Archive for September, 2012

Inspiration: Halloween Boots

Posted: September 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

Just found these paper mache/cardboard boot decorations at All Things Crafty. She offers a pattern for these, so mosey on over if you’re interested.

Amazing work. I love the painting, love the colors, and really really REALLY want to make a pair.

That I can wear.

Oh yes.


To me, bleach is the watercolor paint of fabric decoration. It can be messy or precise, opaque or sheer, and it’s not entirely predictable. The difference, obviously, is that you’re taking color away rather than adding it.

If you want some basics on how to use bleach to make designs on fabric, you can check out Eve S. on Cut Out + Keep, who made this smashing skeleton shirt:

The one thing I’d do differently: dunk the shirt in a vinegar/water mix when you’re all done painting. The vinegar will neutralize the bleach and help get rid of the stink. Also, wear gloves.

While I have huge heart eyes for that shirt– especially because the entire thing is painted freehand (really nice job, Eve)– I was thinking of something more along these lines:

Either could be done using freezer paper stencils with a bleach spray.

The problems:
1. Those would be some intricate bloody stencils.

2. On the tank, the lettering is lighter than the shirt, so the stencil would be made by cutting out the letters and blocking off the background. On the dress, the letters are dark and the background is light, so each letter would be blocked off and the background sprayed with the bleach solution.
I’m not sure which would be easier.

3. I don’t actually have the time to make either version, because I have twelve art projects to finish up. But if any enterprising bleach fanatic feels like giving it a go, please do report back with your results.


Posted: September 25, 2012 in Uncategorized


Amanda Palmer. I’ll be seeing her in a little over a week. Can. Not. Wait.

Watercolor, ink.

One of the items I have in my Etsy shop is a metal skeleton key with a sculpted gums and fangs. It looks like this:

Now that you’ve seen it, you probably realize it should be in your cold, pale hands. You can snatch it up at the shop.

The idea for this key came from my ever-lovin’-beholden-ferever-boyfriend. He draws pretty damn well, and one day we sat down to play with some clay. He drew up a pile of designs, chose one, and worked it out in clay. I looked at this little drawing of a key with “real” teeth and decided to see if I could make one. Then I gave it to him. He said, “Oh! You made it! And you incorporated the actual metal teeth into it too! That is so much cooler than I was originally thinking!”

So that was a good collaboration. We also worked head-to-head on a costume for a party, once. It’s a very long story, but if you imagine that you have friends who are so awesome that they invent their own holidays just so they can party more, that’s our crowd.

Glory to the Mahatehna. L-R: “Tom,” The Sexy One, The Lord Rahl, The Short One, The Manfriend, A Pretty Good Deal on Gyros.

We messed with designs for several hours, pacing around the house, flinging sketchpads back and forth. It was an interesting experience, because A. I’m not used to people being so creative and specific in their requests for custom work (usually it’s “Oh, I dunno, something kinda…. y’know, neat.”) and B. I realized that I approach things from “Do I know how to make this? Do I have the supplies?” whereas Manfriend entered from “This is the ideal. How could we do it?” It was exhilarating. And I got to sew leather armor, sort of, and make a dreadlock mohawk that got glued to his head. Totally worth it.

Those types of collaborations can be awesome, provided that both parties are willing to compromise, work things out, explore new territory, and keep expectations reasonable. Which we were, so it was all good.

Some other collaborations haven’t been so spectacular. Usually, a “collaboration” is code for “I have ideas that I don’t know how to complete, so I’ll get you to do it for me and expect it to be free because we’re ‘working together.'” Or, “I have this idea and I’d like some help with improving it, but I actually have no interest in hearing YOUR ideas. I just want you to agree with mine.”
Both of those suck.
So if you want to collaborate with an artist, ask yourself these questions:

1. Why do I want to work with this person? Am I after a generic minion, or does this specific person bring special traits/skills to the mix? Do they bring knowledge that I don’t have and couldn’t easily obtain? (Read: “Knowledge I couldn’t get from a decent Google search.”) Am I just being lazy, or do I really need this help to complete my project?

2. Am I willing to compensate the artist? This doesn’t mean money, per se. If nothing else, you should be damned appreciative of any help that anyone gives you, for anything, anywhere, because what they’re really giving you is their TIME– the only resource we always have, right up until we don’t anymore. So regardless of how the end result might benefit the artist/yourself, you should be thankful. They should, too. Everyone should. Being thankful is an easy way to avoid being an asshole.
Anyhow– if it’s a good collaboration, with each participant putting in work/time/resources, make sure people know. If you make a cool video with friends, put everyone’s name on it. If you make a dress and people comment on how nice it looks, mention how your aunt Nan helped with the darts. Gratitude costs nothing and is worth a lot.
AND, if your collaborator ends up helping a bunch (sewing your outfit, editing your song, driving you to the store for supplies), try and throw them a bone. Gas money. Lunch. A few beers. Small gifts are social lubricant- not required, but they make the experience so much better.

3. Do you have a fully fleshed-out idea, or are you looking for a general sounding board? Either is fine, but it might change the conversation if the artist doesn’t know what sort of advice to give. Saying “I’m trying to figure out what Halloween costume to wear, any ideas?” is a lot different than “I’d like to be a fire-breathing dragon for Halloween, but I don’t know how to rig the flames. Any ideas?”

4. Is this person a good fit for my project? This has already been touched on above, but more specifically, remember that there’s a reason artists have a “style.” It’s what they’re good at, what they’re known for, what they enjoy. That doesn’t mean that artists don’t like to step out of their boxes sometimes (or A LOT of the time), but I’ve run into too many circumstances like the following:
Them: “Hey, nice pants. Did you make those?”
Me: “Yep.”
Them: “Wow. Could you help me tailor my prom gown?”
Me: “I’m really not qualified to do that.”
Them: “But you can sew! You made those pants!”
Me: “Yeah, out of a t-shirt. Big difference.”


Them: “I was thinking you’d be a great vendor. You could sell the clothes and jewelry you make.”
Me: “Great! I like to make weird, somewhat macabre, patchwork, looks-tattered-on-purpose things. Stuff that looks like a wicked fairy godmother picked up a century ago and has been adding to ever since. Sound good?”
Them: “Sure! And y’know, you should do some cute baby stuff. Like shoes with glitter and feathers on them. Those would sell.”
Me: “….what about me made you think ‘Makes adorable baby items’?”

I know that sometimes the problem is the “It’s all MAGIC” issue. Like when you can’t draw, people who can draw mildly well ARE DOING MAGIC. Since you can’t draw at all, there’s not much definition between “decent art” and “good art” and “OMFG amazing artartart”. It all falls into the category of “Something I can’t do, and therefore am slightly awed by.” I feel like that about maths. (People who can subtract in their heads ARE DOING MAGIC I SWEAR.)
I’m usually flattered by this sort of thing, and I bet a lot of other artists are, too. It’s flattering to know you think I have skills that I simply don’t have. However, I’d be remiss if I pretended I DID have those skills. I’d be cheating you out of getting what you want.
So please.
If we say we don’t know how to do this or that, please believe us.
We’re probably more aware of our limitations than you are. We spend all day fighting with them.

5. Last bit that isn’t a question, but is something to think about: Collaborate a LOT. And don’t be picky about your source. I teach dance, and I’ve had beginner dancers come up with solutions to problems that were boggling the senior dancers. New perspectives are fresh perspectives. So don’t judge. Listen to people, ask questions, offer ideas, and don’t be offended if they’re not taken. Collaboration isn’t a right, it’s a privilege. And the way you earn it is by playing nice, not by being the bestest.

Inspiration: Skull Racer Back Tank

Posted: September 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

Inspiration: Skull Racer Back Tank

Really pretty sure I could make this. Cut an oversized T into a racerback tank (no sleeves or armholes– just open on the sides. And leave the collar alone to serve as the anchor for the back). Cut the long center portion off. Drill holes in plastic skulls (Dollar store. Spray paint them? NEON?!), slip them over the center bit, and reattach to the neckline. WEAR ALL THE TIME.

The title of this blog is Safetypinner. Yeah. So it should come as no surprise that I have… sort of a thing for safety pins. To celebrate all things safe AND pointy, here’s a few DIY clothing tutorials from elsewhere in the blogsphere.


Smexxy Dead at Instuctables shows how to make this safety pin wing jacket.


Donatella at inspiration and realisation shows how to DIY the Moschino Faire Isle safety pin sweater.


Missnonhuman DIYs some garter tights using pins. VERY clever, and more than a little saucy.


At M.I.S.S., there’s a nifty tutorial for adding fringed epaulets using pins both as anchors and decoration. I would love to see this paired with an overload of pins and studs on a dark denim jacket.


Myhairsfuncolors at Instructables whipped up a “Quick and Dirty” corset shirt.


Over a Chic Intuition, they’ve shown how to DIY this Balmain shirt. For those wishing to show less skin, maybe group several slashes over one shoulder?

Inspiration- Bad Arse Vesty Thang

Posted: September 22, 2012 in Inspiration


From an Etsy shop that isn’t there anymore. Found on Pinterest. Want. Badly want.