DIY: Make Your Own Pasties (For the Burlesque Dancer in You)

If you find yourself twiddling your thumbs Friday night, consider heading down to The High Ball to catch the Black Widow Burlesque Anniversary Show! Cocktail attire and loads of entertainment make this a night you won’t want to miss. In anticipation of the big event, The Duke City Gypsy herself taught TLC how to make killer home made pasties with just a few basic crafting tools and a lot of sultry imagination.

Burlesque Pasties
Burlesque Pasties

Here’s how! With your typical grade school compass, cut two circles out of a thin sheet of craft foam (approximately 4″ in diameter). Next, cut a line to the center of each and overlap the edges to form a small cone. Use hot glue to secure the shape. Gather sequins, tassels, jewels and other adornments and start gluing!

If you decide to put your dainty decorations to work, try theater Spirit Gum (found at any costume shop for around $5) or dig into your makeup bag for eyelash glue, which, I’m told, works just as well to secure the decorations.

Burlesque Pasties 3
Hand Made Pasties Adorned with Sequins and Tassels

Black Widow Burlesque

Black Widow Burlesque

See more photos on Flickr!

DIY: Baby Shower 2 – Top 5 Paper Flowers

With my sister’s baby shower just around the corner and after weeks of brainstorming and research, I’ve come to a beautiful conclusion. To embrace the symbolic loveliness of a brand new Spring baby, I’ll be filling the room with gorgeous paper flowers ranging in size and style from the very real to the very abstract. Together, they should combine to form a ethereal wonderland…

Paper Flowers 2

Paper Flower Backdrop by Simple Silhouettes

Hanging Paper Flowers

Hanging Paper Flowers by Martha Stuart

Abstract Paper Flowers
Amazing Abstract Paper Flowers

Paper Rose
Sweetest Paper Rose

Paper Flower Garland

Paper Flower Garland by Erin Heath Care of Martha Stuart

Check out the original baby shower post and see more examples of inspiration on our Flickr photo stream.

TLC’s Valentines Day Crafts Party

As you decorate your shoe boxes in preparation of the Valentines that will soon fill them, take a moment to check out the gems that came out of Sunday’s Valentines Day Crafts Party! Mimosas in hand, eight Austinites (including a couple Houston crafters) joined forces to indulge in paper, glitter and ribbon. Top Shelf Crafts was a hit – take a look!

Valentines Day Cards 2c
Liz Clechenko

Valentines Day Cards 4a
Elaine Goddard

Valentines Day Cards 8a
Liz Clechenko

Valentines Day Cards 1a
Ashley Throckmorton

See more photos here – And let us know if you’d like to host a party of your own!

Austin Flea Market

If you have a free moment today, check out Austin Flea. This fairly new event, inspired by Brooklyn’s monthly market promises handmade art, jewelry, clothing, gifts, baked goods, live music and other holiday goodies. The event benefits the Blood and Tissue Center of Central Texas (vendor booth fees and entry fees go straight to the center). And, to make it all the more adorable, they’re offering drink specials on Bloody Marys! Kinda clever.

Austin Flea Market

Read the Yelp review and prepare for what promises to be inspiring. Hit or miss, at $2, it’s worth checking out – I hope to be dazzled.

The Ghost Room
304 West 4th street
Austin, TX 78701

DIY: Handmade Necklace

One of my favorite jewelry pieces was given to me by my grandmother. It’s a long necklace that can be worn long, looped twice or three times. It’s incredibly versatile and I get endless compliments – so, I’ve decided to share it with you. Make this looker for yourself. Here’s how!

Handmade Necklace 16
The Final Piece

You’ll need 10 lovely beads (I was fond of the bright turquoise color with gold accents and found a similar bead made from Czech glass.), 11 pieces of chain (each about 5 inches long), accent beads for either side of the selected bead and 10 cuts of wire (plus one extra piece or clasp to bring the ends together).

Handmade Necklace 3
My Grandmother’s Necklace with Retro Plastic Beads

Prepare the 10 beaded adornments using needle-nosed pliers to create nice loops on each side. Once prepared, link the beads to the chain sections until the entire piece is completed.

For more detailed photos of the process, Check out our Flickr album.

Handmade Necklace 13
A Closeup of the Final Project

If you have questions or are interested in purchasing this piece. Let us know!

A Decorative Birdcage For TLC

My decorative birdcage selections have arrived thanks to the speedy response of Sweetshorn Vintage and Ebay. I expect my pewter bird feet any day now! The faux distressed look of the red cage is kind of bothering me – so a new paint job or a more genuine distressed job (ie. sandpaper) might be in order. Everything is falling into place.

Painted Brass Decorative Birdcage2

Painted Brass Decorative Birdcage3

See more photos!

Valentines Day Crafts

Though I don’t remember ever receiving chocolates or flowers, I do remember the bright-eyed excitement that has always been Valentines Day morning. This is one of my Mother’s holidays. One she took great pride in, but that few knew of.

Each year, in the cherub-filled hours of morning, our family would stumble out of bed and down the stairs to find a glorious table set with fresh linens, China plates, crystal wine glasses and polished silver glittering in the candlelight.

Decorative platters and milk glass pedestals were stacked high with over-sized muffins and doughnuts. Paper doilies centered our plates, scents of sugar filled the air and rich red cranberry juice filled our glasses. For thirty minutes, once a year, I couldn’t help but feel like royalty.

This year, I hope to extend this opulent scene to local Austinites as The Lead Chandelier hosts its first craft party (Top Shelf Crafts). For those of you in the area interested in the event, please let us know and we’ll happily send you an invitation. For those out-of-towners, do not fear. Top Shelf Crafts will be scheduling online craft parties later on in 2010!

Until then, enjoy the goodies I’ve begun to gather for the event. And see more Valentines party photos here!

Valentines Crafts Velvet Hearts
Antique Velvet Hearts

Valentines Crafts Ribbon and Bows
Perfect Satin Bows

Valentines Crafts Ribbon and Flowers
Retro Cast Plastic Flower

Find Your Inspiration: Decorative Birdcage Ideas

I can hear the pitter-patter of tiny feet dipped in pewter!

I’ve placed my order. And in a few short days, two sets of Bluebird feet, a Dove bill and accompanying feet and one adorable pair of Mini Duck feet will come parading into my life.

And with this long awaited order, I’ve also impulsively purchased a couple tiny little birdcages to go with my bout of inspiration. Here are some others that I might add to the list. (Find even more photos here.)

Byzantine Iron Decorative Birdcage2
Byzantine Iron Decorative Birdcage from Save On Crafts

Antiqued Iron Decorative Birdcage4
Antiqued Iron Decorative Birdcage from Save On Crafts

Brass Decorative Birdcage
Small Brass Decorative Birdcage on Etsy

I’m not entirely sure what the end result will be, but I have some ideas. Do you?

DIY: Baby Shower

I am using every creative bone I have to prove to women everywhere that baby showers can be awesome.

My twin sister’s with bun and I’ve been charged with throwing a baby shower that is neither boring nor lame. Impossible? Well, maybe. But I think I can do it with a little alcohol and a lot of craftiness.

I’m currently crushing hard on two amazing shops, Emersonmade and Simple Silhouettes. They are my source of inspiration as I grapple with this beast. Take a breath, you’re about to fall in love.

Hand Made Flowers
Hand Made Flowers from Emersonmade

Simple Silhouettes
Lusty Uses of Pink from Simple Sillhouettes

See more examples of inspiration. And please PLEASE send me your ideas!

DIY: Bright Photos, Simple and Unique

Create photographic masterpieces in a jiffy with a lightbox, some toys and a digital camera. Seriously! I discovered this little trick about a year ago while playing around in my studio and continue to love the results.

Ever since I was a child I’ve horded miniature relics and idolized dioramas (see: my adventures in an overstocked basement.) Whether creating tiny scenes on a shelf or in a shoe box, there’s something amazing about how the fractioned scale invites you in. In college, I satiated this fascination with an undying admiration for David Levinthal’s early works – specifically, Wild West and Hitler Moves East. But it wasn’t until I saw Blackface in Houston a few years ago that I began to appreciate placing all attention on the object itself and allowing each toy’s history to visually unfold.

Bright Puppy
Bright Puppy

Like many TLC projects, both design and history have their place. These bright photographs are no exception.

To create your own images, place your object in the middle of a light box (Porta Trace makes a great one for less than $40.) (Or, at $15, the Fado lamp from Ikea is a fantastic alternative.)

Bright Gorilla
Bright Gorilla

With a digital camera, shoot photos of your object from a high angle (above the toy) getting as close as you can while still maintaining a sharp focus. Be sure to fill your screen with the white of the lamp (lay sheets of white paper underneath your light source to provide a larger white area). Cameras that allow you to control your shutter speed and aperture settings work best (as you’re dealing with dramatic lighting situations). Expect to spend some time getting used to the lighting and take lots of photos to make sure you get a good shot. Offload your images and print! That’s it.

Got questions or interested in TLC capturing your favorite childhood relic for you? Just ask. We’re happy to help!

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