Monthly Archives: December 2011

Strawberry Snow Sundae Planter

This giant snow sundae was made by David while shoveling some snow from our back yard. We normally grow flowers or a small tree in this cement planter in the summer months, but in the winter it just sits there empty and drab. While shoveling after one of our snow storms, David decided to pile some of the snow on the planter, then he packed it down with a snow shovel and shaped it with his hands. He then made a snow ball big enough to represent a cherry on top of the snow cap and then added a green plastic tie to the top of the cherry to represent the stem. He then mixed the colors with food coloring and put them in a reused plastic spray bottle and sprayed the snow to look like a strawberry hot fudge sundae. The red swirl straw is made from an old scrap piece of 1 x 2 wood covered with some emergency tape. The ice piece is from an icicle that formed down our gutter. The planter lasted for a few weeks before it started to melt down. Happy Holidays to all from Retrobellish.com!

Snow Strawberry and Chocolate Sundae

Forest Maiden Paper Mache Mask

In the past, when working on paper mache projects, I’ve always made small paper mache items, but I’ve always wanted to try making a large paper mache mask. I thought about the many different style masks I’ve seen on television, in books and at museums. I drew several rough sketches on paper and finally decided to try and make an abstract mask that looked like a forest maiden with leaves for hair.

I found a large piece of masonite board in the garage that I thought would be a perfect size base for my mask. I dusted off the board and wiped it clean. I then gathered a stack of old newspapers and started tearing up sheets into medium size pieces (about 3 to 6 inch pieces). I continued until I had a large pile of torn newspaper pieces. I then made the paper mache paste using flour and water – with a dash of salt as a preservative.

I took some of the larger newspaper pieces and started soaking them into the paste mixture. I first started the mask with the face by placing some of the bigger soaked chunks down on the board. Once I started forming the face, I started to place smaller soaked pieces on top of the base pieces by laying them on as smoothly as possible.

Once I formed a shape resembling a pleasing face, I worked on building up the forehead, the eyebrow areas and then the cheek bones. I rolled and soaked several torn pieces together and placed those large soaked pieces in the area where the nose would go and then did the same with the mouth, which I decided to make slightly open. I then worked on the hair, which I tried as closely as possible to resemble leaves. It is an abstract piece that measures 16 inches in length and 14-1/2 inches wide (the board measures 24 inches by 24 inches). Once I felt it was done, I was very pleased with the entire piece.

Although I started this project on a weekend, I let it dry thoroughly for a week before I primed it with a coat of gesso. The piece is primed and ready to be painted or even embellished with pieces of fabric, beads, small found objects or leftover jewelry pieces, but that will be the next project. I really enjoyed making this mask, and although I used old newspapers, you can always use magazines or any kind of scrap paper to make this project. You can use craft paint, a color wash or patina to paint your piece or any technique you’d prefer.

Forest Maiden Paper Mache Mask Before Primer


Forest Maiden Paper Mache Mask Primered with Gesso.

Embellished Blue Faux Suede Gloves

Sometimes just a little crocheting could give a plain pair of gloves that little pizazz that can change the look for very little money. I used a size K crochet needle and started with 5 chains to cover the length of the folded cuff on the glove. I then single crocheted in each row making sure to stop and measure the crocheted piece against the glove until it met the other end. Using a matching thread, I hand sewed the crocheted trim in a few areas near the edges of the cuff. I then repeated this process for the second glove.

Embellished gloves make a great gift for someone special. You can use any style gloves or mittens, any type of trim or yarn and even buttons or jewelry as embellishments to create a different look.

Plain Faux Suede Gloves Ready for Embellishing


Feather Trim I Used To Crochet on the Faux Suede Gloves


Finished Embellished Faux Suede Gloves

Upcycled Winter Hat, Scarf and Gloves

I started this project with a pretty pink hat I purchased last winter. I really liked the way this hat was made and upon trying the hat on I found out that it didn’t quite reach down over my ears, but I bought it anyway, because I really loved it and knew from the way it was made that I could work with it. I instantly got a bunch of ideas on how I could create a better fit. I then also bought the matching pink scarf and gloves.

I knew I could crochet a band of yarn around the bottom edge of the hat to extend the length and cover my ears. As you may know from my past articles, I am constantly on the hunt for yarn and fabric sales so I have a little collection of each of those. I looked through my skeins of yarns and found several colors that I thought might look great crocheted around the bottom edge of my hat.

When I was ready to start crocheting, some of the yarn colors that I had were in various shades of pink, gray and purple, but when I pulled out a skein of thick black velour yarn, I couldn’t believe how beautiful the thick texture of this velour yarn looked against the knotted texture of the hat’s pink yarn.

Using a size K crochet needle, I crocheted eleven single chains and then five rows before I laid the band onto the edge of the hat. I then folded a bit of the band’s bottom edge over the bottom edge of the hat. The thick velour band looked very nice and well balanced against the heavy thick texture of the hat’s pink yarn.

Because I knew how well the velour yarn looked crocheted with the pink yarn, I decided to crochet two additional braids of single chains all the way around the scarf and then laid them separately (about six inches apart) near each end of the pink scarf. I then hand sewed four braids onto the scarf. I then did the same for the gloves, except that I only crocheted one braid for each glove.

Last, I made the fringe, which I cut and measured by eye. I simply cut one strand of the velour yarn (about 3 inches long), measured how long I really wanted the fringe to be by pulling the strand through one stitch of the scarf’s last row. I then trimmed it to the length I liked, cut all strands to the same length.

Using the same size K crochet needle, I pulled through only two velour yarn strands through one scarf stitch, tied the two strands near the top (using a separate velour yarn strand from the skein), tied a double knot and then I cut the strand two ends (from the skein) to the length of the strands I just tied (this makes the fringe thicker). In a similar fashion, I inserted two strands (tied and knotted) through every three scarf stitches (of the scarf’s last row), until I finished each end of the scarf. Even though this project took me a while to complete, it was a very simple project anyone can do and the embellishments you can use to reflect your taste are endless.

Upcycled Knitted Winter Hat


Upcycled Pink Knitted Hat Scarf and Gloves

Embellished Black Fleece Hat and Scarf

This project started out for me with a worn black fleece hat I had used for more then a few winters. The hat is very warm and very comfortable to wear, and since I have a big head it’s sometimes hard to find a nice winter hat that fits just right. I had some thick corduroy fabric I had previously purchased for making some armrest mats for our couch, but ended up using it for other projects, one of them being a cell phone case for my husband and the brim of the black fleece hat featured in this blog post.

I started by first measuring the hat’s circumference and height because I needed to go all the way around the rim of the hat. I also made sure to include enough fabric to fold over and into the inside rim of the hat. Once I pinned the fabric to the hat, I cut it and started sewing the fabric to the hat. After the corduroy fabric was completely sewn onto the hat, I was very happy with the results and decided to add a little sparkle by sewing on a few seed beads to a very small area on the front of the hat.

I measured the leftover fabric and decided to sew a band onto the bottom ends of my black fleece scarf. I was very glad that I could give my old hat a new look and it was especially nice that I could make a matching hat and scarf set.

This was a fun and easy project for me to do and the embellishments are endless. You can use old earrings, an old pin, knitted pieces, or even feathers if you wanted to, and although I enjoy sewing, you could always use fabric glue or hot glue to adhere your pieces. Remember to have fun and enjoy your embellishing projects to reflect you. So if you have an old hat you just can’t part with, retrobellish it and reinvent it.

Embellished Black Fleece Hat


Embellished Black Fleece Hat Top View


Embellished Scarf To Match Hat

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