Monday, August 9, 2010

New line of Top Hats - "Steampunk Stylish" and made to order!

It took me a while...

...but I've got it perfected! Elegant and unique, my Mad Hatter Toppers are made to order with as much (or as little) flair as your personality demands.

These hats have "hit the streets" from L.A. to London, which has me thinking they are pretty edgy fashion-wise!

Whether you want a classic Fred Astaire look, a more modern Steampunk bent, a bold Fantasy design or a dash of Alice's eccentric friend from Wonderland - I can create a Topper to suit your tastes.

I'm hoping to work with some theatre companies to create hats for plays and concerts, so spread the word to your local community theatres...

Materials can range from velvet to cotton knit and I especially enjoy making these Fantasy designs with a double layer of contrasting color with a cut-out on the sides of the hat and the reverse applique' on the top.

Embellishments can range from simple to flashy hatbands or add some hatpins, gears and springs - or even feathers to complete the look you desire.

I hope you'll shop around and convo me with ideas and special orders for yourself or a spectacular gift!
If Top Hats "aren't your speed" shop around in my other sections;

Handmade Unisex Hats   or...  Unique Fashion Hats

to find the right hat for you!

Check out amazing creations from etsy's Recyclers' Guild - WasteNot - more fabulous finds from eco-friendly artisans around the country!

"Haute new" fashions from "cool old" recycled vintage leather

Jacqueline - leather tote handmade from vintage leather jacket by VintageChaseThere are few discarded fashion items that pull at your conscience quite like an out-dated leather jacket. It seems like such a waste, but... really - who'd want to be seen in that butterfly-winged, quilted, studded jacket from 1983? It's amazing how well these style-dinosaurs hold up over the decades, turning up at thrift shops and garage sales everywhere you look!

As it turns out, all those extra zippers and pockets come in handy when carefully worked into an absolutely one-of-a-kind bag. VintageChase creates dozens of these clever beauties using leather alone or combined with other recycled textiles.
Bold shoulder leather and denim jacket by LeilanniLand &

Not always recognizable to the unsuspecting eye - recycled/reclaimed materials can catch you off guard. LeilanniLand takes the sleeves from 90s fashion jackets and puts them right back where they started in fabulous, fashion forward designs. You might think you have never seen these striking leather sleeves before, but think again... Clever re-working results in, "voila", brand new styling! Paired up with some of her edgy leggings or one of OmneeHart's skirts this jacket certainly makes a gutsy statement!

This is really only the tip of the iceburg - searching on etsy or Seed&Sew under "recycled leather" will give you options to ponder all day long...

And it's not just small, owner-operated, online artists who are taking the recycled leather bull by the horns. U.S. and International companies are jumping onboard as well.

Women of Colico

Sustainable shoe company, Colico, is based in NYC and has a web boutique that features their eco-friendly shoes in as many styles as you can imagine. Taking it a step further, the women at Colico carefully select their materials from many renewable sources including;: reclaimed leather, certified sustainable forestry wood, vegetable dyes and glues and recycled parts.

Purses, bags, journals, belts, jackets, cuffs, hotpads, headbands and more - there's no need to toss out perfectly good leather with all these options available. Check out the slide show below to see more 21st century artists and what they do with your old vintage leather "trash".

For more info: Women of Colico, EarthLover, MissMalaprop

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Give the gift of green - recycled wedding, graduation & housewarming gifts

Recycled Glass Bottle Tumblers from Bottlehood
Gift giving can be time consuming and overwhelming - so lots of folks are shopping online to save time and their sanity! It's now just as easy to find handmade, original gifts as it is to shop retail!
For around the house or gift giving, there's always a greener option than buying new and an artsier alternative to mass production.
Got a recent high school grad in your life? Consider giving them a set of repurposed glass bottle tumblers for the new apartment or a recycled denim area rug for the dorm room.

Salt and Pepper Shakers Made From Old Table Legs from Kentucky Green
Wedding gifts can become treasured heirlooms if they start off being something super special and unique like this pair of salt & pepper shakers made from repurposed table legs. They look great and already come with a great "back story".
Quilts are another awesome tradition and a great wedding gift. If you can't make one yourself you can still give one to the newlyweds and rest assured they'll treasure it for years to come!
Ponte Vecchio, solid white oak bench  by StilNovoDesign
Ponte Vecchio, solid white oak bench by StilNovoDesign
An elegant white oak bench finely crafted from wine barrels as a gift to celebrate a house-warming has fabulous potential for becoming a treasured family piece.
In our fast-paced world with our busy lifestyles there just isn't enough time to make hand-crafted gifts ourselves for all those special occasions. But they can still be part of your gift giving style and another great way to support the economy and ease up on the environment.
For more info: Wedding gifts on etsy, Sweet Love Gifts, Shop Local - Lawrence, KS, Shop Local on etsy

Check out more of my "Green" articles at Recycling Examiner

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Recycled decor a la naturale

Driftwood Garden Sign by Cher's Passion
Driftwood Garden Sign by Cher's Passion
Most of us equate recycling with plastic, paper, cardboard, metal and glass. It's important that these materials be reused whenever possible to help curb society's insatiable need for product packaging. But what about nature's "waste"?

For one thing, there is already inherant beauty in most of what nature disposes of. Driftwood, rock fragments, fossils, nutshells (natures idea of "product packaging") and the like.

Artists with an "earthy eye" can highlight that beauty with color and composition to create fabulous recycled art for your home and garden. From sparkling garden signs and yarn embellished driftwood plaques to colorful fish and more.

Sunrise at Sea
 by ReLove
Sunrise at Sea from ReLove
Cherri of Cher's Passion dabs bits of color and light into the surface of a piece of driftwood with colored glass, combining the brilliance of the sun and the dry, mottled surface of the wood to create Rain, a naturally "lighted" garden sign.

Some of the loveliest natural recycled art to be found makes use of color and composition to work with natural materials, bringing out intricate detail. These pieces make fascinating objects to ponder as the elements "refer" to each other and wake up the mind to patterns and relationships bewtween the worlds of nature and humankind.

In Sunrise at Sea by ReLove, tiny nails adhere straight lines of blue and yellow to a piece of wood, bending the distinction between lines and curves in something like an optical illusion.

Equally intriguing is the concept of working against a natural object to make use of form and shape. Pointing out relationships between the medium and the subject in a more subliminal fashion.
Catch Me If You Can by Into the Trees
Catch Me If You Can from Into the Trees

With Catch Me If You Can, Janet of Into the Trees masks the identity of her base material with a brightly colored, animated fish to focus on the form and movement of an elegantly shaped dried palm frond.

People have been collecting pretty rocks and driftwood for centuries to enhance their gardens, sitting areas and drives. Nature loving artists add a bit of "this and that" to enhance the beauty and keep us closer to Mother Nature.

These artists show that there is beauty in anything we might mindlessly throw away, if only we're willing to look just a little bit closer...

For more info: Earth911, HauteNature
Check out more Recycling Examiner articles!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Let's Throw Away Our "Throw Away" Lifestyle

Many labels have surfaced to describe Americans' attitudes and practices pertaining to waste and our environment. The term "throw away society" is one of those labels that refers to trends in consumerism that have resulted in an over tenfold increase in "product waste" between 1900 and 2000 (from 92 to 1,242 pounds per person per year).

This steady and continuing increase in wasteful behavior is encouraged and fueled by business and manufacturing models that focus on limited or planned obsolescence, vertical integration and other profiteering practices. Sometimes masked by development restraint or mistaken for progress, these practices continue to succeed. Diverting attention from the damage they cause by appealing to the individual desire to be successful and "live well". Outrageous profits can be realized by tempting consumers to replace useful items with "newer", "better" versions while they are still viable and functioning.

“Product waste” also includes the ever-increasing disposal of viable packaging materials, most of which are not readily decomposable, and which now comprise 32% of all municipal solid waste. Product packaging is currently the easiest and most widely recycled type of waste; although cost benefit arguments over income loss and social costs vs. benefits and savings continue to be fought.

Another 30+% of total solid waste is shipping packaging - that makes 2/3 of all solid waste attributable to packaging!

It is possible for us all to grow out of the "throw away" mindset and head into a bright, new future of dynamic, creative recycling, reuse and repurposing of these goods that will be our legacy if we choose to participate.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Having Fun with Wrist Cuffs

I've been playing around with neckties (again) and I'm having a blast creating wrist cuffs. They seem inherently "Steampunk" to me - being made from vintage neckties and lending themselves nicely to "mechanical" embellishment.

They seem to appeal to guys too - which is a plus. I think everyone should wear jewelry of some sort... and hats of course!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Fantastic Interview with Harriete Estel Berman by Ira Mency

The fearless leader of the etsy Recyclers' Guild, "WasteNot", coordinated an interview with professional artist/craftswoman Harriete Estel Berman as a part of one of our on-going monthly projects; "Spotlight Guest Member Award."

Questions were submitted by various team members and Harriete gave such thoughtful and thorough answers! This is a great read for anyone who wants to be inspired to start/continue pursuing their art as a business.

Check out the interview here; Interview with Harriete Estel Berman

Monday, March 15, 2010

Awesome Cache of Recycled Creativity!

A friend turned me on to a great, inspirational site for the recycle-minded called Recyclart. There is a forum for discussions on a variety of creations and there are links to places to find out more or purchase items. Some of these offerings are mind-bogging in scale and really get the "storm in your brain" going.

Check out Recyclart at; to see some great innovative, creative, over the top and just plain bizarre offering from all over the world!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mens' Hats Available

I got Justin to do some modeling for me - so now I can post them as mens' hats! Most of my hats are "unisex" and far be it from me to tell any guy or gal that the hat they love isn't for them, that's not the point at all - the idea is to help anybody envision themselves wearing one!

See them all at;

Saturday, March 6, 2010

New Flower Bobs!

I'm having a blast creating these new "hair bobs" from recycled silk neckties. So far I've got roses, poppies and daffodils and I'm trying to create some crocus and/or iris - but they're tricky!

Check out the full line on etsy at;

I got my tags last week and I've been busy putting them on all of my items as well. I've made them into an "adjustable system" for wearing these nifty flower bobs too. By stitching them on with several different sizes of "loops" the tag can be used to affix the flowers to bobby pins, barrettes, scarves, headbands, safety pins, belts and more. These little guys are so versatile!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

They're Out!

I've posted two new spring cloche hats on my etsy page at and there are more to come!

I love these hats because they're light and colorful with lots of stretch - you hardly know you're wearing them! I've really enjoyed designing these pieces because I'm letting the materials lead my styling. Using recycled materials creates a unique challenge because the fabrics are different, the usable portions vary and these differences keep me from "mass producing" anything!

This weekend I just threw a bunch of t-shirts and turtlenecks into a pile and left them on the counter while I worked - every time I returned to the pile I "saw" a new hat and it kept me motivated. I thought I'd miss the patterns of my ties and sweaters, but utilizing the solid colors has opened up a whole new window.

I'm hoping to find some hat enthusiasts who really want "one of a kind" items. These aren't hats that will appeal to just anyone - but I'm on my way to creating enough variety that I think there's a good chance you'll find one you like.

Check them out and let me know what you think;



Friday, February 19, 2010


I'm working on drafting up a pattern for a SWEET little spring/summer cloche hat made from recycled knits - this is gonna be awesome! Once I have the basic pattern down I'll be able to do lots of fun stuff with this hat - I'm sooo excited!

I'm also going to make a run of the rasta tams out of lighter knits and crazy color-combinations. I think I'm gonna spend the whole weekend sewing, so I doubt I'll mind the nasty weather.

My biggest project once I get rolling is figuring a good "brim" for some of them - I've been saving pop bottles and I think they'll make a great stabilizer. I've got some really whack ideas rolling around in the back of my head for bizarro hat-brims too.

The more I listen to the news and revel in working for myself rather than for someone else... the more I worry about us all and hope for the best. My job though - keep myself covered and not be a drain on society. Hopefully I'll inspire some others to follow their bliss because it CAN work and it leads to such a great sense of power and peace.



Thursday, February 18, 2010

I'm beefing up the vintage stuff for now...

I've suddenly begun to worry that what I need is stuff for spring, not more winter hats! So I'm getting ready to post alot of retro/vintage stuff I have that's great for spring or less season-specific.

It's really quite time-consuming trying to get pictures taken and edited and posted - and I can't even begin with that until I've cleaned/ironed/repaired the stuff... so this is going waaay slower than I had anticipated!

In the meantime I've ordered cards and tags so that when I'm ready to roll, well, I'll be ready to roll!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

New Hats this weekend!

Dear Public, Electronic Diary,

I'm working (& re-working) my fingers off preparing new hats to list in my shop this weekend. I've based my next batch on the feedback I've gotten - and I'm pretty excited!

Let me know which ones tickle your fancy - this kind of feedback is vital! I'll keep doing my thing, but the point is (after all) to create hats people will wear...

Thanks for playing,


Ready to go!

Been procrastinating on this forever - several false starts! I'm ready to actually get this rolling.

I'm excited about "23 Things" and hoping it will help me learn what I need to know to create the kind of blog I've been dreaming about :)