Back when I was going to school at Amarillo College (2004-2006 range), my Mom and I learned about a little Celtic festival in Amarillo. It didn’t have a lot at the festival, but we found a clan represented there that included last names of our extended family. I bought my first tartan accessory there, a sash in Thompson red. With my family’s general fascination with our heritage, I wanted to have an outfit that reflected some it, and well, I’ve never really liked the look of the other clan tartans we can identify with. So while I found patterns that were inspiration for my Celtic garb, every time I tried to find the Thompson tartan I wanted it was far more than I could afford.
Every now and again I’d search for sources and always come up with the answer that it wasn’t going to happen. But just a couple of weeks ago I searched again, and found an ebay listing for a handmade woman’s kilt in that tartan that was a little small for me, but I had never seen a ready-made women’s kilt in the Thompson tartan. The seller didn’t specify the clan tartan and didn’t know much about it, so I got an amazing deal. I always shy away from altering ready made pieces because I feel like I’ll be wasting a perfectly good thing if I screw it up. I was nervous about taking apart something I considered to be quite precious and putting it back together the way I wanted it. I got it, cleaned it carefully, and last night I reworked it into what I’d wanted for the last decade.
Before altering, the kilt was sized a little small for me and definitely would not be comfortable under a corset like I plan to wear it. After giving it a careful cleaning (soaking in the bathtub with no agitation, rinsing it with the shower-head, and allowing it to drip dry overnight), I started by taking off the buckles, removed its straps, and took the front panels out of the waistband. I didn’t need to pull the whole thing out from the waistband, since I just needed the fronts to be pleated down. The pleats are just about an inch wide, and opened up the front enough to let my linen skirt show underneath. After the buckles were removed, I needed to add on a closure. Thankfully I had one pair of hook and eye pieces left from some of the first Renaissance skirts I’d made. The waistband extends and overlaps the front and now stays on by the hook-and-eye clasp.
I’m excited to wear my new kilt/overskirt to this year’s Sherwood Forest Celtic Gathering outside of Austin, Texas! The gathering will be happening this coming Saturday, September 10.
I’m sad to say my time in Austin is over for now, and I’ve moved up to Grand Prairie, Texas. Of course one of my priorities is getting my sewing space set up, and it’s coming along nicely! It will still be another few days before I can really work in there to get a friend’s order for her trips to the Texas Renaissance Festival done. With Hallowe’en only a week away, I’m also doing what I can to decorate the house! My specifically Hallowe’en decor is on the minimal side since I’ve been in apartments for the last nine years, though I have a good amount of dark items that will be used as general decorating for the house for everyday.
Once I’m set up again, I’ll be reopening my Etsy Shop for ready to ship items, and afterward will be getting all the made to order items back up once my sewing room is fully functional. (For whatever crazy reason, I didn’t label the box that my thread ended up in. Whoops!) I will do my best to update this little ignored blog of mine again, which shall include a project I’ll be tackling next week! I’ll be building a computer desk for one of my work spaces that includes antique Singer brand treadle sewing machine legs. Just one of those little things that I’ve imagined doing for the last few years, though not until now did I have the space to do it.
As I get back to sorting through boxes (and making a huge mess), I’ll leave y’all with a picture of how my boyfriend proposed to me in August!
I have been so terrible at updating. D: Okay so, in quick review:
New Pintuck Taffeta Skirts! Well, okay, it was only one, it just sold, and I don’t have any more of the fabric. …yet. I’m planning on having several color options of this skirt, but so far the price of the fabric is a little out of my range at the moment. I want them to be as affordable as I can make them, and not have my price set over $200. It might be a couple of months before I have another one made.
Ama-Con 2013! Ama-Con takes place in Amarillo, Texas. For those who have no idea where that is, it’s the largest town in the panhandle of Texas. Yes, there are far more cows surrounding the area than there are people living in the city, but no, there are no cattle drives going on through the town. It definitely isn’t the old west. As for cool events going on within Amarillo, there really isn’t much.
This was Ama-Con’s second year, and it was another great one day event! People do drive in from all around the area, even some from Oklahoma, New Mexico, and I think a few from Kansas attended as well. Kansas is definitely closer to Amarillo than where I live in Austin. I had a lot of items that I haven’t vended with before, mostly of the Pre-Loved variety. I’ll be adding what I have left onto Kitty’s Closet Sale in the next few weeks. I’ll also soon have a page for the glass bottles with the labels I’ve created. They make for great displays for Hallowe’en!
Now what’s next? I’ll be restocking as much of my handmade items as I can, trying to balance item making with my day job. I also have been taking several custom orders, including a wedding dress for a friend! I’m really excited about creating this dress, and I’m also hoping I haven’t gotten myself in over my head with it! We’ll see, and I hope to post progress reports on the dress as I go along. As for the next event I’ll be vending at, Sherwood Celtic Festival will be taking place on September 21 & 22!
Last weekend, my sister and I went to the Wizard World Comic Con here in Austin for our first time! It’s the largest convention I’ve gotten to attend, while it was her first con to attend. I wore my gussied up Steampunk attire, although it leans more toward Gothic Victorian. I don’t really incorporate much leather or gears into my outfit. Stephanie dressed in her new Saffron (Firefly) costume, so she was on a hunt to take pictures with other Firefly characters, particularly any Mals out there!
There were so many awesome costumes attendees were wearing! Of course many superheros, villains, soldiers, Trekkies, and Stormtroopers with a mix of zombies, furries, Steampunks, Serenity crew, and random Rennies. My vote on favorite costumes has to go to the Klingons. Every one that I saw was so well done!
As far as attending panels, well, we didn’t. The few panels I was interested in came and went before we got into the convention. We did a lot of running around the vendors and artist alley sections, while also getting some glances at the celebrities signing autographs for those willing to spend the cash. Sir Patrick Stewart of course had the longest line of anyone, so I think I saw him for about 1/5 of a second. I did get to see Gates McFadden, Brent Spiner, Michael Dorn, Dean Cain, Norman Reedus, and Sean Patrick Flanery. I’d wanted to also see Paul McGillion, but he wasn’t ever at his table when we were nearby.
We spent so much of the day running around the vendors, but the only thing I bought for myself was a limited edition print by Jeena Pepersack! She has a presence on both DeviantArt (click the pic!) and on Etsy. Steph got a few sundries including an Aperture Science t-shirt and a hardcover Firefly comic book. We ran into a few friends, and Steph got her pictures with a Mal and a Jayne. And next time I go to a con, I need to remember to wear really comfortable shoes. I got a few giggles when people saw me walking around with no shoes on! I’m definitely looking forward to the next convention we get to go to, and maybe I’ll actually plan out an outfit for next time… >:3
July marks the fifth anniversary of Faire Treasures! I started with the intent of having small purses and cloaks for sale, actually opened with only twelve strands of Pirate Hair Jewels, and I’m happy to have grown to have a variety of my own handmade wearables as well as corsets by Timeless Trends and shoes by Hades Footwear!
In celebration, head over to Aquariann’s blog to enter to win a black Emily Elaine Lace Capelet! Entries are accepted from July 5 until July 25, with many different ways to increase your chance of winning.
One of the things I’ve gotten to work on recently was a pirate chest for my second anniversary gift to my husband. I started out with an unfinished chest and decorated it with some of the lyrics to “The Derelict,” his pirate character names, vines, and more! All in all, I think it worked out beautifully.
Sherwood has ended for the season, and I’ll be doing inventory to take down anything on the websites that sold at faire. We had a great time at Sherwood again this year, and I’m looking forward to how much more awesome next year will be!
Soon I’ll be photographing the Mini Cloaks I hadn’t yet had a chance to put on the websites. Afterward, I’ll be making more Mini Cloaks, and at least one more long cloak.
We all like to win things, right? I’ve entered my share of contests and drawings, and of course have rarely won anything at all. One time I did actually win from a drawing with thousands of entrants, on a teen website that was giving away a MiniDisk player/recorder along with goodies with the website’s brand all over them.
These days I’ve found it to make much more sense to enter giveaways on blogs or Facebook pages of handmade sellers. The odds end up much more in your favor, and I’ve actually won a couple of things from them!
Last October, I participated in a scavenger hunt by the Etsy Dark Side Street Team. Prizes were to be given to the first thirteen entrants who submitted the correct list of links to items that you found through the hunt. To find the items, you were given the address to a specific team member, then had to look through their item listings until you found the one listing that had the URL to the next shop in the description. I didn’t at all think I’d be one of the first to submit the answers since finding all the listings took a long time, but I won my choice of either a necklace or a set of earrings from Fable and Fury. I chose this gorgeous Cabaret necklace in stainless steel.
There are several websites dedicated to promoting handmade giveaways, such as By Hand Giveaways. Another great way to find out about giveaways is to follow your favorite artists on Twitter and Facebook!
For my birthday, my parents gave me an iPhone. (Yay!) This is the first internet capable phone I’ve had, and I may be having too much fun downloading free apps for it. I also possibly find it a bit too amusing that my first time reading Pride and Prejudice was on my phone. ^_^
But one of the things that bothers me about iPhones is there’s not a lot you can easily customize about them. You can change the background image, and you can have a case to help protect the shiny finish. So of course I made a background for my phone, and I wanted to make a unique case for it. Since I’ve been really looking forward to having a more complete Steampunk costume for the Ball at the end of the month, I decided to do a Steampunk inspired phone case.
In my online search for cases, I found some wooden cases, giving me the idea to customize mine by burning an image into the wood. My search then became finding a wood case in my budget–under $20. Most of the reviews for wood cases are pretty bad, since the carved wood is fragile. With some cases, you can’t charge your phone with the case on or some of the side buttons aren’t accessible. The nicer cases can be upwards of $100, which I sure wasn’t willing to spend. I eventually came across this one:
At only seven dollars, I wasn’t going to pass this one up. And if I happened to really screw up my modifications, not much lost. My first step then was to find an image I wanted to burn into the wood. I wanted to do something with Victorian swirls, but I’m terrible at making them myself. I did a quick image search to find some inspiration for the swirls, and since I’m going with the Steampunk theme, I found an image with gears I could draw from as well. I traced around my phone for approximate size and sketched this:
I copied my sketch onto tracing paper so I could transfer it onto my case, but before I could transfer it, I had to sand off the case’s finish. Thankfully from the shop build I have a battery powered sander that took off the finish quickly and evenly. From there, I transferred my image and burned it into the wood. Remember folks, wood-burning is best done in a well ventilated area, not the dining room. Heh. ^_^;
After the design was finished, it needed to be sealed. Using a small brush and some quick dry polyurethane, I applied two coats to reseal the wood. Once the polyurethane had completely dried, I glued five watch gears near the large hole. It would have been awesome to rivet the gears onto the case so they could rotate, but I don’t have the tools to do that. Anyway, I’m really happy how this came out!