Clipped Art Frames

My house is full of art, most of it drawn by my 9-year-old (and featuring cats), and almost all of it is currently sitting in a large basket that we periodically go through to make albums of things we want to save long-term. In the meantime, though, she’s had nowhere to display her creations, so it was time for a change.

Her room has a conveniently empty wall that’s just crying out for decoration, so I thought I’d frame some of her work– however, with her rate of production it was clear that changing out the displayed pieces would be a ton of hassle if done on a regular basis, so I decided to make a more versatile display. I picked up a bunch of inexpensive picture frames on Amazon (I bought two sets of five) along with some metal clips, and pulled out some sheets of scrapbooking paper from my stash of art supplies. The procedure is simple:

First I cut my scrapbooking paper (12×12″) down to fit the picture frames. I bought 9×12″ frames, which were the perfect size to display 8.5×11″ drawings, so all I had to do was slice a 3″ strip off of each sheet.

Then I removed the backings from the frames (peeling the plastic film off the plexiglass) and inserted my decorative papers into them. This was to add color and keep things looking nice even when there’s no art currently in the frame.

Finally, I got out my hot glue gun and glued a clip to the top of each frame– on the frame part, not on the plexiglass. I’ve seen other people use Gorilla Glue or E6000, but hot glue worked fine for me and it was really easy to work with.

And that was it! Instant art display frames! They look great, are easy to change up with new art, and can double as art storage since the clips hold a whole bunch of sheets at once.

Lady Macbeth Beetlewing Gown, Part XII: Wig Styling

Once the dress was done, I turned my attention to the wig I’d need. I don’t know if Ellen Terry really had almost floor-length hair when she played Lady Macbeth or if she wore a wig, but it’s a prominent feature of her costume in the photos and in the painting, so I had to follow suit.

There were plenty of long (like, knee-length) cosplay red wigs available, but they were all perfectly straight and didn’t look particularly full– when divided into two plaits they were definitely not going to be sufficient for the look I was going for. Rather than try to figure out how to plump them up, I decided to go with a textured wig– or rather, two textured wigs that I’d cobble together.

I ended up with this one— it’s designed to be a Lady Melisandre wig from Game of Thrones and it’s a dark red color with lots of texture, so it definitely had the volume I was looking for. It also has a nice braiding detail at the top. I bought two.

Liz Wig Game of Thrones Character Melisandre Long Wavy Cosplay Wig 32" Wine Red

Once they arrived, I took apart one wig by cutting the wig cap into strips to make wefts. I cut the cap in sets of three wefts right up to the point where it started curving around the head, then cut that curved skullcap-ish section right up the center, for a total of four weft strips (two shorter, two longer) and two denser sections. Here’s a diagram of the cuts:

Then I divided my wearable wig into two sides (following this very useful tutorial to avoid showing the wig cap at the part) and divided each of those sides into an upper and lower section. The upper sections were clipped aside, while I worked on one lower section at a time.

I spread the hair on the lower section over the floor (which was covered in parchment paper to avoid glue getting on the hardwood). I glued the longer weft across the hair about 8″ up from the ends, then glued the dense skullcap section on top of that a few inches down. Finally, I glued the shorter weft section over the top of that, at the same level as the first one.

Once I let down the upper section of hair and gathered the whole thing into a ponytail, the glued sections weren’t really visible except as a slightly thicker section of hair. I tied the long ponytail into segments using cut-up hair elastics (since trying to use them the normal way was next to impossible on such long hair), then wrapped the whole tied-up ponytail with gold ribbon. I stitched the ribbon in place using light brown thread to keep it from slipping out of position.

I’m actually really happy with how this turned out, and how easy it was, relatively speaking. Yes, it’s pretty heavy, and no, I don’t think it’ll stand up to much abuse, but it looks decent and it took me about an hour to style, so I’m counting it as a win!

Fun “Bar” Suit, Part V: Hat and Olive Hatpin

Next up was the hat. The original hat (or a least one of the original hats shown in photos– there appear to be a few) was an almost lampshade-shaped straw hat:

www.revival-retro.com

Tough to find, particularly in winter, and hats can be expensive in vintage shops. Luckily, I found something very similar in the costume section on Ebay! It’s called a “coolie” hat (which I find kind of racist, for what it’s worth) and the photo was pretty close in terms of shape.

s-l1600

Of course, when it arrived it was a lot flimsier than the original hat looked to be, plus being more conical with a less defined crown. I decided to add some wire around the brim to stiffen it up– I unpicked the stitches holding the straw edge binding, then cut off about 3/4″ all around the edge (it was just a bit too big for my taste) before stitching some thick brass wire around the underside and reattaching the binding with hot glue.

bar-hat-edge

Continue reading

Janet (The Good Place) Costume, Part V: Cactus Purse

Once I’d finished sewing my Janet costume I knew that I also wanted to carry a cactus.

Not just any cactus, though– a cactus-shaped purse. Stylish *and* practical!

While there are a few cactus-shaped purses floating around the internet (some more expensive than others), I didn’t really like any of them– particularly as none featured pots, which I saw as being part of the gimmick– so I had to make my own. I decided to make a barrel-shaped cactus with a drawstring top for maximum storage capacity. Something shaped kind of like this:

Image result for barrel cactus

I started off with a plastic 5″ pot to form the base of the purse. It was actually hard to find– usual sizes are 4″ (much too small) and 6″ (too big)– but I needed that size because I wanted to be able to fit my phone and a few other bits and pieces inside, but didn’t want it to be too bulky.

Saturn Plastic Pot Planter

Continue reading

1860s Embroidered Ballgown, Part VII: Floral Headpiece

civil-war-wreath-done

The last thing I made for this outfit was a floral headpiece to wear with it– during the 1850s and 1860s it was popular to wear floral crescents for eveningwear, so I got out my paper-covered floral wire from my daughter’s flower girl wreath and went shopping for artificial flowers. I purchased several different shades of blue, with some ivory thrown in for good measure.

First I made a ring out of wire, twisting the ends under, then figured out a general idea for how I wanted my flowers to be placed. After that it was just a matter of hot-gluing things down one by one!

civil-war-wreath

I painted the visible brown parts of the wire with black paint, just to make them blend into my hair color better.

When it came time to wear the wreath, I twisted my hair into a low-rolled updo, and pinned the wreath to the rolls.

 

 

Insectoid Foam Corset

Many years ago I was obsessed with this dress by Luly Yang Couture:

Image result for monarch butterfly dress luly

I thought it was fabulous, I desperately wanted it, and I went so far as to custom-paint panels of yellow chiffon with diluted fabric paint (stretched over custom canvas stretchers) to match the butterfly-wing skirt panels so I could make one myself. But I never finished it, and I never had any place to wear it anyway, so it languished in the back of my closet, stuffed into a paper grocery bag with my other unfinished projects. And now, of course, replica dresses are available online and Spoonflower is a thing (and has basically the exact design available that I’d have wanted) so I wouldn’t have to hand-paint the fabric anyway. But I still have no place to wear it…

About four years ago I dug it out to use in a Halloween costume, stitching the panels to a red crinoline and painting a black bustier top with a hasty orange/yellow/gold design to tie in the colors and be a butterfly fairy. And then it went back in the closet.

insect-corset-before

However, when it was announced that the Costume College 2018 pool party theme would be “Realm of the Goblin King” it was clear to me that it was time to revive the costume, at least to give the fabulous skirt another outing. But the bodice would have to be re-done, because my quickie paint job was looking pretty amateurish in the harsh light of day.

Continue reading

My Fair Lady Ballgown, Part XIV: HAIR!

ef4920cdb5a8c2bce2e281eda3c6d04b

(Yes, I realize it’s been ages since I posted about this outfit, but I needed to get photos back to complete these posts! Forgive me?)

That’s right, today we’re talking about HAIR. Not just “hair,” but HAIR. Seriously, it’s deserving of all caps in this context. After all, you didn’t think I’d go to an event decked out in this gloriously glittery gown without correspondingly fabulous hair, did you? Of course not– you know me better than that!

So yes, Audrey Hepburn had some seriously gigantic hair in the Embassy Ball scenes– obviously not Edwardian in style, but hey, filmmakers in the in the sixties loved the gargantuan updos, so who am I to quibble when it comes to making the ensemble recognizable? Let’s take a closer look at it, shall we?

Continue reading

Kitty-Ear Headbands

kitty-ears-rainbow.jpg

As you may remember, I love throwing themed birthday parties for my daughter. There was the pink elephant party, and the mermaid party, and who can forget the insanity that was the princess party? This year, her chosen theme is Kitties.

While my daughter has several pairs of kitty ears that she enjoys wearing for all occasions, we thought that her friends might also enjoy their own sets of ears, at least to wear for the duration of the party. The ears would also make a great party favor, so it was off to the craft store to get felt to make some!

The process for making these was pretty easy– just gluing felt to a headband– but I’ll give you the step-by-step tutorial below.

Continue reading

Regency Bonnet

regency-bonnet-views

I knew when I decided to make a day dress that I would need an appropriate bonnet to go with it– after all, I would be spending some of┬áthe afternoon outside, and no self-respecting lady would be seen outdoors without a head covering of some kind! A little searching found several tutorials about the simplest way to make a bonnet from a standard straw hat (here’s the best one I found), and when I located a straw hat at my local vintage clothing store for the low, low price of $0.00 (I had a free coupon for $10 credit– the hat itself was priced at $8) I snapped it up. The brim was a little smaller than I’d have liked, but for a free hat I wasn’t going to complain.

Continue reading