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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How To: Dress Up Your Sweets

How-Tuesday: Dressed Up Sweets

Stephanie Hung from Martha Stewart's Crafts Department offers some respite with ideas for dressing up sweet treats for your sweetheart in smart and stylish menswear-inspired packaging. Even if you're short on time or crafting confidence, the tips in this week's How-Tuesday will coach you along to make a handmade treat perfect for wooing.
In the February issue of Martha Stewart's Living, we show you how to shower your loved ones with attention and confection. One simple idea is dressing up store bought candy. For a more masculine look, try wrapping with menswear details, like this elegantly crafted paper tuxedo.  

  • Cardstock
  • Bone folder
  • Ruler
  • Candy
  • Waxed thread or glue
  • Buttons
  • Ribbon

1.  Pleats: Starting with a 1” center, use a bone folder and ruler to score lines on the cardstock at 1/4” and 1/2” alternately. Accordion fold the paper to create a tuxedo belly band.

2.  Sleeve cuff: Cut a piece of cardstock 1” longer than your bottle. Draw buttonhole lines, and cut a rounded corner. Use waxed twine or glue to “sew” buttons to cuff.

3.  Shirtfront: Thread buttons onto waxed twine and wrap around box.

4.  Bowtie: Give ribbon the dapper look with a fashionable treatment.

If you are leaning towards a more traditional look, try using floral patterns in pretty colors:

For a completely handmade gift you can even make the treats that go inside, or snag some handmade candy on Etsy. We have lots of sweet recipes to choose from, like these creamy fudge hearts.

How To: Make your own Tees

How-Tuesday: Raw-Edged Appliqué

The arrival of spring provides a much needed breath of fresh air, as well as sunny bike rides, crocuses showing their colorful faces, a lighter wardrobe, and a cleaner closest (well, maybe). Kick off your spring cleaning by clearing out your stash of fabric scraps. Refashion an old garment into a perpetual work-in-progress with this week's How-Tuesday project, shared with us by Jennifer Cooke of Raeburn Ink and Design Your Own Tees
Score your own copy of Design Your Own Tees right here on Etsy!

Appliqué is a lovely technique for embellishment; usually you finish the edges of your stitched-on designs to keep them neat and protected from damage during washing and wearing. For this project, however, leave the edges raw and create a stylish T-shirt dress that is defined enough to wear out on the town.
This is a great project for leftover scraps that are too small to use for anything else. Fabrics will fray at different rates, and some might eventually disappear in the wash, leaving the stitching exposed. Embrace the unpredictable results of this project, and you will have a truly one-of-a-kind tee.
Supplies you’ll need:
  • A T-shirt dress (or other garment)
  • Scraps of fabric in a variety of colors
  • Contrasting thread
  • Scissors or a rotary cutter + cutting mat
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Washing machine
  • Hexagon template

1. Make a pattern piece out of the hexagon template (download here), or create your own pattern piece in the shape of your choice using paper or lightweight cardboard. Adjust the scale of the hexagon template, if you'd like.
2. Cut out lots of hexagons from the fabric scraps. You can use scissos or a rotary cutter and a cutting mat. Note: Remember to always roll the rotary cutter away from yourself — it is very sharp and can give you a nasty cut. (I'm speaking from personal experience here!)
3. Arrange the hexagons on your T-shirt in a pattern that pleases you.
4. Pin them in place.
5. Stitch around the edges of the hexagons with a straight stitch. (I chose to stitch my whole project in one contrasting thread color to add some punch.) Remember to leave enough fabric around the edges to allow for some nice fraying.
6. Backstitch to secure each piece.
7. Now it's all up to chance. Wear your tee and delight in how much it changes each time you wash it.

Thank you to Jennifer Cooke and the good folks at St. Martin's Press for sharing this project. For more ways to revamp your wardrobe, check out Design Your Own Tees.

Remembering this Makes me Proud I work for the Dept. of Labor

Remembering the Triangle Factory Fire

On March 25, 1911, one of the worst industrial disasters in New York City's history occurred, killing 146, affecting the lives of hundreds more and forever changing the standards of working conditions.

This week marks the 100th anniversary of the fire at the Triangle Waist Company, where hundreds of workers, mostly young immigrant women, worked in deplorable conditions to manufacture blouses.

Public outrage after the fire pushed the state to enact legislation that revised the quality of the workplace, providing the basis for today's labor standards.

The incredible women of the Triangle factory were famous even before this devastating fire — they led the first female uprising in 1909, demanding better working conditions and higher pay.

Produced by HBO, Triangle: Remembering the Fire documents the tragedy with interviews from the granddaughters and great-granddaughters of those who perished in the fire. The documentary will re-air all week on HBO, so make sure you check their schedule to glimpse this incredible history lesson.

WTF? Now we're not allowed to videotape or photograph heinous acts??

Noted: The Story Behind Industrial Farming


As a red-blooded American, I eat my steaks rare and my pulled pork sloppy. However, as an Iowan and an animal rights advocate, my interest was piqued by recent proposed legislation that would protect industrial farmers from video or photo documentation of their operations. What does this mean for the casual carnivore?

As New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman explains, "Undercover videos from the Humane Society of the United States tell a repulsive [story]. It also explains why we saw laws proposed by friends of agribusiness in both Iowa and Florida in recent weeks that would ban making such videos: the truth hurts, especially if you support the status quo."

Yes, any animal rights activist caught on private property is guilty of trespassing, even if the intent is to expose the confined spaces, dirty living conditions and mistreatment of livestock headed for slaughter. The question is more so why lawmakers feel the need to sweep large-scale agribusiness's alleged mistreatment under the rug. Are inhumane conditions justifiable if the animals are destined to be eaten? Is the demand for mass-manufactured meat so high that we're willing to ignore horrifying conditions? And why is a common pet allowed more rights than the livestock we consume? As a consumer, I can't help but wonder why the public is denied access to the origin of its dinner.

As for what the farmers in question have to hide, Bittman poignantly states, "People shouldn’t have to sneak the cameras into the farms that are torturing animals or mistreating workers: the cameras should already be there." Even as eating organic, local and ethically-sourced meat and produce has become ubiquitous to the point of cliché, it seems that lawmakers are swiftly moving in a more conservative direction. Transparency and respectful, humane operations shouldn't be a radical idea.

Read more from Bittman in his original post, Some Animals Are More Equal and Others, and his follow-up on farm animal protection at The New York Times.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Etsy Featured Shop of the Day: YesterdaysMemories09    
YesterdaysMemories09    Treasures to Bring Back Memories of Days Gone By

Take a look at this lovely shop & you won't be disappointed.  Iris, known on Etsy as YesterdaysMemories09, has a wonderful collection of Vintage Milk glass, Globes, Corning Ware, Jewelry, Glassware & other vintage goodies you'll want to snap right up!  I love her gift card/tags and personalized address labels. I can't get enough.  Here are a few of my favorites from her shop:

8 Butterfly Thank You Cards / Gift Tags

8 Butterfly Thank You Cards / Gift Tags 1049
Can be used as a personal thank-you note or hole punch and tie onto gifts, vases of flowers, bottles, etc. Printed on heavy card stock with the back left blank for your message.

Each tag measures a little more than 2.5" by 3.5".

E.O. BRODY Milk Glass Bowl / Compote / Centerpiece. Pedestal. Vintage

E.O. BRODY Milk Glass Bowl / Compote / Centerpiece.  Pedestal. Vintage 568
Milk glass matches any style of dinnerware, is especially great for weddings, and this compote will be lovely used as a wedding bowl for a piece of the wedding cake. E. O. Brody Co. made this bowl from the late 50s to the 80s. The raised pattern encircling the bowl has tulip shapes and lazy leafy branches all around, with tiny raised dots or hobnails as the background. The rim and base have scalloped edges, and the base has a smaller chain of raised leafy branches. Use as a centerpiece of fruit or candles, serve a colorful salad or dessert at formal dinners and picnics, or decorate a bookcase, mantel or desk to display flower or candle arrangements. Give it to a bride, friend, neighbor, co-worker, or that special person who is so hard to find a gift for to enjoy for a lifetime.

Large enough but not too large, measuring 5.5" tall, 6.5" across the bowl, and 3-7/8" across the base. It is in great vintage condition, with no chips or cracks.

1930s Replogle Precision World Globe. 12-Inch. Vintage

1930s Replogle Precision World Globe. 12-Inch. Vintage 405
Replogle started making globes in 1930, and I believe this 12-inch Reploble Precision Globe dates in the 1930s. Wikipedia ( indicates that in 1935 Persia became Iran, and this globe has Iran with Persia in parentheses underneath. It also shows Siam with Thailand in parentheses underneath. Its legend does not list the date of manufacture, but calls it a “REPLOGLE 12 INCH PRECISION GLOBE”. The color of the water is blue-green (more blue than the pictures show) and countries are cream, goldenrod, gray, green, lavender, orange, pink, yellow. The U.S. states are shown in different colors.

This wonderful old globe is featured in this treasury:

There is a 1.5" and a 3.5"-5.5" area where tape apparently pulled off the surface, and a few other smaller areas of lost surface. The seal around the two halves is missing on about half, the metal arm has lost a lot of the gold coating, and there is a dent in the base underneath the globe, with some of the black paint under the globe rubbed off by turning the arm. It wobbles a bit, and I believe it would benefit from a good and careful cleaning and perhaps some polish. If you treasure old globes and do not expect one from the 1930s to be in anywhere-close-to-perfect condition, this globe is for you.

Etsy Shop I'm Featuring Today...JellyJellyJellyBean      JellyJellyJellyBean Hand Forged Jewelry

I have purchased a couple of things so far from JellyJellyJellyBean, and I am in awe of the workmanship involved in making each piece of hand forged jewelry.  Just reading the descriptions of what's involved with the creation of each piece makes you wish you could collect them all.  It's not often you can find work this involved at this price, all hand made and true works of art.

Here are a few of my favorites from Jelly's shop:

What's Old is New Again

What's Old is New Again
This lovely bracelet is hand forged one link at a time.

The process of making chain is a lost art.

This unique piece is made by wrapping 18 gauge wire around a mandrel, sawing each link apart, filing so each connection is perfectly made, fusing the link with a jewelers torch. Then each link is tested to make sure it is fused 100%, I then re measure the link around a mandrel, I have to mark exactly where I need to fuse the link again, I once again return to my jewelers torch and fuse again, balling the ends. Then each link is hand forged on a steel block, cleaned and polished.

Then the fun part begins! The assembly of the bracelet, weaving each link to the next!

Each bracelet is one of kind, no two links are exactly alike.

OM and reclaimed copper necklace

OM and reclaimed copper necklace
These are handmade OM etched necklaces!
Made from reclaimed copper, gemstones, copper wire and leather!

Because each is handmade no two will look alike!
each circle is aprox. one inch in diameter

Choose your gemstone!

from left to right in the picture:
rough quartz, turquoise, faceted quartz, onyx, carnelian.

What's Old is New Again Earrings

What's Old is New Again Earrings
The process of making chain is a lost art.

This unique piece is made by wrapping 18 gauge wire around a mandrel, sawing each link apart, filing so each connection is perfectly made, fusing the link with a jewelers torch. Then each link is tested to make sure it is fused 100%, I then re measure the link around a mandrel, I have to mark exactly where I need to fuse the link again, I once again return to my jewelers torch and fuse again, balling the ends. Then each link is hand forged on a steel block, cleaned and polished.

Each link is unique and no two look alike, your pair will be a one of a kind piece!

If you are in New York City and you go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art you can see this exact link by the ancient Greeks and Romans.

More Weird Stuff from Etsy :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Etsy Featured Shop for Today - Gufobardo  Gufobardo's Italian Lab on Etsy

Stefanie, otherwise known on Etsy as Gufobardo, is an Italian artist, and she creates the most incredibly unique notebooks, ACEOs, cards, decorations and bookmarks. Her imagination is awe inspiring.  I love her fairies, spiders and owls - they're like nothing you've ever seen before!  Take a look.
Here are a few of my favorites from her shop:

Ecological Recycled OOAK notebook-Meow Dance

Ecological Recycled OOAK notebook-Meow Dance

LAMINATED Decorations Home Wall Decor-STARS-personalized with names

LAMINATED Decorations Home Wall Decor-STARS-personalized with names