Thursday, April 26, 2012

Upcycled Men's Shirt #11 - Sunbonnet Baby

Yet another piece in the ongoing series of upcycled men's shirts. This time around a standard button-down-collar man's shirt has been transformed into a baby bonnet and sun frock.

The ensemble

The bonnet utilizes the shirt collar for the bonnet brim and one shirt cuff for the back of the bonnet. Gathered shirt material is used for the remainder. The hat brim can be worn folded back or extended forward. When extended, the profile view looks remarkably similar to the vintage Sunbonnet Babies' bonnets. The extended brim view below (third photo down) should give you a very clear idea of how the hat was constructed.

Bonnet with hat brim turned back

Bonnet with hat brim turned forward.

Hat buttoned under chin, using the original fastening from the front of the collar
The dress utilizes sections from the back yoke of the original shirt for the front and back yokes of the dress. Additional shirt material is gathered and sewn to the yokes to become the body of the dress. The button strip from the front of the original shirt has been removed, cut into sections, and used for the shoulder straps of the dress. Any leftover shirt buttons have been added to the strips so that the straps are adjustable. Hand-sewn button holes have been added to the dress yokes on front and back.


Shoulder straps from original button strip on shirt

Below we see an almost-one-year-old modeling the fetching ensemble.

Brim forward, chin buttoned

Brim folded back, unbuttoned

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pacific Gyre Happy Clams

A new false product from Stuff You Can't Have! As always there is absolutely no way to purchase these, but you can always make some of your own (see instructions at end of post).

Front of happy clam package. Click to enlarge.

Back of happy clam package. Click to enlarge.

Fun Facts:
High concentrations of plastic, sludge, marine litter and debris trapped by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre (one of the five major oceanic gyres created by ocean currents) have formed what is known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also called the Pacific Trash Vortex. Estimates of its size range from an area the size of Texas to an area twice the size of the Continental U.S. For more info, try Wikipedia or Google.

The happy clams

Drop a happy clam into a tall glass vase, fishbowl, or aquarium and prepare to be amazed. Get into the swim of things by dropping a few happy clams into your bath and pretend you are paddling in the Great Pacific Garbage patch.

The clams in action, recreating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Close-up of happy clams in action

Make your own:

• Collect matching pairs of clam shells from the beach or save them after eating a clam dinner. Clean thoroughly and keep matching pairs together.

• Cut colorful used plastic shopping bags into strips. Glue strips to the inside of clam shells using a dab of glue. The best glue to use is 100% silicone, available at any hardware store.

• Stuff plastic strips into clams and close clam shell. Either just wad it in there or twirl the plastic around a toothpick, working towards the inside base of the clam, and then stuff it in there.

• Use small strips of tissue paper to hold clam closed. Use a glue stick or other water soluble glue for this step. Remember you want the tissue paper to come apart under water so the clam opens up. Don't use heavy paper - the more delicate the better.

• For simple packaging you can just put clams in a zip-lock baggie. Or you could make colorful little bags out of recycled shopping bags. Recycled packaging has been used here. Always save any packaging that has interesting display possibilities, particularly those with plastic compartments. The packaging here came from little model car packaging, suitable for hanging on a shelf display from a rod.

Good luck and happy clamming. We created the Pacific Trash Vortex, might as well have some fun with it.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Bye-Bye Magic Talisman Reliquary

A reliquary is a container for physical remains such as bones, pieces of clothing, or an object associated with saints or other religious figures. Reliquaries are used by Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, and other religions. In Central West Africa, reliquaries contain objects considered magical.

Reliquary box

Reliquary contents

In this case, a reliquary has been created to contain the most magical of objects: a remnant of the rapidly disintegrating security blanket of a two-year-old. The blanket (or "bye") has been clutched, fondled, and carried by the owner everywhere. It contains the power to comfort and soothe and enables the owner to travel to unfamiliar places and take peaceful naps. When it is goes missing, panic ensues.

The Making of the Reliquary:

Fragment of magical object

Preserving and sealing of relic

The philatory, designed to contain and display the relic.

The history and authenticity of relics often comes into question and tracing provenance is critical. In this case the history of the magical object and its original owner has been documented, and objects within the reliquary can be traced back to the owner's ancestors over five generations.

Photographic evidence of the magic object in use. The original object was hand-embroidered by the owner's grandmother, and was once used by the owner's father.

Beaded patch inside reliquary door was once the possession of the owner's great-great-grandmother.

Silver baby cup was given at the birth of the owner's great-aunt by the owner's great-great-uncle, and is inscribed with the great-aunt's name and date of birth.

Reliquary box was the possession of the owner's great-great-great grandmother.

Let the magic live on.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Test Tube Vases

Memories of a rainy walk in test tube vases. The test tubes and rack were scored at a white elephant sale during an end-of-sale, everything-you-can-stuff-in-a-bag-for-a-dollar. So I figure it cost about ten cents. The lichen-laden sticks were found on the forest floor on a rainy day at Redwood Park.

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