Now on Etsy: Heart Banners

Ahem Ahem!, Arts & Crafts, Colors

A batch of heart banners is now listed at the Playfully Grownup Home Etsy shop.

Heart Banner Purple HB003b

They’re made from a variety of prints and solids, and are designed to hang either horizontally or vertically against a wall or another flat surface.

Heart Banner Blue HB001g Closeup

I used up a variety of remnants and scraps to make them, which reduces waste, as does filling the hearts with clippings (thread and shredded fabric).

Some of the banners, like those in pink and red tones, have an ombre effect, with the colors graduating from light to dark shades.

Heart Banner Pink HB005a

Apart from the ombre banners, there are cheerful floral ones in a colorful, graphic print that I love.

Heart Banner Floral HB004a

Find them in the Playfully Grownup Home > Hang Me section. And as always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask!

Online Finds: Desktop Wallpaper for Organizing Tasks

Bits in Spaaace!, Colors, Inspiration

Diane Henkler made and shared this clever organizer wallpaper:

Diane Henkler Computer-Desktop-Background-to-help-you-organize-what-you-place-on-your-computers-desktop-screen

Diane Henkler at In My Own Style.

Being a visual person, I love the idea. It’s simple but helpful for arranging your tasks and finding them at a glance. Love the cheerful colors, too; just the thing to counter grey fall skies. 🙂

The .jpg is available for several screen resolutions either with the default categories (To Do, Files and Misc) or with blank label holders in case you want to use your own. Visit In My Own Style to download.

Thank you for sharing, Diane!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Felt Feather Prototype

Arts & Crafts, Colors

A minimalist felt feather prototype in the works, based on drafts I shared earlier:

Felt Feather Collage

Well, sort of. The felt feather is just the first part of the actual final product, and that won’t have any embroidery on it.

I had only two pieces of white felt large enough to try my feather design on, but both had a row of holes in the selvage. I decided to use them anyway, provided that I was able to cover the holes somehow. Creative cutting and a practice run of French knots did the trick. I still need practice – the French knots are challenging for a reason – but I very much like how the color effect from yellow to burgundy red looks.

Textile History Geekery: Historical Inspiration for Amidala

Arts & Crafts, Design & Designers, Fabrics & Materials, Movies & TV

The new Star Wars Episode VII trailer got me thinking back to the prequels and their costuming. I remember being initially impressed by Queen/Senator Amidala’s garb. Especially after Leia’s rather Spartan wardrobe, the lavish fabrics and colors on Padmé were a joy to watch.

Several Amidala’s outfits have historical inspiration, but two such forebears stand out. Other people have made the connection between Mongolian Khalkha people’s traditional wear and Queen Amidala’s Episode I Senate gown before me, but finding a gorgeous museum-preserved historical exemplar reminded me of it. In the comparison below, on the left is the museum piece and on the right Amidala’s gown, complete with headdress.

Khalkh Amidala Collage

Left: Khalkha (or Halh) garb from Mongolia; National Museum of Mongolia. Right: Queen Amidala’s Senate dress, Star Wars Episode I; Scott Shingler Photography. Collage by Eppu Jensen.

These outfits are very similar indeed. Details vary, but the general shape is the same, as is the hairdo, the braid sheaths, the chains hanging from the skull cap flanking the face, even down to the two makeup dots on the cheeks under Amidala’s eyes (not visible on the doll), and the concept of wide robe sleeve cuffs. (Rebels Haven has a side-by-side comparison of a historical photo and concept art that makes the similarities even clearer.)

The Wikipedia article on Padmé lists another historical model, this one from Episode II. A costume ball dress for Russian Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna with a kokoshnik headdress is said to have inspired Padmé’s refugee dress.

Alexandrovna Amidala Collage

Left: Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia in a 1903 costume ball outfit; Wikimedia. Right: Queen Amidala’s refugee dress, Star Wars Episode II; via Rebels Haven. Collage by Eppu Jensen.

I thought I also noticed that, in The Phantom Menace, Amidala’s costumes predicted reasonably accurately what kind of a scene she was to be in: complicated and layered meant talk, relatively pared-down and pragmatic meant action. It turned out I was wrong, but not entirely. While the two most comfortable-looking costumes – the blue and grey Tatooine outfit and the maroon battle uniform – get the most screen time and the most vigorous activity (and most pants), Padmé does do a lot of static activities (standing around and talking) in both. The elaborate, courtly dresses are reserved exclusively for scenes with discussion, or, at most, stately walk. There are fewer outfits that dominate in terms of screen time in both Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith; the closest match is the Geonosis arena suit.

Other Amidala outfits from Episodes II and III that make my historical-dress-Spidey-sense tingle include the blue embroidered Tatooine dress plus several of her Senatorial dresses with their corset-like bodices and wide hems and sleeves. My favorite is probably this:

Rebels Haven Amidala loyalist

Senator Amidala’s loyalist committee dress, Star Wars Episode II; via Rebels Haven.

The deep purplish-blue loyalist committee dress is seriously gorgeous. The streamlined Tudor profile is elegant, the robe sleeves nod to medieval sleeves (perhaps there’s even a hint of kimono sleeve design?) and the embellishments add to, not overwhelm, the whole.

Any favorites you’d like to mention?

Collected source info:

Cold Toes

Colors, My Spaces

For a long time, this winter was unusually mild. Last week, seasonable temps finally descended. From around freezing, the temperature plummeted quite suddenly to 13-17 Fahrenheit / -10(ish) Celcius daytime and to nights of around -4 F / -20 C. Even warmer days only stayed around mid-20s F / -5(ish) C.* Glad I have many, many vibrant wool socks to tide me over! 🙂

Cold Toes

*) It’s definitely been colder before, even in my few years in Massachusetts, not to mention back in Finland. In fact, the coldest day I was out riding my bike was -18 F / -28 C. That was cold. (Let’s hear it for layers and wool!)

Discoveries: Social Justice Class Pins

Colors, Geek out!, Inspiration, Thumbs Up

Artist Sara “Chip” Nixon (or Chiparoo) made a set of humorous buttons that combine role-playing games and discussions on social values in the SF/F and gamer communities. With pixelated art, they offer a counterpoint to attempts at using “social justice warrior” as an insult. This is what Sara says:

“They’re supposed to be a playful poke at the idea of a Social Justice Warrior. Because why be a Social Justice Warrior, when you can be a Social Justice Rogue? Or a Social Justice WIZARD?!”

Chiparoo Social Justice Buttons

Sara “Chip” Nixon (aka Chiparoo) on Tumblr.

Hilarious! And generous – Sara says she will donate the proceeds to charity. She and her pins will be at GeekGirlCon in Seattle this coming weekend, October 11-12th. Oh, if only I weren’t half a continent away!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Making Progress: Breast Cancer Awareness Themed Items for 2014

Ahem Ahem!, Colors, Leveling Up

So far I haven’t created any products for specific campaigns or themes (apart from my usual business charitable giving). This year, I wanted to do a test batch and chose October and breast cancer awareness.

There are some gorgeous pinks and reds in my fabric stash. I selected a few to make a small quantity of lavender sachets and mini storage cubes. Some sachets are plain, some have a heart applique in the front and some were inspired by the Tardis; all are limited run and sold singly. A part of the sachets are in darker colors – burgundy red and purple – as a nod towards male breast cancer. I also sewed two unique sets of two mini cubes; the rest of the cubes are limited run and sold singly. Here is a group photo:

2014 PGH Breast Cancer Awareness

They are now available in my Etsy store; more photos can be seen on Flickr. Five percent of the proceeds go to Susan G. Komen. It will be interesting to see how a themed set like this performs compared to my usual selection. At the very least it has been educational to think in terms of a specific collection or purpose.