Tag Archives: crafts

DIY Structured Skirt

I’m not sure what to call this upcycled skirt. It used to a an A-line shape but it hit too low on the leg (knee length) and was a bit frumpy so I pulled and gathered here and there and secured the new shape with a zig-zag in contrasting green.

DIY skirt

Top: Papaya
Scarf: Boutique in Vancouver
Skirt: Swapped
Necklaces: eBay
Cuff: Greenbelts
Tights: Target
Boots: Naturalizer via Goodwill

Now the skirt is shorter, more fitted, and gathered. It has an architectural flair that reminds me of designer pieces by Neodandi or Ivan Grundahl.

new skirt shape

If you try this, start with a piece much bigger than you want–because you’ll lose a lot of length and width when you gather the fabric. I also feel a skirt like this isn’t supposed to be perfect, so don’t go for symmetry. Make it fun!

skirt detail

I did this to another skirt a while ago. Speaking of which, I think I’ll wear that one tomorrow!

I’m joining Transatlantic Blonde and The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday. Check out all the other bloggers!


Filed under Crafts, DIY, Fashion, Thrifty

Seattle Art Walk

First Thursdays are synonymous with art in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood. My friend, Autumn, invited me to join her and her friend, Amy, this past Thursday. It was cold so we went straight to the Tashiro Kaplan artist lofts. The entire triangular-shaped block is devoted to artists’ spaces and the lower levels are galleries. We got to stay inside and visit dozens of galleries. When the weather is nicer (for two weeks in July) walking around outside is fun. A lot of artists set up booths in Occidental square.

We saw a wonderful installation that filled an entire room.


Cut paper was the medium for this intricate piece.

cut paper

This installation caught my eye because artist Ellen Hochberg used women’s garments as her canvas. The leaf motif represents the female form. Here, we see the form on garments that span a woman’s life–from infancy and childhood to womanhood. Check out her website for other amazing work in ink and oil.


We used out smartphones to learn about encaustic. These two pieces showing skeletons of a leaf and bird were ethereal. The layered way technique created an otherworld-ness to these pieces.


They say smoking kills, and these paintings, show the subject smoking during a gruesome and violent situation (granted, the cigarettes are hard to see at this scale). I don’t know if that’s the message intended by the artist, but we noticed the cigarette theme and decided to take our pictures next to various paintings in this series. I was trying to juxtapose joy and pain (hence my silly smile). Autumn was far more stoic, and Amy was pretending not to look.




The Seattle Freeze was the theme of this installation. I met artist Troy Gua and chatting with him for a moment about the “cool distance” people who move to seattle encounter when meeting people here. But like the protective exterior of the duct-taped teddy bears, under all that toughness is a soft, cuddly toy. So too, perhaps, are Seattleites.

Troy Gua and bears

Autumn and I said goodbye to Amy and then we wandered to Occidental Square, where we found more yarn bombing! This is the same set of work that I wrote about a couple of months ago. This time, I found out who the artist is: Suzanne Tidwell created it.

yarn bombing

No art trip is complete without a drink so we popped in at Merchant’s Café, Seattle’s oldest restaurant. It’s hard to imagine that in 1890, it was full of men on their way to the gold rush. The bar is gorgeous, carved wood and stained glass ceiling lamps illuminate the room. It’s a real piece of history.


Other neighborhoods have art walks throughout the month too: West Seattle, Fremont, Capitol Hill, Belltown, Georgetown, to name a few. For artists like Amy, Autumn, and me, art walks are inspiring. They’re also a great way to get out, socialize, and support the local arts community. Before you buy a mass-produced reproduction at a department store, consider an original piece from a local artist. Many are very affordable and there are so many mediums to choose from: paintings, lithographs, photographs, sculptures, and more.

Have you been to an art walk recently? Do you buy art? Make it?


Filed under Art, Crafts, Events

Shopping Local at Etsy Rain

This past weekend I went to Etsy Rain with a few friends. Etsy is a great website where you can buy handmade goods from all over the world. Etsy Rain is the Seattle contingent of crafters. They set up shop at the Seattle Center and that’s where we met.

Supporting local crafters is important to all of us. I have an Etsy shop. So does Sadie. Lynn does too. I’ll have to check and see if Stephanie does.

shopping pals

Left to right: Jean, Sadie, Lynn, Stephanie

I bought a neat pair of green coil earrings from Sue at Phoenix Beadwork. I’ll be sure to wear them in an outfit post this week. Here are a few beautiful necklaces from Sue’s booth.

Phoenix Beadwork

Then I bought a cool green ring from One-eyed Collie made of candy pieces set in resin. I’ll wear it with the earrings from Phoenix. Here’s a sampling of the other items at this booth.

One-Eyed Collie

I almost bought a green cowl scarf at the Scarf City booth but it was on the mannequin so I tried on a pink one instead. Surprisingly, the pink one looked great. I’m glad about that. otherwise I’d have a bag full of green things! Scarf City had other items too, like ponchos, leg warmers and hats.

Shawl City

I was lusting after a “ninja rider” t-shirt from the Retro Pop Namu booth, but when I talked to the shop owner, she said she’d be putting that logo on canvas messenger bags soon so I held out. I’ll be shopping online for that one!


I’ll post pictures of the tiny tam I bought from Alise’s Pieces. I have a tiny hat, and now I have a tam.

Etsy Rain was a great place to buy gifts. There are other craft fairs coming up too.


Hot tip from Elizabeth Space:

And from CraftyClementines:

  • December 17th Bizarre Bazaar at the Erikson Theater in Capitol Hill.

Do you know of others? Is your city hosting craft fairs for the holidays?


Filed under Art, Crafts, Fashion

Cool Blue Summer Style

I call this my Urban Craft Uprising outfit because my earrings, skirt, and bag are from my recent adventures at the UCU show. This is a great travel outfit (rollable, packable, wrinkle-free) and it’s so comfortable.

blue outfit

Top: Papaya
Skirt: Erin MacLeod
Shoes: Timberland
Earrings: Designated Dryden
Bag: Crystalyn Kae



The one-size skirt is by Portland designer Erin MacLeod. I have a couple of other skirts by her. They have a row of snaps as a waistband and are fully adjustable.

The bag is my latest Crystalyn Kae, a design collection made right here in Seattle. It holds my laptop but will be a great carry-on piece when I fly. My friends with children thought it would make a stylish diaper bag too.

The earrings are from Designated Dryden, another Portland-area designer. Dryden makes affordable, fun jewelry. I plan to visit her Etsy site soon.

I really enjoy supporting local designers and merchants. I love how these pieces are high-quality, handmade, and one-of-a-kind. Do you have locally made items? What are your favorite local shops?


Filed under Crafts, Fashion

Urban Craft Uprising

I recently attended Urban Craft Uprising at the Seattle Center. If you think of knitted slippers and quilted tea cosies when you think of crafts, think again. UCU is a very rock ‘n’ roll craft affair. The vendors are young, modern trendsetters and they create wonderful arts and crafts—from handmade soaps and jewelry to one-of-a-kind hats and bags.

I bought a few things that I’ll be showing off in future posts, including two skirts from Erin MacLeod, and an amazing bag from Crystalyn Kae. The funny thing is that the first time I posted about my Crystalyn Kae Clutch, I was wearing my Erin MacLeod skirt. At UCU, I got to meet Erin and Crystalyn.

Krystalyn at work

Meeting Crystalyn was great. She’s so friendly and personable and loves what she does (heck, I love what she does too). It was hard to decide which bag to buy. Can you blame me? There was such a great selection of shoulder bags, clutches in cool new colors, and (what I eventually chose) larger laptop-type bags.

clutches and totes

fabric purses

Her bags are all hand-crafted in Seattle using beautiful vintage fabrics, a surprisingly realistic leather alternative called glazed fabric, and sometimes, reclaimed leather.

Erin MacLeod specializes in amazing one-size-fits-most, wrap-around snap skirts. The skirts are really comfortable and flattering and come in a wide array of colors. Erin spends most of her time making skirts, and not a lot of time building her website (which, if you think about it is preferable to the other way around). You might not find a lot online, but she welcomes email. So if there’s a skirt you’re looking for or you want to know where she’ll be vending next, drop her a line.

erin's fabrics

I’ll model the skirts for you in future posts. I already had a winter-weight plaid skirt, so I bought two lighter fabrics this time. One in cool tones and one in warm tones. I put them in my new tote from Crystalyn, finished shopping at UCU, and grabbed lunch at a Thai restaurant down the street from the Seattle Center.

The next UCU is on December 3rd and 4th, just in time for gift shopping. Mark your calendars. On your way, look for the Space Needle, the monorail, and Experience Music Project. When you see all three, you’re almost there!

space needle, monorail track, and EMP


Filed under Crafts, Fashion

Wedgwood Art Festival

Nothing says summer like an art festival. Practically every weekend all summer long different Seattle neighborhoods hold festivals where people gather to eat, drink, listen to music, enjoy the weather, and of course, shop.

My friend Lynn is a volunteer coordinator for the Wedgwood Art Festival, and encouraged me to sign up for a shift as a photographer. I was excited to be an officially sanctioned picture-taker for the day and ended up capturing about 125  photos. Here are a few of my favorites:

Lynn was also a vendor at the festival. Here are her soy candle B-lights. They’re tiny candles in wine cap lids.

B lights

The weather was perfect, and as I wandered around the festival, I ended up buying a few things. At Laughing Girl Arts I found an adorable ring. You’ll see it in a future outfit post. Here’s a sample of what her booth had to offer:


I bought a scarf from Tasha’s Accessories. There were so many beautiful, soft fabrics that is was hard to decide (I chose the giraffe print).


I was intrigued by the recycled metal sculptures at this booth, and suddenly wished I had a yard to put one in:


In addition to these booths, there was handblown glass, photography, quilts, dolls, watercolor, pastels, gift cards, woodwork, and so much more. Kids had their faces painted, I had a delicious vegan quesadilla, and I listened to music and wandered around in the sun. I met the author of The Lost Sea Cat, a children’s book, and I petted many a dog.

Check out the Festival website and don’t forget to like them on Facebook.

I’ll be heading off to more art fairs this summer. Do you have plans to visit some as well? What’s the best score you’ve found at a street fair?


Filed under Art, Crafts

Another Cable-Knit Pillow

My first cable-knit pillow sold on Etsy so I decided to make a few more. I bought some cable-knit sweaters at Goodwill and washed them. So far, I’ve completed one. The others will be ready soon.


First, I flipped the sweater inside out, measured and marked a square the size of my pillow form (I bought a pillow casing at a craft store), and sewed it on three sides. Then I cut it and turned it right-side out. I used the sweater’s original finishing at the waist as my fourth side. I slipped the casing inside the cover and sewed it shut with two non-functioning brass buttons. If that sounds like too much work, you can just buy this one.

After I cut apart the sweater, the remnants looked rather appealing. I tried it on and whaddaya know. It’s bold, it’s unconventional, but it’s stylish.

cropped top

By a weird coincidence, unbeknownst to me until I was surfing around blogs a couple of days ago, I found a DIY project showing how to make such a cropped sweater. And the idea originally came from Preen, a London-based design label often described as evocative and sexual. Maybe I’m not so crazy after all. Well, except that when I wear this, I want to say (in a Dieter from Sprockets voice) “I turned this sweater into a pillow but the sleeves still work.” That’s a bit crazy.

two for one


Filed under Crafts, Decor, DIY, Fashion

DIY T-Shirt Scarf

Do I have a project for you! Even if you don’t consider yourself crafty, you can successfully complete this project. And you’ll love the results. I recently joined a DIY project called Made This, Love This. The site was started by Indiana over at Adored Austin.t-shirt scarf

I’m so glad Indiana started with a simple project: an infinity scarf made from a T-shirt. Best of all—it’s no-sew. I’m inspired! You can find all the instructions at Made This, Love This, but here’s the gist of it:

  1. Find an old T-shirt.
  2. Cut it into strips horizontally (you’ll be saving the circular “tubes” that you cut from hem to armpits; the top half you can ditch).
  3. Stretch the strips so they curl up (this way the edges won’t show).

That’s it! You’re done. The wider your shirt, the longer your infinity scarf will be. The longer your shirt, the more strands you’ll have. Anything works, but the results will vary. I don’t think you can go wrong.

I didn’t follow Indiana’s instructions to a T (pun intended). She recommends not cutting all the way through the side of the shirt. That way, the strands stay together on one side. I cut all the way through mine because I didn’t bother to watch her helpful video until after I finished my scarf.

t-shirt scarfI’m glad I didn’t keep my strands together though. Having them loose means I can mix and match. I found two T-shirts of similar widths (but different colors) and cut them up. Now I can wear one or the other or I can mix the colors together for a funky, colorful scarf.

Later, I found a much larger T-shirt and cut it up so I could have a longer scarf. It turned out great too. I can easily double it and it hangs loose. I’ve received so many compliments on my scarves and no one can believe I made them (let alone so quickly and easily).

You can make a scarf like this in under ten minutes. Try your own variations: use a patterned T. Mix together strands from a couple of different colored Ts. It’s up to you. And while you’re at it, check out the other scarves that members of Made This, Love This created.

Indiana’s DIY site will have a new idea every month. I encourage you to sign up and join in future projects.


Filed under Crafts, DIY, Fashion, Thrifty

Imani Necklaces: From Uganda to Me

While reading posts at The Compassion Fashion Project, I found out about an inspiring group of women in Uganda and how they are changing their lives by making and selling jewelry.


The tough part: Their pasts. The women, often victims of war and rape, were forced into the sex industry.

The good news: They are now involved in a community where they receive counselling, education, and job skills. As the Imani website says, the women “are paid fair Ugandan wages for each accessory they produce, are enrolled in a savings program to support their children in school, and receive help with medical issues.”

necklace 2

In my sheltered, privileged life,  I haven’t ever had to think in terms of survival. To me, fashion has been fun, even trivial. Now, I can put my money toward items that literally help free a woman from forced prostitution. She can now earn as much money making a necklace as she used to make selling her body.

The necklaces are beautiful. They’re made from recycled magazines, meticulously rolled into beads, and lacquered. Each bead is unique, just like the women who made them. And the women, who were once discarded, give discarded materials new life as something precious and beautiful.

There are many different styles to choose from. Both of mine are colorful and bold. You’ll see me wearing them in upcoming outfit posts. Now you have a reason to shop. Check out the store and buy some jewelry today! The prices are reasonable, and you can’t find a better cause.

necklace 3

Imani beads

Once again, to celebrate National Poetry Month, here’s a poem:

from Phenomenal Woman: Four Poems Celebrating Women
by Maya Angelou

It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman


Filed under Crafts, Fashion

Cable-knit Pillow Project

I went to Goodwill this past weekend and got inspired. In addition to the Windows 7 skirt I fashioned from a gigantic men’s t-shirt, I made a cable-knit pillow from a sweater.

cable-knit pillow

Here’s how I did it: Fearing the knit would unravel if I cut the fabric first, I flipped the sweater inside out, measured and marked a 14″ x 14″ section (of the front and back of the sweater and sewed it on three sides. Then I cut it and turned it right-side out. I used the sweater’s original finishing at the waist as my fourth side.

I bought a pillow form, slipped inside the casing, and sewed it shut with three non-functioning buttons. Well, I guess they function as closures for the pillow. They don’t function as buttons because I didn’t add buttonholes (who am I Martha Stewart?).

If absolutely necessary, I can always cut the buttons off and remove the stuffing, but both the pillow and casing are washable so, when needed, I can just throw the whole thing in the machine. That is, if you don’t buy it first. I added the pillow to my Esty shop, just in case someone finds it easier to buy this one instead of making one from scratch.

As always, I give this project an E for easy (I wouldn’t have it any other way).


Filed under Crafts, Decor, DIY