A very good week <3

This past week I finally opened my booth at a local store called Prairie Child Design. PCD is an awesome store all about upcycling and features ONLY local creators/artists/crafters and the like!! It’s a huge honor to be included in this store!!

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It feels SO good working like this and moving forward in this way. I’ve been so excited to set a schedule (“Okay, I sew on these days, upload/edit photos on this day, take new things to the shop on this day, list things on Etsy on this day.”) and feel like this is all coming together. I feel that way now. It’s only the beginning, but this beginning feels amazing.

I have several commissions in the works right now (a bunting due by June, a hairbow holder I need to finish and ship out on Monday, another bunting due before October, a few other things), and new ideas are still coming to me. Like aprons! This weekend I’ve been planning and working on aprons to list on Etsy and go into PCD. I am LOVING making them too!!

Overall, I am such a happy camper. My cup runneth over!!

Upcycled, No-Sew, T-Shirt Necklace!

I’ve seen these t-shirt necklaces floating around Pinterest for a while now, and wanted to give it a go on some scraps I’ve had from past projects! I love how it turned out, and have already made several more! Easy, easy, easy!!

First off, I took three strips of white t-shirt I’ve had lying around from an old project. Each strip was about an inch wide and with the others I’ve made since this one I’ve cut them to be an inch wide also. After cutting the strips, I pulled and stretched them until they rolled up and were really loose.

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I used three of these strips because I knew I wanted to do just a really simple braid. After stretching/pulling, I gathered them and cut one side with a pair of scissors.

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Then the braiding! This made for a really, really long braid, so I advise you to have someone hold one end as you braid, or tie one end off somewhere so you can pull on it without the braid coming loose.

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The finished braid didn’t look very uniform at first, but I tugged on it a bit more and it evened itself out.

TshirtNecklace4Next up, I took a rectangle shaped scrap, placed it over the two open ends, and began wrapping and super glueing the ends with the rectangled scrap over top to conceal the ends and hold them together.

TShirtNecklace5 After braiding and closing up the ends, I tied a small bow out of twine and super glued it to one side of the braided necklace, about halfway up. Based on the length of the necklace and where it falls on you, you can decide for yourself where (or if) you want embellishments. I chose a spot that looked right once I put the necklace on.

TshirtNecklace6 Lastly, I hunted down an earring that I’d lost the partner for, removed the hook and super glued it on top of the two twine bows already on the necklace.

TShirtNecklace7And there you have it! I love this thing! It took almost no time, it came from things I already had on hand, and it’s PRETTY!! If you haven’t tried doing one of these yet, YOU MUST!!

The Waiting Giveaway!!!

My beautiful friend, Emily, the blog wrangler over at The Waiting, is a dear and delightful soul, and this week she’s being kind enough to host a giveaway of a BEAUTIFUL bunting of mine over at her blog!! This go ’round, I’ve created an incredible, upcycled, lace and twine bunting called, “White Christmas”, but really, you can use it in any season! And it’s delightful.

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For giveaway details, you can follow this link to The Waiting Blog and by the way, once you get there, go ahead and give that woman a follow because Emily is a WordPress Recommended Family Blog, she’s been Freshly Pressed multiple times, she’s regularly featured on BlogHer, AND she’s been featured on WordPress’ The Daily Post.

Basically, she’s kind of a big deal. And this giveaway is also big! So join the fun and try your hand and winning this lovely bunting!!!

Winter Holidays Giveaway!!

Hello, beautiful people! Today I’ve launched my 2013 Winter Holidays Giveaway, and up for grabs are the following buntings!!!

 

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If you like what you see here, head on over to Mockingbird Don’t on Facebook for entry details, give me a Like, and enter to win!!! I’ll announce THREE winners on Cyber Monday and you could be one of them!!!! Good luck!!

“Gah, you’re SUCH a hipster.”

~ source

A few years ago a friend from High School commented on one of my paintings and said, “Wow, love this. So hipster.”

My heart sank. I remember the first time I heard the word, “hipster”, and unknowingly I asked the definition of it from a verifiable Hipster. He explained it in the simplest terms he could (for as a Hipster, he was unnecessarily condescending),Β  and then I queried him thus, “Oh…am I a hipster?” To which he responded, “Oh, no. Not at all. You’re not really…hip?”

Initially I thought this an insult, but in hindsight I appreciate his comment. “Oh, thank goodness, I’m not a Hipster, because apparently people hate Hipsters!” And in time I *too* came to hate Hipsters. Their population exploded a few years back and suddenly it was as if we were drowning in them; Nerdy Hipsters, Bro Hipsters, Political Hipsters, Music Hipsters, Art Hipsters, Fashion Hipsters, Punk Hipsters, Europe Hipsters, Theater Hipsters, the list goes on and on.

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But I felt smugly safe in my little world of “You’re not really…hip…” and felt immune to the ire of those who hated all that is hipster.

Until my high school friend’s innocent observation. “Your art looks like the kind of art Hipsters make and would probably like.” Oh, the chill that ran down my spine. In the years since, it seems I’ve only given Hipster Haters more ammunition to rebuke me. I sew using second-hand materials from locally owned thrift stores (HIPSTER!), I buy my fruits and veggies and other delicious things from our Farmers Market (HIPSTER!!!!!), my parents are folk/Americana musicians and I listen predominately to unsigned folk musicians, sometimes even on records (OH MY GOD HIPSTER), I bounce back and forth between vegetarian and eating a Paleo diet (HIPSTERHIPSTERHIPSTERHIPSTER), and I’m a Libertarian, and I homeschool, and I really actually do like foreign films (especially South Korean films…those people know how to make a dang movie).

By conventional definitions…I think I’m a Hipster.

But, how did this happen? How did I go from not being “hip” to being a Hipster? Where was the transition? What decisions did I make in life that led me down this dark and crooked path?

The thing is, I am who I am for a myriad of reasons, most of which have less to do with my most recent decisions and interests, and more to do with my raising, my childhood, and my family.

Today I homeschool because I too was homeschooled by my parents. I listen to folk music because it’s what I was raised on and it’s the kind of music my own parents create. I buy local as often as I can because several women in my family (including my mother) were small business owners who relied on people like me to keep their dreams afloat. I shop at thrift stores because I grew up “poor” and had to buy new school clothes at the local Goodwill or Salvation Army for several years in a row. At the time I was miserable, but today I appreciate being thrifty and I appreciate not feeding into our society, so focused on constant consumption. And frankly, in every area of my life there’s a reason I got to be this way and a reason for who I am.

So, what is a Hipster? And am I a Hipster? And does it matter what I am or what I am not, in the grand scheme of things?

For now, these are questions I can’t answer. You have to be the judge of that. But, the next time you tell me, “Gah, you’re such a hipster”, I’m just going to smile and reply, “I know.”

Autumn Bunting

I knew I wanted to make buntings because, frankly, buntings are awesome. For someone like me, and my decorating style, buntings are an absolute must. They’re whimsical, romantic, playful, and in my case, made from upcycled materials!

I started off with two t-shirts: one kind of an “Army” green, and another that was a burnt orange. I picked up this delightful chevron ribbon from a US seller on eBay (I know, not upcycled, but I have a hard time finding unused, second hand ribbon in the quantities I need). I built this bunting design completely around the ribbon.

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I started with a diamond cut out of cardboard for my pattern. I folded the large green shirt in half, and cut out the diamond, giving me 4 even pieces.

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Next, I folded them in half and pinned them, leaving a little over an inch open on one side so I could easily invert the triangle after sewing.

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I used a straight stitch for the flags because the jersey knit tends to pucker, and the straight stitch I used kept them from doing so.Β After sewing each flag, I lined them up, found I only need three of the green ones (I only had enough material for 2 orange flags), and set the 4th green flag aside for use in another project.

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Then it was time for the measuring and sewing of the ribbon! I folded the ribbon in half, ironed it, and nudged the tops of each flag into the crease before pinning them down and sewing.

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And here’s the finished product!!

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This bunting is a little longer than a yard long. I cut two more pieces of ribbon to make sashes at the ends. This works because it covers the ends of the bunting itself, and allows for me to turn them into bows or knots if I want to.

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I used a zig-zag stitch and orange thread on the actual ribbon, because the orange was a perfect compliment to the chevron, and the zig-zag fit the look of it.

I LOVE this thing!!! I can’t wait to use it every Autum!!!

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Whimsical Display Rack

This board was left in our house when we moved into it and it wasn’t exactly “pretty”. It used to hang in the tiny hallway that separates the master bedroom, hall bathroom, and my husband’s office, and it really didn’t make any sense, PLUS it was ugly. So I tore that sucker down and it’s been sitting in a closet ever since.

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I knew I might paint it eventually, but I didn’t know exactly what to do with it. We didn’t need it and the look just made me want to yak. It wasn’t until I was thinking about having displays for my booth at the Farmer’s Market next year that it dawned on me: paint this icky thing and use it!

So that’s what I did.

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I started with removing the wooden dowels (just hammered in) and cleaning the whole thing to make sure it was free of any dust and debris. After that, I thought long and hard about what it was telling me, and every time I looked at it I saw browns, blues, and greens.

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I love swirls, so I tried to make it appear as if swirly, twisting branches had made their way all over the board. Next up, I added swirls of green, and eventually filled in with light blue, before “dotting” that blue with white and adding a darker blue “shadow” to give an appearance of sky, without being too obvious.

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The final board turned out awesome!! I love the balance of the colors, the swirls, and the feel it adds to this board. Plus, the look fits the shape!

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Next on the agenda: dowels! As mentioned above I’d removed all the dowels and set them aside.

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After looking at the dowels and turning them over carefully, I realized they look just like little mushrooms, and immediately an image came to mind! I started with a white base…

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And then added red tops and little spots. Adorable little mushroom dowels!!

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And after I put them back in…

Display10This board came right to life!!!! I can’t believe what a difference a little bit of paint looks! And choosing to turn the dowels into mushrooms was definitely the right direction! This would NOT have turned out so adorable had I not!!

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I’m so proud of my new display board!! I can’t wait to set it up at our local Farmer’s Market next year and hang all my pretties from it!!

Third Tote: Special Gift For Mom

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For my third tote ever, I really wanted to do something special for my Mom. About a month ago I painted a picture of a Rooster playing guitar and being generally awesome for her, and that painting inspired me to make my Mom a matching bag for the painting. I’d found two red t-shirts at the thrift store in really good condition, so I went to work make her tote!

I knew I wanted to make a tote with an outer shell and inner lining, so having two shirts was ideal. I measured the shirts, cut them down, inverted them, and sewed the sides and bottom, making each one 20 inches wide and square. After this, I attempted my first pocket in the inner lining, and while it didn’t turn out pretty, it works, so I’m taking the win! I placed the inner lining within the outer shell, pinned the two, and set it aside.

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Next I did the straps. I measured them, cut them out, and folded each strap over on itself, effectively folding it in half. I sewed it closed and turned it inside out to hide the seam. Once they were done, I placed the strap ends between the outer shell and inner lining and proceed to sew the two together using a zig-zag stitch, sewing the straps into the tote as I did.

I don’t have pics from this first part because I always forget to stop and take photos as I’m working through. (I’ll be remedying this in future posts and projects.) However, here’s the bag after I finished the initial structure.

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The two t-shirts were actually a bit different in color, but it’s not *that* noticeable, so I refuse to be bothered by it! In the future, however, when making this kind of tote, I’m going to find two fabrics that are different, but coordinate, so I can make a reversible bag!

I knew I wanted to attach some sort of fabric to the top of the bag to make it stand out a bit more. Initially I went to the thrift store looking for something black and white; maybe black and white gingham or black and white polka dots. But, the thrift store didn’t have anything like that this go ’round. Instead I picked up a plaid skirt I planned on making a dress out of. I knew I’d be cutting a lot off the bottom of the skirt and once I had, I realized it matched the bag perfectly, and it was pleated!

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Very carefully, I pinned the pleated layers down and lined them up at the top of my tote. Like the rest of the bag, I used a zig-zag stitch. I was tempted to use black thread, but I knew it would stand out too much on the inside of the tote, and I felt it would take away from the over all look and feel of the bag.

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So, the red thread it was and it turned out really well!

Initially I was going to add a heat transfer of the rooster painting to the front, but after looking at it and thinking it over, it just didn’t feel right. I love the simplicity of this bag and I really think it didn’t need the additional picture.

I love this bag! Nearly everything about it turned out exactly as I hoped it would, and it gave me a really good idea of what I want people to come to expect out of the things I create. I’m so, SO proud of this. I’m always proud of what comes about, but this one was just another reminder that I’m definitely doing what’s right for me.

And best of all, my Mom loved it. <3

Facebook 100 Followers Giveaway!

I’m so, SO stoked to announce my very first giveaway. I know, I know…you’re just as excited as I am. And you SHOULD be! This is going to be a giveaway held over at my Facebook page, Mockingbird Don’t Art, and to win some really cool FREE stuff, you’ve gotta go over and “Like” my page, share the official contest announcement with your own Facebook page, and Β you’re officially entered to wiiiiiinnn….(drumroll)….

THESE THREE FREE UPCYCLED TOTE BAGS FEATURING MY ORIGINAL ART!!!

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Each of these bags is made from second hand materials, they’re all handmade, and they all feature original artwork by MOI! I want you to love these bags like I love them (and you!), so if you need something environmentally friendly to pick up your groceries in, consider heading over to my Facebook page and “Liking” it! This is a giveaway in honor of my hitting 100 Likes and I could not be more excited to give someone these tote bags!! Head that way and enter to win!!!

Click here to Like, Share, and maybe WIN!!!

T-Shirt Refashion: A Subtle War Eagle!

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I purchased this shirt from Maurice’s, a clothing store with a great plus-sized line, a little over a year ago to wear during football season. However, since the beginning of this season, I haven’t worn it once. There’s nothing wrong with it. I simply don’t wear shirts like that anymore. So, I’ve had it sitting in my closet since last Winter, with plans to donate it eventually.

The other day I was out at a thrift store picking up materials, when I came across these darling navy blue pants in my daughter’s size. I picked them up, thinking I’d eventually find a way to put an Auburn-ish outfit together for her and use those pants in the outfit. And right there in the thrift store it dawned on me: my shirt! I can make a dress to go over the pants out of my old shirt!

And that’s what I did!

First, I laid the shirt out, and laid one of my daughter’s t-shirts on top of it to get an idea of the size I need to make it. I gave about an inch past the shirt so I’d have room to sew it, AND so she’d have a bit of room to grow.

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After tracing half of the shirt, I folded it in half, and cut along the lines I made. After unfolding it, I checked to make sure it was even, and then started pinning.

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I sewed the sleeves, collar, and bottom of the dress first, before sewing up the sides. This helped hide the seams and make the dress look relatively even and “clean”.

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Sewing with t-shirt material causes the edges to ruffle a bit as they stretch. There are materials you can place while you’re sewing to keep it from happening, but this time I wanted to go with the ruffles because I thought it would soften the look of her dress. And it did! This dress is very basic and very simple. I wasn’t looking for something fancy or blatantly Auburn, just more something she could put on, run around it, and I could easily wash if/when she gets it dirty.

And here it is!

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She LOVES this dress. I sewed it at night after she’d already gone to bed, and then hung it on her bedroom door to find when she woke up. As soon as she awoke, I heard her down the hall going, “Ooooooooh!! Is this dress for me??!!” She threw it on, and truth be told, hasn’t taken it off in two days. It’s so light and easy to wear, and because of the way it’s sewn, there aren’t any seams or tags to bother her.

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I’m really proud of how the bottom seams turned out. The connection where the edges meet is nearly flawless and that makes me SO happy!

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This sleeve isn’t quite so pretty though. The other turned out like the bottom hem, but this sleeve didn’t go quite right. You can see a bit of unevenness there, but it isn’t terribly noticeable, really.

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We both love this because it’s stretchy. She can pull at it and play in it and it gives with her, while retaining its form. And the length hits just above her knees, making it easy for her to run in without impeding her movement at all.

And lastly, an action shot of my little girl running with our family dog!

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I’m very proud of this dress. It didn’t take long (about an hour, I guess), she can wear it on Game Days around the house, and if it isn’t during football season or on a Saturday, we can still wear it out without having “War Eagle!” and “Auburn” plastered across her body. It’s subtle, comfortable, and upcycled!! I’m so happy with this dress!!!!!