Monday, September 28, 2009

Halloween Costume '09: Inspiration

Are you at all surprised? You shouldn't be! If you know me or read this blog regularly, you know the 1920s is my favorite decade. I was seriously born in the wrong era! So yeah, I want to go as a Flapper Girl this Halloween, but not the stereotypical, sequins & feathers Flapper Girl. No, no, no, that is not want I want to do at all. I want to do something much more chic, sophisticated and pretty.

I've already had this idea in my head for a while, actually since the Mix & Make where I made this headband. We were talking about costume ideas that night. Then I recently saw The September Issue, which I highly recommend for an interesting behind-the-scenes look at Vogue magazine. At the time of filming, they were working on the 2007 September issue, which featured this amazing 1920s-inspired fashion spread, "Paris, Je t'aime."

How gorgeous are these dresses?! I am so in awe. Later this week, I'll be heading over to Amelia's Retro-Vogue & Relics to see what I can find. I've heard great things about Amelia's so I'm really excited. I have a feeling I will see some fabulous gowns that I simply cannot afford, though...

I may opt to get a simple tank dress & then embellish it to the nines, with faux fur trim, fringe & beads, kinda like the grey frock on the left.

Then again, this elegant, silky gold number is to die for! So beautiful.

But then, this cute, vampy look is pretty hot... what to do? what to do?

all images: Vogue US | September 2007 | Paris, Je t'aime | Ph: Steven Meisel | Coco Rocha, Agyness Deyn, Sasha Pivovarova, Guinevere van Seenus, Caroline Trentini & Gemma Ward | scanned by sister-d @ bwgreyscale

Good Morning, Marilyn!

Saw this awesome paint chip art by Nite Kongtahworn on Apartment Therapy and it really wowed me! Nite was inspired by this Abe Lincoln portrait, featured on Apartment Therapy earlier this month.

Back when I taught high school art, I did a pixelated self-portrait project with my students where they had to mix their own varying shades of grey & paint it in much the same way as Honest Abe was painted. It's a great school project for learning about value, but not something I'd really want to do to decorate my home. Nite has the right idea though! Using paint chips to create a large-scale portrait on a wall is a stroke of genius! So stunning, yet so easy.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

DIY "Fame"-inspired Duffel Bag!

The always-craftastic Craftzine featured this really well-made Threadbanger tutorial on how to make your own 80s-style duffel bag from old umbrellas & cloth belts! So cool! I just had to share it. Someone needs to make one of these, like, totally! Not me because I have a long list of half-finished projects as it is, like my kitchen cabinets & these one-yard skirts (haven't even started one of those yet, but I so want to!). If you make one of these awesomely 80s bags, be sure to let me know so I can share your pics!

Monday, September 21, 2009

We Make Stuff like Wacky Pinback Buttons and Cardboard Wallets

Strange, but true: button-making is really addictive! We just bought a button-maker for The WonderCraft & I am in love! It arrived a few days ago, just in time for the We Make Stuff event on Saturday night. We decided to offer Design-Your-Own buttons to patrons, and boy was it ever a hit!

Here are a couple of cutie pies with their buttons. They were a fun & sweet pair (unfortunately I did not get their names). There's just something really satisfying about framing a pretty patterned paper or a random magazine pic in a 1-inch button.

My fave of the night was the Drew Barrymore eye that I cut from a makeup advertisement. Bonus: the resulting eye-less photo was pretty cool in itself! although a bit creepy. It got even creepier later when I made a second button with her other eye for someone else.

I loved my Drew Barrymore Eye, but alas, she is already gone. I think I lost her at Magnolia Cafe, where the WonderCrafters & their menfolk were enjoying a late night (early morning) post-event dinner. When I arrived home and was getting ready for bed, I realized she was no longer pinned to my shirt. So if anyone sees Drew Barrymore's eye peeking up at them somewhere along S Congress, please let me know. I miss her.

We had a sweet DIY Upcycled Cardboard Wallets make & take station that was a huge hit, too. People were making the most amazing stuff!

Also, Trevor Ray Thompson was there with his fantastic photo booth setup. Fun stuff! Congrats & thanks to Candace of Electric Promotions (shown here with the awesome giant scissors she made) for throwing another smashing par-tay celebrating our local art & craftsters! See more pics from We Make Stuff in The WonderCraft's Flickr stream.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Pretty Proud of this Pseudo-Flapper Headband I Made at the Mix & Make!

Here I am hangin' out with my fellow WonderCraft gals, Beth A, Jen, & Kim at our Mix & Make Crafty Hour last night. We're all wearing upcycled t-shirt accessories we've made, and those empty wine glasses are in our hands to show off the wine charms we were making from vintage buttons, seashells, charms & toys. They were really cool (and handy!).

How about a closer look at my headband? Whadya think? It's a "Grunge Flower," designed by that crafty Kim. It was really simple to make, cut with pinking shears from a couple of old t-shirts. I love it though, because putting it on a headband gives it this wonderful Roaring Twenties quality. And you know I'm a 1920s nut!

We're selling kits now for making these Grunge Flowers, as well as several other of our upcycled t-shirt accessory designs. They will soon be listed in The WonderCraft's Etsy shop, but for now you can get them at Austin Handmade or directly from us when we're out & about at events.

Where will we be next, you ask? At We Make Stuff, of course! Tomorrow night - it's gonna be awesome! Hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Another reason to love Austin: Mandola's!

I love Mandola's Italian Market for it's imported novelties such as this who-could-ever-eat-that-much-Nutella-actually-i-probably-could giant jar of Nutella.

It was bigger than Patrick's head!

I love Mandola's for its delicious sandwiches & pasta & bread & gelato & THIS! This fabulous pastry case. I consider it sacrilege to leave without partaking of at least one of these magnificent beauties.

On our most recent visit, we grabbed one of their doughnut-shaped iced lemon cookies. They are divine, as is everything I have ever eaten at this wonderful Italian eatery.

Mandola's kinda reminds me of another divine Italian market & cafe: DeLaurenti's in the Pike Place Market. Ahhh... I remember it well. That one definitely has a leg up on Mandola's in terms of atmosphere. But it's no fault of the lovely Mandola's; you just can't compete with a turn-of-the-century, waterfront farmer's market in one of this country's most beautiful cities. If you ever find yourself in Seattle, the Market is definitely a must-see. And when in Austin, be sure to check out Mandola's!

Monday, September 14, 2009

A New & Improved Crafty Mishmash

Crafty Mishmash is a creative archive & journal written by me, Beth Hempton, the gal behind The Snuggle Herd and 1/4 of The WonderCraft. I'm an artist, designer, maker, teacher and lover of all things artsy, crafty and handmade. You can read more about me on my WonderCraft profile.

My husband, Patrick, is my patient product photographer, web developer and tamer of all things technical. He also works really hard at a full-time job doing web development, and is an avid gardener and musician.

We both feel that leading a balanced life, enjoying the little things and making time for what is most important to you (i.e. what makes you happiest), is the only way to live. Life is too short to get bogged down with the rest, which is why I recently made the decision to simplify my online presence and house all of my creative endeavors (or at least most of them, all but The WonderCraft) under one virtual roof that I can maintain myself, making life a lot easier and more enjoyable for both of us. My previous Snuggle Herd website has been decommissioned in favor of a combination of my Snuggle Herd Etsy shop and Policies & FAQ page, and now redirects to this here Blogspot. So much simpler! Note that as I am writing this, it's September and the Snuggle Herd website still says "Happy Spring!" I just couldn't keep it updated like I wanted to, so I am letting it go. No more spinning my wheels and always feeling like I'm lagging behind - what good comes from that? None, I tell you, none.

R.I.P. old Snuggle Herd website

I hope you will enjoy reading Crafty Mishmash, a busy hub of creative goodness where you'll find news and updates on my two businesses as well as the EtsyAustin team that I am founder & Co-President of; cool things I find online that I want to share; and posts about Our Little DIY Victories in home improvement and What's Growin' On in our garden. I also love writing my Tutorial Collection (mostly by others on the web, though I will occasionally post some of my own, too) and Creative Geniuses posts. There are so many amazingly talented people to be found on these interwebs!

Patrick & I live in Austin, TX and love the creative vibes radiating from every corner of the city. I often post about the many unique businesses, events, places & people of this fabulously kooky city, and you'll find those posts labeled Homage to Austin. I also have a series of interviews with Austin artists called Local Talent Tuesdays.

Feel free to contact me any time at beth.hempton[at]gmail[dot]com. I love hearing from my readers and fans of my work. Thanks so much for taking a peek at my blog!

Stung by a bee, Leg scraped on a rusty stake, & Aching lower back - but so worth it!

I was afflicted with all of those things yesterday afternoon while Patrick & I continued the quest to tame our backyard. It's like Man vs. Wild out there. Sort of. I mean, we didn't have to build our own raft out of twigs or eat grubs or anything, but you know, it's pretty savage. That was my first ever bee sting - it hurt! We spent all afternoon clearing weeds from the center of the yard, putting down weed blocking cloth, then covering it with gravel (crushed granite).

The resulting neat and clean, finished-looking garden path looks great! We will be giving the narrow paths that cut between the flower beds the same treatment eventually. Side note: You might remember those flower pots from this post a while back. I'm sad to say that they have not fared well in this summer's drought. Or to be more blunt, everything in them has died except for the sedums in the second pot! {Note to self: plant more sedums in the other pots.} However, looking on the bright side, the cacti cuttings we took from my parents' house are doing extremely well, and the Mother of Thousands is living up to her name.

This is what the area looked like right after we cleared the weeds. I neglected to get a picture of the weediness, but just look at that area around the bbq pit there; it was pretty much like that, very green and lush since our record-breaking drought has finally come to an end, but all weeds. And it's now pretty much all mud too, since we had a torrential downpour on Saturday. Our goal is to minimize the yard (or the mud & the weeds, that is) by making big flower beds with paths in-between, and only having a small side yard on the right. We plan to seed that with Turffalo someday.

This is the view looking back at the house, where Patrick is extending our patio with antique Chicago bricks he found on Craig's List. It's going to look so cool, and be quite useful, too. Please ignore that pea soup in the pond - we're still working on that.

This kind of stuff sure is hard work, but it definitely gives you a feeling of pride and accomplishment. Just look at what we were up against when we bought the place last December:

What the heck was going on with all of those pavers?!! We're still trying to figure that out. But hey, they've made great path edging and a retaining wall for our compost pile in the back!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Felt, hmmm?

I've never really been into felting wool or making things from felt. It always looks gorgeous & I admire other people's work in this medium, but I've just never gotten into it for whatever reason. But today Craft alerted me to this gorgeous felt pillow with rosette clusters from Felt Furnishings: 25 Accessories for Contemporary Homes by Anne Kyyro Quinn. The Storque even has a tutorial up for making the pillow. It's so, so beautiful! Uh-oh, I think I hear a new craft calling my name...

Also check out Anne Kyyrö Quinn's studio to see examples of the fabulous, three-dimensional interior textiles they produce. Coolness!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Film Screening, Some Frustrations & a Need to Re-focus

This post was originally titled "Stella's Debut at the Handmade Nation Screening." I was planning to post it yesterday. I had all of the copy written and I was all excited to show pics of Stella, our recently renovated Airstream, when I realized I had unintentionally deleted all 81 photos I took over the past week! That will sure ruin your day. Man, I was so angry about it. I had photos of The WonderCraft's first Mix & Make happy hour event, pics of the aforementioned Austin premier of Handmade Nation, amazing photos of teeny-tiny baby toads from our pond sitting in Patrick's hand (worthy of a post all to themselves) and some really cute pics of our cat sitting on the laundry hamper. I mean, really cute.

The discovery of this horrendous error on my part sent me into a swift nosedive of self-pity and creative paralysis. Ok, it wasn't really the loss of the photos that did me in; they were just the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak. I've been in kind of a creative funk for weeks now, brought on by my new need to juggle 2 businesses. Don't get me wrong, I love The WonderCraft & I'm super-excited about its potential and having such a blast with it all. It's just been hard to figure out where to go with The Snuggle Herd in the meantime. I've been making some decisions about which products to keep, which to chuck, new things I want to add and a slightly new look & such. And I'm also trying to find ways to become less dependent on my {awesome} husband, Patrick, for getting the technical stuff done. It makes it really hard on both of us when I'm relying on him to take photographs of new products, make changes to my website and code my email blasts. He is now the default website administrator for The WonderCraft, plus he has his own creative projects he'd like to work on and I often feel like I'm keeping him from them. So change is a-comin' to The Snuggle Herd... I'll keep you posted. Fortunately I was able to pull out of that nosedive and ended the day by doing some inspired art-making that made me very happy and led to all kinds of new ideas for stuff to make and ways to handle my biz. Yay!

Anyhoo, without further ado, here is what I had intended to post yesterday, along with photos I'm borrowing from my fellow WonderCrafter, Jen Bryan, & her pal, Stephanie Nance {thanks, ladies!}:

Handmade Nation, a super-cool documentary by Faith Levine, was screened last Sunday at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and there was a mini craft fair outside the theater. The WonderCraft was invited to participate (thanks, Sublime Stitching gals!) so we worked around the clock to get Stella, our Airstream trailer, ready. Sunday was to be her big debut, the first time the trailer was opened to the public, so we wanted her to be beautiful inside & out!

We painted, had flooring installed, Beth A & her husband built bench seating that doubles as storage, and I made curtains. It was a mad scramble to get everything done (and of course there is still a lot more that we want to do), but Stella looks radiant! Everyone seemed to be pretty impressed with her & we had a blast showing her off. We did a fun make & take project creating accessory bags from old t-shirts (shown below). The craft fair and film screenings drew a wonderful crowd - we met tons of lovely people and were inspired by all of the creativity in the air. It was a beautiful day filled with craftacular fun! [Photo at very top of post is the brilliant work of Houstonian Magda Sayeg, a.k.a. KnittaPlease, who was in attendance at the premier.]

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