Thursday, August 31, 2017

Elegant in Gray

Gray is one of my favorite colors and I have incorporated it into my entire house. Gray and grey can be used interchangeably and that is okay by me. I wanted to make an elegant gray top hat that is more feminine and had some lace and frills. Here is the end result.  
I was lucky enough to be asked to be a guest designer at Xanderous Crafty Stash again and have used metal pieces from there. All of the metal pieces were heat embossed using a mix of white, gray, and silver embossing powders. I layered the metal pieces to create a flower look and used a brad for the middle. 
The hat was painted silver gray in layers. I wanted to make sure the hat had a nice even coat of paint over it. The inside of the hat was painted as well. The lace was adhered to the hat with hot glue and shaped to form around the base of the hat.
The little rivets that are on the top of the hat with the bands are made using a hole punch and glued with glossy accents. This hat was meant to look crisp, clean and ready for a photo shoot.
The largest feather was curled using some tricks I have learned about working with feathers. It creates such a wonderful added dimension to the feather cluster. And feathers can also be colored using food coloring (more about that later).
This mini top hat is the most frilly hat I have designed so far. I do have to say that I like the overall look and feel of the hat. Using quality lace was a must. I don't like that itchy lace stuff!
The back of the hat (above picture) features another metal flower cluster. The lace was gathered in the back and draped over the edge for a nice Victorian feel. And that lace is so soft!
The top view of the hat shows the "rivets" better. Just a regular old one hole punch produced these rivets. You don't need anything fancy to make em.
This side view of the hat shows the gathering of the lace around the base of the hat. Because the hat has a curve to it, I had to figure out a way for the lace to lay flat. By gathering the lace at the back of the hat and only gluing the bottom of the lace, I was able to form it better. Trial and error. Haha! I so enjoy making these hats and trying different designs. The sky really is the limit for my designs. I hope you enjoyed!

I would like to share this altered mini top hat with these amazing challenges:

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Dark Harlequin Mini Top Hat

It sure has been a bit since I made a mini top hat. I have been itching to design a new one. With a new challenge at Mix It Up, I figured this would be a great time to get started! I didn't use the twist of Paper Piecing but the stencil sure was pieced together!
I started with my usual craft foam and drew out the template. Then I painted everything with red acrylic paint (2 layers) and grabbed a Tim Holtz Harlequin stencil. I used black texture paste through the stencil.

Once the texture paste was dry, I cut out the different pieces. The hardest part was waiting for the texture paste to dry! I didn't use a heat tool because the foam will change shape. 
I glued all the pieces together with contact cement. That is the ONLY glue that will hold this hat together. Nope, don't try hot glue. It doesn't work well.

I grabbed some metal pendants and such from my stash and used black alcohol ink on the pendant hanging on the front of the hat. The skull is from Emerald Creek and I applied Snow Cap AI to it. 
The "ribbon" around the base of the hat is leftovers from another project. I also made a little bow out of it.
The skull lady pendant is from Tim Holtz. The feathers were glued together and shaped with the back of my dull scissors. The skeleton hand is leftover from Halloween and painted black with white highlights for the bones.
The top of this hat has a Creative Embellishment rose chippie. I used Emerald Creek Classic embossing powder-Candy Red and adhered it with Tombow glue. Ta-da! Sounds easy but this took me awhile to create. Carpe Diem! ~Niki

I want to share this design with these wonderful challenges:

My process is the making of a hat from scratch. Try it! You won't be disappointed. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017


Hello lovelies and welcome to my blog! Some of you may know about my mini top hat obsession. I wanted to challenge myself even further and add a more prominent sculpt to a hat. I set about creating Octopoda! Hope you enjoy because this was by far the most fun I have had designing a top hat! When I make these hats I am a Mad Hattress Maven, hence the new copyright.
I started with the usual foam template and glued everything together. Then I set about using my new Finnabair Patina pastes! These pastes are awesome and dry super fast! Two of the paints have texture included in it. I just added color where I wanted it and the texture was an added bonus!

I used the brass color last instead of first like some people do. I always seem to do things backward. Haha! I added the pastes with my fingers and also with some different brushes. Then the pastes got a dusting of Artisan powder-La Chapelier. This added a nice grunge to the hat. 
I then grabbed some random metal pendants and pieces and coated those with the same pastes and powders. Everything looks like it goes together well but all were painted differently. Then I started on the sculpt of the octopus. I have never tried this before and was overwhelmed.. 
I ended up watching multiple YouTube videos about sculpting an octopus and came across a video by Stephanie Kilgast that helped immensely! I was then able to to begin my sculpt and just have a good play with the clay. The legs took forever because I kept breaking the darn things off! Oops. I realized I was making my legs way too small! Haha! The little suction cups took a lifetime to create, well it seemed like a lifetime and my fingers were sore. Next time I may try some beads instead. 
The octopus was painted with Finnabair Art Alchemy paints-Metallic Mermaid and Deep Water. I kept layering the colors until I was happy. I added some white dots around the head of the octopus because it looked good to me and helped define the head. 
Top of the hat
All of the trinkets and tid bits you see were altered (painted) with the patina pastes and artisan powders. The netting was leftover from a project I did about a year ago. The shells are real and are a gift from a friend of mine. I also added some "pearls' and blue "bubbles"
Side view of the hat
The pictures of this hat really don't capture the essence of the piece, but I am probably my own worst critic. Aren't we all? Every time I look at this design I am surprised to say that I MADE this piece! 
Back of the hat
The back of the hat shows more of the netting and adds a nice texture as well. I think the netting was what made me decide to create a sea themed design. 
The octopus
A closer look at the octopus. It was a doozy creating those legs but in the end, the effort was totally worth it and then some! Those little suctions are awesome sauce and little devils as well.
Side view of the octopus
Can you see the little white dots that help to define the head of this octopus? I also added some to his body as well and then painted a light coat of the Metallic Mermaid over the dots so it wasn't such a stark contrast.
Top side view of the octopus
Do enjoy the journey and stop to learn from different artists. I so enjoy seeing what others are making and different ways to incorporate new ideas into my designs! Hugz and Carpe Diem!

I would like to share this design with these challenges:

Mixed Media Place July Challenge-Moodboard
I was inspired by the ocean and the quote. 

I have been reading the Shade series (a total of 45 books) and they talk about these evil mermaids
that live in the sea and have sea pets. This octopus looks like one of their pets. 

I was inspired by the gears and overall Steampunk vibe of this board.