Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Iron Craft 2016 Challenge #12--Parade Hats

My Stetson

For Challenge #12 we were tasked with the theme of "animals." I struggled with this challenge but a buddy of mine bailed me out of trouble with a special project with which he needed my help. The last weekend of June is Gay Pride Weekend in New York City. There are two celebrations--the Gay Pride Parade which happens on the last Sunday in June. On the Friday night preceding the parade, there is a costume parade that happens in the heart of Chelsea/West Village. During the costume parade, people dress up and walk through Chelsea. It is one of the two big "hat parades" in NYC. Similar to the celebration of hats at Ascot, NYC celebrates hats at the Costume Parade and the Easter Bonnet Parade in NYC.

My friend had a hat that he wanted me to adorn for the parade. I had an old Stetson that I bought from a thrift store for $10 that needed reblocking and adornment. So, I went to the fashion district and bought feathers.

The first hat is mine. The Stetson was worn and curled. I resteamed it, added a leather cord and simply stuck some feathers under the leather cord. Total time--five minutes.



The second hat is my friend's hat. He gave me the basic brown hat and asked me to "fix it" to make it something "fabulous." I took some old trim, a leather weaved belt and some feathers. and Voila-- a fabulous hat for him.
My friend's hat
Feathers
and trim
yes, and an old belt and buckle

To say the least--he is VERY, VERY pleased.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Iron Craft 2016 Challenge #11--Memorial Book


Challenge Eleven was based on memories. I had so many ideas of what to do for this project. Unfortunately, life got in the way and I was forced to go in a different direction. A good friend of mine was battling cancer and died recently. I have been helping with the arrangements when the husband asked me if I would make a scrapbook/memorial book for the Memorial Service. The idea was that everyone would bring pictures, newspaper clippings, anecdotes and other memories to place in the book.

Here is the final project. As some of you know, sometimes you put a little bit more love in some projects than others. For me, this was one of those projects. The cover is a ginkgo leaf flocked paper. James loved the ginkgo trees of Puerto Rico where he and his husband would visit frequently. Actually, his ashes will be spread under a favorite ginkgo tree in Puerto Rico.

The interior is covered with black suede paper and the end sheets are a green metallic paper.

Interior Pages
 The pages are hand sewn in the traditional way.

Hand Sewn Signatures (pages)

Each page was hand torn so that a deckled edge appear of the fore edge in the traditional bookbinding technique.


Boutonniere Tutorial

A couple of people have asked for a tutorial about my single flower boutonniere. So here it it.

Supplies:
Wire cutters--don't use your scissors (even though they would work) because you can gouge your blade.

Pre-cut floral wire. These usually come in a pack.

Floral Shears (to cut your flowers). While kitchen shears can do the trick, get a nice pair of shears. Some of woody stems are easier to cut.

Green Floral tape.

All of these materials are readily available. While I got mine at a floral supply store, you can order them through Amazon or go to Michaels.

Tools.
Step One:
Bend the floral wire in half and cut. Try to get both lengths as close to the same as possible but it isn't a deal breaker.
Preparing the wire
Step Two:
Prepare the flower. Cut about 1.5 inches from the bottom of the blossom you are using. It is best to use a flower with a bulb bottom but any strong stemmed flower should work.

Remove the outer petals until you have a pleasing looking bud. You want a tight bud. You can remove the bud petals if you prefer (I do).

Petals Removed
Tight Bud
Leaves removed; 1.5 " stem
Step Three: Wire the Flower
The purpose of wiring the flower is so that the bud doesn't separate from the stem. This is important when hugging the wearer is involved. It is easy to crush the flower when hugging is involved and the flower can separate from the stem after repeated crushing.

Take one wire and pierce the bottom of the bud/top of the stem. Take the second wire and repeat but at a 90 degree angle. The cross wires should look like a cross. Fold the wires straight down the stem.
Wire one
Wire Two
Fold Down
Wired Flower
Step Four: Wrap the wires with tape. Unroll a length of the tape and place it behind the flower. Pick the best side of the flower and start on the opposite side. If you left the flower leaves, be sure to start your taping under the leaves and be careful not to tape the leaves down. As you slightly pull the tape, rotate the stem and spiral the tape down the stem/wires until they are all covered.

Starting the taping
Taping Finished
NB: If you want to add additional material, wrap the stem section of the main flower. Add the additional material and repeat the process from the top of the flower and include the additional material. Wrap the entire length of the stem/wire.

Step Five: Embellishments
Since the flower is so simple, I have added an additional feature by curling the bottom portion of the wire stem. Simply take a round object (here I used an Exacto holder but you can use a pencil). The object needs to be round, though. Take the end of the wired stem and wrap it around the object and continue to wind the stem until it reaches the the bottom of the flower stem (where you cut the flower from the stem). The turns should be next to each other on the rounding tool for the most pleasing effect.

Beginning the turning
Second Turn
Finished Project
I usually provide two corsage pins with the boutonniere. You only really need one but a second pin really secures the flower and helps keep it in place when the person is continually putting on a jacket.



Monday, June 6, 2016

365 Day 2016 Project--Week 23

Another week into the books and I am glad to say that chalks are over. I didn't enjoy them as much as I thought I would. I never really got blending techniques down and it made a mess all over the place. I tried the sticks and the pencils and never really enjoyed them.

For June, I am featuring single line block lettering and crayons.

May 30
May 31
June 1
June 2
June 3
June 4
June 5

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

365 Day 2016 Project--Week 22

I know, I know. I'm late with this week's summary post but the holiday got the better of me. Here they are:

May 23
May 24
May 25
May 26
May 27
May 28
May 29


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Iron Craft 2016 Challenge #10--Homemade Boutonniere



For Challenge #10 we were asked to created something to celebrate summer. Before I get to my project, there is some explaining to do.

When I was growing up, there were certain rules that the nuns would pound into our heads. Most of them were etiquette rules or comportment rules for living--we called them "nun rules" and they were usually accompanied by an eye roll.

One of the rules was "In the spring and summer months, a gentleman always wears a fresh flower in his lapel. In the fall and winter months, a gentlemen wears a pocket square because fresh flowers are not always available. But a gentlemen never wears both."

Every Saturday at the theater, I wear a sports jacket or suit to commemorate the end of the week. Since I don't work on Sundays, Saturday evenings are the last shift of my week. During the spring months, I have applied the nun rule above and have been wearing a boutonniere. Last week (and in tribute to this challenge), I decided to make my own. Some of the florists in Manhattan have charged me $10-$20 for a single flower boutonniere similar to the one above.

Therefore, I decided to make my own--which in hindsight is really, really easy. So for this challenge, I share with you my first, homemade boutonniere.

I chose a single flower without adornment to keep it simple and to not excessively show off. There is no greenery, or filler to make it look like a wedding or prom boutonniere. I wanted it to be a throwback to the old Victorian habit of men wearing a fresh flower in their jacket button hole. By the way, the word boutonniere is French for button hole.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

365 Day 2016 Project--Week 21

Another Week. I will be glad when this month is over. I am not a real fan of pastels and pastel pencils.

May 16
May 17
May 18
May 19
May 20
May 21
May 22

Sunday, May 15, 2016

365 Day 2016 Project--Week 20

Another week in the book.

April 9
April 10
April 11
April 12
April 13
April 14
April 15