Short Roundup of Unicorn Crafts

Arts & Crafts, DIY

Last month, I needed an idea for small gifts, so I searched for interesting unicorn crafts. Here’s a short roundup of my favorites.

Unicorn Crafts Collage

Shellie Wilson at Kids Crafts posted a video tutorial for a sleepy unicorn pencil case:

Kids Crafts Shellie Wilson Sleepy Unicorn Pencil Case

Shellie Wilson at Kids Crafts.

So cute – I just want to cuddle it!

Naomi Julia Satake’s mobile was featured at Oh Happy Day:

Oh Happy Day Stained Glass Unicorn

Naomi Julia Satake via Oh Happy Day.

She made a gorgeous hanging unicorn reminiscent of stained glass windows from posterboard and gel filters. Such an elegant DIY.

Kim at Bugaboo City posted a free pattern for three cross-stitch bookmarks, including a unicorn:

Bugaboo City Kim Cross-stitch Bookmarks

Kim at Bugaboo City.

I was impressed by the cardboard trophy head posted at Bespoke Bride:

Bespoke Bride Unicorn Trophy Head

Bespoke Bride.

However, I didn’t quite have enough time to do it, so I ended up going with Nikki’s tutorial:

Tikkido Nicole Unicorn Bookmark

Nicole at Tikkido.

In the end I made two, a unicorn and a lobster:

DIY Bookmarks Lobster Unicorn Collage

I am really intrigued by all of these projects, though, and might get back to one or two later.

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

Online Finds: Gilded Insect Cookies for Halloween

Arts & Crafts, DIY, Food & Drink, Stunt Double

We do Halloween in a very minimal way in our house. I do, however, love seeing what creative decorations and tips other people have shared. This year, Claire’s gilded cookies top it all:

The Simple Sweet Life Claire Gilded Insect Cookies

Claire at The Simple Sweet Life.

How elegant! And such detail – wow. Learn more from the tutorial by Claire at The Simple Sweet Life.

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

Close Quarters: Celestial Bookstore Ceilings

Colors, Design & Designers, Room of Awesome

Twitter has certainly delivered its share of beauty to my door this week. First, through Atlas Obscura, I found this breathtaking bookstore interior:

 

The store is called Albertine and it’s in Upper East Side on Manhattan, New York, NY. Here is a view of the celestial diagram from directly underneath:

Atlas Obscura albertine3

Albertine bookstore by Bartelstone; via Atlas Obscura.

(Visit the Atlas Obscura’s website for more photos!)

Then, quite by accident, I ran into a beautiful star-embroidered dress on the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology Twitter account:

The dress almost looks like it was designed to complement the room. Also, it seems to be from the same period as the Valentino fall winter 2015-2016 collection that I blogged about. The colorways and the simple lines are certainly similar.

Thank you, serendipity, for delivering to me this gorgeous pairing!

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

New Art: To Live by Likhain

Arts & Crafts, Colors, Design & Designers, Thumbs Up

I’ve been waiting for an envelope for almost two weeks, and finally, finally, it arrived!

To Live by Likhain Unpacked

This gorgeous print is by Filipina artist likhain. As soon as I saw it, I knew I’d have to get it.

Likhain says they made this piece in response to the question “What do you really want?” and the calligraphy in the background reads:

“to survive. to grow. to study without being bullied. to work without being under threat. to walk around and not be harmed. to meet people and not encounter abuse. to take public transport and not be harassed. to hold each other’s hands. to marry. to raise our families. to build our homes. to be safe. to know peace. to access care when we’re sick. to help when we can. to have help when we need it. to contribute to our communities. to be equal under the law. to belong. to sing. to dance. to create. to speak our truth. to be happy. to love.”

I will frame it as a present for a loved one.

(In case you’re interested in buying a copy, here’s my experience: The print itself is beautiful, and came very well packaged / protected. However, the delivery company that InPrnt used, DHL, was annoyingly slow. It took them 11 days to get the envelope from Florida to Massachusetts, where USPS took over and end-delivered my envelope in one additional day. I’d have no qualms about bying again quality-wise, but if delivery time was an issue I might consider something else.)

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

Ancient Egyptian Diadem Inspires High Fashion?

Design & Designers

Remember my post about the fantasy flair in Valentino’s fall winter 2015-2016 collection?

Valentino2 fall winter 2015-2016

Valentino, fall winter 2015-2016. Photo Fabrizio Ferri / Vogue Italia.

I said the cuts reminded me of the movie Troy or vaguely of ancient Greek styles in general. While I didn’t get it exactly right, it sounds like historical Mediterranean may have been an inspiration for Valentino.

According to Katherine Barlow on Tumblr, the many head pieces and belts in the collection were inspired by this gold diadem:

Hyksos Headband Collage

Headband with heads of gazelles and a stag between stars or flowers, Egypt, ca. 1648-1540 BCE. Photos via The Met, collage by Eppu Jensen.

It’s from ancient northern / middle Egypt, from the time of the so-called Hyksos culture, which combined Egyptian and Eastern Mediterranean traditions. This diadem is dated ca. 1648-1540 BCE, with animal heads alternating with flowers. Apparently it’s a typical example of how artistic styles were combined in the multicultural Hyksos civilization.

Now, I haven’t been able to confirm whether the Hyksos diadem actually was Valentino’s inspiration or not. Regardless, as a fan of early history, I love how the ancient world still pops up in our modern times even when not specifically looking for it. 🙂

Hogwarts Dueling Club Tablecloth Transformed into Wall Hanging

Arts & Crafts, DIY, Stunt Double

Alicia Sivertsson took a close look at the props for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and re-interpreted a table cloth as a narrow wall hanging:

Alicia Sivert harry_potter_duelling_club_moon_rug_10

Alicia Sivertsson at Alicia Sivert.

Isn’t it fantastic? It’s adapted from the huge blue table runner that shows phases of the moon in gold from the Harry vs. Draco dueling club scene.

Alicia Sivert harry_potter_duelling_club_moon_rug_4

Alicia Sivertsson at Alicia Sivert.

A very beautiful and neat smaller scale version. Jättesnygg! Kudos!

Visit Alicia Sivert for more photos and video clip from The Chamber of Secrets with views of the table cloth. (NB. In Swedish.)

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

In a Mockingjay Frame of Mind

Arts & Crafts, Books & Mags, Geek out!, Movies & TV

To prep for Mockingjay – Part 2 premier, I’ve rewatched all the previous Hunger Games movies, reread Mockingjay, altered my mockingjay bag

Mockingjay Bag Alterations

…and oohed & aahed over this Effie Trinket cosplay:

Effie Trinket Morisa9 on Deviantart

Morisa9 on Deviantart.

It’s made by Morisa9 on Deviantart. The butterflies are the most stunning part – she cut, spray painted and detailed all 400 or so of them. Wow! Love it!

Bonus links to arrow motif tutorials: pencil case with embroidery by Glòria Fort Mir (Catalan and Spanish) and gold vinyl sofa pillows by Ashley Phipps at Simply Designing.

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

Vogue Italia Fall Winter 2015-2016 Goes Fantastic

Design & Designers

High fashion now comes in a decidedly fantasy-inspired flare!

Valentino fall winter 2015-2016

Valentino, fall winter 2015-2016. Photo Fabrizio Ferri / Vogue Italia.

Valentino2 fall winter 2015-2016

Valentino, fall winter 2015-2016. Photo Fabrizio Ferri / Vogue Italia.

The cuts remind me of some Game of Thrones designs, the movie Troy (or vaguely of ancient Greek styles in general) and the European high middle ages or the Bysantine Empire. The luxurious combination of black and gold harks back to the late middle ages / Tudors / Reformation. The sheer fabrics put these squarely in the modern period, though.

Photos by Fabrizio Ferri for Vogue; found via The Fashionography (with many more photos!).

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

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:

Favorite Handmade Xmas Presents from 2014

After Hours, Arts & Crafts, Fabrics & Materials

Happy New Year to each and everyone! I had such a relaxing Christmas and a great break in general. I hope that was also the case for you. It’s good to be back to a fresh start, though, with some fresh snow outdoors. I just love how everything looks so clean and clear and soft after snowfall.

Speaking of soft: Every year, I try to include something handmade in my Christmas presents. Here are some soft projects from 2014 that I most enjoyed making:

2014 Handmade Xmas Presents

Clockwise from top right: three nesting bins in the recipient’s favorite colors; simple gift wrapping with a hunter green envelope, a bunny paper clip and a recycled Christmas card cut down to size; freeform hand-embroidered rosemary sachets, cotton on cotton muslin; two nesting bins out of blue Marimekko poppy print fabric; and eight fabric coasters with felt innards and fringed edges, complete with a small custom storage bin in coordinating colors.

In this case, part of the pleasure came from being able to use for personal gain a fabric bin construction technique I developed for my business.

Any handmade gifts you either made or received that you’d like to share? Please do!