Check out my forum thread for these and other BOLD etsy finds.. not for the shy or retiring!

It's been a very productive day here in the sewing room. Zorya just came off the machine. This is my own original pattern box bag. The bag expands to hold SOOO much stuff! The amazing magenta hand-dyed fabric applique comes courtsey of Shady Grove Studios, another great etsy seller. I traded with her a while back for a bundle of fabric and the colors are so rich and intense. I think it sets off this wild orange/yellow batik wonderfully.

The raw edge applique was cut free hand on a folded piece of fabric. Kinda like kirigami.

Also fresh off the machine today.. several small pouches and some upcycled bags.

I was visiting Scriptorium (an amazing source for historical fonts and art) and they had a link to this funny video that was done as a joke for an AIGA design conference.

from the youtube comments:

It's tongue-in-cheek and John Stossel did the video for the conference to give them a laugh.

John Stossel did this as a favor to Jessica Helfand.

Jessica is a partner, with William Drenttel, in Winterhouse, a design studio in Northwest Connecticut.

Another cleverly up-cycled item from the etsy treasuries tonight... this stylish bowl from Undies shop has a modern feel and is endlessly fascinating to look at. It's packed with texture upon texture due to the fact that it is made from reclaimed magazine pages. Must take a LOT of patience to make these, but the end result is both beautiful and useful.

The many flash games over at Orisinal are addictive in the very best way. The graphics are lovely, the game play is simple to learn, yet challenging and the coding is smooth as silk.. so the games load and play very smoothly. Some of my favorites include: Pocket Full of Stars, Floats, and The Perilous Voyage. The site hasn't been updated in a very long time, but I hope it will be one of these days.

10:04 PM

Art fix

If you've got a passion for fantasy, gothic or sci-fi art, then you should wile away some time at Epilouge, the net's premiere showcase for both established and up and coming digital and traditional artists in these genrés.

When I used to design forum sigs for all my gamer friends (back in the days when I played Shadowbane with my longtime guild, AT), Epilouge was my favorite source for sig art. Being an artist myself, I was always VERY careful to make sure that the sigs had the original artist's name on each one.

I made hundreds of sigs during those years and amassed an embarassing fortune from it. I made them for my friends and guild mates for free, of course, but I also made them for anyone who had the cash to pay ... even the "bad guys."

I think the most I was ever gifted with was 8 million for a single sig although my usual fee was 500,000 gold. For those who are not gamers: sigs (signature graphics) are a small graphic that's used to sign forum posts ... kinda like a business card in the real world. I had a long running forum thread with orders backed up 5 -10 deep most of the time and had to have my friends act as bankers to collect the fees from people all over the world.

When I say embarassing, it really was. I mean I SUCKED at SB. I couldn't find my way anywhere! If there was a monster or enemies within 5 miles and I was leading the party, we'd run DIRECTLY into them or end up HOPELESSLY lost. The boys always joked that I was leading the Ray Charles Mystery Tour as only a blind person could possibly be more hopeless at navigation. Sometimes they made me drive so we could find the enemies faster.
I was just as useless at fighting, even the time I showed up for a siege with my ginormous red-haired barbarian .... wearing a purple frock. He had to take off his impressive armor and don the purple jammies to hold the siege bow, see?

In fact, I was only very good at socializing and accruing huge amounts of cash and political goodwill for my guild. So for me to have had my hands on hundreds of millions in gold during my SB career, really is pretty astonishing considering I didn't even level most of my own toons! (thanks Mike and all you aunty toon-levelers!) But SB was in some respects a great game.. despite the horrid lag and the myriad problems with the game economy and cheating. It's model of a player built world allowed for the building of a real community of friends joined together to defend a city they built together. At one point, we had the oldest standing city on the server even after numerous attempts to take it down. And the day they baned my trade city ... lord, was that ever FUNNY! The baners didn't even show up but the HUGE army of my friends and allies that I called up (most who were actually enemies in the game) had a grand time killing each other.

Because almost every single one of my toons had a "Z" name, I was known far and wide as Aunty Zee and used to hang out at my various cities and hand out money to random strangers and friends when I was feeling particularly generous. I also gave much cash away to my guild members and funded the construction of several cities. It truly was more money that one girl could spend.

Anyway, my life isn't behind a computer screen anymore, although I do truly miss my friends. Aunty kisses for all my AT buddies!

But this post was about art and sigs... so although it's hard to pick favorites.. several of the ones I liked are below.

I read a post in the etsy forums by SimplyShiny that sent me off to her blog, which had a post about increasing blog traffic that in turn introduced me to Entrecard.

My blog traffic has gone up from about 200 visitors total to over 1,200 total in about two weeks.

Peacock Pearl necklace by Shiney Adornments.

What's even nicer is that Miss Shiney comes and drops her card on my blog just about everyday, thereby granting me credits.

I just wanted to say thank you for the great tip and give her a shout out.. so SHOUTS for SHINEY!

Popping over to Uhandblog, I was introduced to whipup ... a multi-author blog community devoted to all sorts of crafts.
Says the site creator: " Whip up is a multi author site with contributors from around the world united by a passion for making things, for beautiful design and for a desire to share ideas with others. The editor and originator of this site is me, Kathreen Ricketson, I wanted a central meeting place for ideas and projects and technical advice for all the latest that is handmade around the world."

In the tutorial section this week they have crocheted traffic cones, hair clips and leather bracelets to get your juices flowing.

But even I am enchanted by the daring little owl's exploits. Visit hushmouse's shop for more prints.

The amazing skill to create this just leaves me in awe.. and pretty much speechless. These are handpainted organic batik hoodies from Batikwalla's shop. You can also crawl over to her myspace page for more jaw dropping pictures.

Don't know what batik is? Our friends over at Britanica Online have this to say:
"method of dyeing in which patterned areas are covered with wax so they will not receive the colour. The method is used mainly on cottons and in the traditional colours of blue, brown, and red. Multicoloured and blended effects are obtained by repeating the dyeing process several times, with the initial pattern of wax boiled off and another design applied before redyeing. The basic technique, originated at an unknown time, was apparently practiced widely in Southeast Asia with local variations, as in Celebes Island, where the wax was applied with bamboo strips. In Java, by the mid-18th century, a small copper crucible with a handle and narrow applicator spout for applying the wax came into use, producing a much more elaborately patterned cloth; a further Javanese innovation was the wood-block wax applicator introduced in the 19th century. The Dutch imported both the cloth and the technique to Europe. Present machines for applying wax in traditional Javanese patterns may reproduce such effects of the hand process as the staining caused by fissures in the wax. See also resist printing."

... and now that you also KNOW how long batik can take ... I'm sure you've got a little awe in you as well for batikwalla's lovely work.

Wander on over to Funky Finds to enter the August contest in which you can win a tote bag from me among many other grand prizes.

Who says only batman can be a caped crusader? Save the planet with the eco-friendly AND HEROIC lunch bag from Ones and Zeros. See more at their blog.

I talked before about making a light box to photograph your products and I just ran across this blog post by Kate Tracton on how to make a VERY inexpensive diffused light box. It has many pictures and good, detailed instructions.

This post should more properly be called... "Hey Krystal! I want to learn to make handbags. I can sew fairly well. Where should I start?" but that was way too boring and MUCH less funny.

Below are links to several basic handbag tutorials that are good for beginners who want to start on something that should be a snap and will turn out well and fill you with sewing confidence!

Just a note, most of the patterns I make up into bags are NOT complex. In fact, I HATE difficult fiddly things. I have the sewing skills to accomplish that... but why spend time on all that when the fun is in designing the panels and the embellishing?

Here's a good basic tote from the SewMamaSew blog. It's part of their Summer sewing series.

Next, the Easy Peasy tote from the Craftster Forums. Also from Craftser, the Jordy bag and the Sübe Sac.

I just made a Sübe sac from a recycled shower curtain. It was a SNAP and I'll be making several more of these.

Happy sewing!

Some of the best bag-making tutorials on the 'net are from Lisa Lam's Uhandblog out of the UK. Lisa has a really clear voice and makes even complicated things easy to understand. This week's instruction is on how to put in a concealed zipper top. It seems tricky, but trust me... Lisa will have you looking like a professional in no time.

New in my shop this week...

Salama Dancing Lightning Sling bag.

Maybe something like this? Check out this and other unusual statues over at Designer's Depot.

Isn't this the most gorgeous soap you ever saw? Haunt's shop is rich in swirls of colors and luscious scent descriptions! Bathing in this would be sheer luxury! These two are Roma, named for gypsies and scented with Cardamom, Blood Orange and Mandarin and BlackMint tea which is astringent black tea spiked with sweet peppermint and spearmint.

If you never tried handmade cold process soap you REALLY are missing out. Commercial soap has all the skin softening glycerin sucked out and the SCENTS in a properly made bar of cold process soap will take you away ... even if just a sliver of soap is left. It's a treat for your skin and your senses. Yes, handmade soap costs more than your typical bar of Irish Spring, but it lasts longer and is so much gentler on your skin.

More soapy divas!
Crazytimes Candles and Bath
(try the Sweet Orange Lip Balm, too!)
Indulgent Creations
(Pomegrante was nice)
Astrida Naturals
DaisyCakes Soap
(In my shower currently: Sweet Orange and Spice )
Cozy Moments

These unusual hoops from Alisa Miller are just stunning. The intricate, yet simple, design is really captivating. She makes several necklaces that would complete the look as well.

8:12 PM


This came from a blog called Endangered Spaces. Look very closely and see if you can catch what's odd about them.

9:23 AM

Win this bag!

You could be the lucky winner of this exceptional one of a kind tote from my shop. It's being given away at FunkyFinds as part of the August Giveaway. Just follow these simple instructions to enter for your chance to win this and other prizes from independent crafter's and artisans. Hurry, the draw is 8/25!

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