A Spoonful of Sugar

A Spoonful of SugarA Spoonful of Sugar

For quite a while I haven’t felt as if I could dress up for Halloween. There were certain gloomy voices that said Halloween was stupid and it should not be celebrated, probably because it was the Devil. I’m paraphrasing of course, but the idea was, “We don’t celebrate Halloween.” It was only this past year, 2014, that I began to ignore those voices and dress up again.

A Spoonful of Sugar
Lady Doctor Who-4th Doctor

Last year, I was Lady Doctor Who, the 4th doctor to be exact. I dyed a coat of a similar shade to the 4th doctor’s, I made my own very long multi-colored scarf, and I picked out a hat. Ultimately, I think I did well. I even curled my hair to be curly like his. Everyone kept asking me if it was my real hair; yes, it was my real hair.

This year, I didn’t really have anything in mind. I thought about being Mary Poppins, the thought just sort of popped into my head, much like Mary Poppins pops into places. I thought about doing a traditional Mary Poppins, but then I thought about what kind of earrings Mary Poppins should wear. She should definitely wear earrings made of spoons. Regular Mary Poppins wouldn’t wear spoon earrings, she was much too classy for that, and thus, the idea for Hipster Mary Poppins was born.

A Spoonful of SugarHipster Marry Poppins is unimpressed, how ironic.

Hipster Mary Poppins came to life with the help of spoons, a towel, some ribbon, and some strategically chosen pieces of clothing.

Look here, if you’re dressing up for Halloween and pulling together your own costumes, buy items that you can wear other times of the year. Try to find accessories and shirts and shoes that will work on other days than Halloween. It’s fun to dress up, but it’s always good to be thrifty.

Pieces of the costume:

  • Pinstripe Fedora(I already owned this)
  • Glasses(because hipsters where glasses. These were my backup pair.)
  • A grey blazer(purchased from Cato and wearable most of the year)
  • White shirt(I already owned it)
  • A red camisole(I already owned it as well)
  • Dark blue jeans(already owned. Mary’s skirt in the movie is actually navy colored, so it’s a good approximation.)
  • Black boots(I already owned these as well)
  • Spoon earrings and spoon necklace(I made these. More on that in a bit.)
  • “Carpet” Mary Poppins Bag(I made this as well. More on that in a bit.)
  • “Flowers” for my hat(They’re made of bits of ribbon I had lying around.)
  • Umbrella(not pictured here, I carried it around all day. It was my usual umbrella, but I have an umbrella with the crook on the end, so it fit.)

“Carpet” Mary Poppins Bag

The “carpet” bag isn’t actually a carpet, although I did think about making it out of an actual throw rug. when I was shopping for thin pliable rubs, I never found anything that really jumped out at me and the name of the game was thrifty, so I wasn’t about to pay anything over ten dollars for my materials. This is where an ugly orange towel came into play. It was the most carpet-y looking towel I could find and it was only $7.99 at Ross.

As you might be able to tell, this towel isn’t really orange anymore, that’s because I dyed it. I took my Scarlet red Rit dye and mixed a bit of black in with it to create the color you currently see on the bag. There are obviously still orange undertones, that’s because the bag was orange to start with. When you dye material and it’s not white or light-colored, whatever the color is will still exist in the finished product to a degree.

I did not cut the towel at all to create the bag.

I folded the towels in thirds, because I wanted to make it like a messenger bag, very hipster-ish. I sewed up the sides creating a pocket, which would be the bag part.

I then folded the sides of the bag to get those triangle points you see in the third picture. The purpose of this is to create a bottom to the bag. You don’t have to do this step, but your bag will have more of a shape if you do. Get your corners and sew across each one, horizontally. You might be able to see where I put pins as my guide of where to sew.

I then turned the bag right-side out and sewed a few pleats in the top, because the flap is obviously wider than the rest of the bag now. The pleats are to give it some interest and take up some of the extra material.

For a strap I used a cheap belt I never wear. I plan on altering this bag in the future to be a little more usable than it currently is adding an adjustable strap and altering the flap a little more and also possibly adding a closure device.

You could use any towel to make a bag.

The Spoon Jewelry

This jewelry was made of real spoons and this was the first time I have ever made jewelry out of silverware. I have worked with metal before, but not many times. Marking artwork with metal is a bit more difficult than paper or fabric arts. Metal working can be dangerous so if you set forth to make yourself jewelry out of spoons, be careful.

Materials for this project:

  • As many spoons, forks, whatever, that you want
  • Wire
  • Earring hooks
  • Small jewelry loops
  • A bit of chain
  • A clasp
  • A power drill
  • A rotary tool aka a Dremel with heavy-duty cut-off wheels and engraving bits
  • Safety goggles
  • Ear plugs

For the spoons, I went to Wal-Mart, where a trip down the kitchen utensil aisle will net you four spoons for 88 cents. I bought three packs of spoons. The earrings are made from the teaspoons while the necklace is made of tablespoons.

I used my rotary tool, which is totally not a Dremel tool, but a rotary tool from Chicago Tools; it’s much cheaper than Dremel and I got a ton of attachments and bits with it. You can find it at RadioShack. I used heavy-duty cut-off wheels and my rotary tool to cut off the spoons where I wanted them cut off. This can be dangerous; sparks may fly. It gets hot. The cut-off wheel is sharp and they often fly off into ten different pieces, so be careful.

For those of you who don’t know, the cut-off tools are used with multiple passes. You cannot cut straight through something with these thin wheels. It will take at least ten passes to cut through each spoon. The best idea is to clamp the spoons to the edge of your work table with a C-clamp so they don’t move.

One of the things I did with my spoons is use the engraving bits on my rotary tool to draw a design in the spoon bowls. Engraving is very loud. Use the ear plugs.

I then used both my rotary tool and my power drill to drill holes in the spoons. If you’re doing this, use the power drill. The rotary tool will work, but takes much longer because it isn’t as powerful as the power drill and you may very likely burn through several bits doing this. Save yourself the trouble and just use the power drill. A regular drill bit will work fine. Don’t do this on your nice table–work bench or piece of scrap wood only.

Once I had holes in all my spoons I strung them together. The earrings only had one hole each and I used earring pieces in those, fairly simple. The necklace is in a bib style. Notice I cut my spoon at different lengths. I also used the handles of the spoons in my design.

In the end, I learned how to make some jewelry from silverware and I now have a pretty fierce spoon necklace and pair of earrings.

Overall

I believe Hipster Mary Poppins was a success. It was a unique idea that was fun to execute.

 

 

 

If Your Pants are the Wrong Color

If Your Pants are the Wrong ColorIf Your Pants are the Wrong Color

There are sometimes situations in my life that seem unchangeable. I look for solution and I come up empty. One of those recent predicaments was a lack of brown pants.

I love browns. Brown is a great color. It’s earthy. It goes with a lot of things. It reminds me of nature. It’s not the harshness and darkness of black. It’s a warmer and friendlier color. Unfortunately, though, I did not have a pair of brown pants. It’s not that brown pants don’t exist, because they do; the problem is that I couldn’t find brown pants that worked for me.

I went to the store. I tried on brown pants. One pair was way too tight, even though it was a size up from what I normally wear. The other pair hung down from my butt and was incredibly baggy in the back and made me feel like an elephant. Keep in mind that these were the same size of pants.

Women’s clothing sizes and inconsistency is a whole other rant.

I felt a bit defeated because I really wanted a brown pair of pants, a nice pair of brown pants that I could wear to work. A person can only wear black pants so many times before getting bored.

I decided that I would tackle this issue on my own. I am stubborn. If there is not a ready-made solution for a problem I have, I will fix it on my own. A person can’t let something like this get in their way. You find a way to make it work. That’s exactly what I did.

If Your Pants are the Wrong ColorThe picture above is my dye box. I have assorted dyes and supplies in this box and it has helped me find solutions to many problems. I knew that I had dark brown dye in this box and I knew I could use it to solve my problem.

I happened to have a pair of grey pants, which fit fine, unlike those pants I tried on at the store, and I didn’t wear the grey pants that often, so I decided they were a good candidate for the brown dye.

The grey was a lighter grey and it would take the dark brown dye fairly well.

Below are quick dye instructions:

  • Get the item you’re dying wet, with hot water. The entire piece of fabric should be soaked.
  • Put the piece of fabric in a pot, or the sink, full of hot water.
  • Add the dye. How much dye you put in depends on how rich you want the color and how much the fabric you’re dying weighs.
  • Agitate the fabric. I use long dish-washing gloves so I don’t get dye on my hands. I have another story about how my hands were green for about a week, but that is another story.
  • Add salt to the water for cotton.
  • Let the fabric sit in the dye for a while.
  • Make sure to stir it every so often.
  • Drain the water and rinse the fabric with cold water until it runs mostly clear or clear.
  • Put the fabric in the dryer until dry.

If Your Pants are the Wrong ColorThe picture is my pair of now-brown pants next to my black pants

I am a DIY-er at heart, because I’m an artist, but DIY-ing things has helped me through many binds, not that not having a brown pair of pants is that big of a deal, but even small problems can cause stress and I don’t need any more stress on top of all the things I’m already dealing with.

If it doesn’t work, make it work. If there is a situation that causes you stress, make yourself a solution. Life is just too short to stress over not having the right color of pants.