ideas - inspiration - stuff

Saturday, July 28, 2012

turquoise and bottle caps

here is my latest creation, a rather heavy necklace made from some very chunky turquoise beads bought at the elephant's trunk flea, mixed with bottle caps. easy to make, just punch a hole in the middle of each cap with a hammer and nail. necklace should not be worn on bare skin though, it can get a bit scratchy....

embroidery floss

i purchased a large quantity of vintage embroidery floss at brimfield a few weeks ago, and it made me want to find out a bit more about the companies - often centuries old - that still manufacture them. i was most familiar with dmc which got its start more than 250 years ago in france - 1746 to be exact - when a 23-year old artist started a joint venture with 2 equally young entrepreneurs. they were the first to manufacture hand painted indian prints in europe. the nephew of one of the founders discovered the invention of the chemist john mercer - "mercerizing" - the process of passing the cotton thread to caustic soda to give it strength, longevity and silky appearance. dmc remains an international organization manufacturing consumer threads, industrial threads and textile related products.

in 1755 james and patrick clark began a loom equipment and silk thread business in paisley, scotland which eventually grew into the company j & p coats, now also a weaving business with a cotton mill that produced its own thread. the firm expanded internationally, particularly to the usa, where the coats brand eventually dominated the american thread market.

in 1898, the american thread company was incorporated in new jersey, a combination of 13 new england firms. business went very well in the early years of the 20th century. the beautiful building occupied by the new york wool exchange at 230 west broadway was purchased and became the new york headquarters. today it houses condominiums.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

retro craft - labels

these gems of ingenuity were taken from the book "a book full of ideas" (no kidding) by noelle lavaivre, first published in great britain by angus & robertson, in 1972. i love the use of the classic yet humble lick-and-stick labels. i remember these fondly from elementary school. the necklace looks quite contemporary, i will certainly give this a try. the second craft - an OCD collage - has great graphic appeal but falls squarely into the "too much time on my hands" category.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

a treasure

one thing i always look for at flea markets are vintage how-to books: knitting, crochet, sewing, crafts... you name it. i've come across some real treasures (pantyhose crafts anyone?) and i've decided to dedicate some posts to these, all with proper credit of course. i wanted to start with "embroidery - a fresh approach" by alison lilley. first published in 1964 by mills & boon limited in london, this is not at all your typical how-to book. in fact, i have found it remarkably unusual in how the book does not offer a series of well-outlined projects to follow from start to finish, but rather contains a wealth of wonderfully inspirational sketches and ideas. as per the author: "it has always been my opinion that books illustrated with actual embroideries, whilst making their point very clearly, lay themselves open to direct copying and indirect imitation of style. i hope that drawn illustrations will lead people to adapt what they see to their own individual needs and apply their imagination to translate from paper and ink to fabric and thread." well said, this book is an absolute treasure.

Friday, July 13, 2012

yellow birds

it's weird how collections just tend to happen. i love birds (especially parrots and parakeets) and yellow is my favorite color. last year, i picked up a yellow ceramic parakeet at a flea market. now i have half a dozen.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

lapis lazuli

i have a real weakness for semi-precious gems such as malachite, tiger's eye, peridote, topaz and lapis lazuli. this dates back to my days as the youngest member of the MKA (mineralogische kring van antwerpen, or mineralogical society of antwerp). so of course i could not resist this lapis bib necklace at brimfield.