Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The High Line

Part two of our New York City staycation. We finally made our way to the High Line, which has been on my bucket list for a couple of years.

The High Line is a linear park built on an old railroad spur. It zigzags between and right through some buildings.

It needs to be bigger. There is a constant stream of people going both directions, so a quiet afternoon on a bench is pretty much impossible with the whole world marching past . . .

.  .. or a quiet afternoon at home when your window is at eye level to hundreds of tourists. Some resident propped up a cardboard cutout of himself in his skivvies to permanently entertain passing gawkers.

There's a water feature and places to sit and buy snacks.

We enjoyed seeing nature juxtaposed with urban grit.


Have you been to the High Line yet?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

DIY fashion inspiration - raffia and pom poms

Just a suggestion before you slip away to your vacation spots when the snow starts flying - stock up on kitchy raffia souveniers while there. They will be all the rage come spring, based on designers as diverse as Tory Burch and Dolce and Gabbana.

Pom poms, straw, shells (and even a bit of lace, crochet and flowers) on earrings, necklaces and bags are easy DIYs and should keep you happily glue gunning all winter long. (all images via

Friday, September 21, 2012

Happy Anniversary to us

We celebrated 18 years Sunday and Monday with a new camera and a staycation. Manhattan is only a mile away, but it might as well be in another country for as often as we visit.

So we played tourist for two days, riding the Water Taxi and East River Ferry and seeing the sights. Above is us reflected in the glass of the unfinished National September 11 Memorial Museum. Below is the 9/11 Memorial and One World Trade Center (aka Freedom Tower), which is still under construction. Have you seen them yet?

Will share more in future posts.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

DIY New York Fashion Week

Been too busy to really study Fashion Week this year but there was still plenty to see and more DIY ideas than you can shake a glue gun at.

Two simple but stunning necklaces above and below.

With a stencil and glitter fabric paint, you can put your name (or a friend's) on a basic clutch.

Mimic the look of J.Crew with a few yards of eyelet lace.

Colored plastic, cookie cutters and chain could make a hip necklace.

Mod Podge and paint silk flowers and create a necklace like Oscar de La Renta.

My fav - reconstruct an I Love New York t-shirt like Phillip Lim.

Cool bag but note the bangle. Could it be done with textured scrapbooking paper over metal?

Check out the eye and the lips on the box clutch. Why didn't I think of that for my Betsey Johnson clutch.

There are lots of tutorials for envelope clutches. Make one with bright faux patent leather. 
A vintage necklace on a Refinery 29 editor. Big beads, check. Tassels, check. How would you do the gold cones?

Super easy clutch makeover requiring only a glue gun and interesting lace.

Make this look with a tasseled shawl wrapped as a skirt.
And since I'm in New York and carried this bag during Fashion Week, although not technically at Fashion Week, I'll stick my  DIY floral clutch in there, too.
Did you find inspiration in Fashion Week?
Images: Anthropologie necklace on Refinery 29, via A Pair and a Spare, Chadwick Bell, Dani Stahl on Refinery 29, J.Crew, Julie Alvarez on Refinery 29, Oscar de la Renta, Phillip Lim, Refinery 29 next four, via A Pair and a Spare, Xin Li on Refinery 29

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A minaudiere a day - The Betsey

A little late to the party, but here's my last minaudiere inspired by an American designer. This one is in honor of kooky Betsey Johnson, who turned 70 by the way and still does cartwheels after her show.

Below see it from the side so you can appreciate the eyelashes. (Impossible to photograph black lashes on a black case straight on.)

See how to make it here.

Do you have a favorite out of all of them? (The Kate, The Calvin, The Ralph, the Betsey or the not posted for voting but certainly implied Don't Quit Your Day Job?)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Sponsored post: Make a DIY floral fine art clutch

This project is a review of a new product by Avatrex called Scrapbooking Attitude. Scrapbooking Attitude allows you to print photo quality images onto a clear laminate. You then adhere the laminate to a surface using glue or heat.
I used it to make a zippered pouch clutch and/or case for an iPad mini (or any smaller tablet or eReader) using art from a Dutch master (old with new, get it?)

For those of you who lack time to read to the bottom of this post, here's the summary: Scrapbooking Attitude is a great product for transfering photos or photo-quality images to surfaces you can't normally run through a printer (block of wood, eReader case, etc.)

It's not quite as good for what I used it for - creating photoreal fabric. It has a shiny plastic-y surface that does not look or feel like fabric per se. It's not bad. Just not what I expected.

If you stick around, you'll get the full story of how to use Scrapbooking Attitude. You'll also learn how to sew a lined zippered clutch.
As the name implies, Scrapbooking Attitude is designed primarily with scrapbookers in mind. It lets you transfer a photo to embossed paper. Scrapbooking is, however, tops on my list of Biggest Timewasters on the Planet, falling just below nail art. (And blogging.) So I was definitely going to go another direction.
As readers of this blog know, I have a mild obsession with photoreal digital print fabric and fashion. I also love lush florals. (Who doesn't? Are there really any floral haters out there?)
Think Dolce and Gabbana Fall 2012.
Here's a little tip for you from the high-end design world. There's nothing like the fine arts to add gravitas to your crafts.

After hours of pleasurable online searching, I came across this image of Jan van Huysum's Bouquet of Flowers in an Urn painted in 1724, which I found at Plum leaves' inspiring Flickr photostream.

I cropped it down to a detail image and printed two copies onto the Scrapbooking Attitude paper, flipping one of the images on the computer to create a reverse or mirror image. You have to use an inkjet printer - no laser printers - and set the paper to glossy photo paper. (My cropped and flipped image is available for download here.)

I cut out two pieces of white denim fabric and marked where the photo should line up. Then I thoroughly coated the fabric with glue stick. This is an important step. Be diligent and don't use cheap glue stick.

I partially peeled off the protective backing.

And started laying down the image, smoothing as I went.

I smoothed mostly with my fingers and a little with a plastic spatula. (Be careful not to tear a hole in your laminate.)

I allowed the glue to dry. Then, using a pressing cloth, I went over the image with a dry iron set on medium high.

The laminate smoothed out pretty well with ironing but did not quite take on the texture of the fabric like I though it would. (Note that this product is not an iron-on transfer.) However, I was thrilled with the vivid colors, which was helped by the fact I was using a white surface.

Now for part two, creating a zippered lined clutch. First, I have to credit Katy at Sweet Verbena for her excellent tutorial on making a lined zippered sequined clutch. I had her tutorial right next to me every step of the way because the lining thing was completely beyond me.

What follows is a repeat of her steps but with a few additional detail photos.

You'll need to cut two pieces of lining fabric. I used a felt-type fabric that had no right or wrong side. To start, lay your lining fabric out right side up. Line up the top edge of your zipper with the zipper right side (tab side) up.

Lay your fabric right side down and line with the top edge of the zipper. Pin and sew.

This is how it looks if you peek underneath.

Lay the second lining piece out right side up.

Lay your zipper (and all the sewn-on stuff) on top with the zipper right side (tab side) up.

Here's a detail of the (black) lining being lined up with the top of the (black) zipper.

Then lay your fabric on top, wrong side up.

Here's a detail of the fabric, zipper and liner being lined up. Pin.

When you lay it all flat, here's how it would look.

But before you sew it all together, you can top stitch the lining to help keep from getting caught in the zipper. Katy top stitched through the fabric and lining from the outside, but I wasn't sure how the laminate would handle that so I top stitched from the inside only. Basically you're just laying the lining flat against the zipper.

Here you can sort of see that I just stitched the lining up against the zipper and seam allowance of the fabric.

Now to the easier part. Flatten out the clutch with the outside fabric together and the lining together. Line everything up and sew it together in a big rectangle. Leave a large opening in the lining in order to turn the bag right side out when you are done. (I left the whole bottom seam of the lining unstitched for this purpose since my fabric was stiff.)

Important: Unzip the zipper part way but not all the way.  If you don't unzip part way, you can't turn the bag inside out. If you unzip it all the way, you will sew the tab of the zipper into the lining. Yes, I did both.

As you sew over the zipper, point the teeth toward the outside fabric. Sew very slowly and hand turn the needle over the teeth.

Trim your seam allowance and especially trim the corners so they aren't lumpy when right side out. Also trim the sides of your lining.

Turn the bag right side out through the gap in the lining and the open zipper.

Make sure you like all the seams and the corners. Then sew up the bottom of your lining by hand or with a sewing machine.

And enjoy looking all smart and high-end with your $2 clutch.


As mentioned, the product wasn't really designed for fabric that's being sewn and turned inside out and doesn't really take on the texture of the fabric if it gets moved around. However, it is tough. It did not rip or stretch during all my manipulations even though it separated somewhat from the fabric. If you can get over the shiny, the color is awesome.

I think it would be far better for stiff surfaces like a painter's canvas, leather or wood.

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Other projects using this product can be found here.

I wrote this post as part of a paid campaign with Scrapbooking Attitude and Blueprint Social. The opinions in this post are my own.