Monday, 19 November 2012

Coupon Code, 15% OFF.

Hi there! Just to let you know these days I'm offering a great 15% off on all item in my etsy shop! How does it work? Use the SUPERSALE coupon code at check out, and automatically get 15% off any amount you spent. 

If you're new to coupon codes, read the how-to here. They are quite easy to use, and very convenient.
The promotion runs from NOVEMBER 19 to DECEMBER 3. 

Have a nice week,


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Sewing Elettra

Today I'd like to share some sewing projects I was up to in the last few months. They are still good for beginners (as the sachets), but perhaps can provide much more immediate satisfaction!

This denim jeans above are outstanding but comfortable, thank to the stretching fabric. I'm wearing them quite often! I designed the pattern by hand from a old pair of trousers (which now seems unfortunately too small for me, sigh!)

Those colorful pillow covers are instead made out of the silk and cotton fat quarters I found at the Etsy shop Fabrics and Trims (I'd like to spend random good words for their shop, such as kindness, fast shipping, great fabric...). Well, I have to say my sofa looks much more cosy now!

Above all, yesterday I finally completed the handmade journal series. As you probably remember, this DIY project is all about recycling, but for the lovely buttons by L'Officina (I purchased them during a fundraising campaign). 

I hope they can inspire you! Have a nice day!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Again Bags for Tea Bags.

Et voilà, back from Italy, where I was welcomed by heavy rains, just to upset me! I'm still confused (I generally play the role of the spinning top there!), and I'm unable to devote myself to a new project. So today I show you more sachets.

After all, I considered, drawstring sachet-ing it's great for beginners. The results are satisfying, and just paying a little bit more attention it's easy to make them cute.

Have a beautiful time!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

A Very Gray Earl-Gray Day

As the title states, this is a very gray day here in Dublin, Ireland. I can't wait the dark to have an excuse to light up the turf and just sit down doing absolutely nothing. Probably just in my imagination I'm there, in front of the fireplace, alone, sipping red wine, eating cheese, maybe chestnuts....that's what autumn is designed for, isn't it!?

Back to reality, I'm sewing up special drawstring bags for tea bags. On friday I'm leaving, and someone asked me to bring back a few good irish teas. Since I travel as light as possible, I generally throw away the cardboard boxes, and transport the tea bags like's practical, and nice to see. 

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Dyed Jade. A Small Secret about Costume Jewelry.

Dyed jade is the last trend in gemstone jewelry. It is beautiful, and easy to make. Gemstones are just warmed up and colored - and that's it!
Dark Green Dyed Jade. 

It's a very easy process, and the results are lovely. To be fair, most of the gemstones we use in costume jewelry are color-enhanced to meet the buyer's expectations (as black onyx or striped agate).
 Fuchsia Dyed Agate.

So the difference is that now the producers dye specific semiprecious gemstones with unexpected colors, proposing it as a plus when the natural tint is not exactly a instant success. 
Dark Red Dyed Jade.

Why jade, then? It's not obvious. Maybe it's all about a world-wide surplus. More probably because jade has a opalescent texture and a neutral color - going from white to green, sometimes verging on yellow or other lovely nuances.
Apple Green Dyed Jade.

Pure jade is very expansive, while small pieces with inclusions can be much more affordable. Unfortunately, at a first sight these latter can be mistaken for far cheaper quartzes, and that makes the reselling a nightmare.
Blue Dyed Jade and Turquoise.

On the one hand, jade is highly valuable as you buy a well refined craft; on the other, it is not that beautiful or spectacular on its own (and this counts a lot in jewelry!). I mean, it doesn't shine, and the color is so delicate that sometimes it's just sad. Maybe here lies the other reason why the smart merchants dye those small, cheaper pieces!

Lavender Dyed Jade and Freshwater Pearls.

Eventually, I'm just fascinated with dyed jade because of the possibilities it opens. I hope you like it as well! All the pictures come from my shop, just click on the image and go there to see more! 

Stay tuned!

Friday, 12 October 2012

1960s Mimi Cotton Dress.

Meet the other small dress I made under the creative urge I described here
The pattern is the same, but this time the shirt is left long enough to become the perfect 1960s piece! I still have to work a lot on the sewing, but right now I'm very happy to have this cute little thing in my wardrobe!
I chose white silk and embroidered cotton. Both couldn't be used on their own, the cotton being pitted and the silk being transparent. The cotton is similar to sangallo fabric.

I used the silk to make a close-fitting, but comfy slip: the slip is slightly shorter than the actual dress, and slightly larger below, to let you move freely. When I cut the cotton, I used the same pattern increased of a couple of cm (1 inch) - as passing from a size 8 to a size 10, for instance.

By hand, I sewed the cover to the neckline (front and back), the armholes, and the zip. I left loose the rest of the fabric. By sewing machine, I then stitched together the two sides. Eventually, I hemmed.
The button-zip solution on the back is the same of the shirt: I use the silk leftover to wrap the button and make its eyelet. 
...and here it is! tadàn!

PS. To take pictures, I first tried to lie it down, then put it on a clothes-hanger, but the results were kind of awkward anyway! I hope they're good enough...

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Thank you, Cucicreando!

Happiness is receiving cute lovely little things!

 ...and I got mine from CUCICREANDO, after I won her giveaway on facebook!!!

Cucicreando is a EIT team mate, she lives in Majano, Italy. 

If you're passionate about embroidery and sewing, pop in her awesome etsy shop!

Have a nice day!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Sewing what a passion!

Recently I could have forgotten to update blog and shop (...more than usual). That's because I'm lost in my sewing projects, which - no need to say - are completely random! 
I bought some fabric, mainly because I ran out of cloths I can recycle. Nonetheless I used a zip I had (which in fact is of a different color).

Anyway, that purchase was my ruin! I started sewing the day after and spent all my spare time trying to archive something (well, anything). DIY is addictive.

While working, I found myself solving problems I couldn't even think about before starting. It was a challenge, and the lack of a proper sewing machine made it more tricky. 

I must admit it gave me great satisfactions, for instance...this shirt eventually fits perfectly my silhouette (women will agree: we're all different!), the cut is original, the fabric I choose is very good, and bla bla bla.

So, I'm quite happy with the results - among which a comfy pair of velvet trousers -, but there is a lot of "but". On the one hand, I'm worried about the possibility to reproduce what I've done that easily, as in the common case of a friend who asks you for one (already happened).

Of course I now have a pattern for that shirt. I took some notes as well. I also read about how sizes work. But I'm sure it would be an effort! On the other, if these few days were not enough to gain confidence about sewing clothes, were enough to become aware of the knowledge one needs to make beautiful things out of fabric. And it's a lot of knowledge!

So, I'm still unsure about tailoring as a simple hobby, but I fell in love with it and so I'll try to keep on making stuff!

Stay tuned!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Black Onyx

I recently developed a passion for gemstones...and so I'm also filling up my etsy shop with necklaces like this
I like black onyx, it's one of the few natural black gemstones (nevertheless it is normally dyed to enhance its color).

I prefer to make short necklaces, meaning the classic choker, mainly because the 16 inch strand is considered standard in US and Europe as well, so that things are less tricky both for buyers and sellers. Moreover, that measure is perfect for women, but often is also long enough for men. Anyway, better shorter than longer. I can always add a chain to reach the desired length without starting all over again....And my necklaces are always ready to ship!

The jewel fastens easily with a lovely silver T bar clasp, a kind of clasp very efficient in gemstone jewelry because it uses the weight of the stones to close up...And weight is not a problem here: my black onyx choker is made out of huge, shining 10 mm round smooth black onyx beads!

Another thing I love about gemstone jewelry is that behind any of them there is a story, an ancient legend or a curious myth.

For instance, the name "onyx" comes from the Greek word "onux", meaning fingernail. The story is that one day Cupid cut a divine fingernail of Venus while she was sleeping. He left it on the sand, where it was turned into the semiprecious gemstone. If you're wondering why Venus' fingernail was black, let's just say she was not emo. Black onyx came in vogue later, with the Romans. Beforehand, onyx was mostly found in its sandy-brown quality, probably more close to the goddess' skin tone!

At present, black onyx is thought to increase regeneration, happiness, intuition and one's instincts. Onyx retains memory of the physical occurrences surrounding a person. Onyx brings balance to mind or body as well as strength of mind.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

The Research for the Battle of Anghiari is over.

...Briefly. Since I've been following the quest for the Battle of Anghiari by Leonardo da Vinci from the beginning, it seems now right and proper to share the last follow up. If you don't know the story, you can read my previous reports here and here (...previously, on Leonardo's!)

...Well, basically, on August 14, National Geographic was to stop the research for the Battle of Anghiari, the lost fresco allegedly hidden behind a wall in the Hall of the Five Hundreds, Florence, Italy. 

WASHINGTON, DC, USA – National Geographic notes that the research project for the Battle of Anghiari is suspended “until further notice”. It is what we read in a note of the Nat Geo Society that sponsors the research of the hidden fresco by Leonardo Da Vinci [...] While waiting for new developments, the mayor Renzi to communicate that the structure in Palazzo Vecchio must be removed even if National Geographic still “intends to continue the effective and productive relationship with the city of Florence on further cultural projects of importance both to Florence for Italy”.

Below, the talk by Maurizio Saracini at TED Conference (October 2012), a pretty good resume of all the research.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Special Beads. How-to: Paper Beads

I had two fistfuls of murano beads - one purple, one yellow - which I've bought some time ago. I had thought to use them for making earrings, but I soon found out I'm not good at following plans. I just start beading and go ahead forever.

So...rope necklaces. Long, very long, almost too long (I mean, I can't take a proper picture!).

I was pleasantly hypnotized and didn't want to stop working, when I ran out of beads. Fortunately, I remembered I had to repair the necklace of a friend of mine. Perfect timing: alienation day was not over yet! 

Anyway, at a closer look, I noticed that those beads were made out of rolled paper, held still by transparent tape - or at least it seemed, because then I discovered people mostly use glue, and nail color (SIC). 
It's brillant, I think, and so I'd love to share this video-tutorial by Ms. Liz with you...

Have a nice weekend!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Wittgenstein and Dublin.

...What a pleasant surprise! Ludwig Wittgenstein, the philosopher, the genius, the Zeitgeisttravelled tons of times to, and...LIVED in Dublin! I'm so happy with my discovery! On the one hand because when I was a girl I studied his writings - but clearly not enough his life! -, and loved kind of everything he said (I won't discuss that, I promise); on the other, because I really needed to think Dublin was well worth a mass. And fortunately Dublin always surprises me. Its hidden plenitude reveals itself discretely, and in the most curious ways. Especially when you're reaching the dangerous edge of a meaningless boredom.

As usual, it happened by chance. A friend of mine came here on holiday. On September 6, we went for a visit to the Botanic Garden, where there are many victorian glass houses she was interested in. The garden is marvelous, by the way.

When I saw the plaque, I imagined Wittgenstein sitting down on that step taking notes in a brown suit. I stared at it for a few seconds. Then I realized it could have actually happened, and I smiled, because suddenly there was nothing more obvious than Wittgenstein sitting down on those steps.

Back home, I googled "wittgenstein+dublin" and found out all the story. In the autumn of 1947 Wittgenstein resigned his Professorship in Cambridge: he needed to retire to prepare the Philosophical Investigations for publication. So he came to Ireland and, after some days spent in former Ross Hotel, Dublin, he lodged at Kilpatrick House (Redcross, county Wicklow) for the entire winter.

He almost went mad there (well, it wouldn't be news) and possibly drove insane those poor hosts of his too. He told his friend Drury "that he could not work; 'the continual murmur of the people in the room underneath his', talking late at night, was driving him 'crazy'." The plaque above was erected at Kilpatrick House, which Wittgenstein left after Easter 1948. Drury was in fact worried for his health, and offered him to stay at his cottage in Connemara, where "his needs were tended to by a family retainer, Tommy Mulkerrins. Each day, Wittgenstein had him remove and burn large piles of manuscript material." Of course, he was also successful in being hated by the locals.

That autumn, after some brief journeys, Wittgenstein came back to Ireland. This time he booked into Ross's Hotel, now the Aisling Hotel, where another plaque (above) was erected to testify his (probably nasty) passage. He was now very close to St. Patrick's Hospital, where Drury was working as psychiatrist, so they met almost daily. During their walks in Phenix Park, they used to discuss philosophy, but obviously "this was not sufficient for Wittgenstein [...] His time in Ireland was drawing to a close. Lured by the promise of intellectual stimulation, he decided to visit Norman Malcolm in America." So Wittgenstein eventually left Ireland on June 1949.

The rest is history...

Friday, 7 September 2012

Labradorite Mon Amour!

I'm kind of busy these days  - read: overwhelmed - so I'm not updating so often as I'd like.  Fortunately, my crafts always comfort me. Nothing cheers me up more than a northern light shimmer! So poetic...

This is one of my latest listings on etsy, a delicate composition of gray drops. See, in the half-shadow of the lab they look like river stones...

...but incredibly, they transform themselves in luminous flares as the light shows up in the room.
This precious gemstone is known as Labradorite, but due to the peculiar way it reflects the light, it is also called the "falcon's eye". I find it quite appropriate, it actually has something...wild.


...Soon more amazing crafting adventures!

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Layering Rainbow Necklace

This time I exaggerated! My latest listing on etsy is a gorgeous eleven strand necklace, moreover a unique mixture of seed beads I personally made up! I chose a thousand of beads different for shape and color to obtain this unique shade...and a soft rainbow effect.

I named it "layering necklace" after the way the strands gently overlap. Strung separately and utterly scaled, they give life to a composed fall of light. The layering result is possible thanks to a magnificent vintage clasp, which is also a spacer: the hook fastener is soldered on top of two golden bars, decorated with rhinestones. 

As a jewel is refined and elegant, as complement is cheerful and lighthearted. I'm sure it wouldn't pass unnoticed. It matches especially with greens - which this year are back! - and solid color dresses. Perfect for the coming fall season!

Actual colors: white, light purple, garnet, gold, yellow, ocra, grass green, forest greenbluesilver, hematite gray, black.

...Do It Yourself:

stainless steel wire (6 m)
crimp beads (22)
clasp-strand spacer (1)
seed beads (2 ounce)