Saturday, August 15, 2009

Rainbow Review I

You may or may not know, but I love rainbows. The way all the colors blend together to create a perfect palate is so attractive to me and I love the completeness and playfulness of the ROYGBIV variegation. It makes me feel good just looking at it. I found quite a few items featuring rainbow colors that I liked, so this is probably one of a few rainbow reviews that I will feature. Here are some of my favorites!
I used to have dreadlocks and I had so much fun putting shells, beads, wraps, and decorations in my hair. It was another place to wear jewelery! This Over the Rainbow Dreadlock Sleeve by Knottysleeves reminds me of one I used to have.

I've been seeing a lot of recycled books and book pages lately, and I think it's a creative way to reuse paper that already has something printed on it. These Rainbow Note Cards that Sensitiveartist has redesigned are so cute!! I would love to receive one of these in the mail.

Wonderful craftsmanship by DosPalomas in making this Unicorns and Rainbows Scarf. Handwoven and beautiful, it will pretty much match with anything!

Since I cut my dreads, I've grown my hair long, and one of my favorite ways to wear it is wrapped up in a messy bun and secured with a hair stick. I like how it's such an easy-to-fix style, and it always looks cute. Needless to say, I fell in love with these right away. Stix O SWANKy Pride by Solidswank. These are great!!

Like secret hiding places? You might like this Rainbow Pocket Vase by MintyFreshFusions. It's a cute pendant, and it's got a little pocket at the top for little things: secret notes, flowers, dollar bills...snacks? Whatever you can fit that you don't want anyone else to see.

Now rainbows are all good and fine, but when you put rainbows and mushrooms together, what do you get? Awesomeness. Skatterbrains' playful Rainbow Mushroom Cameo necklace is nothing but awesomeness. It reminds me of being a little girl, but it is something I would still wear. Rainbow mushrooms!

Kudos to all these artists, and I must say, each one had excellent photography. Good job!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Unique and Really Cool Crochet

I crochet a little bit. I think it's a wonderful art! It's beautiful, but add that to the fact that it's functional, and you've got me hooked (haha- hooked. Get it? Sorry...) My problem is, beyond potholders, beanies, and scarves, what else do you do with crochet? Well, here's some people that have gotten creative and made some really awesome items.

This is a wonderful idea! A can cozy by BluePlanetCreations. It looks so comfy, like it would feel really good in my hands. I bet that can o soda is really comfy too. That's why they call it a cozy...

How about this Barbarian/Viking Beanie by candypopcreations? Not your average beanie, folks. I am half Norwegian, so this really appealed to my Norse side. I should wear it while I'm rowing boats down the Colorado River. I love the studs that accent the brim!

Here's to kreations' Saponificozy! Useful and cool! You put the soap into the soap sock and use it like a washcloth. Even better- it helps save those last little slivers of soap from going to waste- stick them in there too instead of leaving them to clog up your drain :)

I am a big fan of cloth diapers. No, I don't have kids, so I have never actually had to wash a dirty cloth diaper myself, and I know that disposable diapers are probably wonderfully convenient, but they are so wasteful! And what are they made out of, anyway? Strange synthetics. But take a look at this 100% wool Diaper Cover by naturegalsmom: it's natural, it's gorgeous, and it's reusable. She's got all kinds of colors, for every occasion!

I think this afghan by JillianEngelhardt is a beautiful piece of work. Look at those colors! Also, it's big enough for a twin bed. It seems like lots of people stop at lap quilts with these things- they do take a lot of time- but there's nothing like a big, heavy blanket to wrap up completely in. It looks so soft...

Something you really don't see a lot of is nice crocheted jewelry. This Old World Crown necklace by irregularexpressions is one of many intricately crafted pieces. This one sort of has an exotic feel, like it came from a marketplace somewhere far, far away.
New ideas for an old craft. Or maybe I should say a timeless craft. That's better. Let's thank our grandmothers for teaching us and go teach a new generation!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

10 Solid Reasons

4 solid reasons to buy handmade:

1~ Individuality. Go into any chain clothing store and what do you see? Rows and rows of same-ness. Boring! Be different. Most handmade things are one-of-a-kind, baby! So are you. So dress like it! Now understand: when I say handmade, I mean handcrafted, with love and creativity. Not just something put together in a factory, albeit with someone's hands.

2~ Sweatshops. We all know they're bad. We all know those people work under horrible conditions, making pennies a day. Of course the argument could be that they need that money to feed themselves and their families, that's true enough and I bet most of them are glad to have their jobs. But plenty of people here in the USA are also slaving away, making wonderful handmade goods for you and just trying to survive! See, here's my sweatshop:

Dark, cramped, dirty...
(Don't get me wrong though, sweatshops aren't funny)

3~ Keep those old traditions alive- crochet, knitting, sewing, painting, woodworking, soapmaking, baking, tatting, weaving, ceramics, sculpture, and more- when you buy handmade, you keep those handicrafts alive. Usually those items are made with lots of love and creative expression. Who wants a world created by robots?

4~ Natural. Many handmade items aren't made with tons of chemicals, dyes, and nasty fake stuff. You don't have to get all hippie and organic, but have you looked at the ingredients of some of the store-bought stuff we put on and in our bodies? But take handmade products- like soap, for example- most of the ones I found had only a few ingredients, and I could pronounce and identify each one! :)

The textile manufacturing process is a giant ball of negative environmental impacts. But we have to have clothes. And it's nice to have cute ones at that. And I looooove fabric. But there's just so much fabric and clothing already out there, that if we could just reuse what we've got without making more we could reduce some of the waste. There's so much waste. So with that, I give you...

6 solid reasons to buy recycled, upcycled and reconstructed clothing:

1~ Cotton is one of the most water and pesticide dependent crops. According to reactions, cotton "occupies only 3% of the world’s farmland yet demands fully 25% of the world’s chemical pesticides and fertilizers." By reusing and recycling things made of cotton we can decrease chemical usage that would otherwise be applied to the growth of new cotton.

2~ Sizing.
Sizing is a binding agent (glue) applied to fibers before weaving in order to reduce breakage and dust production during the weaving process. Usually the sizing is a starch or a synthetic polyacrylic compound. This makes the fabric stiff and needs to be removed before it's dyed or made into clothing. Scouring and/or solvents are used to remove the size, and generally the waste product is disposed of in water, increasing the chances of water pollution.
(Environmental Impact of Textiles by Keith Slater)

3~ Dust. It gets in the air, it gets in your lungs, it's gotta go somewhere...

( Waste Couture: Environmental Impact of the Clothing Industry by Luz Claudio)

4~ Synthetic fabrics. Polyester is made from petroleum and the production process is "energy intensive and results in significant emissions, including large amounts of a potent climate change gas – carbon dioxide" (cazco interiors ltd). Nylon, a similar polyamide (synthetic fiber) can take 30-40 years to decompose. Reuse that stuff as much as you can! Stop making more, it never goes away!

5~ Landfills. They're pretty full already...

6~ Sheep Dip. "The term sheep dip refers to a liquid formulation of insecticide and fungicide which shepherds and farmers may use to protect their sheep from infestation against external parasites such as itch mite (Psorobia ovis), blow fly, ticks, keds and lice" (Wikipedia). Not only do the sheep have to be dunked into this stuff, but it's also dangerous for the farmers, and those chemicals have to be disposed of somehow. That poor sheep already has been dunked once, why not reuse that wool and save him a chemical bath?

There you have it. 10 solid reasons. What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

This is What Inspires Me ~or~ Fabric That I Love!!!

A lot of my work is nature-themed and inspired by the outdoors. But more often than not, I find my creativity kindled by the fabric itself. One of my favorite things to do is browse through thrift store fabric piles and see what goodies I can dig up. I go crazy over old lady pillowcases, psychedelic tablecloths, vintage curtains, and funky yardage. The more retro the better! I can't wait to bring home my finds and make a cool bag after I've been out shopping.

Today I decided to feature some of my favorite fabrics that I've got on hand. Here's my ode to the retro, the funky, and the vintage, the unusual, and the orange (I've really been feeling the orange lately):

I got this sweet acorn fabric from a friend who got it from an older lady. I haven't used it in any projects yet, I am just waiting for the perfect complimentary fabric to match it.
I used this brocade to make a needle case for my crochet and knitting needles. It's really heavy and solid and feels so good in my hands! (aaaand it's rainbow-colored!)I think this fabric is beautiful. But it's a stretchy polyester and I find it really hard to work with. Not my favorite weave. Too slippery to sew. But I couldn't resist buying it any way when I found it at the thrift store! I think it will eventually become a nice dress or skirt when I get the guts to tackle it.

This stuff was really cool- two small curtains in some type of linen-like fabric. It's already all gone, but it lingers in my memory...I made a little shift dress from this gray knit:

This velvety feather fabric came from a garage sale. It feels so good and it's so unusual! I paired it with a deep burgundy fabric for one bag and it turned out beautiful!
This paisley canvas has been a lot of fun. Here's a cool old pillowcase!Psychedelic paisley is my favorite......My absolute favorite.
And trippy rainbows come in a close second!Those are my goodies!! ...writing that post made me want to go hit up some thrift stores...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Canyon Night River Messenger Bag

I really love this bag. This one I almost want to keep for myself! I think I put about 4-5 hours of work into this, and lots of love. It turned out pretty big and I almost considered making it a wall hanging, but decided that the world needs big handbags just as much as it needs little teeny ones. The Canyon Night River bag... see the little rapid at the bottom?