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A Charmed Life

Two weeks ago, I started tinkering around with beads and some embroidery floss. I wasn’t thrilled with the result, so I put the project away for a bit. We have been very busy lately and taking a break seemed to be the natural and wise thing to do.

I revisited the unfinished necklace this weekend with renewed creative spirit, and much to my surprise, it didn’t need much work at all. In fact, all I did was swap out a small charm for a giant tassel. Et voila!

Tree close Necklace on Rail Clasp Close Up

Tassel & Charm DetailThe necklace consists of three tassels of various sizes and textures, purple and grey seed beads, a light gold spike charm, and an embellished gold charm. All of the pieces are pulled together by the blue-grey thread for an eclectic but muted look. I can’t wait to layer this with other long gold chains!

Oh! It turns out, this necklace is incredibly soft. Who would have thought?

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Put a Bow On It

Sometimes you gotta roll with the punches… make lemonade when life hands you lemons… keep calm and carry on. What I’m trying to say is that sometimes DIY goes madly awry, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s “game over” for your project. In fact, deviating from your original plan – or scrapping it entirely – can yield stunning results.

Bow full

Long story short, I put a not-so-small hole in this sweater. Like, front and center… which is a problem since I had set out to embellish the front of my cardigan with heavy beads and buttons.  Instead of a DIY pièce de résistance, I had an unraveling mess on my hands. Y I K E S.

At moments like these, I put my project down and walk away. Taking a break gives me time to think through my options, say a bunch of swear words, and reboot. I weighed the pros and cons of several ideas over a cup of coffee, but ultimately decided on the simplest fix: put a bow on it. A BIG ONE.

folded 2

So, that’s how this bow-bedecked cardi came to be.

Button Row 2I switched out the plain buttons for shiny (plastic) gold ones and placed a small silver-lined bead in the center for added interest. Much to my surprise, the buttons actually sparkle as they catch the light!

I fashioned a large bow out of black and white grosgrain ribbon and sewed it onto the collar. The bow not only hid the hole (which has been patched), but transformed a basic cardigan into something wonderfully chic.

While disappointed my original project never came to be, I am thrilled with what I made in the end. This cardi will transition from work to weekend seamlessly, and because the details are timeless, it will work with any season.

Here, I have paired my newest creation with an emerald blouse (Pantone’s color of the year!) and my favorite pair of denim. Throw on some black ballet flats and I’m ready for Sunday afternoon.

tryoutEmerald sleeveless blouse (Joe Fresh, $14)
Dark wash skinny-straight denim (Level 99, $130)
Heather grey 3/4 sleeve cardigan (Merona, $13) + Folklore DIY bow and buttons

Sweater Weather

My dear friend and very crafty maven Sarahrulu (of FHF fame) brought a lovely embellished cardigan to my attention this week. A simple crew neckline goes from “blah” to “ahh!” with pearls of all sizes and a sprinkling of rhinestones. You can see it here. Once I stopped swooning –  it took a bit – I began to day dream about my own fancy cardi. Swap out that buttery yellow for a fall-appropriate neutral and add a healthy dose of academic chic. Now we’re talking!

And so, as it always goes, I found myself at Joann’s last night… but not before I made a Target run. Snatched this heather grey Merona crew-neck cardigan for only $13! That’s a bingo! I’m not entirely certain what I’m doing with all these delightful craft supplies yet, but that’s never stopped me before.

sweater buttons beads ribbons horz

Oh! Do yourself a favor and listen to “Sweater Weather” by The Neighbourhood.

Hello, September!

I cannot believe it’s already September. Time has flown by these past few weeks, but I’m not complaining. Fall crafting is now officially in full swing, and I can begin to publicly plan for Halloween… I will buy glow-in-the-dark glitter this year, I swears it!

I finally got around to unpacking my yarn stash – what’s left of it anyway. Poor things have been sitting in a box since we moved in May. Now that they’re free, the nubby textures and dark colors are inspiring all sorts of creativity. I really want to make at least one sweater this season. Motivation? Got it! Selecting a pattern? That’s the hard part.

yarn stack

close upNow, I can’t talk about knits and sweaters without mentioning jackets. Oh, how I live for jacket weather. I’m feeling the need for an unconventional outerwear-related DIY project. Any ideas?jackets

Beaded Peter Pan Collar Tutorial

2013-08-18 10.13.28 HDRTurning a boring ol’ t-shirt into an embellished masterpiece is as easy as draw, outline, and fill! Let’s get to it.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED
Crew-neck or scoop neck t-shirt
Thread to match t-shirt
Thread to contrast t-shirt
Needle
Beads (I used three tubes of 6/0 e-beads in Onxy)
Fabric chalk

Before starting, I recommend giving the shirt one last machine wash. You’ll probably want to handwash your top once the collar is complete.

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Outline1. DRAW THE COLLAR
Draw an outline of your collar directly onto the t-shirt using your fabric chalk. I free-handed mine, but tracing a pattern is always an option.

Don’t be afraid to try out different sizes and shapes until you find something you like. A damp cloth will erase the outline if you want to make adjustments or completely start over. I drew a smaller collar in the beginning, but ultimately decided on something more substantial.

Once I was happy with my sketched-on collar, I used the contrasting thread to sew on an outline. I figured that as I beaded, the chalk would rub off (which totally happened). While this step might seem redundant, it will save you from re-drawing your outline over and over as you begin to sew on the beads.

2. BEAD THE OUTLINE
Your collar is outlined and your beads are assembled, so it’s time to start sewing. Pick a point to begin beading and just go for it! I doubled my thread for extra hold and sewed on one bead at a time.

Make sure your knots are nice and secure, and every so often, gently tug on the fabric to make sure that the beading will stretch. I had this nightmarish vision of pulling the t-shirt over my head, hearing a pop, then watching helplessly as beads tumbled to and bounced all over the floor. Kinda like this.

Once I had beaded around the entire collar in the front, I sewed a single row around the back of the neck. It’s totally optional, but I’m a fan of even the smallest details.

fill in

3. FILL IN THE COLLAR
The final, but most time-consuming step is simply filling in the collar. Just as you did for the outline, sew on one bead at a time and stretch the fabric every once in a while. I took the opportunity to add a bead or two to the outline itself, creating a smoother and more polished edge.

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Like I said, it’s a very simple project and totally worth the time spent. If you use this tutorial, please send pics to folklorecraft (at) gmail (dot) com! I would be honored if you shared your creativity with me!on table

Chain Reaction

Fall’s rich colors and luxe textures demand accessories with just as much visual impact. No offense to dainty jewels, but I want pieces that bring some edge to feminine cardigans and fit-and-flair dresses. That means chains and lots of ‘em.

Three Necklaces

To indulge my inner goth kid – yes, she’s very real – I’ve whipped up three necklaces that can be worn all together or on their own. All different lengths, the three necklaces use the same antique gold chains and are complemented by translucent grey and matte burgundy beads, black grosgrain ribbon, and a deep navy embroidery floss tassel. They’re just the right mix of alt-rock and classic opulence – without the price tag.

Necklace Collage

I am especially intrigued by the thicker gold chain with the silver accent. Mixing metals, even just a little bit, adds dimension and roughens up the look.

Houndstooth Far

This particular one was inspired by a Madewell necklace that I blogged about a few weeks ago. I love unusual pieces… especially if they have tassels. If you’ve been visiting FOLKLORE recently, you’ve probably noticed that I’m on a bit of a tassel binge.