Saturday, June 23, 2012

DIY Greek Costume - Socrates

What do you do when your daughter comes home from school and says she has to be Socrates for a class project in two weeks and Halloween is still months away?... Well first you panic, then you hyperventilate, and then you eventually pass-out!.. Well, not necessarily in that order!!

What I did was search the web - you can find so many different ideas on the internet!!  What a convenience to be able to Google something and within seconds have what you're looking for!  After viewing several sites in search of Socrates' appearance and attire, I came to the conclusion my daughter was going to have to be bald, grow a beard, and wear some form of a toga costume.  Believe me when I tell you she was not pleased when I informed her of this!!  ... haha   Of course I wasn't going to shave her head or apply hair growth treatment to her face, but having her wear a bald cap.. well..  let's just say I didn't have to go THAT overboard with detail, I mean it was just a class project, not a Broadway production.

And with that in mind, I set off to create a Socrates costume that cost a whopping $4.32!! Here's how I did it....

Costume Supplies: Bed Sheet, Felt, Elastic

I headed off to my trusty Goodwill to find a bed sheet that I could use to make the toga or tunic costume.  It was a little tricky finding an appropriate way to make a male toga for a girl to wear since a lot of chest is typically shown in a male toga.  But I found this pretty cool video tutorial that was really helpful in creating this costume.  I picked up a pastel green Queen sized bed sheet for $4.00 that I thought about cutting in half or sewing together, but I didn't want to have to rip out stitches later or regret cutting it because I probably would re-use it again. (always thinking green!!)

The next step was finding facial hair.  There are a few synthetic beards online thru Party City, but by the look on my daughter's face I could tell I would need to keep looking. What better place to look than on! There are so many creative and artistic shops on Etsy filled with unique items you can't find anywhere else. Some of the most clever beards I came across were crocheted and yarn beards. My daughter seemed a little apprehensive about wearing one of these, but she did say they were a lot better than the Party City beards. (a glimmer of hope!!)

Then I had a brilliant idea to just make my own. ... like I don't already have enough on my plate!! I was going to need some help with this one and lucky for me I found a couple of tips and tricks on how to create a fake beard online.  This great tutorial was the easiest and most practical way to go and served as the inspiration I needed to get this project moving!  I purchased gray felt at Joanns for about $0.32 and drew a beard onto card stock that I already had at home.  I don't normally use patterns so this part was especially new for me.

Since my daughter wouldn't be dressing up and performing her character until about noon, I had to figure out the easiest way for her to put on the beard independently while she was at school.  The best way was to make it like a mask with an elastic strap in the back.  I found an elastic headband that's been sitting in my hair accessories bin forever, cut it to fit, and attached it to the felt. Applying the mustache so that my daughter could talk like a normal person was quite a nuisance.  But I finally finished and even though I wasn't ecstatic with the overall outcome, it was my first time working with felt and a pattern so I don't think I did too badly.
Next was making the poison.  Not too difficult a task, I simply printed a picture of the poison symbol and taped it to an empty water bottle. 

My daughter felt like a weirdo all dressed up as a famous Greek philosopher, but she practiced her lines like a champ and she did a great job!!  All said and done, I'm not sure I'm ready for the costume business, but I'm always grateful for another chance to strengthen my experience in crafting.

True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.”  ~ Socrates

Have a Beautiful Day!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Recycled Necktie Keychains OH MY!!

I’ve been recycling men's neckties into Cell Phone Wristlets for over two years now.  And in making these wristlets, I’ve accumulated quite a large collection of leftover necktie pieces.  I’ve held onto these remnants because I knew one day I would probably create something with them.  There are a few ideas brewing around in my head, but so far I've only had the chance to create a keychain large enough to slip over your wrist.    

My first batch debuted at a craft fair last fall and they were a hit!! I received a lot of compliments about them, so I decided to list a few in my online shop.  I’ve since had several custom order requests for keychains to be made from sentimental family neckties to be given as gifts to various family members. 

But nothing could prepare me for the next request I received.  I was recently asked to create 350 recycled necktie keychain/key fobs for an upcoming marketing campaign through Cumberland Marketing out of Kingsport, TN.  I was honored to be asked, yet worried if I could handle such an order of this magnitude!  I’m a one woman operation and being a full-time mom and part-time student unfortunately doesn’t leave much room for sewing.  But I took on the task anyway and hoped for the best!

This project was HUGE and I realized I wouldn't have enough remnants in stock to fit the order plus it would take a few weeks to get additional keychain hardware shipped in from my supplier.  Great thing for me Cumberland Marketing was offering to supply the ties AND the hardware needed!! WOOT!  (Thank You CM!!)

 A few days later a large box was delivered to my studio. Holy cannoli there were almost 100 ties in that box!! Where would I begin? Was I in over my head?

I figured the easiest direction to head off in was to sort them by color.  As I prepared each tie, I couldn’t help but remind myself what a significant opportunity this was for me and my business.  I was extremely grateful to have been given the chance to partake in this project.

And then I was informed special ties were being expedited for immediate processing to appear in a commercial shoot!! 

Something I made is going to be featured in a real live commercial?!?!?  I almost fainted, but I had a zillion key fobs to create so there was no time for drama!! I finished up the special order and awaited word as to when these oh-so-cute keychains would make their advertising debut.. (so far, no word yet!!) ... :-(
Hours turned into days, days turned into weeks and I started to feel the pressure of completing this enormous job in a timely manner.  But I somehow made it through despite taking care of my family and studying for finals and I’m just thrilled my sewing machine was able to hold up too!!

Recycled Necktie MINI Keychain Key Fobs

This entire process was challenging and overwhelming at times, but it was also a wonderful experience that strengthened my crafting ability and improved the belief in myself- that I can do anything (through Christ who gives me strength – Philippians 4:13)

If you have a favorite tie of your own or of a loved one that you’d like made into a keychain/key fob or if you would like to purchase one of my keychains, please visit my online store and I'd be happy to assist you!!

Have a Beautiful Day!