Sunday, July 27, 2014

It's a Circus at Alpha Stamps! Join the Circus Promenade!

 I was flattered to be invited to be a guest designer at one of my favorite online art and craft supply shops, Alpha Stamps during their July Circus Mini Theatre Kit jubilee! There have been so many marvelous ideas and clever constructions, that I was excited to participate in the party!

Be sure to visit Alpha Stamps during their July Circus Celebration -  click here to let the fun start!

The Mini Theatre Circus kit arrived - along with a few extras - and I let my imagination go wild. I knew I wanted to create something that would not only showcase the terrific products in the kit and in the shop, but would, hopefully, inspire others to let whim take over their better sense!

Very little of the products used were not included in the kit - the supplies are 90% of Alpha Stamp origin.

Basically, the piece consists of three components: the base, the carousel-shaped column stand, and the mini theatres topper. In the above photo, the resin circus animals and the hand-made polymer flowers are the only pieces not included in the kit. The carousel shaped column started out as a $1 unfinished birdfeeder from Joann's, which was completely dismantled and rearranged and retains little of it's original appearance, other than the shape.

 Although I was only requested to make one mini theatre, there were so many materials and delightful supplies, collage sheets, ephemera, findings and trims, that I couldn't help myself - I had to make four.
This one features circus performers and dancers and showgirls, and a big-top interior background from Alpha Stamps collage sheets. Also, the circus images (kind of hard to see in the photo) displayed in the bottle caps are from Alpha Stamps - a Graphic 45 sheet of cardstock.

The second mini theatre utilizes more Alpha Stamps collage sheets - the circus performers background, the clown, the theatre facade and the chariot-driving dog. The 3-D golden stars on the facade (also used on the base) were from the kit, as well.
 This mini theatre, again, uses a lot of images and backgrounds from the Alpha Stamps collage sheets, as well as lots of golden Dresden scrap (as do all the theatres and other parts of the construction piece). I love Dresden scrap (especially the luscious gold vintage beauties!) and Alpha Stamps has a really large collection/selection available. The crepe paper ruffles on the base of the mini theatre cube came from my stash and was not part of the kit.

And the fourth, and final, mini theatre again uses collage sheet images from Alpha Stamps, as well as their trims, tassels, golden Dresden scrap and beads. I love this Gypsy woman leading the elephant through his trained tricks! The brass elephant ornament on the top is from my personal stash.

And finally, the top piece of colorful feathers, arranged in a piece of foam which has also been covered with hand-made polymer flowers. The figures on the posts - and the delightful miniature gold-glittered stars - are from Alpha Stamps collage sheets and part of the circus kit.

This was so much fun to create - I hope you enjoyed seeing it. You're going to see it again, as I plan on selling tickets to a raffle for it to benefit our local dog rescue. I do hope you'll participate in the good intentions - and maybe win a charming new piece for your collection!

Remember, start to run away to join the circus here!

Now, go make something beautiful!

¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´♥ Tristan

 Enchanated Ballerina Image via Anita at

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Little Men's Style, Anyone?

Selecting Your Waistcoat Fabric

Okay. We'll get the technicalities out of the way ... you can call it a vest (most do), but it's not a vest, it's a waistcoat ... and it's not pronounced ˈwās(t)ˌkōt, it's pronounced ˈweskət. So, just so we're clear, if you insist on using the term vest (which is perfectly acceptable), whenever you see the word 'waistcoat,' think 'vest.' And we'll be on the same page!

In the 1850's, American men started wearing "ditto suits" or suits sewn with the exact same fabric for the suit jacket, the waistcoat, and the trousers.

This practice of choosing a waistcoat fabric that exactly matched the suit coat and trousers saved time and simplified the tailoring process.

As a result of the perceived ease in ordering a ditto suit (as waistcoats with suits were prominent in the 1800's and selecting a waistcoat fabric could be a thought intensive process), the ditto became a less formal choice, and was general worn for business, travel or street wear.

Examples of "ditto suits," using the same fabric for the jacket, waistcoat and trousers.

Before the ditto suit, most waistcoats did not match the suit jacket and trousers at all.

Compare the practice of using the same for the entire suit, as shown above, with the practice of choosing a fabric for the waistcoat that contrasts the suit fabric...

 While the general rule for selecting a contrasting waistcoat is to choose a fabric with obvious color and design variation, your eye will be the ultimate decision-maker on what looks good and what does not.

One of the benefits to contrasting the waistcoat with the base suit fabric is that the same waistcoat can be used with multiple suits, yielding more suit ensembles ... a plus when overall cost and closet space are important factors in building your wardrobe!

Now, wasn't that a fun break from vintage and antique women's clothing?! go make something beautiful!

¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´♥ Tristan
Much of the source material for this article was found in Marybelle I. Bigelow's Fashion in History: Western Dress, Prehistoric to Present. Minneapolis, MN: Burgess Publishing 1970


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Celebrate! Go Out and Make Some Noise!


God Bless America

"While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer. "

God Bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home. 

~ Words and Music by Irving Berlin, 1938

Now, go make something beautiful! ...
¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´♥ Tristan