Fall is in the Air

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Happy Wednesday! This is Kim with Fantastical Menagerie. Fall is in the air here- I can smell it! While it doesn’t get as cold this early in the season here, I still love fall. Pumpkin spice everything, leaves changing, sweaters and crisp evenings. I have been searching Etsy, and these are some of the things that reflect my love of the changing leaves.

This leaf handbag is the perfect blend of autumn tones. LA Boutique Art has this gorgeous felted bag. The colors are vibrant and the bag looks soft and cozy.

The Leather Fan Shop on etsy has gorgeous, brightly colored fans in multiple shapes, including fall leaves. They can do custom fans as well. These can be hung on your belt, or carried to your favorite Renn Faire or ComicCon.

 

Folk Owl has some amazing felted leaf belts. These would be great with a gorgeous skirt or a maxi dress. I love the colors, the texture. It can also be a headband or tied around a leather top hat.

This Leaf Shawl is amazing. the work, the colors and the shape is really pretty. NatKaLV on Etsy has some lovely things.

What makes you think of fall? Let me know!


Tons of Tentacles

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Happy Sunday, all!

I’m not sure how much I have expressed my love of all things with tentacles. I am also not sure where this obsession started, save perhaps vague memories of the large octopus sculpture at the Shedd Aquarium. So I figured this week I would highlight some of the lovely pieces of cephalopod paraphernalia I’ve come across lately. First up being all of these wonderful clay pendants from Indolent Jellyfish:

The teeny pink dumbo octopus is soooooooooo cute! I also adore the sweet purple octo and the awesome vampire squid. The artist also has a plethora of very life-like nudibranchs, nautilus, cuttlefish, and (of course) jellyfish. I would like one of each, please. Up next, I wouldn’t mind giving our living room a bit of a bump with some gorgeous pyrography from Glenouther Crafts:

The patterning and shading really makes it!

Or perhaps if you or someone you love has a special occasion coming up (or maybe an important interview), consider one of these beautiful ties from one of my all time favorites, Cyberoptix:

It comes in the shade of your choice, of course.

Last but most definitely not least, I present a mug I’ve been lusting after ever since they made their debut…tentacle mugs from Dryad Pottery:

I love the blue ones best.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my tentacle-y romp this Sunday, next week will be a perfect time to start thinking about fall décor (yes, I can’t believe it’s that time, either).

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Hand-Knitted Ear Warmer/Headband

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The days and nights are getting chillier. Fall is just around the corner. And beyond that…winter is coming… (Sorry, had to make *some* mention of the Game of Thrones finale).

For the knitters out in our little crafting world, I wanted to pass along this very simple pattern that I came across on the interwebs. I have adapted this a bit to custom to varying head sizes. This pattern works best with chunky soft yarn. I prefer the Lions Brand Hometown USA. Whichever yarn you use, make sure that it has a little give because you will want the headband to stretch.

You’ll want to have US size 10 needles and a pair of scissors and a yarn needle handy as well. You will need two different color yarns; one will be what you knit the band out of and the other will be your accent color to finish the warmer. If you want to dress up your headband, you can also have a plastic or fabric flower handy or some felt shapes cut out to be stitched to the band. This is also a slightly more difficult pattern in that it uses the seed (or moss) stitch. This requires knowledge of the knit stitch and the purl stitch.

First thing to do is the make sure you’re spotted. I like to have a knitting buddy for this.

Just make sure your buddy doesn’t try to play with the yarn. *wink*

Cast on 10 stitches. On row 1, start with one knit stitch, then purl. Repeat this to the end of the row.

Row 2: *p1, k1; rep from * to end of row.

All odd numbered rows will start with a knit stitch; all even numbered rows will start with a purl stitch. I highly recommend using a stitch counter to track your progress. You can lose track of which stitch you need to start on very easily if you’re not paying attention. Your seed stitch should look like this.

Continue this pattern for 70 rows. You’ll want to keep your tension loose so that the headband will still have some stretch and give. If the tension is too tight, the headband will not fit. Once you get to row 70, bind off your work.

Then stitch the ends together to make a knitted circle. Then take the ends and tie around the ends to bunch the band in one spot.

 

Once that’s tied off, you will take your accent color and pull it through the center of the band. I usually have about 3 feet of yarn on each side, then wrap it around in a chunk. Once you have it fully bunched up and covered in your accent color, you will tie off the ends and snip it close. Then tuck the knot into the threads to hide it. Flip your band inside out and you are finished! You can decorate the band with anything you choose; buttons, flowers, whatever ideas you can think of.

This pattern can also be adjusted for head size by either increasing or decreasing the number of rows stitched. It can be completed in a couple hours and make great gifts!

(Note: you also may want to make sure your buddy doesn’t fall asleep on the job. LOL).

~Scribe Sarah~

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Etsy feature: gorgeous flower hats by FilcAlki

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Good. Opening and happy Wednesday! This is Kim with Fantastical Menagerie. I’ve spent most of the last five weeks on the road going from show to show, and I’m finally on the way home for a few weeks of much needed rest.

Yesterday I felt in need of a pick me up. I wandered through Asheville, did some shopping, and ate at a few local little places with great food. I also browsed a bit through Etsy and debated getting myself a treat for my hard work. I stumbled upon an amazing shop with some gorgeous felted hats. The Shop is FilcAlki, and she is an artist based in Poland. Her work is vibrant, crisp and bright. She offers hats, gloves, and some felted scarves. It’s the hats that really shine to me.

Her flower hats are sassy and bold.

Also in love with these architectural gems.

I have worn felted hats with a great coat and scarf in winter, as an addition to a cosplay, or simply to celebrate the season. Reasonably priced, handmade and unique, I’ll be adding more of these to my personal collection!

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DIY Dye Jobs – Clothing or material

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Hello again, fellow Hackers of Crafts. Scribe Sarah here with some helpful tips I came across whilst attempting to fix a portion of a Renaissance-y cosplay I wear yearly. You’ll be seeing more of me as I will be posting every Monday here on the Craft Hackers blog.

We’ve all been there. You search and search and search for just the right article of clothing or a specific shade of fabric. But alas, your efforts are for naught. You have either too specific an idea in your head that you can’t find that perfect item to match or you run short of time and money and must make do with what you can get. The latter happened to me last year for the Bristol Renaissance Festival. I had spent months putting together the perfect cosplay and it came down to one last item. All I needed was a pair of leggings. I had put this off to the last thinking that finding a pair of either olive or chocolate leggings would be the easiest thing in the world. Leggings are all the rage right now, right? Well, apparently, I was wrong and the best I could find on short notice was tan leggings. They worked.  But I got multiple comments about how it looked like I wasn’t wearing any pants (which is true).

A friend first suggested, then my sister seconded that I just dye the pair I had to a darker brown. I had put it off, thinking that I had a whole year to try and find a better pair. Guess what? Life happened. I got busy, I forgot about it, I got even busier…you all know how this goes. We all experience it. So here we are, a year later and I’m going to Ren Faire next weekend. I never found a better pair of leggings. So I thought, “I’ll try this dying thing…”

I have never dyed cloth before. I have watched other people do it but I was nervous. What if I messed it up and ruined my one pair of leggings? Then I really WOULD have to go pantless! So I thought that I would document my little DIY journey for others, just in case you find yourself needing to break out the RIT.

The first thing you need to do is look at the type of material you want/need to dye. My leggings were a bit more difficult because they are 85% polyester. Most regular dyes don’t work as well on blends or synthetic fabrics. I went to Joann Fabrics and diligently perused the dye selection. There were the regular RIT dyes and then a couple specifically designed for synthetics and blends. I opted for the one to the right because the color was closest to what I had envisioned.

 

Now, the first hiccup I came across with this process is make sure that you read the packaging BEFORE you purchase the product and get it all the way home and start your dying process. This particular dye required boiling. That’s right, I basically had to boil my pants in dye. It was a learning experience. However, it ended up being a fun process and not nearly as difficult as I first anticipated.

Tip number two: Read ALL the instructions before you start. I was a tiny bit anal-retentive due to fear I’d ruin my clothing so I read them three times before starting and then also constantly referred to them as I proceeded. But I cannot stress enough how much easier everything was knowing what steps I had to take and when. Follow the directions and you’ll do just fine.

Tip number three: make sure you have rubber gloves to wear during this process. I used kitchen dish gloves because they come up the arm further and protect more of your skin. I also highly recommend either having an old apron to wear as you work or make sure the clothes you have on are ones you don’t care about. As I stirred and shifted the leggings around in the pot, sometimes they would slip off the spoon and *plop* back into the hot water, making little splashes of chocolate brown water.

The dishes you chose to use should be ones that you are never going to use with food again. My old spaghetti pot will never be the same, sadly. But it was the only thing I had that was big enough for the leggings. The spoon wasn’t as big a deal but truly, make sure the tools you have at your disposal match your needs. This was my second hiccup, sort of in correlation with my first (had I paid attention to the fact this needed to be boiled, I would have gotten the other dye that you can use in warm water in a stainless steel sink).

During disposal of the dye (which is septic and safe to pour down the drain), either pour it down the stainless steel sink (or a utility sink, should you have one) or resign yourself to immediately scrubbing your tub with Ajax or a bleach cleaner. My third mistake; I thought, “oh, I’ll dump it down the tub drain so I won’t splash up on the kitchen counter!” Not my best idea ever. Half the tub looked like I hadn’t ever cleaned it. So I had to immediately take care of that before the permanent dye set in. In related news, Ajax really is a great cleaner! Not as good as Francis, but….

All in all, the process wasn’t hard or time-consuming, as long as you prepare fully beforehand. It is possible to have that perfect colored fabric or clothing item and it won’t cost you a fortune! Now that I’ve done it once, I feel like it would be fun to experiment with designs and maybe even mixing my own custom colors. Uh oh, I think I have a new hobby….Couldn’t you just DYE?


Rowe’s Fashion: Unique Canadian Designs.

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Good morning, Thursday Crafthackers!

This morning, I present to you a clothing company that designs, cuts, sews and patterns from Canada. As someone who does the same and feels that businesses have a responsibility to contribute back to their own economy, this alone is a hugely attractive quality. When you buy a piece of their clothing, it means not only are you spending your money on a quality product which is supervised by those who have developed the company, but the money you spend is also going to pay your fellow Canadians, if it isn’t the same people who made it.

Rebecca Rowe is the founder of Rowe’s Fashions, and she not only worked throughout the retail industry, but also went to study first in New York City and then in Paris. She came back to Canada to start her own business with the help of her family. She works closely with the varying aspects of the company, working closely to have a good connection with her employees and also with the quality control of the clothing that is produced.

Having seen her product, I can tell you that they are designed for women, and for women of varying body shapes. She cuts curves into her patterns so that a fitted skirt is not just a sheath, it’s a piece that is cut to curve to your curves, giving shape to a piece that is so often without it.

Her styles are creative but wearable. I love that this is a designer who has thought about usability to build into the garments so that you’re not left with something that you don’t know how to wear or have no where to wear it. This is possibly one of my favorite qualities in a clothing designer, as, if I buy a piece of clothing or jewelry, I plan to wear it. And as often as I can.

Rowe Fashion has a website where you can purchase her wears and peruse photos. You can also read the full history of the designer and company in the About Us section. You can also find hand follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Pintrest.

Hope you guys enjoyed reading about this designer and happy crafting, and happy shopping!

~Megan


Knit Your Own Wonder Woman Sweater

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Wonder Woman movie got you feeling like you need to fill your wardrobe with something to match? Well one woman has seen fit to help us poor mortals out by not only releasing an easy to adjust knit sweater pattern; she also did it for free.

Here’s what you need for this project:

  • Medium (4) Weight yarn – 1456 – 1872 yards (1331 – 1712 m): Cascade Yarns Hollywood recommended
  • US Size 10 (6mm) knitting needles (or size needed to obtain gauge)
  • Natalie Bursztyn’s awesome pattern

Now I’m not a knitter so I can’t weigh in on how easy it is to read or not, but my guess is this would be intermediate level of difficulty. Worth it to dress your self in awesome Wonder Woman garb this winter though. 😉


Couth and Nail: Unique Jewels.

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I have for you a jewelry designer who specializes in the unique and slightly macabre when it comes to jewelry. She had her work purchased for the tv show Winona Earp and creates some really interesting pieces to sell.

Skeleton key encased in quartz.

She started making interesting jewelry and trinkets out of leather and fabric for friends and family and then moved into making things out of metals, gemstones, wood and the remains of small insects and animals. All of her materials, however, are responsibly and ethically sourced and collected, and that means that her pieces are unique and that the same item may not be available at later dates.

I absolutely love the little touch of darkness to her work combined with the delicate flowers, the sparkle of gold leaf, or the shine of gemstone. It is such a beautiful and unique combination that you don’t see anywhere, and that will set her pieces apart from others.

A mink’s tooth set in a wristwatch – inspired by Victorian mourning jewelry.

She has so much to look at and she keeps producing all kinds of new things. You can peruse her wares available now at her Etsy shop, and you can also find photos and keep up to date with her latest creations on, Pintrest and on Facebook as well.

Check her out. There’s lots of stuff to look at from the dark to the light. Not only does she work with bones and small animals, but flowers as well.

Happy crafting!

~Megan


Custom Fantasy Wedding Gowns

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It’s wedding season again, and this year I’ve got a really kick-ass designer to share with anyway of you getting married! Well…married next year though cause these beauties take time to make.

This stunning gown is just one of many design by Firefly Path Bridal. They’ve been making custom fantasy based wedding gowns and accessories for over 10 years and it shows. Every dress is custom made to fit the bride from the ground up and can be made to match just about any fantasy theme. Fairytale wedding? Boom! Beauty and the Beast dress.

Anime themed wedding? No problem! Check out this Tsubasa Chronicles inspired dress.

And then of course the one that drew me to this fabulous collection; Legend of Zelda based gown:

This is just barely scratching the surface of the collection of gowns Firefly Bridal has created. I wish I’d known about them 4-5 years ago cause hot damn, I would’ve been all over this for my own gown! If you’re interested in getting a design idea/quote you can reach them here. No location is too far either as they have no physical shop so all orders are done online and through the post. If you do live where their workshop is in LA, you can rent some of their gowns for photo shoots or events. 😀 If you’re just looking for some kick-ass accessories to go with your dress then you may find what you need over on their etsy page instead.


Fantasy Tights for your inner Nymph

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Tights have been making a resurgence lately in fashion, but not in the way they originally were. Now they come as brightly decorated and embellished as your heart desires! One New York based artist Lirika Matoshi is bringing her vision of fashion tights to the masses with stunning fishnet tights, that are beautifully embellished with faux flowers, stones, and beads.

While the boring self that I am can only think about how they would get caught on all the yarn in my room just putting them on, they are absolutely stunning in their design. You can find all sorts of themes to fit your needs/style in her Etsy shop. 🙂