My Handmade Home

It sure has been a busy month! I am readying for Spring shows, dreaming up new DIYs, and preparing for the Tulsa Art Studio Tour (which I am so excited about! April 12-13 is taking too long to get here!). On top of all of that, I also moved into my very first home with my boyfriend, Rhys! And I thought I’d share some of the handmade pieces that make up a large part of our home and its heart.

IMG_9887A wooden silhouette ornament painted by Audrey Eclectic rests against the built-in floor-to-ceiling bookshelves (I was sold on the house as soon as I saw them. Those shelves called out to the bibliophile in me, not to mention the fact that I have a zillion books!).

IMG_9888Not only did my books find a home on these shelves, but so did several other little handmade knick-knacks that remind me of good friends and fun crafty times. I made this Oklahoma string art at last year’s Etsy Party hosted by Make:Tulsa!

IMG_9890Along the bottom of our fireplace’s mantle is strewn a banner, made from upcycled music sheets, silk ribbon, and vintage buttons from my mom’s stash. I sewed & cut this banner ages ago to decorate my apartment for my very first television DIY (with News Channel 6′s Laura Moss). Whenever I look at this banner, it brings back to life my nervous excitement & my love for sharing DIYs.

The entire Living Room is chockablock full of handmade goodness:

IMG_9891The little Christmas decorations that I do not have the heart to ever put away after the holidays–a hand carved wooden Snowman & sculpted Santa Claus alongside a tiny crazy-quilted tree with button ornaments.

IMG_9892A wooden birdhouse my niece water colored just for me. (She’s getting even craftier as she grows! Our home will likely have several new Avery Jane originals before the summer is out).

IMG_9917These fabulous felt Super Mario pillows made by Rhys’s friends Darcy & Leah. They are super cuddly!

IMG_9918My little sock bears–I love making these guys, especially when I lose a sock and don’t know what to do with its twin. Pictured above are: Gears, Gray, Lil’Gray, Oatmeal, and Buttons.

hh CollageWe have a ton of eclectic, local art pieces. I picked up these stunning canvas prints at Indie Emporium this year from A Wing and A Prayer. Whimsical & beautiful–I wanted them right next to our two big reading chairs where they could be seen, pondered over, and enjoyed!

IMG_9897Of course, there were a few things that I luckily “inherited” along with Rhys. My favorite of which is this stained glass art piece of Batman’s symbol made for him by a friend. It sits in our kitchen window and catches the sunshine. I also like to think that it wards away evil-doers.

Our kitchen, also, has lots of handmade pieces scattered throughout:

IMG_9898I love my Phat Beets calendar with seasonal recipes which I purchased at Made; the Indie Emporium Shop. The drawings are super cute & I am adding new dishes to my repertoire!

IMG_9899On the stove hangs tea towels from my dear friend, Christine Sharp-Crowe (weather&noise). I’ve always admired her aesthetic (which is borrowed from William Morris: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”).

Alongside the stove, on the wall is a mounted bottle opener by A. Whip Designs! It was our first handmade purchase for our new home. (Thanks Okie Crowe for selling these in your righteous store).  Rhys loves craft & local beer, so this was a perfect find. IMG_9915And last, but not least, on the pantry cabinet doorknob hangs a little felted purple star made by my sweet friend Holly, of Hollyrocks. I can’t wait to start a garden of my own and litter it with Holly’s little polymer clay creations, garden stakes, & seed bombs. IMG_9916Perhaps my favorite of all the things that I have ever been made are the quilted wall hangings & table runners by my Grams. I have different ones for every season & holiday. I proudly display her careful stitching and beautiful quilting throughout our home. With a Housewarming Party soon approaching, I have my Welcome Pineapple up on the wall.

hh CollagePictured to the right, is a quilted table runner made my Grams (out of her favorite blue floral fabric) and a cedar Hope chest that was built by an old family friend, Tom. He crafted the chest to look like my great-grandmother’s, as a thank you gift to me for editing his novel. In it lies quilted treasures galore and handmade holiday ornaments.

IMG_9919So far, one of the best perks of living with Rhys is getting to enjoy his photography all the time. His photos, to me, evoke an intimacy with his subject–whether he is snapping a shot of rural Oklahoma or far-away places that he’s traveled. I always feel as if I’ve learned a secret about that place.

IMG_9913Ok, my dear reader, I am about to get a little gushy. I am so happy that I have found someone that I love this much. I consider myself lucky to have someone who not only supports my work, but is passionate about it too. Rhys has given me the freedom to steampunk anything in the house (what a guy!) and in knowing how much handmade means to me, he makes a point when he gives a gift, that it’s handmade. (Like the Star Wars embroidered picture & crochet bear above, made by his friend Heather).

IMG_9909The most meaningful gifts I have received from him, he made himself. Rhys put together this shadowbox & filled it with gears and my favorite of his photographs–a close up of an old gas pump gauge.  Today, I added to it: the ticket stub from our first movie date, flowers from the first bouquet he gave me, and other memorable ephemera.

Unpacking, I realized just how much handmade means to me. There are so many pieces strewn about our home that were crafted by people whose stories & art I know and admire. It fills me with joy and warmth. At our housewarming party, I am sure I will tell many stories about the items in our home. And I hope, that those stories will fill everyone who crosses our hearth with the same joy, warmth, and dare I say it…a little wonder to create something too.

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My Studio Will Be Open to the Public!

I am happy & excited to announce that my studio will be one of the stops on the Tulsa Art Studio Tour this year! The Tulsa Art Studio Tour is hosted and organized by the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition and showcases “the talent of artists who live and work in the Tulsa area. This self-guided tour offers you the chance to meet artists, buy artwork, and observe art being created in a variety of working spaces.” For a complete list of artists on this year’s tour, click here.

Tour Dates & Times: Saturday, April 12th and Sunday, April 13th from noon-5:oo pm (both days)

12196364773_5775066c35_b(1)My Stop on the Tour:

I have met many of you at local craft shows where we’ve talked about the antiques & oddities that I use both in my work and to display my work. I hope that I will see many of your familiar faces walking through my door. I am delighted to share the wonderful “junkyard”  that is my studio table–where pieces lie in wait, percolating, to be made into something new.

You’ll also see my beloved antiques strewn about the room and adorning the mantle of the fireplace; my kitchen table–where this whole thing started; my gutted re-invention of a grandfather clock; and my walls, which are littered with old photos of the LeTrec Family–whose complete family photo collection I saved from a dumpster and whose faces inspire me everyday though my only history of them is imagined.

At my studio, once your Tour passport is stamped (with my logo silhouette), you can learn more about how I make my jewelry, learn about the art of upcycling, purchase my pieces, and even try your hand at a fun DIY project (we’ll be making Lock Washer Earrings!). Tulsa Art Studio Tour 1

Contest:

I’ll also be running a contest from now until the studio tour ends, I’ll be giving away 3 bags of handmade steampunk jewelry & homewares to the 3 fans who spread the word about the tour the most! I’ll be publishing spoilers of what’s inside, but for now just know…these are bags you don’t want to miss out on!

See you in April!

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DIY Steampunk & Upcycled Valentines!

Valentine’s Day is just next week! Time to get started on making those valentines and handmade is the way to go! Here are 3 DIY Valentine’s Day cards you can make easily, quickly, and economically. For the first DIY Valentine’s Day Card, here’s what you’ll need:

IMG_9583Bakers Twine, blank card & envelope, scissors, pen, glue stick, an awl, an old stamp, and a printer.

Steps:

  1. First, glue your stamp onto the front of your card (if you are using only 1 stamp it is best to center it). Be sure to press your stamp firmly down onto the card. Wipe away any glue that creeps out of the edges. step 1
  2. Next, open up your card and on a work surface, poke 2 holes in your card using your awl (also centered). Then thread your Bakers Twine through the holes and tie in a cute bow. Cut off any excess twine. step 2
  3. For this next step you will need a computer & a printer. Open up a word document, download a free card template, and type in a message that you want to appear on the inside of your card. Cut down your inside page so that it fits neatly inside your card. step 3 Glue your message to the inside of the card. Be sure to place an even amount of glue on the card & smooth out from the center to the edges to avoid bubbles & creases. And voila, your valentine is complete!

Here are a few variations that you might also try if you are upcycling stamps:

variations

  • Instead of adding a bow to your card, you could draw a decorative border around your card or embellish lines already stamped or drawn on the individual stamps.
  • You could embellish the edges of the inside of your card (the message page) with a paper punch.
  • Instead of gluing the inside message to the card, you could also sew it into the crease.

Token of My Love Valentine’s Day Card

For this DIY valentine all you need is the following: Bakers Twine, blank card & envelope, scissors, pen, glue stick, an awl, a token coin with a hole in it, and a printer.token of love diy

  1. Open the card and place it face up on a work surface. Poke 2 parallel holes in the center of your card using your awl.
  2. Next, thread Bakers Twine through the holes.
  3. Place your token coin onto the Bakers Twine. Tie a cute bow. Cut off any excess twine.
  4. For this next step you will need a computer & a printer. Open up a word document, download a free card template, and type in a message that you want to appear on the inside of your card. Cut down your inside page so that it fits neatly inside your card. Glue your message to the inside of the card. Be sure to place an even amount of glue on the card & smooth out from the center to the edges to avoid bubbles & creases.
  5. With your valentine completed, give it to your loved one as a token of your affection!

Redeem for A…Valentine’s Day Card

redeem card diySimilar to the last card, this DIY valentine you need: Bakers Twine, blank card & envelope, scissors, pen, glue stick, an awl, a token coin with a hole in it(preferably a large hole in the middle), and a printer.

  1. Open the card and place it face up on a work surface. Poke 4 parallel holes in the center of your card using your awl (along your token coin’s outer edges and inner edges as shown above).
  2. Next, cut two separate pieces of Bakers Twine. You pieces should be long enough to extend past the edge of your card at least 1/4 inch. when doubled. Thread one piece through the holes on the right only and vice verse on the left.
  3. Place your token coin onto the Bakers Twine (threading the left side of the coin with the left piece of Bakers Twine and vice verse). Tie a sturdy knot on each side.
  4. Next, pull out the Bakers Twine on each side of your card so that the ends extend off of the card’s edges. Glue in place and then once dry, cut off the excess twine.
  5. For this next step you will need a computer & a printer. Open up a word document, download a free card template, and type in a message that you want to appear on the inside of your card. Cut down your inside page so that it fits neatly inside your card. Glue your message to the inside of the card. Be sure to place an even amount of glue on the card & smooth out from the center to the edges to avoid bubbles & creases. You could also hand write your message for a more personal touch.
  6. With your valentine completed, give it to your loved one so that they may redeem…!

Also, check out my DIY Valentines from last year: on the Make Tulsa blog and for more steampunk valentines! As always, merry making!

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Day Trip to Guthrie, Oklahoma

There are so many things still to see in Oklahoma since I moved here. Last weekend’s trip to Oklahoma’s original capital, the town of Guthrie, yielded a great many surprises. Guthrie itself was a breathtaking city to explore–its many Victorian buildings are real treasures. I happily gawked and marveled at the elegant brick work, rounded windows, and elaborate moldings. (I also developed a new architectural love for the work of Joseph Pierre Foucart). Guthrie II 075

I also learned something new & exciting: that every Christmas in Guthrie there is a Victorian Walk with carolers and horse drawn carriage rides where everyone dons Victorian clothing! I will be sure to make a trip next December!

Rhys, whose itch to take a road trip & photograph sites of urban decay lead us to Guthrie, was so wonderfully patient with me when I discovered several antique & junk shops in and around Guthrie. I wanted to share my two favorite stops with you all: Country Corner (located at the intersection of Division St. & Oklahoma St.) and Kokopelli Village Antiques & Collectibles (located on Harrison St.).

Country Corner: I was was so excited to step inside because the antique shop is actually a Joseph Foucart building! I got to take a peek inside one of his architectural gems so that in itself was a real treat! There were so many excellent pieces, but Country Corner is a must-see for anyone looking to purchase antique furniture, books, or kitchen ware. Their greatest trove of treasures lies in their basement: a huge row of shelves filled with Kitschy, retro kitchen sets (mainly from the 40s, 50s, and 60s). Although not steampunk, the sets were all complete and in dazzling shape! It was wonderful to see over 50 kitchen sets totally complete & in near-mint condition.

Here are some of my fave finds from Country Corner:

Guthrie II 064Tubes galoreGuthrie II 067Glass Doorknob Hatstands! (So unbelievably fabulous)Guthrie II 065Working Grandfather clocks (Sadly, there were no broken ones for me to take home. I never break my golden rule: to only re-purpose broken or irreparably damaged clocks & watches.)Guthrie II 066Hi Nipper! Country Corner had an impressive selection of radios, phonographs, & records.Guthrie II 068

Kokopelli Village: This antique shop was my favorite stop. By far, it has the most interesting antiques–especially if you are looking for Victoriana & steampunk. Their collection of sewing machines is impressive. I saw a late 1800s child’s sewing machine with a painted scene from Little Red Riding Hood on it that was truly breathtaking. (I may wind up purchasing it for my grams; in her entire sewing machine collection, she has nothing like it.) In fact, there were several sewing machine notions throughout Kokopelli.Guthrie II 077Among their massive collection of furniture and jewelry, I also discovered typewriters, shoe-stands, and hats!

Guthrie II 078Looks like my type! (Rhys’s affinity for puns is rubbing off on me!)Guthrie II 079

What I was very happy to find among their collectibles was a variety of antique tools. Their tool selection is broad–they have a number of wrenches, screwdrivers, awls, hammers, saws, etc. from a broad age range. I was especially excited to find tools with wood handles. At my last show, unfortunately someone stole my pipe wrench with the wood handle. It had been a gift from my grandfather (he knew I loved to display tools among my jewelry and had parted with it so that I could use it). Now I am saddened that I will never see it again, but I did find a wood handle screwdriver that has lessened the sting of my dear wrench’s absence. Nevertheless, I love old tools and now have a new place to find them!

And last, but definitely not least, Kokopelli Village has Victorian-style dresses! They are reproductions of Victorian patterns & very well made. When I inquired about their price, I was happily surprised: only $150.00! The fabric alone would be close to that price not to mention the time & energy it takes to sew following older patterns (Just ask my mom about plackets!). I will certainly be making another trip to Guthrie, and Kokopelli Village will be my first stop! Guthrie II 081Guthrie II 083Hope you are all cozy & warm wherever you are. Now I am going to curl up with some tea and my latest steampunk book, David Barnett’s Gideon Smith & the Mechanical Girl , which is hard to tear myself away from already (only on Chap. 2).

 

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Teaching a Class Tomorrow Night!

Tomorrow, I am teaching a class on how to make this fun little ornament tomorrow night at the MADE : The Indie Emporium Shop (at the Deco District location/at 5th & Boston) from 6:00 to 8:00 pm! Come by & see me and make a cute ornament for $5.00.

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DIY Steampunk Wreath

Steampunk Wreath DIY CollageMy favorite part of the holiday season is making decorations! Here is a steampunk wreath to dress up your doorway made from simple & easy to find materials! I like to call this wreath–A Pocketwatch Lost Among the Moss! The materials are relatively inexpensive ($20-25). Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Wreath (wicker works really well because you can both wire wrap & hot glue pieces in place)
  • Moss
  • Pocketwatch
  • Some chain (I used approx. 2 inches)
  • Ribbon (mine is a burlap skeleton key patterned ribbon available at Michaels)
  • 1 strong jump ring (large enough to fit both a chain link & your pocketwatch’s loop)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Wire (mine is an antique gold color which blends well with a brown wicker wreath)
  • Wire cutters & flat nosed pliers
  • Scissors

IMG_9284Steps:

  1. Plan out your wreath. Arrange your moss, pocketwatch, chain, and ribbon and once you have a configuration you like, begin attaching each of your elements.
  2. First, using your hot glue gun, attach the moss to the wreath.IMG_9285
  3. Once the glue is dry, attach your pocket watch securely to the wreath with wire. Cut lengths of wire (approx. 1 to 1.5 inches) with your wire cutters. Using these lengths of wire, secure the pocketwatch in 2 key places: its loop and the hinge between the watch and its lid. IMG_9287Be sure to twist the wire so that the watch is securely held in place. Pull your wire taut (the flat nosed pliers will help you significantly with this step). IMG_9286Cut off any excess wire & tuck in the sharp ends into the wreath.
  4. With your pocketwatch in place, now attach your chain to the pocketwatch loop with a jump ring using your flat nosed pliers.
  5. Next, secure your chain’s placement. I wanted my chain to look as if it was splayed out across the moss and so I secured the shape I desired with lengths of wire. Repeat the process mentioned in Step 3 for the chain links, only this time secure only the chain links that keep the shape you desire. IMG_9288
  6. Set aside your wreath and fashion a bow out of your ribbon. Once you’re happy with your bow, hot glue it in place.IMG_9289  IMG_9290
  7. Once the glue is dry, hang with pride on your door! IMG_9292

As always, Merry Making!

 

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Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for so many things, especially of late! I’d like to share a few with you.

poems collageMy basement flooded, and although I lost a number of journals & sketchbooks I had stored down there–I did not lose the 2 most important ones: my very first book of poetry that I wrote and my very first sketchbook.

Sketchbook CollageI’m also thankful for my awesome mom–who still to this day writes supportive little notes in the notebooks & sketchbooks she gives me. From an early age she fostered my imagination & creativity.

Ok, it’s about to get really gushy so you might want to scroll down–I’m also thankful for the wonderful new person in my life, my boyfriend, Rhys. He made me this super cool stocking–it’s going to be a very geary Christmas! shot_1385568551092And last, but not least, I am thankful for all of you–who read my blog & support my little steampunk jewelry business. Here’s an Etsy Coupon code for a special Black Friday through Cyber Monday discount (just use it when you check out): “maketulsa13“.

Been making steampunk ornaments for The Alliday Show on Saturday! So excited!

Been making steampunk ornaments for The Alliday Show on Saturday! So excited!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

 

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