Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Baby Gifts - A Sweet How To

One of my college best friends is expecting her first child and I wanted to give her a unique gift in celebration of their new arrival. Several months ago I picked up some antique baby clothes at an estate sale. I'm not sure exactly what I was planning on when I bought them, but they were just adorable and I decided I must have them!

As I was gift brainstorming it dawned on me - I had the makings of the perfect, hand-made, baby gift! I pulled out the baby clothes, some vintage fabric I'd been collecting and some vintage lace, then I made a trip to the craft store.

At the craft store I purchased a white shadow box, cute crocheted flowers and wooden letters to spell B-A-B-Y.

The end result:

Here are the steps!

  • Shadow Box
  • Fabric Glue
  • Vintage Fabric
  • Vintage Lace
  • Wooden Letters
  • Crocheted Flowers
  • Pins (sewing pins or corsage pins) 
  • Baby Clothes

Step 1 - Cover the Board with Fabric

I always buy the shadow boxes with foam core or fabric boards, that way you can choose to pin items, versus gluing them to the board. Because I work with mainly vintage or antique materials I don't want to damage the items that I'm showcasing. I do the same thing in the displays I create for vintage purses.

My first step is always the items that take gluing, because glue needs time to dry. I select a piece of vintage fabric that I think will compliment the items I'm displaying and cut it to fit the board. I recommend using a fabric that is relatively thin, as most of the shadow boxes are cut to the foam backing and don't have a lot of wiggle room. Thicker fabric may cause you issues in getting the shadow box back together.

I use a fabric glue for this step, as it's usually of higher quality, doesn't normally bleed through the fabric and dries clear.

Step 2 - Cover the Letters

I bought unfinished wooden letters at the craft store, but white or colors would work too, it all depends on the piece you're showcasing. Because the antique baby clothes were very neutral in tone I wanted the lettering to feel as organic as possible and stay in the creamy beige family of hues.

I cut vintage lace pieces into squares a little bigger than the letters and then applied glue to the letters and laid them on the lace. 

After letting the letters dry for a bit, to make sure the lace stuck in place, I trimmed up the lace around the letters.

The end result is letters with really wonderful texture and character that add a lot of charm to the piece!

 Step 3 - Layout and Design

The next thing I do is take all of my pieces for the shadow box and start laying them out on the board, testing different options for layouts and designs. To do this with the crochet flowers I cut the backing around each flower, that way I could keep them stuck to the backing, but be able to move each flower wherever I wanted.

After some fiddling and rearranging this is the layout I decided worked best:

Step 4 - Gluing and Pining

The final step in this process is actually putting everything in it's place. I used a ruler to help ensure that the letters were placed evenly from both the sides and the bottom of the board. I wanted to make sure the letters were completely visible when the box frame was put over them. Then I glue them in place.

Next I placed the baby top on the board and arranged it until none of the little jacket was over an edge. From here it was just a matter of adding the hidden pins. I like to apply pins where they can't be seen from the insides of the fabric, hiding them in the sleeves and shoulders, along the seems, one in the middle and then I used one pin to hold the flaps of the jacket shut. It's the only visible metal and I made sure that only a tiny sliver was showing.

The point is to use enough pins that the weight of the piece is held evenly, it doesn't sag or droop and that there are enough of them in place that it doesn't strain or damage the fabric. There are eight large corsage pins in this piece for reference.

After that's done you just apply the crocheted flowers and stand the board up to test all your materials. If nothing sags or moves you're in good shape. If you notice something isn't hanging right or staying up, reapply glue or pins until you're happy.

Place in frame and seal shut! 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Vintage Jewelry Ideas for Winter

Just because it's dark early and cold and gloomy doesn't mean you have to dress that way! Liven up your winter wardrobe and outerwear with some vintage sparkles and bling and you'll feel like a new woman!

Earlier this year I created a blog series on how to wear vintage brooches and make them more modern/multi-functional and several of those ideas were targeted at Fall and Winter wear. Here's a reminder of the ideas you can put into action right now!

Brooches with Scarves -
Brooches with Gloves -
Brooches on Hats -

And as an added incentive, Vintage Baubles & Bits is moving - so in an attempt to reduce inventory before the move our whole Etsy shop is on sale! Each week we'll knock another 5% off until the end of the year! So check out the deals on some fabulous vintage brooches and a whole lot more!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

365 Days of Vintage Jewelry - Day 48

Day 48 - Sterling Silver and Abalone Shell Butterfly Necklace and Pin