Monday, July 6, 2015

Crochet Scallop Shawl - Neon Sherbet with Shocking Blue Fringe

When I was up in Portland, Oregon a few months ago I visited my favorite arts and crafts store, Craft Warehouse.  They have a really unique yarn selection and I was totally blown away by this amazing variegated neon sherbet organic handspun fiber yarn.  I bought as much as I could fit in my suitcase.  After much deliberation, I decided that a layered crochet scallop pattern would take the mesmerizing design of this yarn to the next level on a shawl.  And if that wasn't enough to catch your attention, I decided to trim the border with shocking blue netting and fringe.  I am absolutely thrilled with the results!

I love shawls.  They're so more fun, flattering and versatile than just wearing a jacket.

You can wrap a shawl around your neck and shoulders to create a layered cowl look.

The colors in this variegated yarn remind me of a summer sunset by the sea.

Crocheting a pyramid of scallops is like soothing arithmetic.  So if you don't like counting, I do not recommend embarking upon this pattern!

Crochet Granny Square Striped Pencil Skirt

Recently I was admiring the Crochet Granny Square Sweater Vest I recently made and started to ponder.  The only thing that would be wilder and crazier than my sweater design would be a matching pencil skirt!

I wanted the skirt to have the same sexy slimming effect as the sweater which required a fair amount of decreasing on the striped rounds.

The bottom of the skirt has 5 granny squares on each side but by the time you reach the top, the pattern has decreased to 4 granny squares on each side.

The key to crocheting a skirt that fits to perfect is keeping all of your stitches consistent.  In case anyone is wondering, I used a size G hook on this entire skirt.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Prexie Fun - Colorful Inspiration

I'm still in the process of moving.  It's really been quite an ordeal but that hasn't stopped me from crafting, creating and working on my shop everyday.  As far as stamps go, lately I've been really fixated with color themes.  Recently I worked on an unique color themed stamp set for a customer who plans to frame these stamps for display in her freshly decorated bathroom.  She wanted all red, blue and grey themed British postage stamps.  I found this subtly patriotic combo to be quite aesthetically pleasing in an unordinary fashion.

Let's not forget that color themed vintage stamps also work well as vintage postage.  Not only will these stamps accent purple themed save the dates, they can also be used to make a (political) statement.  You can use stamps to represent the destination of your wedding, where you first fell in love or to celebrate the fact that now same sex couples finally have the right to marry in all 50 states. Boo-yah!!!  San Francisco is a mecca for liberal ideas; the Castro is a flamboyant beacon and these pretty purple 3c postage stamps commemorate progressive thoughts and attitudes.

My final splash of color themed inspiration today is a card I just made for Mrs. Petersen.  She was my 1st grade elementary school teach at Ohio Elementary School in North Tonawanda, NY.  Not only did she show me how to make books out of used wallpaper catalogs with a sewing machine but she also introduced me to the wonderful world of calligraphy.  She's still BFFs with my 3rd grade elementary school teacher, Mrs. Holesko.  I was school mates with Mrs. Holesko's son, Steven, who tragically died of cystic fibrosis at a very young age.  When Steven was diagnosed with CF, Mrs. Petersen, always a very crafty lady, started making and selling handmade greeting cards to raise money for CF.  She's now long since retired from teaching and concentrates her creative energy on manufacturing cards at a frenetic level.  She has raised nearly $500,000 for CF over the span of 20 years with her cards.  She has made such a great impression on my life and she is living proof that crafty ladies are most definitely a force to be reckoned with.

The US stamp issues I used to decorate the cover of this card are what's referred to as Prexies.   They are a series of definitives issued in 1938 featuring all 29 presidents who were in office during 1789-1928.  These stamps are really fun to collect because not only are they jam packed with American history, but they come in a plethora of awesome colors and varieties.  

A little bit of color goes a long way.  Flipping and overlapping stamps adds extra texture and feel.

Nothing beats a handwritten personal note.  Nowadays you can find ink in a rainbow of bold and majestic colors.

Monday, June 8, 2015

75% Back in Action!

Just like a stamped envelope, the Head Owl in Charge is moving across the country. My shop was on vacation mode for the past week but I just reopened it today.   All of my philatelic items are available to be shipped on a daily basis.  I hope to have everything else back in action by the end of June 2015. If you have any inquiries in the meantime, please feel free to contact me in the comments section. Thank you for your patience!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Orange is the New Black

I've had numerous requests for custom crochet sweater vests lately.  They are so much fun to make and their unique design has a real slimming effect.  If you're handy with your hook, you can easily make them to order based on anyone's personal measurements.  I love how contemporary fashion has embraced this classic vintage style but with a modern twist!

A small/petite sweater takes less than a skein of the color you're using least (ex.) the white in the image above) and about a l lb skein of each of the primary alternating colors (ex.) orange and blue).  It's best to use soft yet durable flexible yarn, like organic wool.

Only 2 different stitches are required to make this sweater: HDC (half double crochet) and crochet to finish the edges and connect the granny squares.  If you know how to make a granny square (and you can learn from a tutorial posted right here on this blog a few years ago - scroll waaay down), you can make this sweater yourself.

Perhaps the only real tricky part is connecting the front and back of the sweater and crocheting consistently so both sides match.  Oh and I did mention that I'm a Syracuse Orange fan?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Wonderful World of Fabric Washi Tape

Boo-yah!  All of my new fabric washi tape inventory is finally officially uploaded to my shop.  There are over 40 different new styles and patterns and over 70 different varieties to choose from overall!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

All Aboard!

Even though I arrived in San Francisco at the end of November 2014, I've been so busy unpacking and trying to get settled in my new surroundings that nearly 2 months after moving this is actually my first official West Coast post.  Etsy business is still business as usual.  So far 2015 is off to a prosperous start.  (Since my shop first opened in May 2010) I've had a total of nearly 4,300 sales and and accumulation of over 1,200 admirers.  The new year has been filled with plenty of great stamp orders and a handful of unique custom crochet requests.

I recently acquired a massive new selection of washi tape inventory but due to my busy travel schedule, I still haven't yet had the time to get all of the listings up.  However, I really, REALLY hope to have everything listed by the end of next week.

I've also acquired a ton of new stamp stock but still haven't managed the time to get everything sorted and listed; story of my life!  Please be patient with me, slowly but surely, everything will get listed soon.

But now for something completely different.  One thing I'd really like to blog about is gift tags.  I just received a really fun custom order request for vintage railway themed gift tags for birthday party favors.  I had so much fun making these tags that I wanted to share this great idea with my readers. Obviously, you can create your own tags with any theme, not just trains, for any occasion.  Even though I used vintage postage stamp embellishments, you could use anything that suits your fancy. Also, although I typed on the tags with a vintage typewriter, you can write you own messages in pen, stencil, rub on letters or alphabet stickers.

Vintage Luggage Tags - Paper Punched Gift Tags

Here are some of the supplies you could use:
Glue Stick
Pens & Markers
Typewriter (optional)
Luggage tag shaped paper punches and/or round/circular paper punches
Hole Punch
Vintage Postage Stamps or other embellishments

To create the antiqued paper look, rub the edges of your punches with a brown or tan ink pad.

Layering your punches creates more texture and gives you more space for messages.  

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, you could use this same idea but with heart shaped punches for romantic gifts and greetings.