs, but ended up getting my FOE (fold over elastic) and industrial sew on velcro off of Amazon.com.  The PUL (Polyurethane Laminate fabric), which is waterproof and incredibly durable was a little harder to find… but I lucked out. I used a little secret: go to the clearance section.    PUL, which normally goes for 8-15$ a yard online, can be found for $2.50-4 if you can handle a non-popular color… I ended up with a light silver and a peach.  If you want to have a fashion PUL, you can use it on one side and the cheaper on the inside.  Easy peasy.

Recently I was tipped off that Joann’s fabrics had started a whole “cloth diaper” section, complete with patterns and matching FOE!  So cute.  Until I saw the price.  WHOOOOO  they are banking in on the home movement to cloth diaper!   For $15 a yard you can get PUL with dinosaurs printed on it, matching FOE for an additional $7 for 3 feet,  Velcro for an additional $3.5 for 2 feet, and if you want to use snaps instead you can get the set up for $12 + $5 for refills.   One diaper cover comes out to approximately $25…. for a do it your self!  OMG’s   THIS DOES NOT EVEN INCLUDE THE ABSORBENT INSERTS. This is just for the cover!

Would you like to know some good, reliable, suppliers for diaper cover materials?  Fabric.com (they have a whole section just type in “cloth diaper”), amazon.com, hartsfabric.com.

Secondly, fabric comes and goes out of fashion, we all know this.  Look at corduroy, was in in the 70’s back in the 90’s and now making a resurgence.  All the classics make the cycle.  This last year, when I was looking to make some fun Bellydance outfits, I went looking EVERYWHERE for stretch ruffle knit!  Do you know that in September 2010 there were only 3 American suppliers of the stuff (that was not back shelf clearance)?  One was rufflefabric.com, fabric.com, and of course MOOD in New York (but they have flippen everything!).    Even then, the color selection was increadibly minimal.

Recently ruffle fabric walked the catwalk at New York Fashion week, bringing back the fun that had been around years ago.  Now you can find ruffle stretch knit fabric everywhere… even saw a dress design at K-mart.   Super cute!

The problem?  Ruffle fabric is not cheap.

I walked into Joann’s today and guess what I found?  Ruffle knit fabric, the project runway name brand.  They have a few colors, mainly for Halloween.  I picked it up and tested the material, MY FINGER WHEN THROUGH IT!!!  The best part, they are charging the same price for this crappy material as the higher end suppliers!  Another attempt at banking in on the latest fad.  I have already warned many prospective clients against fabric.com and hartsfabric.com as a good supply for ruffle fabric.  I have purchased lengths from them and have not been happy with the quality.  Now I am adding in Joann’s and Hobby Lobby.  If you really would like to play with this material, stop off at rufflefabric.com.  Not only do they have great customer service, but they have high quality material.

I am looking forward to some of the more natural fabrics to come back into vogue, even though I do already have some good suppliers for hemp-silk, bamboo, and wool fabrics.  I just look forward to when these are sought after again by the average consumer.    BTW these good suppliers are hemptraders.com, dharmatradingco.com, and ecofabrics.com.

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Last thing to note and this is pure semantics.  When an abbreviation is used, it is not pronounced out as a word.  ie:  USA is not “uh-sah”, PUL is not “pull”,  FOE is not “foe”, SCA is not “skah”, and NAOH is not “no-ahh”.    So when you go to the store and ask for PUL, FOE, or silk for your SCA outfit please keep this in mind….