Archive for the ‘Hobbies’ Category

Renaissance Fair Season is upon us! I love spending a day out in the woods with the  fairies and jesters, celebrating the late summertime magic. The first Fair on my list is King Richard’s in Carver Mass, and to make sure I make the most of my Fair day, I am adding a few new pieces to my costume wardrobe. The most ornate of which is this handy little bag. This small glitzy purse was inspired by the Habib Bags offered by long-time fair vendor “Moresca.” Their work is beautiful, but hardly within budget when I can make some of the pieces, or something similar myself.


All of the fabric for this purse, the red tassels, black and gold trim, and the broach were all things that I already owned in my craft bins. The only things I had to buy new were the multi-colored loop trim and the very ornate gold curtain trim with tassels that you see running through the middle. However because I only needed a small cut of each, and could pattern the whole thing myself, this bag cost me under $10 to make! Not counting my time of course. It even has a lining.


I also recently made a new belt and mini-bodice which I wore to Connecticon. Made from green brocades and satins, with black and gold trim. Hand beaded and laced with black suede through brass grommets, this matching set is extremely versatile–especially the belt–because it is fully adjustable. I can wear it over leggings or a petticoat and two bustled skirts and it sits just fine.


To spice these two pieces up for the fair I added some black and gold chains to the belt and the bodice. I’m banking on warm weather for fair day so that I can wear these chains on an open midriff. I’ll wear a shawl if I have to but the chains do not look as nice over a chemise. Anyone have any other ideas on how to winterize this bodice? I have arm socks or I could always go full cloak, but I don’t really want to cover the whole costume up. Side note–I got these chains on ebay for wicked cheap and they’re REALLY nice. I think they’re aluminum. Very pliable and easy to work with, however they are a nice thick gauge and feel quite strong when tugged on! I’m more concerned about my stitches failing than I am the chains, which is more than I expected for such cheap ebay notions.


My favorite method of preparation for the fair involves spending more time outside. This is such a lovely time of year, and feeling a nice breeze on my skin every once and while keeps me motivated. The only other pieces of my costume that I want to update now, is to add a simple black fringe apron to sit under my fancy bag. I think it will frame it nicely and add an even more heavily layered look to my already voluminous skirts.  I’ll be sure to post more pictures when the whole outfit is done! Thanks for reading. 🙂

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Easter has never been a huge affair in my house, but I love Holidays of any shape or size. Therefore this year I decided to get a little festive with my table settings and make bunnies out of dinner napkins!


I got the idea while ironing a table-cloth for the up-coming brunch, and turned to the internet for help. I found a super easy tutorial on the Better Homes and Gardens Youtube page, and within minutes, my mom and I were folding bunnies. All you need is a cloth napkin and some ribbon or string. The video can be found here.


The tutorial even adds a little cotton tail, but I decided to skip this step and save myself from picking up a zillion loose cotton balls after dinner.


I got so carried away that I think I made 16 bunnies for only 9 guests. Above are the eight “big” bunnies. We were short one large napkin. But we had other white, slightly smaller napkins, and I couldn’t just make one small bunny for the leftover plate. I had to make 8.


Here is my bunny troupe at their table-settings, with a basket of eggs in the center.


I also dyed eggs this Easter, attempting to make designs with stickers and crayon wax. As you can see, some designs worked well, while others not so much. Cute colors nonetheless.



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This weekend was awesome. Besides a wonderful annual caricature gig on Saturday afternoon (I love being paid to draw children), my best friend Kelley came up to my studio in Lowell for the weekend to have a super craft marathon. In a day and a half we got a solid 10 hours of work time in, as well as 3  hours of brainstorming, art-absorbing, and inspiration gathering. The rest of our free time was either spent sleeping eating or shopping. But shopping is also a part of the process I assure you. What better way to scout retailing techniques, research the latest fashion trends, and build your personal brand than by shopping? I think every artist can relate to me when I say that  shopping–not even purchasing but the act of browsing–is an important part of the 24 hour creative process.

Anyway, During our time in the studio, Kelley was hard at work on her beading projects, totally absorbed in that one task despite the fact that she lugged an entire shoulder of leather up to the studio in order to get started on some bags and masks. She finally took the last hour or so of work time to pattern and trace on her leather just to get started. But in the mean time, she got a lot of beading work done! Above is a shot of one of her intricate beaded necklaces. Ever talented and creative, Kelley even made me a headdress in order to practice the design in preparation to make a whole line of beaded headdresses, and it is absolutely stunning! I have to take some better pictures, but you should be excited for the dripping beaded magic that will be coming off of my head in the near future.

I on the other hand spend the entire weekend working on using up the last of my quarter hide making masks, braces, and hair accessories. In the photo above, I am sporting one of my favorite new mask styles which I found to be especially flattering. As frequent readers will know, I just patterned about 10 more styles of masks for men, women, and children. The masks range from thick to thin, pointy to soft, with a range of eye hole sizes and nose shapes so that my brand will accommodate a wide range of face shapes. Your nose does not have to settle for some “standard” mask shape. I offer variety. Anyhow, I think the standard black mask was a good place to start with the new mask patterns. Classic, versatile, sexy black masks; can’t go wrong there.

Here’s a picture of black masks, freshly painted, all lined up and ready for varnish. I tend to make small items in batches in order to work more efficiently, and thus save you and me money. So what’s next? Well, these crafting weekends will hopefully be a common occurrence in 2013 as we sign up for more and more conventions at which to sell our goods. Our first “test convention” will be Queen City Kamikaze Con at the Manchester New Hampshire High School on February 16th. It will be a minuscule convention, which is why I consider it a test, but it will be a chance to practice hauling our merch and display stuff around, setting up quickly, and give us an indication of what items sell to which demographic. We want to focus our time on making things that people actually want. So on that note, if any of you readers have any requests for cool leather accessories, armor, or jewelry, leave us a comment below and we will certainly take a shot at adding your request to our line.

In the mean time, you can see what we already offer at the Etsy store. Soon to be retitled, re-styled, and restocked, that is where we will be selling our products to the online and international community. However some items may sell at conventions or fairs before we have a chance to list them online. So if you are looking for something specific, shoot us a message and we can let you know if there’s anything in our inventory that meets your needs. We will try to list as much as we can online, but listings take time and some things are sure to be missed. Hope you understand.

Until next time, thanks for reading!

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I recently finished making two cute and cozy holiday ornaments out of vegetable tanned leather. They were hand cut, carved, and painted using a waterproof acrylic ink. I modeled the ornaments after cliche vintage christmas sweaters, to give them an extra warm an cozy visual appeal.


The ornaments are strung on a hemp cord which is tied in a picture perfect bow. Each ornament is available for sale in my Etsy Shop.


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If you were unaware, I teach a manga class for children every Wednesday night in Medford, MA. Last week we were creating some characters for Halloween, and while the kids were concentrating on their task, I whipped up these little doodles. They seem to like it when I draw with them, and are always interested to see what I am up do.

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Yesterday I attended a pointe class at ‘The Studio, A Dance Center for Adults’ in Brookline, MA. A friend of mine takes classes there, and she was able to arrange for me to come into a class with my camera to get some reference for a possible future body of work.

I did my best to stay out of the dancers’ way, and as a result I spend a lot of time crawling around on the floor or in a doorway. But I was never kicked, so I guess I succeeded.

With the help of rapid burst, I took just under 1000 pictures of yesterday’s dancers. I don’t know exactly what I am going to do with them just yet, but when I figure it out I will be sure to let you know!

Here are some stand-out shots from the session. Now, what makes a good photograph is not necessarily what makes good photo reference for a painting. So you can expect to see totally different images in whatever I make from these.

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My first sewing project of winter break was this adventure pouch iPad sleeve. I bought myself an iPad for my birthday, and though it was no problem finding a protective flip-cover thing, I was having a really hard time finding a sleeve for my iPad that I liked, could afford, and which would carry and organize more than just my iPad. So what do you do in these types of situations?? You make your own.

Choosing from a wide selection of scrap fabric left over from past sewing projects, I crafted myself a four-pocket sleeve that could hold my iPad in its flip-cover, my cell phone, a small notebook, and other small accessories like a microfiber cleaning cloth, business cards and pencils. I drafted my own pattern essentially directly onto the fabric using my iPad as a sort of stencil. The outside is vinyl: waterproof, and easily cleaned with a damp cloth. The inside is made of olive and red rectangles of cotton. The closure is made from a wooden button and a loop of vinyl which is fastened to the back of the case.

The whole case only took me about two hours to make. I think vinyl is a great fabric choice for projects like this because it doesn’t need to be hemmed. In fact, because vinyl is so thick, its almost impossible to hem. That saves a lot of time and frustration when working in small scale.

This pouch will be featured in my crafting gallery, and as always, you can view more of my work at http://shaunart.net


Thanks for reading!

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Here at school I don’t have access to stock piles of gift wrap, ribbon, and tags like I do at home. Instead, I had to get creative for a pre-holiday gift or two. I did some research online to see how others mad unique, but totally on-the-spot gift wrap before me. I took a couple of tips from Martha Stewart and turned to a roll of brown drawing paper.


For this little gift box, I actually had to build the box that appears under the wrapping paper. So I cut up a tissue box and put together my own jewelry display box. I found a little bit of tissue paper to wrap the gift inside in, and then I wrapped the home made box in my brown paper. I wanted to make it more exciting than that though, so I decorated its sides with a stamp, glitter, and puffy fabric paint.

Here is another view of this box.


For another gift, which I helped a friend to wrap, we once again turned to this brown paper. We didn’t have to make the box inside, and forwent any frilly embellishments here and instead accented the box with a simple black ribbon and hand made bow.


And another view….


Im really enjoying this brown paper wrapping, and I think I could have a lot more fun designing my own packaging when I get home and have access to more crafting materials.

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My Jack-o-lantern

I haven’t gotten to carve a jack-o-lantern in years! Being in College for Halloween every year makes it tough to find the time, the space, the supplies, and a place that allows candles to even show off the pumpkin. But because of the power outages in CT, I got to come  home for Halloween, and carve a skull face into this cute little pumpkin.

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Today I was a figure model for a freshman foundation drawing class here at the Hartford Art School. I was asked by one of my professors, who also teaches this drawing class, if I would be willing to model one of my more frilly costumes for her students to delineate in the spirit of Halloween. When I told some of my friends and classmates that I would be modeling, they said, “oh you should take a picture.” So I brought in my camera, and some of the students in the class took some really cool photos of me and the space around me which the drawing students worked so hard to construct. Though the dim lighting posed somewhat of a challenge, there were plenty of really good pictures taken, which are posted below. I invite anyone who was in that drawing class, or anyone looking for some interesting reference, to use these pictures for future drawings. I also invite you to admire what a good job I did staying in the exact same position for all of these photos, and for what I hope was most of the drawing session.

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