Dot My Shoes!

9 Sep

Like most of you out there in the blog world, I peruse the endless images found on pintrest.  This is both a wonderful experience, as well as a horrible addiction.  All these ideas that are pintrest inspired have booked me for the next few months, and that is only if I can get around my now cluttered craft room, and use the little time I have everyday after running and or biking through the streets of life.  Well one of the pins I have looked at repeatedly are these really cute shoes. Nice Shoes

If you click on the photo you will notified of the $156.00 price tag on these bad boys.  Now I will tell you this, and please take this with a grain of salt… when you make something, it may or may not be as pretty as the original.  You HAVE TO BE ready to understand this with any creative project you take on.  There is a usually a reason things are expensive, but if you can be okay with the look of a possibly inferior product, then my dears CRAFT IT!  Which brings me to my newest project…  Polka dot shoes.

ImageMaterials:  1 Pair of canvas shoes, fabric paint (1 color for dots and another color for trim detail)

I purchased some imitation canvas shoes for 11 dollars with 2 dollar shipping on Amazon, as seen in the photo on the right.  As you can see, they do not have the fancy wood soles and the color is a bit darker but I care not about these details.  I also went to my trusty sidekick of a store, SCRAP and found fabric paint for 25 cents a tube.  (Thanks again SCRAP) I did not take the time to make a stencil, which would be a great idea for those of you that enjoy your dots to be precise.  I freehanded my dots using the tip of a paint marker to make the circular pattern, but filled it in with fabric paint, since the fabric paint will survive the Portland rain.  As you can see in the photo below, the dot space is different from shoe to shoe.

You can also use some tape around the edges of the trim so that the color does not leak over off of the intended space.  After about $15.00, and an hour of catching up on my Orange is the New Black and dotting away this is what they came out to look like…


Not too bad I may say (well photo quality aside)  So over $130 saved, and some shoes I can beat around as much as I would like to.

Happy Blogging


Got Some Extra Fabric? Make your own patterns!

26 Aug

I decided I wanted to get back into selling things on Etsy even though I have moved away from jewelry making and have become more acquainted with my sewing machine.  Of course that endeavour requires very high quality photos, which I am terrible at taking.  I decided to wrap myself up in duct tape to make myself a dress form that will allow me to display dresses without having to fake smile for photos.  This is not to say that I am not a happy person (because I honestly always have a smile on my face)  I just hate smiling for photos.  I will post directions to make your own on here soon, but after making it I needed to wrap the form in cloth so that I can pin things to it and have the form in one solid color.

I went to SCRAP and found 3 yards of a light blue jersey fabric for $6, which was stretchy enough to give the dress form curves, while not being so bulky that concealed my natural bumps.  I only used about a yard and a half when I came across this really cute scarf on my Pintrest feed. Inspiration  Well anyone that read my blog knows that I am, and always have been a giraffe girl.  So I started looking for a silhouette image of of a Giraffe that I could make into a stamp.

I had a leftover woodblock from a previous project and tool so that cost me nothing, but even if I had to buy them the cost would be somewhere between $3-$6 dollars.    You can find the blocks and tools at most art and or craft stores. Materials Used:  Fabric, wood block or rubber block, marker, clip art, acrylic paint, and carving tool.

ImageMarkerItStampwMarkerI cut the silhouette out carefully, and placed it onto the block, and with the marker I marked from the center of the image out all around the image till I had the outline I needed to carve around.  With the carving tool carefully carve around the image.  Please be careful when carving since you are working with a sharp tool.  Once you cut everything properly you may want to test out your stamp before you apply any paint onto your fabric.  You may notice that there are some parts that still need to be carved off.

Test-Marker As you can see in the image on the left, my giraffe is ready to go, so find a spot to lay your fabric out and stamp your image in any patern you would like. Leave the paint to dry for at least 1 hour. Then take your ends and sew them together. BOOM your SELF MADE scarf is done!



Me doing my best Ironic Hipster pose

I Want Those Lace Boots DIY

20 Aug

The Steve Madden Boots I obsessed over

I have never been a shoe snob, and have taken pride in my unobsessive  approach to shoes. I have probably only owned about 10 pairs of shoes in the last 5 years, and about 80% of them have been thrift store finds.  The other day I decided to take a shortcut through the Nordstroms to get to my coffee dealer quicker, and these beautiful boots caught my eye.  I wanted them, I had to have them, I checked the price and at 100 bucks I MUST MAKE THEM!


The boots I bought on Amazon

I picked up my motivation (AKA Large Stumptown Coffee Latte with Soy) and checked out my Amazon’s selection of boots.  I myself am a prime member, which if you have debated about joining, I can tell you now it is worth every penny!  I needed to find boots that had a natural outline that I could use as a border to the lace insert I was going to apply.  I came across a pair of boots that came to 14.99 and free two day shipping (thanks prime!)

On the way home I decided to stop at SCRAP (my almost weekly ritual at this point) and pick up the essentials needed to build my boots.  I found lace trimming at 75 cents.  I also have Mod Podge at home that is the special Hard Coat style.  Hard Coat is great for outdoor use and wear and tear.  The only thing is, when you use hard coat you MUST use an acrylic coat as well.  You can find acrylic spray on coats at any art store for application on pencil or charcoal drawings so there is no smearing.  Lucky, I found some at SCRAP for 10 cents since the can was almost empty.


Just sew your leftovers on the pockets

When the boots arrived I cut the lace to the desired size, and applied modge podge to the boot where the lace was going to be applied, and carefully stuck the lace where I wanted it.  Wait at least an hour to allow it to dry, and place a coat of modge podge over the lace to hold it in place.  Again, wait and hour, and finally in A WELL VENTILATED AREA, add the acrylic coat and let dry overnight.  THAT WAS ALL, and I even used the leftover lace to sew onto pockets of an old pair of cutoff shorts, making this pair versatile.  I could use the shorts and be casual, or put on a dress and or blouse and add a fun shoe to a formal office.


My shoes are done for under $16!

The Flower Crown

12 Aug

The first weekend of August has leant itself to an annual celebration of bluegrass and birthdays.  Two great friends of mine love to celebrate their creation day at a wonderful festival called Pickathon, which is a 3 day camping excursion of bluegrass and whiskey on the green grasses of Pendarvis farm in Happy Valley Oregon.  Of course I took this party as a perfect excuse to create a festival outfit!

I had been trolling the internet looking up things to create and found a new trend of flower crowns and headbands being used in festivals across the country.  I looked at these pretty petals and thought to myself “I could make that!”  and so I did, with enough material to spare to make more for friends, and anyone that knows me knows that any creative endeavour will start at SCRAP.

Thankfully, they had fake flowers at 4 dollars a grocery bag, and the dollar store had 3 headbands for one buck… I made 3 of these for 5 dollars!

First you need to line up your materials…Image

1 bag of fake flowers ($4)

1 set of headbands ($1)

Scrap fabric/ and a glue gun or wire

Step #1.  Choose your color scheme, and mix both full flowers and smaller foliage, such as baby’s breath or leaves.  Fake flowers usually can pop off of the stem.  If you find that they can not , use some scissors (or in extreme cases wire cutters) and make a pile of them.


Step 2:  Either use wire to wrap around the bottom of the flowers to bind them together or bust out your handy dandy glue gun and glue the flowers to a strip of fabric that will fit along the top of the headband, then glue the fabric to the headband itself.


Note:  On my first attempt I used wire to bind the flowers together instead of the glue gun and fabric.  Both work, but I found that the wire trick makes for a large clump of flowers, giving you a Carmen Miranda look.

Step 3: Try it on and tailor to your liking.  I found that I liked the arrangement to be smaller on my head, and removed some of the flowers after my first attempt.  I made a circle skirt to match the floral theme (directions I will post later) and this puppy lasted the whole weekend and can still be used if I find the occasion to wear it again.


This was my first attempt, using wire to bind the flowers


This was my second attempt after using the glue gun to fix it

Not only was this a fun and easy project, it was also cost effective and awarded me many compliments while walking through the sunny day.



My Epic Kindle Sleeve Adventure

12 Feb

Lately I have been trying to make myself familiar with my very inexpensive sewing machine and all of its cool parts.  I should, but have never taken a sewing class, and have spent many projects hand sewing things that could have been produced in seconds using a sewing machine.  I would like to make it clear to all of those people out there reading this… just because you have a sewing machine DOES NOT MEAN that you will be producing more things faster.  As of now I am still on the slowest setting on my machine and the repetitious noise it makes, lulls me to sleep halfway through my projects.  My biggest mistake is going for the most ambitious projects  somehow believing that I will find a way to muscle my way through things.  I am a staunch believer in artists never making mistakes, just recovering.  Image

This past Christmas I was blessed with a few gift cards, and with my knack for extreme couponing, I took advantage of the chance to FINALY buy myself that Kindle Fire I have wanted. Now I am not as financially stable as I would love to be but I have this nagging love of stuff, and pumping out my last pennies for my tablet left not only my wallet naked, but my Kindle as well.  Living in Portland does not forgive this, with the constant rain looking to get into any crevas of my electronics, I had to make myself a kindle holder.

First things first, I had to run off to SCRAP again and pick up supplies.  Luckily for me I am a member an they had a members only fabric sale going on the same day!  I found this beautiful fabric (oddly cut) for 2 dollars, I also found a nice leatherette fabric for 3.00 that I knew I could use for other projects as well,  later found a bunch of mat board (to insert between the fabric) for 2 dollars, and snaps  for 50 cents.

As soon as I got home I went looking for photos of DIY kindle holders and came across this free pattern via the blog How About Orange:


I made a few adjustments on my version of this kindle holder, such as making it a foldable sleeve as opposed to a bag, and added a pocket to one of the folder flaps to carry around a notepad, a stylus, and the charging cable.  ImageI also added a blanket stitch to the end of the closing clasp to keep give it a better appearance.  Also for those who do not know this I LOVE GIRAFFES, so I personalized this even more by using more of the leatherette to create a giraffe silhouette emblem on the back.Image

My problem was now this… how am I going to make this rainproof?  What I did (and is not super sturdy)  is covered the fabric in Contact paper ($4.99 at Rite Aid) and sewed it onto my project.  Yes the price of the project came to about 13.00, and not to mention the hours of figuring out what foot does what on my sewing machine but hey, I can reuse the left over materials, I am getting to become better friends with my machine, and NO ONE will have this kindle holder.

A Very Portland Story

4 Feb

First of all I would like to apologize to my readers for such a delayed entry.  I know that I have probably lost most of you, but will do my best to resurrect my fellow crafters, artists, non profit peeps, Portlanders, Chicagoins, and all those just wondering the blogosphere aimlessly.

I will return to my Do’s and Don’ts on yarn spinning but today I thought I would just add a fun little story that happend to me this weekend, and made me realize that I am not only lucky to know such wonderful people, but that my city is made for us quirky artsy folks.

I recently visited the facebook page of an organization called Supportland which grants rewards to those wonderful people that shop local.  These points can be accumulated and then cashed in for free local goods including massages and gift certificates.  On their facebook page they were announcing an event being put on by We Make in PDX.  I have never heard of this organization but the title alone peeked my interest.

I later learned that We Make is dedicated to the progressive use of your imagination.  We Make has found a way to gather local artists (whether in the graphic design industry or just those who like to make things) to learn from one another and become inspired by other artists through real live interaction.  That’s right folks… you get to talk to other people who actually sell their art… get this… for a living!  They host a monthly event called SketchXChange where a limited number of artists RSVP to exchange sketchbooks and draw with one another.  Even though I have not pushed pencil to paper in over 2 years I HAD to be part of this, so I signed up.CLoseUpMeg-Hunt

This events host was none other than Meg Hunt, a local illustrator that has done projects for big names such as Disney and Cartoon Network.

She helped us starving artists understand how to find an agent, how to separate yourself from your rejection letters, and how to always do what you love.   As a special thanks for attending and asking questions, she gave away a few prints, which yours truly was able to walk away with.  I was so stoked, that in a laps of memory and awareness I had walked out of a building I have never visited before and borded a bus without my wallet!

For those of you who have never experienced the Portland Tri Met, there are a few things that differ from the bus system in Chicago from that of PDX.  Number one is that EVERYONE thanks their bus driver when they disembark, and  number two, if you lose your wallet they will take you where you need to go on their route and wish you luck on finding your wallet.  So there I was about 2 miles away from where my wallet was.  I was also attending a bike Tune up class the next day and had to leave my bike at the shop since I had just taken it apart to clean all the moving parts.  I knew no one in attendance and had no way of calling the already shut building, so before I broke the nearest object in a fit of rage, I called my next line of defense, my wonderful, understanding, mode of transportation owning new boyfriend.

Lady luck was shinning on me that evening because he informed me that he was on his bike passing the building that hosted the sketchExchange.  Like my knight in heat locking rain-gear he waited outside of the building until someone left, climbed the stairs and found someone who was holding onto my wallet.  Mounting his just tuned up stead he met me 2 miles away on the corner where the bus had left me with wallet in tow.

As I proceeded to walk home the thought occurred to me… “Better open your wallet and check the contents.”  For those of you that do not know me I will help you understand that I lose EVERYTHING at one point or another.  Because of this I never carry cash. It is way easier to replace cards that I lose (and with the replacement fees I swear I have put someones child through college) than it is to replace hard earned cash.  As I opened my wallet I found all of my cards where I had left them as well as this note…

MOneyShot“Claudia, How often do you find your wallet with MORE money in it?!  All the best :)”

Not only did that make my night so much brighter, it made me love my city more because I really would have never expected this type of behavior in any other place then the city full of weirdos.  Love you PDX!FullMegHunt

We Can Make the Stars Shine

29 Feb

Hey loyal readers and those new to my blog.  I am sorry for taking so long in continuing my posts on SCRAP and the wonderful items I have bought there.  If you follow my blog you know that I had purchased a large amount of craft gear for under $11 and have made it my personal job to show you what I am making with all these wonderful things that I have found.

The items that I am going to use in today’s blog are the cute skeins of yarn that I found for $2 a skein.  I found one in gray and one in red, which is perfect for a project I have already been working on.  A recent series of events has caused me to become nostalgic, and in the process I created hats that resemble the Chicago flag.  I have lived in Portland for about 3 years now, but when things go wrong I get the urge to run home.  I often do not let these feelings let me flee, so my therapy is in the skein.  The problem with the hat is this… the stars are not really uniform to me, and that bugs me.

A great friend of mine found this pattern in her aunties old crochet books to make these wonderful stars, and I will pass the pattern onto you.  These stars are a cute to add to any hat or even to make hair clips out of, and once you figure out the math, you can make them with as many points as you like.  The pattern below is for 6 points.


First Round: Chain 1, work 18 single crochets into that ring, join them all with a slip stitch in the 1st single crochet.

Second Round: Chain 9, single crochet in 4th chain from hook, than single crochet the next 2 chains. Double crochet the next 3 chains.
Skip the first three crochet holes on the ring then slip stitch the 4th hole on the ring.

Repeat this 4 more times except skip 2 single crochet on the rings before applying the slip stitch.  Be sure to slip stitch before you fasten off.

ENJOY and happy crafting!

The Look Book

2 Feb

In case you have not been following, this entry is the first part of a series of posts having to do with SCRAP, which is a non-profit organization here in Portland Oregon.  I have recently acquired quite the load of items from SCRAP and have promised my readers to show how this small investment is helping get my business Stuff From Venus get off of the ground.

Today I am going to take the photo albums I found at SCRAP for a quarter each and turn them into Look Books.

  So what is the purpose of look books?  Well I am an avid cyclist, and even though my products are very small and light weight, I want to be able to present my products in a nice way without untangling them from a bag in front of a potential client.  A look book gives me the opportunity to present my brand to shop owners and festival organizers without the hassle of fumbling with them all.  I can also use a number system on my composite photos to make order forms that the shop owner can easily use to order the items they would like to carry.

The photo to the left shows you the books as I purchased them from SCRAP.  They all have different themes as well as price markings on them that have no relation to what I am selling.  Of course inside these books is where the real action happens…

Inside the books you can find my photos of products as well as a photo of someone wearing these pretty pieces.  As a small marketing tip, the first page of the book should have not only your logo or card, it should have your contact number in case you leave the book behind with a client and they would like to get back to you later on the items they want to display.  This trick also makes the client familiar with your name.

Now let’s get to making these books look pretty from the outside…

What you will Need:

Scissors/ Exacto Knife

Photo Albums (a quarter each at SCRAP)

Logo or card printed out on Paper or Stickers

Fancy Paper (at most a dollar a half sheet)

Strong Paper Glue (2.00 at a drug store)

 Your first step will be to cut the paper to size… I suggest folding the paper around the book when the book is closed.  compare the cover of this book to a band-aid you put on your knee.  When you bend your knee you will get a pocket where the padding of the band-aid is.  This is similar to the binding of the book, so make sure you cut the paper large enough to cover the entire surface of the book as well as wrap into the inside cover.

Step two is to use the glue on the front cover of the book, close the book and do the same for the back… Do Not use the glue on the binding to allow the paper to move freely along the binding.  Once the glue sets cut the paper that is sticking out from the bindings range of motion, and fold the other parts of the paper around the back and front covers like you are wrapping them as presents.

 Now once they are glued you see that the inside cover may look a bit messy, so I suggest taking another colored paper and cutting it so that it fits into the inside cover over the folds of your paper.

After gluing those pieces in place, turn to the front cover and embellish it however you would like without over doing it… remember you want to make your brand name familiar, so you don’t want to take much attention away from your logo on the cover.  Glue the components in place and let dry.  You can use the drying time to design your order forms or compile a list of local consignment shops you would like to target.

Once the glue dries your look books are ready to hit the streets!

Why Every City Needs A SCRAP

31 Jan

If you are an avid reader of my blog, or have purchased any of the items from my etsy shop ( you may have heard me mention a non-profit origination by the name SCRAP.  I must add this note: If you have any friends looking to start a non-profit I suggest you let them in on Portland’s best known secret for craft geeks such as I.

So what is SCRAP exactly?  Well you can visit their website at to get a few pictures and ideas, as well as make a donation, but I feel that the proof is in the pudding. SCRAP founders had the novel idea of taking items that can be reused out of the landfills and teaching imaginative people, both young and old, how to think about reuse.  Companies that have an overstock of old promotional items, office equipment, or even ordinary people with too much craft stuff, donate their unwanted or unused goods, and the crafters such as I can swoop in and purchase them for a fraction of the price of a craft store.  Here is a photo of my recently acquired bootee…

I recently paid a visit to SCRAP, (which happens about once a month) and bought the following for ten dollars and thirty cents.

Circle Pattern Fabric   50 cents (1 yard)

Bundle of White Lace   25 cents (about 3 yards)

 Red and Silver Wire   25 cents each

 Sparkle Red and Gray yarn  $1 a skein

 1 inch of White Cardstock  $1.30

 Pouch of Fake Pearl Beads  75 cents

Big Spool of Ribbon 50 cents

Small Spool of Ribbon 25 cents

3 Photo Albums   25 cents each

Embroidery Thread 10 cents each

Bracelet Ends 25 cents

Bags of Cotton Fibers   50 cents each

5 zippers    25 cents each

 To some this would be considered trash, but to me this is a PROJECT!  So what to do now?  Well here my crazy plan my lovely blog readers… I plan on using every bit of my purchases to create, and I plan to take you along on this journey.

For the next few weeks I will blog the projects that are in place to help me start my business from home using these very inexpensive items.  Yes 10 bucks and some change can help you too start a biz as well, and I will share my secrets with you.

I will link items on the above list to the projects I will do as they are finished.  This will give you a direct link to other blog entries, so that you can see what I used each item for.

This is a long list of craft gear I assure you, and it will keep me engaged for a while I am sure!  So let’s get to it!