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/

Books at naptime

Lately for naps and bedtime, I’ve been reading Jade to sleep. It used to be children’s books with lots of pictures, but those piqued her interest too much and they were just too short. She’d want to read the same one over and over. Yeah, I hid those books under the bed.

Now I read ‘adult reading level’ novels aloud to her while she lies there next to me and I simply bore her to sleep, while I can actually enjoy the content I am reading. I did, however, let her pick the books out. I went to the library with her in the stroller and I slowly pushed her through the aisles and let her pull randomly from the shelves, accepting whatever she chose for me.

I have read three of them over the course of the last month’s naptimes. The first one was about a woman’s struggle during South American liberation in the 17/1800’s. It was alright. I thought it was a good book after I finished. I picked up the second one, based on a family’s struggles in Poland and its war for independence in the late 1700’s. This was such a good book - twice as good as the previous one. I’d even keep reading well after Jade fell asleep most days. The last book I read was about a family’s personal struggle in the late 1800’s in Indian Territory in America. This book was so good. It was one of the best books I’ve read in a very long time. I would take Jade to bed WAY before she was ready just because I was looking forward to reading this one so much.

I could not believe that Jade had picked these out. I mean, I’ve read some crappy books, and forced myself through them, finding flaws and incohesiveness, lack of plot, awkwardness, etc. However, these books were very emotionally engaging and well written. I think she is going to be my new book-picker-outer from now on.