Queen of Treasures from the Past

This weekend Rhys and I ventured down to Guthrie, Oklahoma for the Queen of the Prairie Festival–the first year they’ve put on the folk music festival. It was truly wonderful. Guthrie is known as “the Queen of the Prairie,” but I’d contest that it could also be called “the Queen of Treasures from the Past” for its wealth of antique and junk shops.

On this trip, I visited a new shop called Recollections Antiques. It’s now one of my favorite places to visit when I’m in Guthrie. Like any great antique shop it was stuffed-to-the-gills with unique treasures from days past.

Recollections is the perfect place for those of you looking for antique cookware and kitchen tools. They also have an entire section of vintage cookbooks.

An apple peeler fit for any steampunker!

An apple peeler fit for any steampunker!

Among their many items, Recollections has an impressive array of ladies gloves and Victorian ephemera. Here are a few of my faves:

Victorian Sensation Fiction–I was very tempted to dive right in & read them! Pictured here are Edward Salisbury Field’s A Six Cylinder Courtship and George Barr McCutheon’s Beverly of Graustark.

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Elaborate toiletry, like this Collars & Cuffs box.

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And this painted velvet-lined ladies glove box.

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Gilt gold dressing table sets.

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Recollections is also a must-stop for anyone searching for fine china sets or delicate tea cups & saucers. I marveled at the many hand painted beauties so much so that I did not snap one photo of them! They also had a great set of button collections. I may just have to go back for this jar–I have such a weakness & love for vintage buttons.

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I walked away with a few things that I just couldn’t leave behind–a reproduction Victorian Photo Album which I am going to put my wedding photos in.

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I found this great necklace that I am going to steampunk. I just loved the gold of the beads and pattern of filigree in it.

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Of course, I couldn’t visit Guthrie and just go in one shop. I also discovered Treasures & Books–an amazing shop with a trove of used and antique books as well as handmade items from local artists. I found 3 mini tiaras and a great postcard!

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So my antique lovers and fellow garage sale junkies–visit Guthrie soon. You will spend hours walking through their many wonderful antique shops, and if you’re there on Saturday–from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. is their flea market for even more great finds!

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As Always, Happy Junkin’!

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A Very Steampunk Christmas

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and I’ve missed writing (but I do get to do plenty of that at my new job at Tulsa World where I am now feeling quite at home). Although we’re well into the New Year, I thought I’d still tell you about this Christmas. It was very Steampunk indeed! My mom sewed me an exquisite Steampunk quilt. I love each of the blocks–the Victorian ladies are part human, part sewing machine & dress form, and sewing notions are strewn about their hair. It’s a quirky quilt that reminds me of both my mom (who first introduced me to steampunk and jewelry making) and of my grams (who taught me how to sew & quilt). IMG_3697Each of the blocks is interesting and fun with bright bursts of color. What I also love is that each piece of fabric has a subtle background with quotations about sewing & quilting or just the act of creating things.

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quilt collageIMG_3712This is my favorite block. It sums up the feeling of being in my gram’s kitchen at the table, everyone tinkering, sewing, baking, and filling the room with our imaginations, laughter, and conversation. We truly are knit together in love–a love of each other & a love of making things.

IMG_3713My Uncle John (who I lovingly call Uncle Crab) found a neat pair of old goggles for me to steampunk. He is one of my best scavengers of junk. He and the rest of my family send me care packages of flea market treasures. I love getting my “snit supplies” (Snit is his nickname for me).

IMG_3715A tradition of my mom’s is to get my brother, Caleb, and I a new calendar every year as one of our presents. A practical gift, but one I look forward to getting every year. My mom always finds us calendars with art or styles we like. She outdid herself this year! I absolutely flipped when I unwrapped mine.

collage calendarThe calendar is titled “Things Come Apart” by photographer, Todd McLellan. Each month is a different object–broken apart and photographed to show its various components. Some were more complex than I had guessed–like a Swiss Army knife! What I love about repurposing old objects is taking them apart, and often I am surprised at the inner mechanics and the sheer amount of pieces.  IMG_3717

My favorite present was given to me by my future mother-in-law. Lory gave me her mother’s periwinkle rhinestone choker. Jewelry that’s passed down is precious. It’s heritage, and I was so deeply moved by her gift. Rhinestones are a love of mine to begin with–when I was a little girl my mom gave me her rhinestone bracelet–it was broken and missing a few of the stones–but I felt like a queen whenever I wore it. It still has the same effect as it did then. I still have that bracelet, and to this day I prefer rhinestones over diamonds.

I won’t be a stranger; I have been busy in the studio and wedding planning is well underway. More about that next week!

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Enjoying a Chilly Day in my Cozy Studio

It’s been a while since I have blogged–sorry! It’s been an intense couple of weeks: gearing up for Indie Emporium & The Alliday Show and making jewelry for Dwelling Spaces & Made for the upcoming holiday season. It’s a busy time, but one I relish!

My mom and grams visited me & Rhys last week (a whole delicious week) on their way to a few quilt shows out in the Midwest. I always love it when I have house guests–most of the last week has been filled with baking yummy sweets, tipsy games of Mexican Train dominoes, sewing, watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding (a movie all 3 of us know by heart), and crafting all together at the same table. It has been wonderful! IMG_0157Last week I also interviewed for a full time position and got the job! I am now the Community Relations Coordinator for the Tulsa World. I can’t wait to start work next week and it was wonderful that my family was here to help me celebrate!

So today, even though it’s not yet Thanksgiving, I am counting my blessings. I am lucky to have such supportive family & friends; a fiancee who bolsters my confidence and tells me to keep dreaming; and a community that inspires me.

It’s a lovely day to be in the studio–with some tea, a good book (the newest installation in Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series–Waistcoats & Weaponry), and lots of things to tinker with. IMG_0165Here’s a little of what I’ve been up to in my studio today:

IMG_0279Making earrings…as always, I love to make earrings. IMG_3545And I’ve finally finished making the table place cards for my wedding. Each place card was hand cut, colored, and punched. I added a reproduction tin gear to each place card. All that is left is the calligraphy! What have you all been up to lately?

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DIY Steampunk Filigree Halloween Mask

Here is my last DIY Halloween mask for this season…and it may just be my favorite. I love the gleam of metal once light touches it and this mask gleams brightly! SamGoldThe wonderful thing about a detailed accessory such as this is that your costume can be more subdued (paired with a simple dress, gloves, and jewelry) and still be breathtaking & memorable.

IMG_3639Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Metal Filigree Mask (I purchased mine from Party City for $14.99)
  • Gold Ribbon
  • 1-2 inches of gold or brass chain
  • Jump rings (assorted sizes)
  • Gold foil beads (or any beads that suit your taste)
  • Headpins
  • Clock Face
  • 1 brad (preferably matching the color of your clock face)
  • 2 clock springs (preferably from a wristwatch–they are the easiest to manipulate & cut)
  • Clock gears (I used 5; you can use more if desired)
  • 34 gauge jewelry wire (or any fine wire)
  • Scissors
  • Wire cutters
  • Flat nosed pliers
  • Needle nosed pliers

Steps:

  1. Begin by adding your chain to your mask. To attach the chain, use your flat nosed pliers & jump rings. IMG_3641
  2. If desired, add a gear to the chain too using your flat nosed pliers and a jump ring. IMG_3642Then attach the gear to the mask. IMG_3643
  3. Next attach the rest of your gears to the bottom of your mask. Use preexisting holes (this is what’s so great about working with filigree!).  IMG_3645IMG_3646Be sure to close your jump rings well as many gears are paper thin and can easily fall out of even the slightest of gaps. IMG_3647
  4. For added elegance & sparkle, add gold foil beads to your gears (or other areas of your mask). IMG_3648For each bead, you need a headpin. IMG_3649Place the bead on the headpin. Be sure to slide the bead all the way down to the end. Make sure there is no space left over or you’ll have an excess of the headpin showing. IMG_3650Using your flat nosed pliers, bend the headpin wire 45 degrees (so that the headpin wire is horizontal).IMG_3651Using your finger as a measure, cut off the excess headpin wire (the amount that sticks out past your finger) with your wire cutters. Discard the excess wire. IMG_3652Using your needle nosed pliers, create a loop on top of your bead. To do this, hold your bead in one hand. With the other, grip the very end of your headpin wire with your pliers and twist upward and around to the top of your bead. (Think of a making a motorcycle revving motion.)IMG_3653Once your loop is made, open it with your flat nosed pliers (like you would a jump ring). IMG_3654Place your bead into your gear (or mask). Close your loop again, using your flat nosed pliers. IMG_3655Repeat the above process for each bead.
  5. Now it’s time to create our “clock spring eyelashes.” This is what makes this a really different, ultra feminine DIY. First figure out the placement of your clock springs over the eyes of your mask. IMG_3657Once you’ve figured out placement, cut down your springs. To cut your clock springs, use your wire cutters, and also gently move the spring back and forth. IMG_3663This allows for an easier, cleaner break. Once you’ve cut your springs you may need to file them down a bit. Sandpaper or a metal file is preferable. IMG_3664
  6. Now you can begin attaching your clock springs over the eyes of your mask. Cut a medium length piece of your 34 gauge wire. IMG_3658Using this wire, wire wrap the spring in place by weaving through the preexisting holes in the filigree mask. Be sure that your clock spring does not twist as you are wire wrapping it in place. IMG_3659Remember to pull the wire taut. Twist the wire together & around each other to “tie” it off. Cut off any excess wire. Be sure to push all raw edges of the wire away from your eyes & face. IMG_3661
  7. (Optional) Add a clock face to the top of your mask using a brad. First, load the clock face onto the brad. IMG_3665Then push it the brad through a hole in the mask. Flip the mask over to the back, and pull apart the brad’s prongs to secure the clock face in place. IMG_3666Be sure that when you pull apart the brad’s prongs that you firmly hold the clock face in place on the front side of the mask. Otherwise, you may have a slight gap in between all of your layers which will cause your clock face to slide out of place. IMG_3667
  8. Now all that is left is to attach the ribbon that will hold your mask onto your face. (You can also use elastic. An elastic band came with this mask but it was really cheap looking & flimsy so I decided to replace it). Measure the amount of ribbon you’ll need–take into account knotting both sides of the mask, knotting the ends (if your ribbon is prone to fraying), and the amount you’ll need to tie the ribbon in a bow. IMG_3668Once you’ve measured the amount you need, cut the ribbon with your scissors. Then cut the ribbon in half (one for each side of your mask). Take the first piece of ribbon and tie it to your mask. I used a simple knot. Knot the end as well. IMG_3670Repeat for the other side. Cut off any excess ribbon. IMG_3669You now have a completed mask! Pair with an elegant dress, pair of long gloves, and some fabulous jewelry for a posh Steampunk Halloween costume! IMG_3672SamGold-4Thanks to Rhys for the amazing pictures! SamGold-3As always, Merry Making! I hope you’ve enjoyed my Halloween DIYs this month! Check out some of my past steampunk costume & Halloween Decor DIYs for further inspiration!

SamGold-5For websites where I find costume inspiration, visit: A Mighty Girl and also Take Back Halloween (which I blogged about last Halloween). Both sites have excellent ideas & costumes for girls & women that empower & celebrate what it means to be an imaginative, creative woman–which for me, is what Halloween is all about!

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Swap-o-Rama-Rama Live Pinterest Board Projects

At Swap-O-Rama-Rama again this year we have a live Pinterest Board–with examples of the projects already made to inspire you. Here are a list of instructions (and links) to make these projects on your own:

1) Update an Old Mask (brought to you by Bohemian Romance)IMG_3580

2) Headband Crown (brought to you by Hello Bee & tweaked a little) Follow HelloBee instructions, and if you would like your crown to be a headband instead. Simply Make your crown from a single piece of felt (the size you’d purchase from many craft stores) and cut two small slits in opposite sides and insert the headband! FullSizeRender

3) Military Vest from an Old Vest (brought to you by Bohemian Romance, and inspired by Bifftastica) First, select an old vest that is made of sturdy fabric. Purchase approximately 30-36 military-style or simple metal buttons (approximately 12 per row). First begin by replacing your original buttons with your military-style buttons. Add additional buttons if desired and create new button holes by cutting slits into your vest’s fabric. Next, add 2 additional rows of buttons on both sides of your vest.SORR 7

4) Update an Old Pair of Gloves (brought to you by Bohemian RomanceIMG_3430

5) From Bridesmaid Dress to Princess (this is very simple & great if you have a bridesmaid dress just gathering cobwebs in the closet). Accentuate the dress by adding lace, rhinestone pins, or a sash. On the example dress, we’ve added faux sleeves by sewing lace up and over (from the front to the back of) the dress. Be sure to measure how much lace you’ll need beforehand and leave at least 1/4 inch to a 1/2 inch on each side for sewing. We’ve also added a rhinestone pin on the side! SORR 9 collage

6) Spats (Here is a lovely pattern for Spats) The directions for these spats are printed on the pattern. The only step that is not explained fully is how to add your closure (meaning the buttons, hooks, or ribbons that you want to use to fasten your spats to your shoes). When adding buttons or hooks, place the spat around the shoe and mark where you’d like your closures to go with a fabric pencil or chalk. Then sew the buttons/hooks onto the bottom layer of your spat. Create buttonholes if using buttons; sew the second portion of your hooks to the other side. If using ribbons as an enclosure, sew a piece of ribbon to each side of your spat and be sure to leave enough room for you to tie your spat closed. SORR 8

Thank you to everyone who came out for Swap-o-Rama-Rama, Halloween Edition this year! Thank you to all of our volunteers & orgainzers: Hollyrocks, Bifftastica, Bohemian Romance, Made, Indie Emporium, The Workshop, and as always, The Philbrook Museum of Art.

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DIY Steampunk Halloween Mask

IMG_3618Here’s is the 2nd DIY Halloween mask I’ve created this year. It’s simple, yet time intensive to create. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Mask (I purchased mine from Party City for 99 cents)
  • Reproduction Gears (I don’t recommend using actual gears since the weight of real gears will pull the mask away or down from your face because of the additional weight)
  • Brads
  • Needle & thread (matching the color of your mask)
  • Embroidery needle
  • Marker, fabric crayon, or chalk
  • Scissors
  • Tacky Glue (or any other all-purpose glue)
  • An awl
  • Cotton Cloth or felt (for backing your mask)
  • Fabric Antique Spray (optional)
  • Work surface (I have a portable thick wood piece that I use)

IMG_3583Steps:

  1. Antique your mask (optional). I used an antique fabric spray. It dulled the newness of the mask nicely.IMG_3536
  2. Untie your elastic head strap from your mask. Set elastic aside for later.IMG_3586
  3. Spread your cloth (or felt) out flat on the table. Trace the outline of your mask & the eye holes with chalk or fabric crayon.IMG_3589 Here’s what it should look like fully traced. Be sure to also mark where your holes are for re-attaching your elastic band.IMG_3590
  4. Cut inside the lines you’ve created for yourself. Cutting inside the lines ensures that your cloth won’t stick out past your mask & be seen from the front. IMG_3591
  5. Once you’ve finished cutting around the outside of your mask, it’s time to cut out the eyes. Begin by partially folding your mask and cutting slits in the middle of the space for the eyes. IMG_3592
  6. After you’ve made these slits, it will be easier to maneuver your scissors to cut the holes for the eyes. IMG_3593
  7. Place your cut cloth (or felt) piece on the back of your mask. Trim any fabric that hangs over your mask. Set aside. IMG_3594
  8. Now you can begin placing your gears onto your mask. I like to figure out placement before permanently fixing the gears to the mask. Take a picture once you’re done so that you can easily remember your gear placement. IMG_3596
  9. Once you’re happy with the placement of your gears–mark where you’ll need to place brads (or stitches) with a marker or piece of chalk. I suggest using a writing utensil that will either wash away or blend into your mask. (Please note that I have not done this & some of my markings do still show. I wanted this step to be clear and so I used a black sharpie instead of a silver one.) IMG_3599
  10. Remove all gears from your mask. On your work surface, begin poking small holes using your awl on the places you’ve marked. Be sure that your holes are not too big. IMG_3600Here is the mask with all of its holes made. IMG_3601
  11. Now you can start attaching your gears in place! Pull up your picture to help you recall placement. Affix each gear using a small brad. Load your brad first with the gear and then the mask. Push the brad firmly in place. IMG_3602Flip over your mask to the back side and pull apart the brad’s two prongs while holding the front of the brad firmly in place with your finger. IMG_3604You can also sew the brad onto your mask using a needle & matching thread. This is not as quick as using a brad, but for gears that cannot be affixed to your mask with a brad (i.e. a gear with a huge gap in the middle), this is the only method that works. Be sure to keep your stitches tiny & neat, tie sturdy knots on the back of your mask, and to place at least 2 stitches for each gear (on opposite side of each other to keep the gear from flapping around). IMG_3605
  12. Once you’ve attached all of your gears, flip over your mask to the back side. Using tacky glue (or any all-purpose glue), spread an even amount of glue over all of your cloth (or felt) mask piece.IMG_3610
  13. Press the cloth piece in place. Smooth out any air bubbles. Let the glue dry completely (approximately 10-15 minutes; and for felt, 15-20 minutes). IMG_3612
  14. Grab your elastic that you set aside earlier. To re-attach it, thread it onto an embroidery needle & pull it through the existing hole. Be sure to pull the elastic from the front of the mask to the back.IMG_3615
  15. Remove the elastic from the embroidery needle & knot it. IMG_3617
  16. Repeat steps 14 & 15 for the other side.
  17. Wear proudly! IMG_3621As always, Merry Making! I am also excited to announce that I will be teaching a class on how to make this very mask at the Schusterman-Benson Library on October 21st! Check out more details here! I am also co-organizing Swap-o-Rama-Rama again & this year it’s better than ever! We’re swapping & re-vamping Halloween costumes! RSVP on Facebook. Also tune in to Good Day Tulsa on Tuesday (Oct. 14th) between 9-10 am to hear more about our fun projects!

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DIY Halloween Mask

I love Halloween! I look forward to it every year because it is such a source of creative energy. Perhaps that is because Halloween is more transparently handmade. Here is the first of 3 Halloween mask DIYs that I have dreamed up for this year! It’s elegant, inexpensive, and can be made with a majority of salvaged materials! SJE-6

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Mask (mine was $2.99 from Party City)
  • Lacy tights (mine were a pair that I had to stop wearing because of a huge tear–this is a great DIY for reusing ruined fancy/patterned tights)
  • An old rhinestone necklace
  • Needle & thread (in a color that matches)
  • Wire cutters (or toenail clippers)
  • Pliers (if needed)
  • Embroidery needle
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Beads (optional, if desired)

IMG_3551Steps:

  1. Untie your elastic head strap from your mask. Set elastic aside for later. IMG_3553
  2. Next, cut a hole in the foot of your tights. The foot & lower leg areas are the best spots because they are smaller and less stretched out. IMG_3554
  3. Insert your mask into the tights. Once you’ve got your mask completely covered and the pattern/lace positioned as you like it, cut the other end of the tights (opposite your initial entry point detailed in Step 2). Then cut a slit in the back of your tights (and the back of your mask). IMG_3555
  4. Pin the tights in place. Be sure to pull the fabric taut over the front of your mask & over to the back of your mask. IMG_3556When you’ve finished pinning, your tights should be firmly taut around your mask (as pictured below). If you have any loose fabric, re-pin that area. IMG_3557
  5. Next sew the tights in place by stitching around the perimeter of the mask. (If your mask is shaped, as this one is, be sure to hand stitch the tights in place otherwise your machine will crack the mask or break/ruin the molding & shaping. If you have a simple cloth mask without any shaping, you can use a machine for this step.) Be sure to keep all of your stitches even and small. Tie sturdy knots.
    IMG_3558

    Tip: If hand stitching & if your mask is tough to sew through, you can sew the tights together in the back on the mask as shown in this picture. Do this only for the portions of your mask that are not open (namely the eyes). If your mask material is tough, be sure to choose a firmer & thicker needle. You can also use your pliers in this case to help you retain a better grip on your needle as you make your stitches.

    IMG_3559Be sure that as you go, you are continuing to pull the tights taut. As you sew, feel free to trim any excess fabric. You don’t want too much fabric in one place or it will cause your mask to lay crooked on your face.

  6. Next, cut slits in the fabric in the middle of the eye holes of your mask. Pull these taut around to the back of your mask. Pin if needed.IMG_3560  IMG_3562
  7. Sew the tights in place by stitching the fabric you’ve pulled to the back of your mask (from the slit) to the fabric above it/below it (above, if stitching the top of the eye; below, if stitching the bottom of the eye).  IMG_3561
  8. You’ve successfully covered your mask! On to the fun part, accessorizing it!
    The completed back--not too fancy looking but no one is going to see it.

    The completed back–not too fancy looking but no one is going to see it.

    The completed front--notice that there is no loose fabric. If you do have some loose fabric, pull it toward the back and stitch it securely.

    The completed front–notice that there is no loose fabric. If you do have some loose fabric, pull it toward the back and stitch it securely.

    Adding fabric to a simple mask gives it texture & a bit of romance!

  9. Figure out the placement of your necklace piece & how much of the necklace you want to use on your mask. I liked mine just over the nose & at the start of the eyebrows on each side. IMG_3565
  10. Once you’ve figured out the placement, cut off any excess chain with your wire cutters (or toenail clippers, if you do not own a pair of wire cutters). IMG_3571
  11. Sew your necklace piece in place. Be sure to hide your knots on the back side of your mask. Sew between two rhinestone links; onto a jump ring; or onto a chain link. IMG_3573
  12. If needed, also sew the middle of your necklace piece in place. (This is especially important if your piece moves a lot. You don’t want it to hit you in the eye all night if you’re dancing). IMG_3574
  13. Grab your elastic that you set aside earlier. To re-attach it, thread it onto an embroidery needle & pull it through the existing hole. Be sure to pull the elastic from the front of the mask to the back.IMG_3575
  14. Remove the elastic from the embroidery needle & knot it. IMG_3576
  15. Repeat Steps 13 & 14 for the other side. IMG_3580
  16. Wear proudly! SJE-4To Make this a Full Costume: Put on one of those fancy dresses you hardly get to wear, wrap some tulle around your shoulders, grab a fan, and don some femme fatale makeup! Perhaps you are a spy at a masquerade, or a jilted tango dancer, or even a princess incognito–whoever you are–Happy Halloween & as always, Merry Making! SJE-3  SJE-5A special thanks to my lovely fiancee, Rhys, for the wonderful pictures of me wearing the mask I just made. Love you, shutterbug!

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