Sunday, February 27, 2011

In Honor of the Oscars: A Creative Friend

I have this friend, Paul.  He lives in MA and apparently hosts an amazing Oscar party every year; Eric and I have never been to it.  He's brilliant, though, and based on the "virtual invitation" we received this year, I can only imagine what the real party's like.  With what he sent, though, we're having our own version here in NJ!

Catimus is wearing Eric's glasses, but she's more stylin' than he is anyway.  The fun part is that they flash lights in various patterns.  So fashion-forward!

The glasses were sent by Paul in a whole virtual Oscars party pack that was in this cool bag, which is currently sitting between us on the couch.

In that bag, was also a personalized movie reel tin holding the invitation, explanation, ballot, and our VIP party passes, together with Oscar mints.

And how cute are these awards he sent us?!

And when the Oscars start, he'll be asking trivia questions on Facebook, for prizes.  Awesome!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sewing, Not Soap

Next weekend, I face & body paint at an event called Wicked Winter Renaissance Faire.  I've been doing it for several years, but a few years ago, I got a wheeled cart so I could paint on the go and not miss shows I wanted to see, not miss shopping, not miss all the fun.  It works well.

It's also ugly.

So the first year, I suddenly thought last minute of getting a table skirt for it.  Of course by last minute I mean on the way to the event.  So I ended up with a dull blue plastic table skirt sold in the party section of the dollar store.

It was ugly too.  And very much not of the Renaissance.  Or Wicked, for that matter.

The second year I had the cart, which was last year, I didn't even bother.  I meant to make something, didn't find the time, and gave up.  Of course, I didn't have a sewing machine back then.  I went with my plain cart, which really doesn't go with the Renaissance theme.  It also doesn't go with the Wicked theme.  It's fairly un-thematic.  Just utilitarian.  And, you know, ugly.

And then in July, I got my sewing machine.  And in October, I won that Joann's gift card from Frugal With a Flourish, and I bought that awesome royal crushed velvet.  I also bought some 1/2" elastic.

So... today I cut my fabric and started to sew.  The cart is 87" around.  The height of it is perfect for 1/2 the width of the fabric, so I cut a 60" piece, and then cut it in half lengthwise.  I hemmed each short end for a nice finish.

Having the machine really makes life easier for stuff like this, and I got nice, even hems.

Each pack of elastic was 3.5 yards, so I needed to sew the better part of two of them together.

I stitched in two spots and went back and forth to make sure it's strong.  Last thing I need is the elastic breaking in the middle of a 3-day event.

I used the elastic to measure how far I needed to fold the fabric over at the top, and pinned it down, then sewed just outside the pins to give the elastic a little more room.

I designated the cut long end as the "top," since the other side was already finished, and could be a nice straight bottom without any alteration, while the top needed to be sewn down for the elastic to run through.

For anyone who's never done this before, a little trick... pin a safety pin to the end of your elastic.  It makes it much, much easier to pull through.

When I was running it through the second length of fabric, I had to make sure I wasn't going to pull it right out the other end, so I pinned the far end to the velvet to make it stay put.

Once both pieces were strung onto the elastic, I sewed together the open ends of elastic and tried it on the cart.  It looked good, but the velvet was heavier than I anticipated, and dragged down a bit.  To keep it lifted properly, I sewed a button in the front middle, where I wanted one of the splits in the fabric to be.

Then I sewed on a loop of embroidery thread, to the opposite side of the elastic, to be pulled across the top of the cart and hold the fabric up.

The way I set up my face paints, the thread won't interfere.  Just to make sure it's really stable, I also added buttons and loops of embroidery thread to the corners.

And voila!  The cart is ready for faire!

Much better.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What have we been up to?

Well, for starters, we brought our first batch of the new Mashed In over to the NJ Beer Co. to be sold in their tasting room.

Matt decided to give the soap counter space instead of putting it across the way on the shelves with the shirts & hats.  This way, it doesn't get lost in the shuffle and people notice it while sitting at the bar.

Soap is little, after all.

So we got to hang out with Matt, and I know at least one or two bars were purchased the first weekend, which is pretty nifty.

And then this past Sunday, we did another craft fair at the Minerals Resort & Spa in Vernon.  This time, we worked on featuring our NJ Beer Co. Mashed In beer soap.  Eric was funny, calling it our "Superbowl beer soap."  It was Superbowl Sunday, after all.

It's hard to see in the photos, but we had the Mashed In up on a higher tier back there.  Behind the soap are three Chocolate Decadence pillar candles too.

And Matt even gave us one of his posters to display!

We thought it was funny, because we were, in fact, "serving" NJ Beer Co. beer.  Just... y'know... in soap!

Artist Spotlight: Part Thirty-Nine

I've got another multitalented artist for you this week, Elizabeth of iKnitandBead.  And she does!

Wanna see?  Sure...

She's a stay-at-home mom, formerly of the corporate world, who's in love with yarn.  Funny thing is, several of her friends and her mother-in-law are all knitters who tried and tried to get her to start knitting... and failed. She just wasn't interested.

Ironic, no?

That's ok, her curiosity got the best of her, and she secretly taught herself from a "how to" booklet.  I'd bet they were surprised!

And now she's a knitting fool.

Think I'm kidding?  She even knits jewelry!

That's not all, though.  After all, as her shop name says, she beads too!

If you want to learn more about her, about knitting, beading, or life in general, check out her blog.  And something else?  She's opened a second shop, for vintage stuff too!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Exclusive New Label

The new version of Mashed In beer soap is all done and has been wrapped.  It's ready for purchase at Reef Botanicals and at the NJ Beer Co. brewery at 4201 Tonnelle Avenue, North Bergen, NJ.

How awesome does that look with the new label merging the NJ Beer Company logo and our own style... just like the soap itself!
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