Monday, September 26, 2011

The Mother of Invention

I wanted a fusion of the 20's and 80's for a headpiece to wear to an upcoming wedding, but had a really limited color palette due to the wild fabric from which I'd made my dress. I also wanted bling, but only a diamond-colored brooch was available.

Luckily for me, markers made my diamonds into rubies:

colored-in with a regular permanent marker

after a couple of "coats" of marker ink, applied with the pen

... and slapped onto a quickly-made feather pad

C'est finis! Took all of, oh, five minutes?

The red came off with nail polish remover later too, so now it can turn into sapphires, or emeralds, or imaginary stones of whatever shades I could wish. I wouldn't do this for sale-able pieces, but it's been great fun for personal costume-y things!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fascinating New Things

When my lovely lady fair/co-blogger decided to marry this summer, she asked me if I'd make a hair piece for her to wear to get married.

I got so excited about the excuse to go craftstravaganza on this that I offered to make a fascinator for each of the bridesmaids, each to her taste as (hilariously) described by the bride. She thoughtfully sent me a brooch she'd chosen for each bridesmaid's piece, and another for her own, to use as a starting point:

Then I got even more excited.
Then I told everyone I knew about the project. 
Then I bought supplies.
Then I started to freak out.

I mean, I was so totally flattered, I can't do it justice, but seriously; there's going to be more pictures of you on this day than any other, and you want to be wearing something I made on your head in them?

On that front though, it means it needed to be as close to perfect and to exactly what she wanted as it could be. She's no slouch when it comes to preparation though, and gave me a great trove of ideas and direction. I wanted hers to be elegant and whimsical ... without taking over her entire head. This was my first inspiration board:

from top left; feather flowers by twigs and honey, small clip by myrakim, of twigs and honey, bleached
and curled peacock swords by belaregalo, curled goose biots and white goose nagoire by kimonos

I gathered my materials and started playing around with the shape of each piece. Step one; curling the straight,boring goose feathers:

curled with a knife, and much better for it

Step two; culling and curling the useful feathers from the bizarre, crazy frou-frou feather thing found in Joann's. Running a knife along the back of the feather (like you'd do to curl ribbon) is all it takes. Proceed gently and repeat until fabulousness occurs:

curling goose biots

Next, I gathered my materials and messed them about:

ostrich feather, gold clip and feather flowers in top right from plumule


worn fabulously by the one and only Denise Eiser,née Gass. 

The other ladies I used inspiration boards for as well, mixing and matching things to their described tastes:

top left inspiration image from flowersbythevase,
bottom left grey silkorchids, right image final

top left inspiration image from the drool-worthy ban-do black label collection,
background progress/materials pic, middle overly heavy first attempt,
bottom image final - many wild collected feathers used (and sterilized ;)

top left image a la twigs and honey, top right from the lush materials
at MaryNotMartha, bottom image final - combs on each side to attach

Feather pads are oft used to make fascinators, so I wanted to make sure that where I did use them, they stood out more and didn't look canned. Here's the inspiration board for Mary Kate and Beth's:

far left images ban-do, center images , and products used, and from
bellaregalo, grey "vogue"goose nagoire feathers from kimonos,
gorgeous gold pheasant plumage from lamplight feather

Mary Kate and Beth:
left top, MK's materials in progress, left bottom MK's final
right bottom Beth's in progress, right top Beth's final


lovely ladies

Hot glue, string and feathers are a good time to be had - I can't wait to start making more! Thanks again to D for letting me run away with myself with these. 


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Priming, or Do What I Say, Not What I Do

This is not the most exciting post, but it is the most enthusiastic.
Please, for the love of all that's holy, please, please 
prime your wooden furniture well before you try painting it. 

This is the parable of my bedside table.

I started with this old wooden thrift store table, and sanded it to remove the (many) dings:

Next, I found an easy, lovely guide on the inestimable Young House Love site for painting wooden furniture. Their instructions are perfectly clear and simple; sand, prime well, paint, seal (optional) and let dry. 

Here are images of steps one through 9:

Wait, what that's you say? 
You see only four steps? 

If your wood is as dark and your primer as sloppy as I let mine stay in the above, be prepared to have to put on a hundred thousand coats of your paint before you start to make those dark stripes above disappear. 

The moral? Prime evenly, then experience painting like a normal person, without giving the appearance of being a trichotillomaniac. 

oooh. shiny.

Though next time I plan on taking more care, the final product is day-glo lovely in my bedroom. 

Here's a pic of the area in its natural state:

So, if you paint, have fun and be good.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Lord above, are they ever vegetarian wontons. Seriously; we made about thirty dumplings and were still looking for more when they were gone. I utilized an Alton Brown recipe as a starting point, but modified it rather a lot, particularly to use what I had left over from other meals. I subbed that which the refrigerator yielded at the time to great effect, and added a few things I considered the original to be missing.  We paired with this with a homemade, practically drinkable dumpling sauce. Both are available for your perusal at Gasstronomy

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lindsey Adelman Chandelier Project

via lindsey adelman studio

Once the interwebs told me about Lindsey Adelman and Roll and Hill, there was no going back.  I’m definitely a fan. Their designs are vivid, unusual and striking without taking over a whole space: 

 “... the most important [rule of thumb] is that bigger is always better, especially when it comes to
chandeliers ... In design development ... honestly, I think I spend more time convincing
 people to make things bigger than I do anything else.” Jason Miller, CEO, Roll and Hill 

“[Lighting] takes up no footprint ... I love that [it] uses that “vertical real estate.” Lindsey Adelman

Adelman also offers (free!) plans for a few diy lamps on her site, too, with the instructions here. They include a plug end, so if you're renting and want a cool new light, don't think you have to remove the ceiling fixtures to do this. It may be installed or hung. 

We decided to make the diy chandelier this weekend. The shape of the final design is completely up to you, too; we played around with the shape of the bits for an hour before starting work. The instructions are pretty easy to follow if you’re at all familiar with your toolbox, but I was glad to have help, especially in the form of candid reassurances that we weren't going to short circuit the house or something. For those bits that gave me a bit more trouble (as I'm not an electrician) I've included photos:

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Ubiquitous Hipster Deer Head

Alright, I know; the decorating with taxidermy thing is over, but I like my deer head. It was a random donation from a sweet former co-worker, and I think it's cute. I named it Mr. Benjamin. At Christmas we decorate him:

When I took the holiday frippery away (cough*yesterday*cough) he definitely began to look a bit naked, even less attractive as of late...

womp, womp.

He obviously needs more bling, but I can't decide where to go with it.

deer embroidery pattern (and image) via badbird 

you can never have too many friends print via blackbaroque

A crown? Glasses?
little deer prince via thisyearsgirl
gilbert and george via cocodeparis

I'm still on the fence, but currently leaning towards fake birds. I already have a 
stuffed vulture without a home, but also 'cause it would kind of go with my house. 

haters gonna' hate

- F

Monday, June 6, 2011

Summer Corn Pasta

There are so many ripe vegetables right now that it's the perfect time for pastas and giant salads. Since summer is here in a big way right now in Texas, corn is in.

I made this up on the fly to use up our bounty and was delighted with the result. It's sweet and fragrant and bursting with flavors from everything you can get your hands on from the farmer's market. Get it at Gasstronomy!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Meatless Mondays: Guest Post - Creamy Grits with a Fresh Tomato Pan Sauce

My favorite brunch recipe; fluffy, thick grits with a fresh tomato sauce to thin it a bit. We ate a version of this twice a month at a (lovely but expensive) brunch place 'til I realized I could make it at home for pennies a serving. It's filling and unusual and sticks to your ribs. Tomāto, tomäto! Get it at Gasstronomy.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Victory Rolls V.1 - Rollers

Sponge rollers work miracles, but you look pretty ridiculous while they're setting.

via here
Pin-curls are my favorite way to achieve volume because I like the control of them, but if you're strapped for time you can always use foam rollers to get the same kind of look without having to use heat on your hair.

I'm going for this Betty Grable look:

via here
Now, on to the embarrassing photos!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Victory Rolls V.1 - Pin Curling

The traditional, and heat-styling free way of creating these. Pin curls have been around forever and can be done easily with nothing more than the aforementioned pins. It's fun for a day when you don't have a lot to do before you're going out, or riveting airplanes with your friend:

I love pin curls.
Love ... and this is me attempting them!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Victory Rolls - Series

Oh, victory rolls, how do I love thee? Or maybe just why?

It's not 80's, but it's big. It's not a chignon, but it's fancy. It doesn't involve anything more than pins and time. This was a recessionista hair style in the black and white days, and I think it can be now as well.

The rolls are surprisingly easy to do, but the volume takes some time to get right. Luckily, the internet has come to my rescue! There are so many great tutorial videos out there, it's hard to choose.

If you have shoulder-length hair or longer, you're already in the home stretch. However, if you (like me) have chin-length hair, you need to pay attention to where you place the curls before you give this a go or you'll end up looking more Bea Arthur than Betty Grable.

Pin curls work really well but, if you have them, I've had luck with sponge rollers as well. I tried doing this several ways and I learned a few things about what works best for my shorter hair.

There's definitely no single way to do this, and a lot of the instructions differ. The way I do mine is a cobbled-together version of several methods. If you try this yours will probably vary from mine at least as much as mine does from the instructions I'm using. I'll be posting pics from three different methods to show you which I had luck with. I hope you'll pick what looks like fun to you and try it out!


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Birthday Dress

Finished the birthday dress just in the nick of time! Or, actually, just after the nick of time, but it worked out well due to divine assistance:

(the divine assistant is the blonde)
I learned a lot from this project, namely that I need to work on walking and chewing gum at the same time.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Guest Post: Novella-Inspired Baking

Last night I recreated a Valentine's Day-worthy recipe from a description from a fictional account:

Get it at Gasstronomy.


Sunday, February 6, 2011


via Pinterest

Am I the last person to find out about this site?
 I think I'm in love.

Or addicted.

There might not be a difference. 
Anyhow, I've "curated" a mix of possible Valentine's Day costume ideas for fun.

See it here!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Birthday Dress Dilemmas

My sweet friend who acted as the model for my ruffle dress is having a birthday. Modeling not be as big a deal if you’re an accomplished sewist, but with me it basically means that she was a human voodoo doll. I’m getting better at not sticking people, but pins are prone to that. Anyhow, she's earned a treat!

Saturday, January 29, 2011


8:22 AM 
D____: nasty little rat birds
i can't believe they haven't evolved
i can't believe that grackles, as a species, are supposed to look like they all have mange
8:23 AM 
me: i love them.
i think they look sleek and shiny and ferocious.
8:24 AM 
that's so funny - our feelings about them are entirely opposite

D____: i keep expecting them to have a lazy eye or something
me: i always think of robert bakker's theory about dinosaurs coming from birds
they remind me of velociraptors with their penetrating gaze
 D____: they're the crazy ppl of the bird world
 me: heh!
well, the females do look less mangey

Birders and most other people feel towards grackles as does my friend above.
I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum as far as they're concerned.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Plastic Leather

I don't quite remember why, but I have a square yard of darkish orange pleather in my possession. It's not shiny, but quite fake, and quite orange. I think it longs to be a carry-all. 

However, I am Captain Brokeness right now. I've found a few good free patterns on the web, but the material choice would take all of them in really different directions than the versions shown do at present.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

Meatless Monday Guest Post

I'm waxing on about the virtues of warm spices and cauliflower in a recipe post over at Gasstronomy.

It's cheesy but not in the non-vegan way.

One does what one can.


... paved with good intentions

I've got a red-orange hall ceiling, a mustard accent wall, and a peacock bedroom. I've done maroon, salmon, lime, pink and metallic gold. I'm not afraid of color. However, sometimes colors should inspire caution, and I let it go to the wind in my bathroom. I painted it a lovely mint, but for this specific purpose, well, it's godawful:


Monday, January 3, 2011

Meatless Mondays: Seitan a la Jess

The moral of the story is: you'll attract more bees with honey than with vinegar, and who doesn't want more bees?

image via here

Guest Post on Gasstronomy, with recipe courtesy of Jess of Shoe Song