About Me

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Happy in my studio

A graphic design background puts a sense of proportion and order in all the things I make. When I can brighten your day with something I’ve made, that brightens my day, too. Thank you for being part of the joy!

Since opening my etsy shop in April of 2016 I have been focusing most of my attention there.

Everything you see in my etsy shop I make, one at a time. I… Can’t. Stop. Making things! I’m a little nuts about it, actually. This is a lifelong problem that started with my grandma teaching me how to crochet when I was 7 or 8. Which lead to knitting and then to sewing and so much more.

I’m going to create things no matter what. And I’m currently in the process of learning how to connect my things to the people who will really appreciate them (marketing).

I work in whatever medium is intriguing me at the moment. And I like to really dig into a project. For as long as the process fascinates me. For as long as I’m enjoying it and learning something. After that, I say no to boredom and stale ideas! That’s how I ended up with such a wacky and fun assortment of treasures. I would love to find homes for all of them.

There’ll be more. Always more. Including some surprises for you. And me, too!

About the Work

Through my etsy shop item descriptions, I get you some backstory on each piece. I try to explain the why of it, and sometimes also the how.

MY PROCESS. I have piles of fabric, stacks of patterns and paints, and tools stuffed into every corner. All mixed with things from my personal life. All in big heaps in small spaces. I have a friend who likes to picture me sitting at the sewing machine whipping up worlds of whimsy. Hold on to that image because that is the reality—it’s just hard to take a photo of it because of there are so many ideas laying around everywhere.

QUALITY. I do my very very best, always. I’m proud of my work which is good. The downside is that I nit pick and grab my seam ripper (and other tools of destruction and undoing) far more often than might be strictly necessary. What can I say? Tightly done construction is part of my look and style.

MINIMAL WASTE. That’s my mindset. I love working with beautiful new fabrics. I also love to upcycle and repurpose. To score great finds at garage sales and thrift stores. To use up every last scrap of fabric. Take apart old jewelry and repurpose beads. Cut up old books for collages, etc.

MINIMAL PACKAGING. Sometimes I sew studio labels into my pieces, other times I attach a tiny paper tag with my logo. I ship almost everything in a padded mailer with just a little bit of white tissue wrap.

Island inspired art and gifts hand made in Hawaii.
THANK YOU!
Alexis

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Jewelry Play

Finished necklace.

Finished necklace.

For a while now I’ve been resisting making jewelry. Many dozens of excuses! Finally, I called a friend for help and I am so glad I did. Help was so important to get me past that stage of not even knowing what I kind of jewelry I wanted to make. Some excellent reading materials were provided to me and I studied them.

Here is a picture of the finished piece that I’m highlighting. Click on any picture for a larger view.

While looking through the jewelry supply catalog, I spotted a project I wanted to make. Picking a project to make got me past my instinct to design something. As much as I love designing, to get started I just wanted to practice the making. Sort of awkward anyway, to attempt to design something that I have no idea how to make. Something had to come first. And as it turns out, the design I liked determined the techniques I wanted to learn. Felt good to finally get off of square one.

Because the (two inch thick) catalog was a little dated, some of the supplies for my chosen project were sold out. Others cost more than what I cared to spend. This was perfect, it gave me the opportunity to make the necklace my own instead of following the design exactly. Win. The design appealed to me because I have a tendency to make things too even. This one is definitely apart from my usual rhythm. I’m not sure if I really love the asymmetry as much as I crave irregularity, but I’m getting that figured out.

After studying a photograph of the design I wanted to make, my wonderful wonderful friend, Charlene, combed through her collections and shot me back photographs of charms and ephemera curated just for my project. I was thrilled to choose several absolutely perfect pieces from her photos before I decided what I still had to purchase. I decided on several items from the materials list, relying on that information to get the correct gauges and sizes for this scale and type of project.

Me with Sissy and Buster.

Me with Sissy and Buster.

Before long, the day had arrived for me to pick up my tools and goodies and head on over to Charlene’s for my lesson. Here I am with the fur babies, Sissy and Buster. Miss Bird was feeling camera shy and declined to be photographed. In this picture I’m being given a nice pep talk by Charlene before we get started.

This project involved some wire wrapping which I’ve wanted to learn and assumed was way out of my reach. The wire wrapping lesson was so much fun. I wanted to wrap everything! Beforehand it seemed like a far away mystery but I was given some special secrets. Such as, in every project something is expendable. In this case, the wire is expendable!! Take off more than I need and toss the extra. Start over and don’t worry about saving the bent wire. Practice. At one point Charlene said, when I show you how to tighten the wires you are going to say “ohhhh” and she did and I said “ohhhh” right on cue, it was involuntary, really. We both laughed. Silliness.

In process.

In process.

After a few hours of advice and instruction, and several charms and components richer, I went home to assemble. I had been encouraged to expend wire and I did. It took several attempts at wrapping to feel that it had the look and security that I wanted. To achieve a stronger loop, I decided it was easier to use a double strand rather than a thicker wire, at least this time. I spent the rest of Friday afternoon wrapping and hooking dangles together. Rearranging the possibilities. I was surprised to discover it was 6:30 pm and I was still in the studio.

Beads and baubles.

Beads and baubles.

Saturday morning I sat down and got serious about the assembly. I don’t have much for process photos. I really didn’t know what the process was yet! In above photo, the main part of the necklace is completed and I am adding the dangles. Still deciding which parts to hook together. The beads are strung on a crimped beading wire. The rest is assembled with jump rings and other findings.

Here is a picture of some of the components I worked with. An assortment of bought, found, and made items were used. The large chain pictured is actually a lightweight nylon-covered rubber chain. Very easy on the neck. An assortment of jump rings, head pins and eye pins are what I used to assemble the necklace and dangles. In this project I used a variety of metal colors and I’m enjoying the the mix. Also, gotta love the many “antique” colored metals available, no polishing required.

There were some surprises. First, because I was facing the work, I made a mirror image of what I thought I was doing! Later, I discovered it makes a delightful little clinking noise when I put it on and move around. Like an itty bitty wind chime.

Below are some closeups of the dangles and wire-wrapped components.

Now I’ve decided that jewelry making is definitely going to be one of my things that I do. I love that it is a quiet job. No power tools. No chemicals. I get to take my time making decisions and can change my mind without leaving a trace of correction behind. (Even if I have to expend a few jump rings to get there.) It took several tries to get the dangles at the bottom to hang in the order I wanted them. I just kept taking the components apart and rearranging the findings until I was satisfied.

Even with all the fussing and re-doing, I wrapped it up Saturday afternoon and felt very good about the experience. I deeply appreciate having this clean studio to work in and clean tables to spread everything out onto. So many thanks go to my sweet husband who gave me the fabulous gift of this beautiful studio.

I’ve tidied up for now but am keeping the tools and supplies close by and dreaming up some new projects.

Thank you for reading my blog!
Aloha, Alexis

Doll Clothes Summer Fun Fashion Show

Highlights from last week’s photo shoots. Featuring tiny clothes for the Hawaiian Girl Dress Up Doll. There are shorts and tee shirts for the Hawaiian Brother Doll, too.

Posing the dolls was a lot of fun, I especially enjoyed the flying hair. Occasionally, I used a pin to help hold the pose. It takes me a few tries to get the exact shot that feels right. I throw away several shots for every one I keep. Sometimes the smallest adjustment of a limb or the tilt of the face goes a long way towards bringing the dolls to life.

Using my iPhone 4s, I shot in my studio on a variety of partly overcast days. Mostly only natural lighting coming through the windows. Only a few times did I turn on the overhead lights, and liked the result of that, too. I used a tilted surface to keep the dolls in place while casting the shadows just enough to give the appearance of standing. Throughout the day I turned the tilted surface to follow the sun. The white cloth background helped me see when the angle was capturing the most available light.

While the outfits are all made from only a few basic pattern pieces, I spent a good amount of time developing them. During the process I would redraw the patterns after each outfit I sewed. Making micro-adjustments until the fit and proportions were to my liking. On clothes this small, it doesn’t take much change to create a whole new look. Fit and proportion are so important. Really, once I figure out where I want the hem, which can take a few tries, it is just as easy to hem it at a stylish length as anywhere else. No doll should have to wear ill fitting or unflattering clothes!

The dolls and outfits are available for purchase on etsy where I have more pictures and full descriptions for you. I’m working on all the listings this week so please let me know if you are not seeing the one you really want.

Click on the images for a larger view.

We’ll have the boys first. The boy and girl bodies are identical so these could be considered appropriate for either. I made two of each of these outfits while all of the rest to follow are one-of-a-kinds. Here the denim cutoffs are stitched with orange for a classic jeans style. Legs are frayed at the bottom instead of hemmed for that authentic cutoff look.

Shorts sets for the girly girls. The “Aloha” tank top and plumeria cropped tee shirt are both stamped and hand painted with fabric markers. Long shorts and short shorts. Hooray for summer vacation!

Long denim pants and jean skirt, both have double stitching details in front and real pockets in back. Slim fit jeans, pencil skirt.

Pajamas and nightgowns are two of life’s great pleasures. Let’s get comfortable.

These are ready for sleepovers with a matching eyelet trimmed pillow.

Tutus for dancing and playing fun. They have a little skirt or pair of shorts built in. Tank top with embellishments or decorative stamping and hand painting.

Long muumuu dresses. An elegant look for shelf-sitting dolls.

Skirts and tops and a pants set. I love it when I find prints that fit into the small scale of these clothes.

Thank you for your interest in my dolls. I love making them and hope they bring joy to many.

Alexis

Satin-Lined Sleep Masks

[These masks are all sold out. And a new and improved version is available so check it out in my etsy shop.]

Satin-lined sleep masks in an assortment of pretty Hawaiian print fabrics. Intended as a light weight travel accessory, it really is handy to have wherever you are. One of those small things that can make a big difference in personal happiness. Soothing for eyes. Good for sleeping on airplanes (or just creating some privacy!). Nice for resting in unfamiliar places.

Also wonderful at home for those full moon nights. Plus sweet-sweet daytime naps. Satin lining is cool on your face. Padded with a layer of cotton batting for thickness. Comfortable elastic band fits most. Trimmed in coordinating or contrast piping for a neat look. Most have black satin, a few have red. I’ve used a variety of black and colored elastics.

Below is a slide show of some sleep masks that I currently have in stock. A fun tropical souvenir that is also useful at home. A gift appreciated by men and women alike.

Cotton on the front and cotton piping. Satin lining is polyester. About 7.5″ wide and 3″ tall with a 16″ elastic band.

Satin-lined sleep masks are $7 each and the shipping is free. I’ve enjoyed making them for you. Please visit my etsy shop to purchase.
Thank you!
Alexis

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