Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ever Wondered About How an Idea Becomes a Garment?

Take a peek into the design process....

See a fun little explanation I put together describing the way we create apparel at Icelandic Design:

"Our Design Process" [link].

Note: If you use Facebook, be sure to "like" Icelandic Design to keep up with other interesting articles (such as how our women hand-knitters in Peru and Nepal operate or what the difference between a llama and an alpaca is).

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fashion Inspiration: Nomad Chic

When a trend hits the runways it takes a year or two for the ideas to trickle down into the wardrobes of us ordinary people. A lot of work is required for mainstream designers to interpret and filter the in-your-face looks that haute couture houses can get away with.

Some trends are more difficult than others to humanize for the masses, and Nomad Chic is one that will be hard for the everyday woman to pull-off.

How do I explain this one? The idea is derived from an almost biblical time period. Vast stretches of desert span before us and food is so scarce we can never stop moving forward in search of it. To achieve this constant journey everything we own must be worn on our own backs. 

Our extensive travels have exposed us to all of the most luxurious goods and textiles that exist, and we revel in the endless combinations we can achieve by mixing and matching treasures from so many different cultures. We are warriors if need be, because we are sometimes not wanted in the the territory we invade.

Animal skins and fur play with kilim inspired prints and natural linens. Accessories pile on; head wraps, extravagant bangles and belts. Layer upon layer of pattern and texture produce the kind of editorial friendly look, that will make you look just plain homeless (instead of romantically nomadic) if you were to attempt to wear it on the street. Well, the photos are still beautiful.....

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine Fruit Bouquets

I made these bouquets last year, but didn't document it. They're so easy I think we'll do it every year for their annual class party.

They're in the same style as those "Edible Arrangements" things, but those are a crazy rip-off (like 70 bucks!).

They're a surprisingly kid-friendly food-craft, considering how great they look at the end.

You can get as anal as you want, calculating how many kids are in the class, and how they'll each get a chocolate strawberry...but we've found that the kids are fine sharing, and they just like the look of it for their party.

What you'll need:
-Basket or other valentine themed receptacle (mine is from Hobby Lobby, on sale for $3)
-Styro foam piece that can be cut to fit inside snugly
-Pretty paper to cover the foam
-Wooden food skewers
-Cut fruit (melons, pineapple)
-Whole Strawberries, grapes, blueberries
-Dolci Frutta dipping chocolate (in produce section of the grocery store)
-Roll of cellophane
-Decorative ribbon

Trace around your basket onto your foam piece to figure out what needs to be trimmed. Cut with exacto knife.

If your foam and basket are not snugly compatible you can hot glue the foam to the bottom after covering it.

 Wrap the foam with pretty paper. I used a sheet using The Graphics Fairy art sheet found here.
Pre-poke holes in covered foam with the pointy end of skewer in a symmetrical pattern.

Skewer the fruit onto sticks leaving 2-3 inches at the bottoms for sticking into the foam and 1-2 inches at the top pointy edge for a whole strawberry.

Heat chocolate as per instructions and dip strawberries (keeping leaves on).
 Let cool on parchment for 10 minutes (it dries to a shiny, hard chocolate coating).
Top each skewer with a strawberry and insert blunt end of skewers into holes.

Cover with cellophane and secure with decorative ribbon. Refridgerate until party.

Felt Crafty Class Valentines

Note: This craft adapted from the one found at Merriment Design (link).

It's that time of year again: assembly line valentine production.

I have boys in second and third grade, with 46 total classmates, and only medium length attention spans (they're better than most boys their age, trained to, I mean, enjoy, craftiness from birth).

My mother always had me hand make all of my classmates' valentines, and although it was always a whine-fest, I was proud the next day at school when everyone "oohed" and "ahhed" my handiwork.

I always feel a little guilty throwing away the big box of valentines the boys bring home (none of which are EVER hand made), so I thought we'd try to make something that had a day or two extra staying power.

These felt crafts are both valentine envelopes/ candy holders and bracelets.

What you'll need:
-Lots of felt (on sale at Hobby Lobby for 17 cents a sheet). We picked a boy-friendly red and a girly hot pink, plus contrast sheets for the envelope/heart flap). I got two bracelets/ 8 hearts per sheet.
-Felt Glue (but I think regular white glue might be the same thing....wasn't magically bonding or anything).
-Stick-on velcro
-Valentines (or card stock if you're printing them)
Cut the sheets in half and cut out a "T" shape. Cut the bottom portion wide enough to fit whatever you're putting into the envelope (valentine/ candy).
Apply glue along sides and fold up to make pocket (meet edge to top edge). 
*Alternatively you can sew these edges, but with glue the kids can do it themselves.

Cut out contrast heart, the same width of the pocket (this will be the envelope flap). Glue round edges (heart will be upside down) to the top back of the pocket. 

Apply velcro to hold flap closed. you can get cute and cut out heart shapes from the velcro - but that stuff is expensive, so I just ended up using little squares. I even used just the "hook" side, as it grabbed the felt well (and didn't need the "loop" side).

Apply velcro to edge of bracelet strip.

I used art from The Graphics Fairy for the valentines: A vintage bird (that was suitable for boys and girls). 

Click to enlarge and print on cardstock.
Assembly Line Production Complete.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ballad of the Red Dress

Few things are more dramatic, more elegantly striking, hell, more sexy...than the red dress.

Think Michelle Pfeiffer on the piano in "The Fabulous Baker Boys", Monroe and Russel in gentleman Prefer Blondes, Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman" or Jessica Rabbit taking the stage (I don't care that she's a 'toon, she's insanely hot).

No matter who you believe you are in your head (brainy chick, awkward wallflower, hard working farm girl, rocker) when you put the red dress on at the end of the movie and make your grand entrance you become the love interest - no exceptions.

If someone is taking you out this Valentine's Night, you need to be wearing a red dress. It's only polite.
A blonde and very young Sophia Loren:

Nicole Kidman models the red dress from "Moulin Rouge":

Model Lily Cole:

 Jayne Mansfield promo for "The Girl Can't Help It":

 Audrey Hepburn in "Funny Face":

Scarlett Johansson in Vogue:

Rachel McAdams in Vogue:

 Reese Witherspoon in Vogue:

Tim Walker photography:

Suri Cruise reportedly only likes to wear red dresses. Oh, to be a filthy rich toddler.....

 Dress by my favorite dress designers Rodarte. It's a little Dancing With Myself...but in a good way. 

 Alexander McQueen:
 Gallery of Valentino (Reigning Patriarch of the Red Dress):

Posh Spice in Russian Vogue:

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy shot by Liebovitz for Vogue:

Oil Painting by Joan Bevelaqua:

This post dedicated to the ailing Elizabeth Taylor. If you do not have a date for Valentine's Day, rent or download "Suddenly Last Summer". It's a masterpiece.