Monday, January 25, 2010

Etsy Texas Winter Design Challenge

"What makes winter wondrous to you? Is it the holidays that occur during December? Or perhaps the miracle of snow in Texas? How about it finally getting cold enough to wear those scarves, gloves, and hats you love so much? Maybe long hot baths with your favorite handmade soap or bubble bath or slathering on your favorite handmade lotion or body butter to fight off winter's drying effects on your skin? There are so many possibilities!"

The Etsy group I belong to--EtsyTexas--has combined its December and January Design Challenges for one with a winter theme. There are a number of lovely entries, including  this one by Anastasia of WildMoonDesigns.

Gorgeous, isn't it? And I'm not even fond of jewelry!

Apparently Anastasia is from my part of the country; she says she made this at her friend's bead shop in Fredericksburg. (For those who don't know the area, F'burg's about an hour drive from my home--one of my fave day trips.)

This is another entry I find interesting: an ID badge holder made of upcycled junk jewelry. Clever, huh? This one is from Monica at TheIDconnection.

And this darling hoodie for a child! How cute would a kid look in this? It's from Julie at StitchesbyJulie.

Another by Julie from her Nature In Pastels shop.

And of course I entered a couple.

This is the one on which I did the tutorial before Christmas. You can see it here.
And a sewing set created from upcycled herringbone wool. Gotta love it! (At least I do.)

If you have a minute, why don't you stop by here, take a look at the entries, and vote for your favorite?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tassels redux

I've been playing with tassels again.

It's not an obsession. I can go months with hardly a glance at my tassel-making supplies. Then, all of a sudden, inspiration strikes.

This first idea started with a gift bag from my birthday last year. It was such a cool bag--glossy white with black dots and stripes--that I had to translate it into something. Ergo...
Once I'd made the head, I stalled. What kind of a skirt did it call for? I tried one of  peach silk--didn't work. I made another of variegated blue ribbon yarn--cool skirt, but not for this head. (I'll be finishing up that tassel this week sometime.) The next was made of fall-colored ribbon yarn. It's now gracing a needle-felted pumpkin head--one of my faves. But nothing was working for this head. Then I stumbled across some recycled sari silk ribbon yarn here on Etsy.

 Lovely, isn't it? And it made a great tassel skirt. See--

Here's a shot of the whole thing.
The ruff was made from eyelash yarn and embroidery thread I already had. (I'm working on adding ruffs to all the tassels I have on hand. I think it adds a finishing touch lacking in my earlier attempts.)

This is one I made last September. 
Here it is with a ruff I made of some leftover fringe. 

Makes a world of difference, doesn't it?

Another from last September.

And with the ruff. (I'm liking this ruff; it was an elastic bracelet with wooden bell bangles that I picked up at a thrift store in Arlington last August. My sis Ginger thought it might work with tassels. She was right, though I don't think this is what she had in mind.)

Here's a closer look at the bracelet/ruff. Kinda cool, huh?

That's as far as I've gotten with the tassels. Now I need to find a way to photograph them to good advantage. I see a lot of shots on an angle. Maybe I'll try that tomorrow from my bedpost.

Have a good one, y'all. And thanks for stopping by.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Lotion Tute

Happy new year, y'all! I know I've been silent for a couple of weeks, and I have no excuse, not even a reason. Laziness perhaps. Actually, laziness most definitely.

I'm in the process, as it appears many in blogland are, of cleaning and purging. Along the way--in the first closet--I unearthed some plastic containers I bought last year to package homemade hand lotion in. Never got around to making it and then sorta misplaced the containers, then got distracted by something else, then totally forgot I'd even thought about it.

When I finished the closet--well, sorta kinda--I made some hand lotion, which isn't as procrastinatory  as it sounds since there are a few birthdays coming up, and I usually include a jar of lotion in each of those gifts. Anyway, I thought I'd share the lotion-making process with y'all. (This has been around blogland for quite some time, so y'all might have already see it. If so, never mind!)

First, the ingredients--these all came from my local dollar store--baby lotion, Vitamin E cream and petroleum jelly. Total expenditure for ingredients: $3. The biggest cost is containers. I've used plastic travel size from Walmart; I've saved empty jars from purchased lotions; and I recently bought some lovely glass jars from an Etsy seller Supplies For You.

Darling, aren't they? I bought a case of 12 of the small jars and think they'll make the lotion part of my gifts a bit more special.

Back to the lotion:

Dump ingredients into a bowl. I use a stainless bowl reserved specifically for crafts.

Mix thoroughly.

To aid in the mixing, I heat a pan of water and set the bowl in the pan. The water in the pan is below the level of the bowl. Makes mixing easy.

Fill the containers. A plastic bag with a small hole cut in one corner works great; funnels, not so much--believe me, I've tried. Be advised: when you're finished, your hands will be more lotion-covered than probably they ever have been!

 Clean outside of filled containers with alcohol.

And voila! Enough lotion to last all year--unless you share, which I generally do. Honest, this stuff is good. Very moisturizing. For gardeners, you can double the amount of petroleum jelly. You'll need to rub longer to get the lotion worked into the skin, but it's great for abused hands.

Unless you plan ahead, you're likely to wind up with more lotion than containers. As mentioned earlier, I save old jars, and I've been known to tell my friends they can have refills as often as they want so long as they return the container.

I'd love to hear if you try this, or already have done. (I can't stop feeling of my hands. They're like babies' bottoms!)