Haven't been keeping up with this blog, well, barely at all, but I wanted to do a quick post about a photo shoot I did this week. It was for my friend's new jewelry brand, Wire & Wings. She's not new to making jewelry, but new to taking it all online, so we did one crazy shoot in Palm Beach in which we tried to capture as much of her collection as possible - before the sun went down. It's all at Wire and Wings . com or will be soon if it's not yet.
I think my favorite part of the collection would have to be what she makes for brides. Each piece is one of a kind, no one will ever have the same exact piece as you, and includes everything from veil combs to barefoot sandals. There are things for any bride, but so many perfect pieces for the beach loving boho bride. I can think of some many perfect uses for these at a laid back wedding by the sea.
Any for the rest of us non-brides, plenty of unique things well, including these rad red barefoot sandals and unique crocheted jewelry. Check it all out at wireandwings.com
I love using friends as models for my products. My handmade products are all about love - love of surfing, love of well-made things, the love of creating something for another person that they're going to enjoy. So it makes sense for the photo shoots to be fun too. And it doesn't hurt when the friend in question is a seriously good model too!
So last week I got together with this particular model-worthy friend and we took photos of some new things I'd made for fall/winter. A very fun afternoon! Cold-season things are always the hardest because even though it's winter everywhere else, it's still 80 degrees here in Florida! So I supposed this is really fall/winter for the Floridian.
There's not a whole lot to say here, except WHAT?!? Chapman at Sea, my handmade collection of beach-going goods, was featured in the July/August issue of Foam Magazine. So stoked!
The alternate title for this post is "how to make a new thing look really old in 30 minutes."
Last Sunday my husband Joe wanted to make a duffle bag to carry his dive gear to work in so we came up with the bag in the photo. Halfway through, Joe decided the bag would be better if it were made of waxed canvas and so with that we decided to attempt creating our own homemade waxed canvas.
There are a lot of different recipes online for the wax. Ingredients include beeswax, paraffin, turpintine, linseed oil and some other more random things. We decided to keep it pretty natural with a simple 75% beeswax / 25% paraffin formula.
Waxing canvas deepens the color, makes it waterproof, and also makes it much stiffer. If you'd like to try it for yourself, here's the process we used.
Of course, the first thing you need is something to put the wax on. I made this mini duffle bag from the same khaki colored washed cotton canvas that I use in my board bags and decided that it would be our first victim.
Look how nice and clean it is. I'd just finished making it here. A lovely, light canvas bag... now let's age it 100 years.
Step 1. Put the solid wax into a can, like a clean soup or coffee can. Pick the formula that sounds good to you. Like I said, we went with a beeswax/parafin combo, but you can do any formula you like. You don't even have to mix them at all.
Place the can in a pot with some water in it and simmer it. Basically you're creating a double boiler to melt the wax. When the wax is all liquid, it's time to paint it on the canvas.
Step 2. Paint the wax into the canvas and say goodbye to the fresh, clean fabric. We got some cheap, large craft paintbrushes to use for this. It makes a bit of a mess too, so be sure to do it over something you don't mind getting wax all over. It's going to look really bad at this point. The wax will be uneven and might dry with drips all over.
Step 3. For it to look right, you need to even out the wax and remelt it into the fabric. Hit it with the heat from a hairdryer on the hottest setting (or use a heat gun if you want to get serious). You'll see the wax start to warm up and sink deep into the fabric. That's what you want! I thought this was really cool. It goes into all the seams and folds, the whole coating smooths out, and it takes on a nice aged appearance.
So here is the finished waxed canvas duffle. You'll notice the khaki has turned a lot darker and it's almost an army green color. This is because the beeswax has a yellow tint to it.
Another cool feature of the waxed canvas is that it can be folded and it holds its shape. So I was able to create a rad wrinkled texture by scrunching the bag up and then smoothing it out.
There's lots of room to play around and make different textures. The wax can be reheated over and over, wiped off, and reapplied.
It looks like a completely different bag, and since I love old, lived with things it was right up my alley. It ended up looking very much like my old WWII army bag. They honestly look like they belong together now!
To finish it off I made a long shoulder strap of nautical rope and some cool brass clasps. I think it would make a great toiletry bag for a guy. Or a camera bag. Or a very un-girly purse. It's super tough now, and fairly waterproof, so it could really be used for anything!
Recently I came across a product I had to share, Tarrago Self Shine Color Dye. This stuff is amazing! It can change the color of anything leather and make it look brand new and nice again. And it's really easy to do. And it's not a huge mess. It's the perfect DIY project!
I found it by researching leather dyeing online. After reading about some great results on the Friendly Fox blog, I decided to give it a try. I had this sicky olive green J.Crew purse that was technically a nice bag, but that I never used because of the awful color.
Last week I spent a fun afternoon shooting some photos with a friend. Whenever I do this kind of thing I realize why in the real world it takes a whole team to make stuff like this happen. It's easy to make something, but then to style it, model it, photograph it, pose it - it's so much to think about. Too overwhelming!
Fortunately I had a really great model (who is also pretty good behind the camera too!) and it worked out great. I think we got some awesome shots. I did learn one little fix that might be worth sharing with anyone else that wants to do a photoshoot with a friend...
Here's what usually happens to me. I find a cute friend and say let's take photos. Sounds great, super fun, but then when the camera actually points at them, they get a little awkward and mumble "what do you want me to do?" I'm not much of a photographer so I have no clue how to say what they should do. I'm usually like, "Just look good, ok?"
So this time, we took turns being the model & photographer. When one person got tired posing we'd swap and put the other in front of the camera. It made things so much better! Nobody was stuck in one role, which can be really boring, and it didn't feel as silly to pose if the other person was going to have to do it too. So that's my tip for happy friend photo taking - get everyone involved in everything.
The Tribal Crossbody Bag
Surf Day Tote
I recently came across Pschh I Can Make That.com, a craft blog where Abby Elaina & her husband make cute videos showing how to create designer inspired garments at a fraction of the price. It looked like so much fun I said to myself, "Pschh, I can do that too!"
And so I present my first attempt at sewing a garment. I make bags (and I make 'em good too!) but I hadn't tried clothing yet, and this seemed like a good way to give my usual "learn by doing" approach a try.
The inspiration garment was a baby doll dress from Planet Blue that cost $110. I loved the style but it was a little too short, I didn't want the open back. I also wanted the hem short in the front, long in the back, instead of short on the sides. Ok, so I basically wanted a completely different dress, but with a similar feeling. Oh and mine ended up getting buttons down the front of it too because I wanted to try doing buttonholes by hand.
I found some cheap quilting fabric with a similar dip dyed feeling (cheap seemed like a good idea since this was a first attempt) and I made my own pattern by tracing a shirt I already had. I went pretty good! The only snag was that the first version was WAY too big, so I ended up taking the whole thing apart, trimming it down and reassembling it.
I started working with canvas because I like it and it was the best material for my board bags. Since finishing the first board bag collection, I've kept on working with the same materials to come up with some new bags and purses.
Each one is decorated by hand with desert-inspired, tribal style design. I just love drawing on fabric. I've been playing around with different ink on fabric applications for awhile and it may be my favorite medium at this point. See more of these creations in my Etsy and Storenvy shops.
Anyone who knows me knows I like to create. Even though drawing/art is my main thing, I take a lot of breaks from it to try other forms of creativity. It keeps my brain fresh. Working on the same thing too long tends to make it feel heavy, makes the project seem dull and its fun to try new things. That said, I'm SO excited to announce my latest project: Chapman Board Bags!
I have a WWII army bag that I inherited from my grandfather and it's one of my most favorite things. When I take trips it gets stuffed full of supplies and gear and off it goes. It's been all over the place and gotten lots of abuse, but the worse it's treated, the better it looks. The only problem is, even tho it holds a lot, it's not big enough for my surfboard. So I decided to make a board bag in the same style as the army bag, something that had the same old school vibe, and was well made out of durable stuff.
My grandmother taught me how to sew, so I had a pretty good idea what I was doing. It turned out to be a lot of fun too, and I made a pile of them. They're available for sale on Etsy or through me directly. So far, each one is unique even tho they all share the same old school aesthetic.
Check them out at the website: ChapmanAtSea.com and on Etsy. I love making these things and am super proud of them. I did a lot of research on the design, materials and sewing methods to make sure the quality would be awesome. Customs are available: customer orders, custom colors & sizes, all of it. Let me know what you want.
Silent Night is one of my most popular designs and now it's being produced in leather and bamboo by the nice people at Grove. Like all their cases, the iPad case is an eco-friendly, quality product. The bamboo feel great in your hands and even though it's really protective, it's not too heavy.
It comes in black and london tan leather. I've had the tan version for about 6 months and I'm very happy with it. The leather is that nice type kind that gets better with age.
Check it out here: