Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The making of a pendant

Once upon a time, I made a pendant.

I started with sea glass. Since I was young, I have been fascinated by the bits of glass you can find on the beach, pounded by waves and buffed to a translucent satin finish. I collect sea glass fanatically, always with the notion that some day, I'll make something usable out of it.

Finally, I did it! Actually, first, I thought and planned and thought some more about exactly what type of jewelry I should make. Finally I settled on a wire-wrapped pendant. Kind of like the pink one I made recently, except this time I wanted the wire to be less of a functional cage and more of an aesthetic focal point.

I already had some wire (heavy-duty galvanized steel I'd bought at Home Depot—probably not ideal for jewelry making, but the spiral earrings I once made out of it didn't turn out too bad). So I was ready for action!

But first, because haste makes waste, some sketches of different wrapping patterns (I traced the piece of glass I was going to use to get almost the exact shape and size):

When I'd decided on the one I thought was the best (top left), I went ahead and started wrapping.

My first attempt didn't turn out so well:

But after a little practice, I was soon wrapping wire around the glass like a pro.

One thing I learned, if you're wrapping wire around glass, try do do as much of the work as possible before the wire is actually touching the glass. This will enable you to bend the wire at tighter angles, which will help it to grip the glass rather than just slide around it.

The other thing I did to hold the wire in place was glue it down with epoxy. Not exactly as elegant as I'd imagined when conceptualizing this piece, but it was all on the back, and it's mostly transparent, so you can't tell it's there when looking at the necklace from the front.

Here's the finished product:

Monday, April 28, 2014


This look was meant to be.

My boyfriend bought me this dress when he was in Indonesia back in January. I was unable to wear it numerous times (not warm enough to wear in winter, and I discovered the built-in lining was too see-through when I tried again in warmer weather), so I stuffed it into my "Projects Box" several weeks ago for later evaluation.

Cut to last weekend. After over a month of sporting an imperfectly bleached blond mop, I finally got around to putting some real color in my hair. I wish I could say the purple was a well considered decision, but it really just became necessary after an unsuccessful trial of homemade purple toner.

I had just put the finishing touches on the two-tone purple look (saved the bangs for last) and taken it out for a spin in the city (people liked it), when, on Sunday evening, having run out of things to do, I cracked open the old Projects Box.

Lo and behold, sitting within it was the dress, which happened to perfectly match my new hair color! I had to wear it.

I remembered I had a long dark blue slip / nightgown rolled up somewhere in the bottom of my pajama drawer, and it turned out to be the perfect length to replace the translucent liner layer.

So I hacked that old thing off. Patience is a virtue, and I apparently haven't acquired it yet. I accidentally cut a few holes in the skirt, which I patched (I hope) with clear nail polish. In the end, I concluded the blue slip made a perfect substitute liner for this purple and red gossamer dress.

And it matched my hair!!

I thought, overall, I had a pretty, fairy-tale vibe going, but one coworker compared me to Melisandre, apparently a villain from Game of Thrones, and another one said I looked decidedly "gypsyish."

So I guess, Style Tip If you're not going for "disreputable," steer clear of the dark maroon/purple hair.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Ugly Cat Dress

Of course, when I saw it on eBay, it looked cute and trendy and just what I needed to jump on the cat face bandwagon.

When it arrived, I realized I had forgotten to specify the color and had been shipped the hideous grey version.
Usually when I get stuff from eBay that I dislike, I simply sell it again (sometimes even at a profit!), but I knew this one was unlikely to sell, when 1) the dress was still available for sale at less than I had paid, and 2) the best item description I could honestly write was this:
The Ugliest Cat Dress in the world! Size S
Eww! Who designed this dress? Look how the cat's face has no definition around its nose, and its eyes are the same same value as the fabric they're printed on! If you squint your eyes, it kind of looks like it could be a Sesame Street Character!
How did such an abomination come about, you ask? Well, there are many theories, but the most popular one goes like this: The design was intended to be printed on black, and then some clown was like, "Hey, let's print this same design on light grey! Never mind that it'll look like some kind of half-finished kid's drawing!" That was a brilliant idea, right? Because without making that ridiculous move, they would never have succeeded in making the ugliest cat dress in the world!
Are you jealous you didn't think up this design? Well, don't be, because even if you'll never be the genius who decided to print some eyes and a chin on a dress and call them a cat, you can still be the proud owner of this incomparably hideous garment! Just place your bid now. Shipping is free!

So I set out to do damage control. Armed with a 3-dollar fabric marker, I repaired the cat's face as best I could. Observe.
The marker
I wrapped the dress around a cardboard box,
the better to give me a smooth drawing surface.
And held it on with pins, to keep it from sliding around.
I used the original photo of the black dress to give me
an idea of what this cat was supposed to look like.
I started by giving the eyes some pupils.
And then defined the nose.
Here's the finished product.

When I was finished, I guess the artwork was good enough, because a couple of people had nice things to say about it.

But I still wasn't happy with the fit (when am I going to learn to not buy clothes meant for petite Chinese girls!?), so I wore it once and donated it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

One Skirt, Four Seasons: Spring

I waited all of Lent to bring you the spring outfit for my purple pleather skirt!

I have paired the skirt with a pinstriped camisole in a slightly darker purple, and topped it off with a complementing olive green jacket. The shoes include both colors in a bright zigzag pattern.

I've included another shade of green via my necklace, which is actually a handmade pendant soon to be featured in a DIY post!

Compared to the Winter look, the color scheme is pretty much the same. However, this outfit acknowledges the warmer weather by ditching the leg warmers this time and including a jacket—nicely removable in case of an especially warm afternoon!