Wednesday Wishes

7:45 AM Posted In , , , , Edit This 0 Comments »

Molly and I often stop by this shop to oooh and aaah over the multitude of spectacular creations available at damselinthisdress.

Not only do I wish that I could afford some of these beautiful costume pieces, I wish I had the time, talent and access to the incredibly lush fabrics she uses so that I could create my own. I also wish I had a place to wear such clothes. (I know, Suzy, I should come to Pensic!)

I love that these are made to fit women's bodies. That means that while skinny girls like Kate Moss would look pathetic in these corsets, ladies with figures more like mine would look great. You can check out Michelle's website to see more photos of real women wearing her garb.

Michelle Thorstrom's story makes me happy. She decided, almost on a whim, to make a few corsets and sell them at a Renaissance Festival. Now she and her husband are supporting their family with this business. I think that's wonderful and incredible. I hope the magic continues for her!

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A Beautiful Treasury!

9:17 AM Edit This 0 Comments »

This is just the encouragement that I need! I'm planing a studio day today - still not sure what I will do with it, but I DO need to do some dyeing. I've got a friend who has been waiting patiently for months for me to get to a custom scarf order for her - maybe today's the day, Penny!

When I checked into my shop this morning, I had a message from fivelittlegems that she had included me in her treasury this morning and a beautiful treasury it is!

In case you don't know about Etsy treasuries, they are small collections of items for sale on Etsy that are gathered into a sort of 'gallery' by another Etsy buyer or seller. It is a great honor to have someone include your items in their treasury because it is very difficult to get one of the limited treasury slots. Some Etsy treasury makers hover over their computers or hours at a time, just waiting for a spot to become available!

Sometimes the really well designed treasuries are featured on the front page of Etsy for an hour or so, which is wonderful publicity for those of us who have items included in the treasury. That happens when the individual items in a treasury get lots of clicks - the computer system alerts Etsy admins that this one particular treasury is getting lots of attention, they take a look and if it passes muster and there is room, they may choose to put it on the front page.

So if you have plenty of time today, take a quick click through all of these beautiful purpley things and help this treasury get noticed! Check out some of the other items in the shops, too. (Some of them are shown on this page, just to give everyone an idea of what else in in the shops.) I was so impressed with the quality of artists from all over the world represented here - truly beautiful stuff!

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Brass Basics

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This weekend, I had a customer ask me some questions about Brass stampings. In composing an answer for her, I realized that this would probably be a good blog topic as there seems to be a lack of honest, concise information out there about these pretty things that so many people are buying and using these days.

The first place to start would be what Brass is made of. Wikipedia has a good explanation
that needs no extra babbling from me. Copper and Zinc. No lead. Yay!

Part of the confusion around all of those pretty filigree pieces out there today is the question of whether they are truly "antique" or "vintage" or not. Based on my experience with these items, I believe that most of them for sale today on Etsy and elsewhere are actually newly manufactured items. There are some out there that are obviously old - left over from old boxes stored in warehouses for decades but those show significant oxidation beyond the simple patinas that modern jewelry artists are applying. The truly old stuff is often dirty and pitted and have come from some auction house clearing out old, unclaimed stuff.

All of my brass pieces are newly made from vintage and antique dies by manufacturers in the U.S. (Yay for American manufacturing jobs!) For basic information on the manufacturing process, we turn to Wikipedia again. In many cases, these dies were put away for decades until the recent fashion trends in vintage style, Steampunk, and retro Victorian jewelry came into vogue. Then the old dies were pulled out and put to work again to create new findings in vintage designs. Thus, you can buy a brand new filigree piece of the exact same design used in a brooch your great-gramma wore. Molly Byn was excited to learn this as she was recently allowed to claim some goodies from her Great Gramma's jewelry box - some items needed repair or repurposing and she discovered a treasure trove of possibilities in my studio. (I'll post some of those creations later on.)

Raw brass items are just that - brass charms, filigree and findings that are unaltered from their original state. These pieces will age and darken, sometimes in a very unlovely fashion and will probably leave a green mark on your skin unless they are sealed in some way. Floor wax, jewelers sealant, clear nail polish and furniture wax (like Renaissane micro-crystaline wax) all work well for this purpose. Brass reacts with all sorts of chemicals unless sealed - amonia will quickly darken brass and will actually eat away at it if exposed for too long. I have started using a jewelrs grade sealant for my patina items so that my customers' creations remain stable and clean.

Because brass reacts with many chemicals, there are many solutions that can be applied to create a patina on the brass. The most usual patina color is a brown-gold color that makes the piece look aged. I recently learned how to apply a green-blue verdegris patina that will start appearing in my shop soon and I have seen a few other colors that I'm intrigued by - chartreuse, deep purple - but I'm intimidated by the chemisty right now and will have to wait until I have a studio with beter ventilation and running water for safety's sake before experimenting with those.

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Wednesday Wishes

10:29 AM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »

Things have been so busy lately and my stress level with Maxx's asthma issues has been pretty severe and I have missed creating and blogging very much! I've decided to try to do a Wednesday Wishes post each week, featuring some of my favorite handmade stuff online.

This week, I'm looking at MandalaArts' shop. This shop is all about color and is filled with beautiful window stickers at about $3.00 a piece. Molly Bryn wants to buy one or two but she can't narrow the choices down enough. Boy - do I know how that feels!

I've been in a very funky retro groove since Lue gave us the Sesame Street Old School DVD's for the kids to enjoy. I've been remembering how much I loves all of these bright, psychedelic patterns and designs that flashed across the screen back in Henson's day. MandalaArts shop has all that bright, happy color in one place.

I love these dragonflies.

And can't you just imagine a troop of faeries popping out of that little door to perform choreographed acrobatic alphabet poses at any moment?

He even has a beautiful Pegasus sticker but I'm not going to post it here. You'll have to go over to his shop to look at it!

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Fabric Dot Com claims my latest comission check

9:09 AM Edit This 1 Comment »

I have got to unsubscribe from's Deal of the Day. Last week it was Iridescent Silk Dupoini at half off their already low promotional price which made it $4.95 a yard and today - well - see for yourself.

Molly has already claimed one bunch of the silk I ordered last week - it is a crisp, icy blue, exactly the color of Princess Buttercup's blue gown.

I don't know when I will have time to sew with this stuff, but the velveteen I ordered today will make beautiful shawls and/or purses and/or vests.

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Too busy Too soon

8:16 PM Edit This 1 Comment »
I'm thinking about unplugging the phone and the computer, drawing the shades and pretending that we are GONE for a week or two! Things have been very hectic here and show no signs of letting up anytime soon.

I did have just enough time to discover this incredible tool tonight, though. If you like color, or fabric, or shopping at Etsy, you'll love

Catherine has been looking at shops that sell fabric over at Etsy and compiling their inventory into a series of color families that can make designer fabric shopping so much easier and more fun. Me - I just really like looking at the fabric arrainged by color.

(yes - I was one of those kids who put all the crayons in the box in rainbow, color coordinated order.)

Dinner is overdue and sweet Beorn will be back from fishing any minute - I'm off to make some Blue Max sandwiches - that frying pan will be ready if a trout happens to make it to my home tonight!

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