Tentacles, tentacles everywhere…

Tentacles, tentacles everywhere…you know that feeling when you get a new car, or try a new food, or anything that is ‘new’ to you – suddenly you see it everywhere?  Well now that I’ve been thinking about octopi, I’m seeing them everywhere! (Along with squid, cuttlefish, etc.)  I started with one of my small glass pendants (Cthulu on one side, and a close up black and white photograph of tentacles on the other), then got the great hair clip from Steampunk Couture, and then another pendant made from a brass stamping (in copper) from another Etsy seller. Still in progress – my Cthulu toque – which will likely be finished soon, since the weather has been warming up nicely to no-need-for-toque weather. (that’s how it works, right?)

societysedso's rust pendant

Today I saw this adorable little pendant – it makes me almost wish polymer clay were easier for me to work with.  It’s from societysedso – isn’t it cute?  I had to look at a larger version at first to see if the little suckers got smaller as the tentacle narrowed (it does) because my first thought (with how even the suckers are) was that they were made from seed-beads.  I generally find polymer clay really hard to get kneaded – though I know that there are multiple brands, and that not all of it is the same.  I still approach it with caution though.

PoisonInc's hair combs

Next up – you have to use your imagination here – the photos aren’t nearly as good as they could be – but the idea is awesome… tentacled hair combs!  These are from Etsy seller PoisonInc.  I especially love the metallic green paint, and the s-curve comb.  They remind me vaguely of the horn-combs I’ve seen off and on (mostly in goth photoshoots).

awkward jellyfish

On the topic of tentacles, how about jellyfish?  I remember being mesmorized by them at the Vancouver Aquairium,  and these ones are just plain awesome… it’s like a completely different version of a stuffed animal.  It’s from a seller called ‘awkward’ – I didn’t just give it a strange and unusual caption!

Jayne Danger's Octo-plushie

On that stuffed animal front – how about   Jane Danger’s Octo-plushie? There are also mohawked octopi and moustached octopi.  Awesome.

octo-friend

From Societysedso these are adorable too – and the legs are hinged with eye-pins so they can move…  I found this on the cephalopod tea party blog as well.  On the blog she shows a version on a cord as a pendant, but I don’t know if i would wear it like that myself… it strikes me as one of those things someone would hang from a rear-view mirror myself.. so with every speed bump and driveway curb the little legs could wiggle away…

Yes.. I realize my blog is more often than not it’s own little Etsy treasury.  Ahem.

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Octo-drive

Sarai's octo-drive

How adorable is this little guy?  He’s from Sarai’s Etsy shop, and he’s totally cute IMO.  Yep – he’s a flash-drive cover, made of felt.  Yeah, totally useless, but just a splash of cute to make me smile.  Perhaps I’ll get around “one

steampunk workshop's flash drive

of these days” to making one for myself.  It certainly would be cuter than the bare, unadorned ones I have sitting around in my drawer right now, and more attainable than the gorgeous steampunk ones I’ve seen on steamworkshop’s Etsy store, or any of the others that follow the same style!  (Mind you, once I get the mini-hooks installed, mine will all be in a little black standing coffin, which is pretty darn cute all on it’s own… so I suppose if I do make a little cover, it must be sized to dwell within the coffin too! (and have a hook.) ) Hmm skelo-squi-drive? ghost-octo-drive?)

Just a random post here on my end, after finding him while browsing through the cephalopod tea party blog. (which just so happens to feature an adorable squi-drive too… and yes, I’m making up the names for these things, cus I have just had ThatMuchBlackTea this afternoon..)

squi-drive

Icy winter wonderland tiara

So while I was shopping for materials for the Winter Wonderland tiara, I didn’t think that I would be able to find the supplies to make something similar to the Twiggy Wire tiara from my inspiration post.

white wired vine

But – what luck!  I found something somewhat similar – though instead of being brown with white ‘berries’ this one was white with ‘crystal’ beads and ‘crystal’ flowers along with white ‘berries’.  I wonder if later in the year (spring or summer) if the plainer version might be available – if the ‘crystal’ version is the winter product?  Either way – it worked out perfectly, especially for the winter wonderland theme I was working with.

almost done

So, I ended up getting it as well, and making up two of the tiaras (although ultimately for the party I only wore one.  I often make multiple versions it seems, partially because I guess I just really like crafting, and partially because I’m worried things won’t work out, and I’ll be out of time to make a replacement.  This way I have choice…) one from my previous post, and then one with this white wired vine with ‘crystal’ elements.

Since the other tiara was well underway, I basically just constructed it in a similar way, then spread out all of the ‘twigs’ on the vine.  I pulled out some of the leaves from the other tiara, but really prefered the tiara monochromatic – so didn’t attach them. Instead I pulled apart a number of the flowers with the rhinestones in the middle, and glued them in instead.  Super simple, but I think it looks nice.  I didn’t use all of the vine to make the tiara, so I pulled the remaining pieces apart and wound them back in again too.

Finished tiara

close up

Since I had a few of the white roses left over, I put together a cute hair clip too.  I just started with a black felt pad, glued a clip into it, some leaves on top, and then arranged three of the roses on it.  I also trimmed the edge of the petals with some glue and added some clear glitter.  Since after all, it’s not a craft project if there isn’t glitter somewhere!

Finished version

Winter Wonderland Tiara

winter wonderland tiara

So inspired by some of the examples I mentioned in my inspiration post, I decided to go about making one of the woodland-inspired tiaras.  When I got to the craft store I really didn’t think that I would find the material to make the Twiggy Wire one, so I started to look for materials to make something inspired by ‘the shape of clouds’ one instead.  I figured that the most challenging thing would be finding the base itself – but finding the faux-vine covered wire was actually pretty easy.  They only had it in one width and colour – but as I had been thinking of building the base out of millinery wire and then covering it in brown ribbon, I wasn’t going to get too fussy!

faux vine-covered wire

I also picked up some silk ivy – they had a bunch of different types so that actually only took some effort just in picking out which had the colours I wanted and the right sized leaves.

silk ivy

Then flowers!  I actually had a bit of a hard time with this.  First there were some wedding flowers I liked right away – stark white with rhinestone centers – but the shape of them didn’t seem right – they were too deep for the design of this one.  Then I remembered that in the description of ‘the shape of clouds’ the artist said she used paper flowers, so I checked out the scrapbooking area and wasn’t terribly impressed, but picked up a tin of paper flowers in cream and white.  Then in the silk flower area I found a stem of white roses.  I wasn’t really sure what I would use, but I got all three.

Sheer ribbon

I also picked up some sheer white ribbon.  I know that I have some somewhere, but I didn’t know if I had enough, or if I’d be able to get to it (yeah, the basement is still a post-reno mess…).

So putting it together was pretty easy – first making the base, and wrapping the ends with the sheer ribbon so  that they wouldn’t catch on my hair.  From there I used a hot glue gun to attach the ribbon, then a bunch of the ivy leaves, and then the white roses.  (They just looked a lot better than the other flowers.)

The starting base

I contemplated adding pearls or rhinestones, but preferred it looking a bit more simple.  However I did dress it up a bit by winding the ribbon back around the tiara over and under the flowers/leaves.

The finished version

Silk Flowers

Lately I’ve been wearing a number of silk flowers – some I bought from Forever 21, while others I picked up at Ardene.  However, some of them I’ve also made, and I thought that I would share one of the ones I made today.

Fairie Markets Icelandic Poppy

First off – the inspiration – I saw this version from an Etsy seller called the Faerie Market – and was very smitten with it’s simple elegance. That being said, it also looked very easy to replicate, with my own materials and style.  I think that I did a pretty good job of it, although there are still a few changes that I’d make when I do it again.

So… here’s my tutorial!

dupioni swatches

1. I started with a gorgeous shot silk dupioni fabric.  I picked some ‘fat quarters’ up at a sewing show, and although they were a bit expensive for what they were, I was just looking for a variety of fabric colours for a project that I still haven’t gotten to.  This dupioni is a nice heavy weight – often the dupioni that I find at east Indian fabric shops tends to be a looser weave, without the nice hand that this fabric has.  Dupioni is notable for the slubs in it – but still the great sheen that silk has.

Ironing the heat n bond

2. I cut out an oversized ‘bow tie’ shape from Heat n Bond Light – this is basically the same as the regular Heat N Bond, except it needs to be stitched, and isn’t as stiff.  I usually like this better than Wonder Under because one side is paper – so you can work one side at a time, rather than hoping you avoid bubbles when you bond two pieces together.   I cut out three different ‘bow tie’ shapes from the Heat N Bond -each slightly different. The Faerie Market uses two pieces by the looks of things, but perhaps because I made mine larger (?) I liked the fullness of using three.  Once the Heat N Bond was cut out, I fused it to one side of the silk, then cut it out. Using the Heat N Bond should also keep the silk from fraying too much.

Fused and trimmed

3. The next step is fusing the shape to another piece of silk (glue side down!) following the directions for the Heat n Bond. Then I just cut out that second piece of fabric, so I basically have a two-sided bow tie in silk, times three.  This photo just shows that both sides of the ‘bow tie’ are the same silk.  I suppose you could do a different colour on the other side – it might look interesting if for instance you did red on one side, and wine on the other perhaps?

Shot fabric

Wondering what “shot” fabric is?  It’s when the warp (lengthwise) threads are different from the weft threads.  In this case, the warp is sort of a royal purple (it looks more blue in this photo than it is) and the weft is a peachy pink.  The result is a fabric that seems to change colour when it is folded and different lights are on it.  I’ll admit, I love shot fabrics, and they seem to look especially good with garments or items that have pleating, draping, or other ways of showing off the colour-changing effect.

Sewing the outline

4. With a zig-zag stitch, I ‘drew’ the outline of the petal, wiggling the fabric to get that petal shape.  I stayed well within the edges of the fabric.  Going too close to the edge will make it start to fray, which is kind of counter-productive.  I set my zig-zag to the same as what I would use for a buttonhole, and used red in the bobbin, and black in the needle – partially out of laziness, and partially so I could tie some other colours I’ll be using into the project.

Applying anti-fray glue

5. Once the petals were all outlined, I applied anti-fray solution on the outside of the threads.  I was looking for my Fray-Check – but couldn’t find it so used Unique Fray Stop instead.  It’s a bit more drippy than I would have liked, but it worked.  The stuff can stain fabrics though, so be careful, and work from the ‘wrong’ side.

Trimming close to the stitching

6. From there, I trimmed super close to the threads with small scissors.  Be super-carful here, it’s really easy to snip into the threads.  I then carefully coated the edges once more with the Fray Stop because this fabric is really prone to fraying. (Even with the Heat N Bond! I wonder if it would have been better if I had used the regular version instead of the Light version?)

Trimmed

7. This is just to show how much of the fabric is trimmed off – the petal is laying on top of the backing paper from the Heat N Bond.  You can also see the ‘wiggle’ that I gave to each of the petals.

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Veins in the petals

8. Then I sewed in the ‘veins’ for the petals.  This is just using a straight stitch.  I could have dropped the feed dogs and done some free-motion embroidery here, but I’ve found that I can do just as well with my regular stitch.  I did try out using some rayon thread in the bobbin, but found that it didn’t really make much of a difference.  I suppose it would have made more difference in the zig zag (satin stitch) but I didn’t do it there….

Pleating the petal

9.  So to get the flower to be more dimensional, I pleated each of the three ‘bow ties’ – The bottom one got a box pleat, while the other two just got a small pleat.  These were stitched in place.  This photo shows the petal upside down – it was easier to get the photo that way to show the pleat in something so small.

Pearl and embroidery thread stamen

10. Almost done!  Each of the petals was layered one on top of the other, and quickly hand stitched in place.  Then I took the flower to the sewing machine and connected the petals together.  Then I sewed a large pearl to the centre, and then hand-sewed embroidery thread to create the centre of the flower.  This is one area where the Faerie Market did a LOT better than I did – I thought I knew how to make French knots, but they didn’t really turn out, so instead it’s sort of a crochet/knot thing.  Either way, it’s still cool texture and contrast.  If I decide I really want to do these French Knots instead next time – here’s a good link with a video on how to do them correctly.

Felt backing

11. Next I cut out a small circle out of pink felt (I went back and forth trying to decide between pink and black, but the pink just matches somewhat better.  It’s really not important though, since the felt won’t really be seen.  Then I cut two small slits – this is what the alligator clip will go through.  This was kind of hard to shoot.

Attach the clip

12. I slid the alligator clip through the felt, and then with the hot glue gun attached the felt pad to the flower.  The alligator clip is really strong, and the silk is quite light despite the flower’s size, so it should hold just fine.  I could have also put a hair elastic on here if I wanted to, but I’ve found that I’m not using them as hair elastics very much, and the clip is somewhat more versatile.  On a few that I have purchased, there has been a broach pin attached as well, but I find that these get caught in my hair if I wear them in my hair – so I’d rather make a second flower if I want to wear this on a jacket – rather than get my hair tangled!

Red Poppy

Next up, I think that I’ll try something similar, just a bit smaller, in a dark red like this one from the Faerie Market.  I also really like the brown feather headband she has as well, though I don’t really wear headbands.  Perhaps this would look good as a comb instead? She does an Oak leaf as a hair clip, so perhaps that’s another option?  I could totally see that in a silver-blue, or dark grey…

Feather Headband

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The finished version?  See below!

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Finished flower