Thursday, June 11, 2009

DIY Big Brother Hand-Me-Downs For Sister

How-To

I have a boy who is 7 and a girl who is about 2. Whenever he outgrows a really cool t-shirt, I always hold on to it for a while thinking I might put it on my daughter someday. But that wouldn't be totally fair, right? Girls like to dress girly right? Dresses and frills? LOL. I've been doing t-shirt reconstruction for myself and other custom orders through http://www.etsy.com/ in adult sizes, so I thought, why not just turn his t-shirts into dresses for her? What I came up with is a simple Do It Yourself project to turn your own Big Brother hand-me-downs into cute recreations for Little Sister.


First, pick your shirt, turn it inside out and lay it on a flat surface. Cut out the neck and the sleeves, making sure to remove the seams.

You'll want to trim the shirt to fit across the chest and slightly flare out at the bottom. You'll have to establish the armhole size by where you begin to sew the sides together.
I have a machine that does an overlock stitch that allows for stretching afterwards. If you don't have a machine like this, a zig-zag stitch will also work. Be sure to reinforce the zig-zag stitches so they don't come loose.

Laying the shirt face down, cut straight across the back from one seam to the other.
Flip the loose flap over and lay flat.
Cut two straight strips the length of the flap. You can adjust the length if needed.











On regular sewing machine, use widest straight stitch and sew along the front neckline.
Grab one thread and wrap securely around your finger.

Pull the thread tight as you gather the fabric along the center of the neckline.



Repeat the same process on the back of the shirt.




Starting at one end of the straps, measure along both the neckline and back.














Select a fabric for the trim. You'll want this to be very stretchy. Some fabrics stretch in certain directions. Make sure to test your fabric's stretch before cutting.

Lay out your measuring tape and stretch the trim fabric to the shirt's measurements. Mark the length, let the fabric relax and cut. You'll want these to be about 2 inches wide.
The strips will be shorter than the shirt measurements, but as long as they can stretch comfortably to the desired length, they are right.


Fold the strips over facing the nice side of the fabric out. Align the trim over the front of the shirt strap.

Get the stitch established and begin to put more tension on your trim fabric, while keeping the edge in line with the t-shirt fabric as you sew. The tighter you pull the trim during this process, the more snug the dress will fit.

Repeat the process on the other side.

You may want to try it on your girl at this point to see how long the neck should be. Once you determine where, sew the ends together and reinforce if necessary. Trim any excess fabric. If you want to get creative with the bottom, you can either add a stretchy band, or a ruffle, but I chose to leave this one plain.









This is a simple process, but for those without the right tools for the job, it can be a pain. If you like the idea of having this done, but can't forsee doing it yourself, I offer t-shirt reconstruction services. For the above process, you would send me a package of t-shirts and I'd reconstruct them into girl's dresses, starting at $5 each.

Please see my shop at http://www.arthiel.etsy.com/ and convo me for details.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Comment Contest with Handmade Prize!

CONTEST!!!!!!

I'm doing a small contest this week. The winner will recieve this handmade screenprinted fleur de lis hobo handbag.
Here is the description I used for my etsy shop http://www.arthiel.etsy.com/ : "Pink and black hobo style purse made from hand-printed originally designed fleur de lis fabric. Fully lined with heavyweight durable charcoal grey cotton fabric - no exposed seam edges. Double pocket on inside - one for cellphone. Flap closure - heavy button holds the flap down to keep purse closed. (Not a button closure). Approximately 16" wide and 11" deep. (Originally listed at $60)"

This was one of my first items added to my shop, and marked as a favorite by many, but I'm ready to part ways with it.

The contest is simple. Whoever leaves the most comments on any of my blog posts by next Thursday, April 23, at 8:00 pm CST will recieve this purse. The comments need to have a minimum of 5 words to count. You must also 'follow' my blog to be eligible. This is to encourage more interaction and discussion within my blog and its followers. There will be no shipping charges or catches. I would like to encourage you to check out my other handmade creations in my etsy shop, though! http://www.arthiel.etsy.com/

Thanks!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Soft and Fresh Blue Look


There are occasions when we want the subtlety of the little black dress, but with a softer look and feel, especially with the spring and summer fashion seasons in mind. I have pieced together an outfit using these fabulous handmade finds from http://www.etsy.com/ to give you an idea of how to look subtle, soft and fresh enough for any occasion.

This throw-over-your-head Party Dress with Hand Embroidered Neckline is made from 100% heavyweight robin's egg blue bio-linen, with pleats that fall down beautifully from the bust to the hem. You can find this dress at http://www.mirthquakeclothing.etsy.com/ . The aqua blue beading adds just enough contrast to the feminine neckline, making a necklace unnecessary.
Don't be afraid to add this fun, yet elegant, Calypso bracelet around your wrist, though! This stunning combination includes "faceted gemstone nuggets of sunny golden Citrine; tiny, shiny gold-filled beads; peacock Freshwater Pearls; rainbow-hued Paua Shell with iridescent patterns; Swarovski Crystal bicones from Austria; and sassy rectangles of aqua-blue Apatite; handcrafted with 14K Gold-filled chain, wire, and toggle clasp." Find this piece at http://www.kalliopejewelry.etsy.com/ . I think wearing a pair of simple, dark metallic steel colored pumps would really tie in nicely with the darker stones on this bracelet.

I love the softness of this Aqua Leather Orchid Bag found at http://www.stacyleigh.etsy.com/ . Machine and hand stitched, this beautiful messenger style handbag is constructed from a thick cowhide leather in a light blue green, and embellished with a detailed leather flower. The artist also offers her designs in custom sizes and colors to suit your personal style!

Each piece on its own is beautiful; pieced together, they create a cohesive and soft feminine look with the same subtlety of the little black dress, but with a fresh springtime appeal.


Remember to buy handmade!


You can visit my shop at http://www.arthiel.etsy.com/

Friday, April 3, 2009

Muted Metallics and City Walls

Another architectural inspiration, and another city look... I can't help but be inspired by the countless windows and their reflections framed by the muted walls of the tall city skyscrapers. So inspired, in fact, that I designed and created this City Walls Remnant Tunic and searched http://www.etsy.com/ for the perfect handmade and vintage accessories to make the look just perfect.

This tunic length tank top was created by sewing several strips of various lengths and colors of fabric together, including a variety of metallics and sheens, as well as muted greens, blues and white. The button detail on the neckline is reminiscent of metal bolts, and the rectangles appliquéd over the hips remind me of the blocks of paint covering past graffiti markings. This tunic is one of a kind, never to be repeated exactly, even if I tried. You can find it at http://www.arthiel.etsy.com/ along with a shop full of other fashionable designs.

Of all the colors used in the top, I want to pull out the copper the most, and can do so by carrying this Metallic Clutch Purse folded over nicely, tucked under my arm. You can find this copper clutch at http://www.elaini.etsy.com/ , and the same design in silver as well.
I have a pair of soft gray, almost white they're so faded, stretch skinny jeans that I'll wear underneath, tucked securely into these Vintage 60s Tan Leather 'Pappagallo' Buckle Go go Boots. They have just the right amount of copper tones to belong with this look. You can find these boots, and other fantastic vintage apparel, at http://www.fearlessvintage.etsy.com/ .

Because there is so much detail in the neckline, I'm going to skip wearing a necklace. Instead I'll pull my hair up loosely and throw on these Click Earrings. In fact, I think these earrings are such a perfect match for my tunic, they should just get married and make lots of beautiful babies...Hmmm, that's something to think about. The artist gives further reason to want these. "They click when you wear them. Makes you want to shake your head a bit. Kinda sexy. Simple. Natural." You'll find these earrings at http://www.stonestudios.etsy.com/ along with a shop full of some of the most beautiful handmade jewelry made from natural stone "carefully selected from the beaches of the beautiful lakes of Northern Idaho."
What could be a better finishing touch than this Peek a Boo Copper Bangle Bracelet? This "geometric piece of hammered copper and its organic flow of the squares has been pounded then waxed to show off it's beauty." Not only does the copper fit right in, but the random rectangles and squares mirror the architectural quality reflected in the tunic. You'll find this bracelet at www.lahainalynnjones.etsy.com , along with the Lahaina, Maui based artist's shop full of jewelry and artwork.
Now, my look is complete and I'm ready to hit the city streets...and hopefully not blend into the walls! If I did, it would have to be one super city-chic wall.
Remember to buy handmade!
You can visit my shop at www.arthiel.etsy.com

Friday, March 27, 2009

City Style

Although I was raised in the country and can appreciate nature in all its splendor, there's something about a city's beauty that often catches me standing there staring up at the buildings with all of their windows and lines, intrigued by the geometric patterns they create. I love how each neighborhood within a city has its own personality and a skyline strikes familiarity to those who call it home. Today, I'm not featuring different fashion styles you'd find in cities all over the world, but rather the cities themselves that you'll find within the fashion. I searched http://www.etsy,com/ and came across a few of my favorites.
This screenprinted t-shirt depicts a hand drawn cityscape full of creative abstract lines, checkers, swirls, zig-zags and dots. The Chicago based artist also mentions, "by buying [this] tshirt, you will be helping provide education, food, friendship and teachers to kids in the low-income, underserved neighborhood of Humboldt Park."
You can find this shirt at http://www.lauraprentice.etsy.com/ along with a shop full of creativity worth checking out!
And why not tote your goods around in this tribute to the spectacular city of Melbourne!? The artist was inspired by and made this tote from a linen monotone print kitchen tea towel she picked up in her travels. You can find this elongated, sturdy tote at http://www.mishimoudesigns.etsy.com/ .
Fit your cash, checks and miscellaneous cards into this stylish 'Buildings' pocketbook/checkbook holder, "made with an original, hand-silkscreened design of NYC buildings on indigo/purple fabric(outer) and caramel brown and dark brown colored vinyl (inner)." This wallet is just one of many fresh designs you'll find at http://www.quietdoing.etsy.com/ .

Using one of my favorite color combinations, this yellow t-shirt features a grey screenprint design of a bridge found in Long Island City, New York. The artist also offers this design in crème, white, grass, hot pink, red, black and lavender. You can find this shirt and other manually printed t-shirts at http://www.airscreenprints.etsy.com/.

Step out in these city-stylish custom drawn canvas flats. The artist also takes custom orders and can create shoes based on your ideas and her talent. View a shop full of happy feet at www.RibbonsAndPlanets.etsy.com where you can select a design of the artist's, or find inspiration to have her create your own perfect pair, tailored to your taste.
I love the inspiration which these artists found in their urban surroundings: abstract, hand drawn, detailed, bold, graphic, and simple architectural renditions of their cities, meant to be worn proudly.
Remember to buy handmade!
You can view my shop at www.arthiel.etsy.com

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I & I Jah Rastafari!

My parents raised us with a lot of Rastafarian/Jamaican appreciation, showing us movies like Countryman, listening to Bob Marley and other reggae, taking me to spend a summer on that beloved little island, even naming their son Rosta. The way of life goes even deeper than that, I know, but these are just a few to name. Needless to say, whenever I see those four colors together, black, red, yellow and green, I am simply drawn to them. The Rastafarian influence on fashion is what inspired me to sift through the handmade listings on http://www.etsy.com/ to select some of the stand-out designs and share with you.



This Rasta mama hemp chevron skirt is simply stunning for both a laid back or dressed up occasion. The artist "hand dyed hemp muslin in black, yellow, red, & green, cut the stripes out on an angle & sewed them back together in 4 panels that gradually get bigger at the bottom. This is one of those skirts that you will want to LIVE in & never take off." You can tell this skirt was made with precision, care, and love. Find it at http://www.artisticallystitched.etsy.com/ .


This Bob Marley messenger bag is actually one of my own creations. I started with a gently used Bob Marley t-shirt and just went from there, piecing the brilliant bold Rasta colors together wherever I could. The inside just pops with all the same colors as lining and pockets. You can find this bag, along with other fashionable creations, at http://www.arthiel.etsy.com/ .

This little Rasta wrist purse is just so cute I almost can't stand it! (In a good way, of course.) "It's complete with a wrist strap and a vintage style snap opening". The artist attached a silk black bow with mini pearls as an accent. This purse is perfect for all the little things like money, cards, keys. You can find it at http://www.furr.etsy.com/ .


These hand woven thread earrings, 'Rastafarian Classics', just speak for themselves. What a beautiful and fun way to "add a little spunk to you wardrobe. These earrings are lightweight and created using Alpaca Sterling, which will not rust or tarnish and is hypoallergenic." You will find these at http://www.sincearjewelry.etsy.com/ among several other color combination choices of the same style.


I'm thinking throw on a pair of favorite bluejeans, those earrings and this super sexy Bob Marley halter top, and you are irie and good to go! "This vintage tee got a mad*foxes makeover - now it's a slender cut girl's halter with a deep U-neck and halter ties." Find this and several other vintage and rock inspired girl's tops at http://www.madfoxes.etsy.com/ .


You may even want to slip this on your wrist before you call the outfit complete. This Rasta colors bangle is "made by Sema na Kufanya, a group of HIV+ widows in Kibera, Kenya (see http://www.kiberajewelry.googlepages.com) to learn more. 100% of all profits will reach them," making this fashion statement a good cause as well. You can find this at http://www.kiberajewelry.etsy.com/ along with other beaded pieces handmade from the same group of women.



While I would certainly not recommend wearing all of these pieces together at once (unless that's your style, of course, I won't hate), each of these creations packs a bold fashion flavor on it's own, or even paired up with one or two of the others. Have fun, be bold, Jah provide!



And remember to buy handmade!



You can visit my shop at http://www.arthiel.etsy.com/

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Striking Color Combo - Golden Rose and Hints of Periwinkle

I was riding my bike around the neighborhood, keeping my eyes peeled to nature, hoping to come across something of inspiration. Most of what I saw was the color of decaying leaves laying on the grey sidewalk and street. It was inspirational, but not in the glamorous sense. I turned down a street I'd never before ventured upon and was all of a sudden struck by exactly what I sought. A house that was painted a creamy gold with just a touch of rose undertones was surrounded by this overgrowth of periwinkle colored flowers and it gave me insight to styling this next look.

Because I had something very specific in mind, I searched http://www.etsy.com/ high and low for particular handmade items that were specific to the look I was going for. This dress couldn't have fit more precisely. This 'Golden Rose' chiffon dress's deep plunging neckline accentuated with ruffling and a single chiffon rose at the center of the waistline sets the look of sexy, yet sweet. You can find this dress at http://www.clairelafaye.etsy.com/ along with the sweetest selection of romantic-glamorous designs.

Because there is so much going on around the neckline, there is no need for a necklace. However, the accessories are what will make this color combination work just perfectly. I'll start by adding this Blue Chalcedony faceted oval 'Twilight' bracelet that was inspired by "the diffused light from the sky during the early evening or early morning." You can find this piece of jewelry at http://www.thepeachtree.etsy.com/ along with pages of a simply stunning collection from the Brooklyn based artist who offers custom creations as well.



A loose upswept bun or a high ponytail to pull the hair away from the face and ears will show off these bright periwinkle accents. "Vintage beads in a fresh, summery periwinkle swing from sterling posts. Sure to make you smile. They dangle just about 1 1/2 inches from the top of the post" creating just a touch of movement that's sure to catch a look or two! You can find these 'Dimples' earrings at http://www.cindiek.etsy.com/ along with several other fun-funky-fresh finds.

Now, for shoes, I want to wear a pair of simple nude, cream or gold-toned heels . All of the focus needs to stay on the fun dress details and beautiful accent colors. Which leads us to the real punch factor. This 5 pocket Okinawa sheep skin bag in periwinkle/cobalt blue just thrills me to see paired with the soft creamy gold of the dress. This Boston based artist will blow your mind with her handcrafted leather goods found at www.valhallabrooklyn.etsy.com , including this bag, which is lined with Japanese cotton in a black and red fugu fish print.

I love when pieces that don't necessarily match can be put together to form a cohesive look that is simply stunning and captivating. I am almost positive that whoever landscaped and painted that house would never imagine that such a beautiful look could not only be inspired by it, but possibly blend right in as well!
Remember to buy handmade!
You can visit my shop at www.arthiel.etsy.com




Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Casual Park Attire

I'm headed to the park by the river to meet up with a group of friends and do absolutely nothing but lay in the grass, watch the river swirl by and hang out. Everyone shows up looking effortlessly put together in a 'I don't want to look like I really tried, but I actually changed outfits like 10 times before I decided on this' sort of way. It's cool, I do it too. Swap this for that...change the shoes...add the scarf...oh but now the shoes don't work...change the jeans...no maybe the tan skirt...oh, I don't know, maybe I had it right the first time!

Searching through http://www.etsy.com/ (including my own shop!) I came up with this example of a casually spectacular outfit that is just right for watching the river roll by on a lazy afternoon.
This Rainbow Fish inspired t-shirt gives you that unique aquatic-chic edge. This is a super-soft and stretchy grey skinny tee that I embellished with circular scales of various colors. The scales are attached by machine appliqué and cut from upcycled, gently used t-shirts. You can find this at http://www.arthiel.etsy.com/ along with pages of other fashionable creations.


I know I'm going to throw on my ripped/faded/torn flared bluejeans with the button flap back pockets. They were made to fit my body and get better with each wash. This cool navy blue sueded leather wrist cuff made from a recycled belt and a large antique brass buckle will not only accentuate the toughened up look a bit, but it will pull out the navy blue scales on the shirt. You can find this particular cuff at http://www.dinglewear.etsy.com/ amongst a shop full of edgy wrist accessories.


Definitely throwing on the pink newsboy with my hair down! I love how this baby pink hand crocheted brimmed newsboy hat not only softens the look a bit, but it brings out the pale pink scales on the shirt as well. Best part is I don't have to worry about how my hair looks! You can find this hat at http://www.btrflymom.etsy.com/ with over a hundred others to choose from in a wide variety of colors and styles.


Hmmmm, what else does my look need? Of course my brown and tan leather deck shoes that are so soft and broken in. Hmmm - Oh Yeah! Earrings! I know just the perfect pair.
These 'dot dot dot' earrings in a sweet cornflower blue are created from flat glass circle beads that sit on sterling silver handmade swoops. They'll peek out just perfectly from my hat, and I don't even have to tell you that they were just made to wear with the shirt! You can find these at www.boldsimple.etsy.com from a Boston artist who feels "that jewelry should make a statement (sometimes just a quiet one)."
I wonder what the others will be wearing...OK, I'm out the door now because I'm not going to change a thing about this outfit!
Remember to buy handmade!
You can visit my shop at www.arthiel.etsy.com















Sunday, March 15, 2009

Stunning Color Combo - Turquoise and Coral

Today's recommended color combo is one I'm sure you have all seen before. It has been featured in many front page treasuries (http://www.etsy.com/) and really packs a punch when worn correctly. Searching through the pages of handmade fashion, I came across the following pieces to create the perfect look for a party or night on the town.


Wow them all with this show-stopper! This deep v-neck sleeveless knit dress w/contrast tie belt really caught my eye on this mannequin; imagine how many eyes it will catch on a beautiful body! I love the plunging neckline which reaches daringly low to the dark blue sash tying high on the smallest part of the waist, lending to a slimming effect. You can find this dress, plus many other handmade beauties created by this Wisconsin artist, at http://www.minkstyle.etsy.com/ .


Alright, now let's add just a touch of contrasting color to really make this outfit radiant. This genuine turquoise and antique red coral long necklace will drape beautifully along your the revealing neckline, showcasing the elegance of your style. "This opera length necklace uses a traditional combination of materials to stunning effect. Gorgeous Kingman turquoise beads from Arizona are paired with antique red coral barrel beads. The gemstones are natural and undyed, a striking color combination that has been popular since ancient times...Larger sterling beads add drama and movement to the piece." Find this necklace at http://www.galinakirman.etsy.com/ along with other colorful jewelry that is sure to suite your taste.

Add another punch of color with this turquoise cuff bracelet, worn on the arm with the contrasting dark blue shoulder of the dress. "6 strands of turquoise are strung on beading wire to form this stunning cuff", demanding

that it be noticed next to your perfectly manicured hands. This piece can be found at http://www.lyndee495.etsy.com/ with pages of irresistible handmade jewelry creations.

Complete the look with a final splash of radiance by slipping on a pair of deep coral colored wedges with a touch of silver detail. You are ready to make the color statement of the evening with bold subtlety, as you stand apart from the little black dresses of the night.

And remember to buy handmade!

You can view my shop at http://www.arthiel.etsy.com/

Short Sweet Sexy Modest

My scenario today is a young cutie who needs to get ready for a date. Not a blind date, not a hot date, not a date-night date, but an "I haven't seen you in years and you're finally back in town, and lookin' really good, OMG we HAVE to get together" date. That kind of date. Lil' Cutie wants to look sexy, but not revealing; she wants to look hip, but not overdone; she wants to look casual but not frumpy, although comfort is a necessity. Cutie and Hottie From the Past are going out to a casual local restaurant and a small venue rock concert. She does not want to wear a t-shirt and jeans even though he probably will be. I have put together a stylish look based on handmade pieces I found on http://www.etsy.com/ .

For both comfort and sex appeal, the look begins with this 'real girl' dress that conforms to the body and is just the right length. One of a kind and handmade "from a white and gold striped stretch fabric, the bottom of the dress features a band with contrasting vertical stripes, and chunky turquoise cuffs" added to the sleeves. You can find this dress at http://www.heidiandseek.etsy.com/ . I love the length proportions to this dress and the high neckline, creating both a sense of modesty and flirtatiousness in one dress.


To both bring out the gold stripes in the dress and introduce the next color to the look, this shell locket necklace, made from genuine sea shell charm pendants on a vintage chain, offers just the right touch of 'delicate' with its coral color. You can find this necklace at http://www.maryjanefrances.etsy.com/ along with pages of other earth-inspired crafted bags, headbands and jewelry.


These melon seed bead hoop earrings are the perfect compliment to the shell necklace and, as the artist describes, "stunningly sexy for the night out!" You can find this pair at http://www.workofheart.etsy.com/ , along with the same style in green, orange, red, brown, and even multi-colored!


OK, now it's time to get sassy! Wear this Jane Austen inspired crocheted hat with your hair either tucked inside or falling loosely around your shoulders, and your bound to turn heads. The artist, who "was absolutely inspired by the time period hats" lists this crocheted adaptation in her shop at http://www.yarnlovertn.etsy.com/ .
Throw on a pair of gladiator-style gold strappy flats and your look is complete. Lil' Cutie will be making Hottie From the Past wish he never left town as she rocks this look through the night!
Remember to buy handmade!
You can view my shop at http://www.arthiel.etsy.com/


What To Wear, What To Wear?

What to wear, what to wear? Today it's a little chilly, and I plan on walking the few blocks to my ladies lunch at the trendy new café. Spring is around the corner, so I'm not afraid of color, I'm just not quite feelin' the bright sunshiny floral prints yet. Browsing through the plethora of handmade goods at http://www.etsy.com/ , I put together this look for an idea of how you can begin to add color to your 'ready for winter to be over, but not quite springy yet' wardrobe.

I absolutely know that I want to wear this handmade mojo love dress. I know nobody else out there will be lookin' like me, because this one is one of a kind. This Australian artist describes her process. " I hand-select materials one by one, then design and make each piece with care, expertise, and a unique sense of fun and colour." You can find this dress at http://www.heidiandseek.etsy.com/ along with a shop full of figure flattering, "vintage-inspired women's clothing handmade from reclaimed materials. Nobody else will own the same, and each garment reduces waste instead of contributing to consumption."




After slipping on my black stretch tights and knee-high black leather boots, I wrap this beautiful Shibori dyed silk chiffon scarf loosely around my neck. The artist "hand painted this silk chiffon scarf using the Shibori technique. Wound around a pole, tied tightly with string, then dyes applied. The fun part is unwrapping the scarf when you are done, unpredictable and one of a kind." Oh, these pieces must've been made for each other! You can find this scarf, and many others in a gorgeous array of beautiful colors at http://www.amysfunkyfibers.etsy.com/ .


Now all I need to do is throw on a fitted black blazer, some silver bangles, sweep up my hair, and grab this 'Pink Sherbert' luminous metallic clutch, hand painted and embellished with crochet applique and Swarovski crystals. This sweet little handbag will be "shimmering in the most elegant way" as I'm walking along on a cool sunny day. You can find this clutch at http://www.elauniques.etsy.com/ at a very affordable price.
Now that the look is complete, it's time to hit the street!
All of these featured items are one of a kind, so act fast, because once they are gone, there won't be another like it.
Remember to buy handmade!
You can visit my shop at http://www.arthiel.etsy.com/

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Afraid of Color? Accessorize!


Often people see outstanding fashion in brilliant colors and bold designs, thinking to themselves, "Sure, but I could never wear that!" Some people just don't like to stand out like a bouquet of flowers against walls of beige and grey. But this doesn't mean you have to blend into the background! You can keep your closet full of beige, khaki, black, brown, tan, off-white, cream and grey and still make your look pop with the right accessories.

I love these earrings with a simple black dress, a pair of emerald green strappy heels and some silver bangle bracelets. Handmade with vintage lucite plastic hoops, these will turn drab to retro in a flash. Find them at http://www.cassowaryjewelry.etsy.com/ along with a shop full of bright, fun pieces that are sure to energize any ensemble.




This lemonade yellow jade bead crochet bracelet would steal the spotlight worn with a deep brown pantsuit and bright yellow or turquoise scarf.
The artist who created this piece "used an itty bitty crochet hook to create a strand that was then joined to create a seamless bracelet that rolls easily over your hand to hang gently from your wrist. The stones have a nice weight making this bracelet extremely comfortable to wear." Find it at http://www.beckyrose.etsy.com/


This necklace, "casual and fresh, just like the sunset" is for all the khaki/beige/tan lovers out there. Thinking of wearing camel colored knee length pencil skirt and an off-white fitted sweater to work? Pick your favorite color on this necklace, any color, and wear a pair of pumps to match. Pick another color and wear a skinny belt around your waist. Hmmm, let's see. I pick the green peep-toe canvas wedges, trimmed in gold, with an orange patent leather skinny belt with a shiny gold buckle. I think I'll play it safe with some gold studs in my ears. You can find this piece at http://www.meego.etsy.com/ .
Jewelry is every bit a part of fashion as any skirt, shirt or dress. In fact, there is a whole world of jewelry out there just waiting to be discovered (find tons of handmade jewelry like you see above at http://www.etsy.com/ ). If you feel like playing it safe with your wardrobe, but being bold with your look, go big with a colorful piece of eye-catching jewelry!
Remember to buy handmade!
You can visit my shop at http://www.arthiel.etsy.com/

Fashion Can Tell a Story: Appliqué Skirts

Fashion can tell a story, or at least create conversation. I have been constantly drawn to pieces that stand out from your normal department store style that anybody can have 'one in every color' in their closets at home. My latest search is for skirts that have appliqué designs, particularly handmade (etsy.com is fantastic for this). I came across this one at http://www.phunkypatches.etsy.com/ and fell in love with the mountainous design. "This wrap skirt is made for a plus sized girl... I appliqued a large mountain scene with a log home, mountains, hills and trees...The appliques are hand drawn." The artist speaks of her design in a brief description, but the beautiful scenery she has handcrafted on this mountain home wrap skirt is worth 1000 words, or at least a great conversation!

If I were to wear this skirt, I'd pair it with a simple fitted grey cotton t-shirt with a bright red scarf tucked in on itself snuggly around my neck. I'd accessorize with some chunky tan and brown wooden bangles to pull out the colors in the center. Purple peep-toe pumps would complete the look for a fashionable edge.


This fancy silk skirt on the right can be made custom in all sizes and colors. I personally love the colors shown in the display picture, but the artist has a few suggestions of her own. "I think red and robins egg blue, black with cream , ice blue and yellow and any other combination would look beautiful!" Hmmm, certainly don't forget about the newest rage of moss green and powder blue. I found this one at http://www.janebonbon.etsy.com/ and discovered a whole shop full of exciting pieces.

I would like to see this skirt in these colors paired with a soft, feminine silky blouse in a deep coral color, or even bright yellow, with maybe a fluttery collar, belted at the waist with a wide dark brown leather belt. I'd keep accessories to a minimum, perhaps some retro yellow ball earrings, and a smart watch, but really go larger than life with ultra-bright coral or yellow [depending on the top] strappy heels or flats. Carry a simple brown leather clutch.


This fabulous 'Squeeze' eco-friendly hemp tencel wrap skirt is by far one of my favorite handmade fashion finds. You can see this and a beautiful collection of other eco-friendly handcrafted clothing and accessories at http://www.jenniferjoycreative.etsy.com/ . Unfortunatley, if you don't act fast, you might miss out! "This is the last of its kind as I am retiring this design...Snatch it up while you can!"

I can see this skirt worn in a professional setting with a cream colored cropped blazer and some sage-green wedges. Add a lemon colored headband and you're ready to go! On the other hand, wear it with a simple yellow cotton tank-top and a pair of sandals, pack your favorite books and mags into your slouchy brown hobo, and off to the coffeeshop you go to not only catch up on your reading, but catch a few eyes as well!

Whatever stories you are interested in telling, there's no denying that your fashion sense speaks volumes about the 'you' you're trying to present to the world. So get creative and put on some conversation starters!

And remember to buy handmade.
You can view my shop at http://www.arthiel.etsy.com/