Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Blue Jeans into...


I'm still making more stuff by recycling material. Now I'm using my old lovely blue jeans.

A couple of months ago I decided to make little wallets... Why did I get this idea? Very simple. I don't like to have big wallets in my bags so I thought why not to make something smaller but useful?

A little wallet with some pockets. It will work I thought, and actually it did.. I sold lots of them when I went to some craft festivals. The people were in love with those cute mini wallets.

So after this experience I decided to open another store to put those cute little recycled things... This store is about Mother and Daughter. She inspires me with her drawings and ideas. :-)


The Three Mary Wallet

The Piggy Wallet

Two Flowers for You Wallet

I simply cut the legs of blue jeans in rectangles and protect them with interfacing, I decorate the front with designs, appliques, buttons etc. Finally I add colorful fabrics for the inside and overlock the edges. That's all folks!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bottles!


Do you have any idea how hard it is to try to paint fake cloth bottles?? I do! I love old and new bottles. I like to see the world through the glass. It looks different....

So I just wanted to make my own version of vintage style bottles. I used my favorite acrylic paints (van Gogh) and of course muslin fabric.

First I drew the bottles on the fabric, then I sew the shape... and after that I put some soft polyester stuffing inside the bottles.

Then I covered the muslin with gesso and I painted the bottles using different kinds of colors to give the impression of transparency and reflection. After the bottles dried I hand-sew the vintage label into the front part of the bottles. To protect the acrylics and the labels I used Krylon fixative spray (and I discovered ants like it!)

Here is the result... Three unique vintage bottles, Lolo's style. The vintage label was given to me by TinkersShop.com


Wintergreen Oil


Poison


Licorice


Crazy Vintage Bottles

Friday, April 24, 2009

Scrap Rings!


Talking about recycled materials and how I'm trying to turn these materials into something else... I am exploring new ideas and new results.

As you know already I have lots of fabric scraps in my studio. In my other posts I talked about my crazy patchwork and circles brooches from my left-over fabric... Now I wanted to create something else in the same vein with this material. So I decided to make some original, unique and fun rings..

That was easy since I love to wear and make rings,! I can't live without them.

I just cut little circles of fabric, sew the pieces together randomly , decorated it with some beads and buttons and glued the back of the circles to the ring base. Really simple but awesome result at the end.

First Step

Love me Ring.
Be Mine Ring.
Crazy Eyes Ring.
Dog Bone Ring.
Ready to wear.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Recycled Plastic Caps!


In my last post I wrote about our dear Mother Earth and how I was about to recycle some materials to turn them into something else and keep them out of the landfill. So I started with the plastic bottle caps.

For the moment I'm making just little cute pincushions that are actually useful but can also be used as decoration. I cover the caps with little pieces of recycled felt ( from bottle plastic as well ). I decorate them with different kinds of embroidery stitches and at the end of the day you have an adorable and unique pincushion.

First step.

Handmade by my daughter.

The Cake.

The Fried Egg.

The White Flower.

The White Calla.

All my pincushions are hand sewn by me.

Monday, April 20, 2009

On Earth Day...


As if only one day sufficed to honor our Mother Earth, we wax poetic about her and rest complacent that we have fulfilled our obligation. The rest is up to others to take care of. Or is it?

As John Denver sang in "Seasons of the Heart":

It’s hard to tell the truth
When no one wants to listen
When no one really cares
What’s going on
And it’s hard to stand alone
When you need someone beside you
Your spirt, your faith
Must be strong

What one man can do is dream
What one man can do is love
What one man can do is change the world
And make it young again
Here you see what one man can do


Here are some examples of what I'm doing to save, in my own way, our lovely Earth.. I'm recycling lots of materials for my future projects. Plastic bags, plastic bottle cups, fabric scraps, soda, beer caps, old clothes, and more and more.. I just try to turn this recycling objects into lovely pieces of art.. We'll see ..... :-))

Lolos

"Think of it. We are blessed with technology that would be indescribable to our forefathers. We have the wherewithal, the know-it-all to feed everybody, clothe everybody, and give every human on Earth a chance. We know now what we could never have known before-that we now have the option for all humanity to "make it" successfully on this planet in this lifetime. Whether it is to be Utopia or Oblivion will be a touch-and-go relay race right up to the final moment."

— R. Buckminster Fuller 1980

Friday, April 17, 2009

Yarn into Jewelry!

There are lots of street performers this time of the year!

Last summer I went to Linz, Austria, because I had to perform a play of mine there, so I decided to do something different in my free time. My decision was to refresh my crochet memories.

I learned to crochet with my Grandma when I was a teenager but for many years I did not crochet at all. So it wasn't easy for me to start again almost from zero :-(

I practiced every day after my rehearsal. Walking around those beautiful cobbled streets I found some beautiful cotton yarn, the color selection was great and the price was right.


Now after practicing a lot I'm finally able to make my new crochet jewelry. It takes time to finish one single piece! I'm not the fastest person in the world crocheting but for me, the most important part is to have fun while doing whatever I do, so that is what I did when I made these unique and beautiful necklaces... :-)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

From Scraps to Circles to Fibulae!


I love these shapes a lot, circles ..... Actually I'm a fanatic geometric girl. Circles for me are everything.. world, unification, love, family, life.....

My grand inspiration and influence regarding geometric forms and art in general is Kandinsky. I love his work so much. I can admire his art for hours without feeling the time go by. I think his paintings are so alive, colorful, happy, dynamic etc, etc........ just about everything.. :-))

When I lived in Europe, I had the opportunity to see his work in person both at the Bauhaus in Germany and at the The Pompidou Centre in Paris. It was one of the best times ever.

I wish I could have met him, maybe one day...... :-)

Now I come back to my circles... I told you already about my fabric scraps, well I'm still working with them. The other day I got the idea to make some brooches or fibulae, as they were known in ancient times. So I cut the circle shapes in different sizes, stuck them together randomly, added a mother of pearl button in the middle with some beads and voilá... You have an unique and eclectic brooch to wear anywhere.


Lolos


The fibula of old was used to pin garments together. They were in fact the antecesor of the button, which did away with them altogether, at least as far as the original intended use. They were also laden with symbolic meaning.

So I thought I would bring those elements together in a contemporary interpretation, coming back full circle to stand for world, unification, love, family, life.....and why not, recycling! (puns intended:-)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Cinderella Story

Gustave Doré's illustration for Charles Perrault's ''Cinderella'' from
''Histoires ou Contes du Temps passé: Les Contes de ma Mère l'Oye''(1697).

As DIY (do it yourself) crafters, we can certainly relate to the Cinderella story (or Cenicienta as is known in Spanish) in a myriad ways.

But in the interest of brevity in this ADD world:-) I will focus for now on the role of the Fairy Godmother, a role I'm sure, we frequently play, even unknowingly!

As we all know the Fairy had to create (with extra help, that's for sure; LOL!) the princess regalia that she would wear to the ball. And transforming pumpkins, mice, lizards and other unlikely elements was just part of her job description (does that ring a bell or what!).

As you can see the Fairy Godmother is very far from the aseptic Disney version!
Gustave Doré's illustrations appear in an 1867 edition entitled ''Les Contes de Perrault''*

The most interesting part for me was the transformation of her rags into a stunning costume.
Remember that Cinderella had to return before midnight lest her gown would turn into rags again?, Well, this time let's try to prevent that...

I'll deal in this series with some adhesives commonly used in costume design but that can be applied to a number of crafts as well.

Although in Cinderella's time adhesives were mostly made from things like egg-white, bones, milk and tree resins and fibers, (ahhh! the good 'ol times:-) modern synthetic adhesives are complex polymers that can bond most everything to anything, but of course no adhesive will work in every case. I am sure we all have pulled our hair out in frustration when our precious work starts falling apart:-(

And that is why I embarked in this most sticky of quests...(sorry, couldn't help it:-) that I want to share with you as we go along.

We use adhesives not only to glue all the small decorations, sequins, stones etc. to our creations, but also to create textures and 3 dimensional embellishments with hot melt glue and silicone, to protect edges from fraying, to stiffen fabrics to mold into crazy shapes etc. The applications are endless and so are the techniques.

For now I will mention the two main ways in which adhesives bond. Chemical and mechanical.

Chemical bonding means that the adhesive in fact changes the molecular structure of the materials being glued. An example would be when the materials being bonded are actually dissolved or change state to create a "bridge" between them (both sides mix together)

Mechanical bonding will not change the material in any way other than interlocking one with the other. Most fabrics or fibers and porous materials are apt to be bond mechanically. But the best and strongest bonding would be one that bonds the materials both ways, by interlocking as well as by changing their molecular structure.

I think this is as long as I want this post to be, and I have covered nothing yet! I think a good solution, now that you know the topic, is that if any of you have any question related to the what and how, just send me a convo via Etsy (lolos.etsy.com) or leave a comment explaining in enough detail what materials you are trying to bond/weld together and I'll do my best to recommend both an adhesive and how to use it.

I made this dress (and mask) for a costume contest for my daughter Antonia. She won the first prize:-)


* Source for the illustrations

Friday, April 10, 2009

Do you want a bite?


For almost a week I've been working in a new project. I wanted to experiment new techniques and materials. So I decided to work with felt. I am using Craft felt just for the moment, here where I live it's impossible to find wool felt, it's too warm. :-(

I was in love with the small fruits that I was making. It is a lot of work but when you are really involved in something that you know it's going to end gracefully it doesn't matter how many hours it takes. I was enjoying every single minute. I've been going to bed really late everyday because I could not stop doing this great fruits. Addiction is how I call this :-) I had a good time making them. Would you like a taste of Lolos fruit cocktail?:-)






Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sweet Sixteen!

About maybe three months ago some people in Flickr played this game called 16 things about you! Have you any idea how hard it was to say only 16 sweet things about myself?? It took me hours to figure out what to say...because my list was endless. Of course I have thousands of things to say but just only sixteen?? No way!


Sweet Sixteen Things About Me (hahaha!)

Ilustrated by Antonia Lorena ( my daughter ) It's me Ladies! :-)


  1. I live with my husband and daughter.
  2. I love animals specially cats and dogs.
  3. I don't like to get up early in the morning.
  4. I have two siblings older than me so I'm still the baby, yeah!.
  5. I love dance and when my body hears the music it immediately starts to move like crazy.
  6. I don't like bugs so much, specially the horrid giant flying cockroaches from Florida ( I freak out:%0 ).
  7. I like to eat ham, and if possible I would eat it everyday...in fact I'll go eat some right now!
  8. I don't like shellfish specially mussels (yuck!).
  9. I am a rock maniac. I need to work with music, otherwise it's not me.
  10. I am obsessively organized.
  11. I mostly dress in black (like the happy widow:-). That does not mean I don't like colors.
  12. I love flowers but unfortunately I have a very bad hand for them and they die on me!
  13. I love reading but not math, alas, I must study it in order to help my daughter with school.:-(
  14. I love to cook, it's a family disease!...maybe one day I'll open a restaurant :-D
  15. I can't stand strong odors, they give me a headache and I feel like vomiting.
  16. I am a crazy nut that loves to enjoy life (minus 3,6,8,and 15):-D


We should all have something like that in our blogs... Don't you think you know me a little better?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Bonding...

Although this series emphasizes the dangers of some materials we normally use in our crafts it is not meant to scare you away from anything you do, but rather to support the health of the environment and of course of yourself. In other words, this is not intended to be a Party Pooper!



The precautions we should take, the impact on the environment and the reproductive risks that some of these material pose should be of great concern to us.

Many artists still pour the remains of paints, solvents etc. down the drain, since that was allowed even in reputable Art Schools until quite recently.

In this new century we face enormous challenges and the best way to collaborate is by supporting each other and by taking that extra step to do what might seem a little nuisance at first (like disposing of material properly) and transforming that into second nature.

Tip: dedicate a bag or a box to put your scraps instead of tossing them in the garbage. Depending on what you do you can usually find a place dedicated to their proper disposal. Since I use paints, varnishes, epoxies, batteries and such, I take them to Lowes (or HomeDepot) which will gladly recycle them (since they also sell them!) And most communities have a hazardous waste pick-up day.

Trivia: more than 62% of disposed lead comes from batteries alone!

Since this series does not intend to be a comprehensive guide about the use of materials common to all crafts (that would take a fat book indeed) but rather create some food for thought and discussion, I will just mention some obvious ones and more importantly ask you to read the labels of the products you use and Wiki them☺ (it has now become a verb!) to learn about them.

You will find it very interesting and informative.

Most materials we use fall into these categories I call TRIC:

Toxic…………..like, GAAAAGH!
Reactive………like BOOOOM!
Ignitable……….like OOOPS!
Corrosive……...like ????!

Epoxy adhesives, which also include polyurethane, acrylic and cyanoacrylate or “crazy glue” are some of the major class of adhesives we use in crafts in general.

They have excellent structural strength and come in so many formulations that they have become a favorite in the arts as well as for industrial and even space applications. Slow and fast, flexible or rigid, transparent or opaque, they can be used in practically any material from wood to glass, metal, stone etc.(except some plastics, more on that in next installment), withstand high temperatures, and even be used under water in some cases.

Epoxy resin can also be used as a painting medium by mixing it with pigment and working on consecutive translucent layers, and of course it is widely used in jewelry.

Precisely because of these wonderful qualities, we have to be ever more careful when we work with them and take extra precautions particularly around children.

Most epoxy resins require a catalizer or “hardener” to trigger the chemical reaction.
We can easily detect the hardener by the garlic like smell. But like gas in the kitchen, the smell is an indication of something that we must deal with safely. One risk of working with epoxy resins lies in the hardener, which can induce an allergic reaction.

But what we must be very concerned about is that, the hardener contains both epichlorohydrin and bisphenol, which are building blocks of epoxy resins and are endocrine disruptors.

According to some reports* they are linked to some of these effects in humans:

• oestrogenic activity; (female sex hormone related)
• alteration of male reproductive organs;
• early puberty induction;
• shortened duration of breast feeding;
• pancreatic cancer

Needless to say, if you are pregnant avoid using these type of resins altogether.

Tip: When you work with these adhesives make sure you have some white vinegar at hand. Vinegar is an effective solvent and you can use it to clean, not only your tools, brushes etc. but your skin as well. Usually, acetone is listed as the “proper” solvent, but using acetone to clean epoxy will pass the mix into your bloodstream quite efficiently.


This beautiful illustration used by permission from Ashley Smith
"Rip Van Epoxicle"

Trivia: a piece of cured epoxy if buried in the ground for 2000 years will show up practically undisturbed.

Note: In her excellent book “The Artist's Complete Health and Safety Guide”, the author, Monona Rossol , herself an artist and actress with a chemistry background, explains in great detail the specific hazards of materials commonly used by artist in different fields in an easy to understand language.

*Greenpeace report on reproductive health

Friday, April 3, 2009

Scraps!


I don't know how many scrap bags of fabric I have... but I think it is a lot :-).. I'm a person that really loves to make different things all the time. I like to make patchwork bags so much but in my own way that I call * Crazy Patchwork *. I feel free when I start working with the fabric, there is no rule to follow, just your own instinct.. and this is the best part, to trust yourself.

For this season ( Spring-Summer ) I'm making an exclusive collection of cute and unique clutches. They are one-of-a-kind pieces that it is impossible to repeat again. To see more of them I invite you to take a nice tour of my Shop.