How To Make Wings for your Halloween Costume

You can use these to make wings of all different shapes, sizes to suit your needs. I’m purposely making strangely small oddly shaped monster wings.

What you’ll need:
Wire hangers
Panty hose (any color)
Decorations: Fur, feathers, sequins, whatever you have
Felt, fur, or other thick fabric
Sewing machine (optional)

Start with your two wire hangers. Shape them into a wing each. If you want bigger wings, try shaping your own from larger pieces of wire. If you’re using hangers, straighten the hook on each and wind them together.

Take a pair of panty hose, the color may determine what kind of wings these are, I’m using black. Don’t be shy to paint or dye the panty hose to get the desired effect.

Cut off the legs and stretch a leg over each wing. Pull the opening towards the center where the wings will connect together (at the hook part of the hanger).

Measure two strips of elastic of the same length around your arms and to the middle of your chest, comfortable, but with some tension.

Take two pieces of felt or fur (I’m using 4” x 4”) and glue or sew the two pieces together with the pantyhose, ends of the elastic loops and hook part of the hanger tucked inside. If you’re using a sewing machine like me, don’t try to sew over the wire hangers. Make sure that you sew over the pantyhose and elastic though, so they stay firmly in. Even if you’re gluing the two pieces, I recommend putting a few stitches in over the elastic bands the pantyhose, even by hand, for added security.

Now time to decorate! Glue, sew, paint your wings to your heart’s desire!

Try your new wings with a fairy dress, or a white gown and halo, or with butterfly antennae. If you’re like me, maybe you have some other purpose for wings. I can’t wait to finish my monster costume to try on with my new wings.

Karen's Monsters

Pamper Yourself without Leaving Home

Pampering yourself these days is a luxury, but need not cost a fortune. When I have the time, I like to do a basic face steaming. It doesn’t take a lot of time, and it leaves me feeling refreshed and relaxed. All you need is a towel, a large ceramic bowl, and some hot water. If you have essential oils on hand, that's even better.

Simply boil some water and pour into a large bowl. I prefer ceramic or glass. Sometimes plastic can absorb the essential oils, and a metal bowl may have a reaction. Something like this bowl sold by May Luk Ceramics is ideal:

I usually add a few drops of essential oils to the water, lean over the bowl until my face is directly above the steam, and then drape a towel over my head to keep all the steam from escaping. I’ll close my eyes and relax for a few minutes, then finish up by splashing my face with very cold water to close up my pores.

When I add essential oils, I use different blends depending on my mood. If it is near bedtime, I like to use lavender. In the morning, grapefruit, rosemary, and mint are great for waking up. Or sometimes I’ll use tea tree oil, which is great for “troubled” skin. No matter which essential oils you choose, you need to be careful handling them, and use only a few drops.

Sometimes I’ll take things a step further by covering my face with a clay mask to get all of the impurities out of the freshly steamed pores. I make my own masks, since they are pretty simple to mix up. A nice basic one would be a bit of bentonite clay mixed with water or aloe juice, or even yogurt. Clay is fairly easy to find - I was able to find clay in my local health food store.

No matter what, I always follow the steaming with a nice moisturizer. I actually use my own mixture of light oils, that may include grapeseed, avocado, & fractionated coconut oil.

Face steaming is a great way to relax, restore, and revive the senses without breaking the bank!

Nordea, Nordea's Soaperie

recycled bath mat

recently the towel that my husband has been using since college (!) sustained some injuries that made it unusable:

unusable as a towel, that is. as the base for a new bath mat, it was perfect. and so i embarked on a project to dress up our bathroom.


- an old towel
- a yard or so of fabric that you'd like to place your just-out-of-the-shower feet on [i used the ruffle from an old bedspread]
- pins
- needle and thread, or sewing machine


1) cut your towel into two equal-sized rectangles, at whatever size will fit best in your bathroom.


2) iron your fabric, and cut it into strips that are 4-1/2" wide, and 4" longer than the sides of your rectangle in length (so, unless you've cut squares out of your towel, you'll have 2 strips of one length and 2 strips of another).


3) iron down a 1/4" fold on each of the long sides of the strips, then fold in half and iron the whole strip flat, until it looks like this:


then fold back 2" at the short ends of each strip, and iron down.


4) place the two rectangles of towel on top of each other, lined up neatly. then place the strips of fabric under the edges of the towels and fold them over at the crease that you ironed in, so that they create a border. follow the photos below to make neat corners:


5) if you like the way it looks at this point, just sew a straight stitch along the inside edges of the border, being sure that you catch both the front and back edges, and you're all done!


6) however if, like me, you're not crazy about the color of your towel, or just want more of the fabric in the design, or just want to make life more difficult for yourself, you can keep going. i decided to fill in the middle with a lattice design, like the back of an old lawn chair. if you are going to go this route, don't sew that broder fabric down just yet....


start by cutting a bunch of strips of fabric in a width that looks appealing to you (i used 2"). remember to add a 1/2" to that width for finishing the edges. measure the open space of your mat that you need to fill, and figure out how many strips you need to cut to fill it. for length, cut them an inch longer than the open space, to allow for them to overlap (or, acutally, underlap) with the border fabric.

iron down a 1/4" on each of the long sides of the strips, then sew them down with a straight or zig-zag stitch.


**if you are working with a fabric that's prone to fraying, add 1" to the width that you decide on for the strips, and fold the edges of the fabric over on themselves again before sewing down.

7) weave the strips together...

CIMG1098 them around the edges, and baste them to the towels.

8) then put the border fabric back in place, fold it over the lattice, and pin it down. sew a straight stitch along the inside edges of the trim, being sure that you go through both the front and back edges.


and that's all!


- cakehouse

NewNewInterview with Grace of Design*Sponge

Our third installment from indie style bloggers come from Grace of Design*Sponge. Woo hoo!

1. So tell us a little about your site and how you got started?

d*s is basically a site devoted to all things design-related, whether that's diy projects, home design or individual projects and fine art. i started the site as a hobby and over the past 4 years it's grown into my full time job and supporting a small staff of 5 editors.

2. What do you look for when featuring an artist?

i primarily look for something that grabs me instantly- whether it's a color, a pattern or an overall composition- i need to be really drawn in for me to consider posting it. when i first started i would post things willy nilly because i loved everything i came across in some way or another. but i've tried to cut back and focus on posting more substantive posts (well, compared to my earlier posts) that are distinct because the work is really unique, brand-new, or innovative in some way.

3. Suggestions on how to generate buzz about your products?

i'm rather partial to blogs and local art shows because they reach two distinct markets: blogs are generally run by pretty friendly people looking to showcase great work to a national and international audience. if you're targeted well for a given site, it can be a great way to reach a large audience- including magazine editors who read the site. i also suggest local art and craft shows because they're a great way to build hometown support and find a good network of local shops to carry and support your work. i think both levels are important these days.

4. What not to do when contacting sites like yours?

just the basics: don't lie about your product or any aspect of your work (this happens more than i would like), be polite and personal (always use a blog/editor's name and not a general "dear editor") and try contacting sites/magazines one at a time. you can maximize your story size by giving any given site an exclusive or a small head start on the general blog population. i also think it helps to keep things short and sweet and attach a few pictures- we work in a really visual field so i always love to see a few well, shot pictures of people's work.

5. What blogs do you follow to stay current?

i really love the photography and fashion blogs in the market right now- especially scott at the sartorialist and some of the photography sites that are run by students on the west coast. but i always read sites like oh joy, lena corwin's blog and kelly cooper's "hoping for happy accidents". i also love maria vettese's port2port site. they all have such strong visual points of view (that are different from my own) and i love seeing what they have to say about things on a regular basis. and not a day goes by that i don't read and, and orangette- i love well photographed food sites.

6. What trends do you see developing? What products or styles are hot?

in products? well patterns are big and i think we'll see them stick around for a few more years. magazines seem to be calling it an "ethnic" trend towards things like indian and moroccan patterns. i think we're just moving away from more geometric patterns and towards something more ornate. i'm personally trying to narrow it down a bit and stick to a few key patterns in my house but i'm sure they'll stick around for a while. i also think we'll start to see some progression in the area of eco-friendly design. i'd love to see designers start moving forward with the idea of found materials and using them in interesting ways.

7. Is blogging more of a hobby or do you see this becoming a long term career choice?

it's definitely my full-time job right now but i've been trying to think outside the box when it comes to the next 3-5 years. i'm a little worn out when it comes to the daily product post format so i'm in the process of trying to imagine what the next step should be when it comes to the site. we'll see what happens...

8. Do you see yourself embracing new media to reach your audience (podcasting, video)?

i did podcasts for a year and while i think some people enjoyed them they just really tanked for me. a few thousand people would download each one but as a percentage of my overall audience it was really low- so i'm going to try to do more videos. design is such a visual process it really needs to be seen to be appreciated and understood. it's tough to capture a product or interior with just audio.

9. What do you think sets you apart from other design blogs?

i really try not to think abouit d*s in relation to other sites. i think any site is unique because of the overall voice it projects. i've always tried to stay true to the mission i had when i started and grow as i feel the need to try something different. so i think my voice, and now the voice of our contributing writers, is what makes us different from another site. but overall i think we just try to do our own thing and put as much positive, interesting work out there as we can.

10. Any other thoughts you'd like to share?

just that i'm excited to see where this new media movement goes in relation to design. i think video is really where it's all going and i'm excited to see what new trends and tools we see in blogging in the next 3-5 years.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Special thanks to Grace for taking the time for this interview. Be sure to check out Grace at Design*Sponge (

Collective Elements

Where to Find The {NewNew} on June 21 + 22

Saturday is the Brooklyn Indie Market at Smith and Union Street, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, with stylish skirts by Fofolle.

Off of Fort Greene Park, you can find CityBitz at the Artisanal Market.

And if you are in Philadelphia - you can stop by and see CharlieAndSarah at The Philadelphia Independent Craft Market.

On Sunday, in Fort Greene, Brooklyn Flea continues, reachable by bus and subway. This week's {NewNew} members will be KimmChi's bold abstract tee shirts, unique accessories by Beadscarf made from vintage fabrics ties and scarves, Kopah's handmade soap, EmilyEJewelry will have her line of brass and gold modern jewelry and BeaconBookmarks will be there with their customized monogram bookmarks made from scrap hardwood wood.

Also on Sunday is the Smith Street Fun Day where you can find NordeaSoaperie at on 231 Smith Street between Butler and Douglass.

In terms of classes for the upcoming week, here's what 3rd Ward, Etsy and Make Workshop have to offer

Make Workshop will be hosting an off-site quilting workshop on Saturday June 20.

The Etsy labs over at 365 Gold Street in Brooklyn will host a Print Gocco class on Saturday June 21 which looks to be sold out, but it looks like you'll have a chance still to take their Plush Character workshop from 11.30am to 5.30pm, or their Extraordinary Embroidery class from 10am to 3.30pm. On Monday - drop by for free instruction on How To Make Paper at the open crafting Night from 4-8pm. Next Wednesday June 25 from 6pm to 9pm Etsy will be having a Bookbinding class - and though it seems sold out, might be worth it to try the waiting list.

3rd Ward is also offering a Textile Design class this Sunday from 3.30pm to 6.30 pm in their space at 195 Morgan in Williamburg Brooklyn.


Frugal & Fanciful: A Tip for Engagement Parties and Bridal Showers

When it comes to bridal showers and engagement parties, frugal and fanciful can go hand in hand. All it takes is a little bit paper and some DIY spirit! Here are some great ideas that anyone can tackle:

Candy stations provide a pretty backdrop to your event. It also creates a fun gathering place for all the sweet-toothed guests. Wrap your favorite candy in colorful tissue and twist the ends together. Add a sticker to personalize.

Not only do favors make great decor, it is versatile enough to accommodate any style and budget. Use origami paper squares and double-sided tape to create a pouch. Fill with sweets, tie with ribbon and add a mini tag, and voila! Fun and festive treats for all.

Your gift as a centerpiece? You bet! Cut out heavy corrugated paper to form "cake layers" to wrap your gift. Tape ribbon around the edges to cover the seams. Create flowers by using tissue paper and cleaning pipes.

Your bride-to-be will get a kick out of it!


Wedding DIY: Ribbon Flower How-To

I love the look and ease of making homemade ribbon flowers, but seldom have the occasion. So when wedding season rolled around here at the NewNew, I was happy to have an excuse to share a couple with you.

The only supplies and skills that you need are ribbon (I prefer it with wires removed if it is floral wire, but that is to taste), needle, thread, beads and the ability to sew a running stitch.

Primrose (4-petal flower)

Start with 4 pieces of ribbon cut to 3.5" lengths. The dotted line indicates the stitching path you will take. You don't really need to mark it, I just keep it approximately 1/8" from the finished edge and 1/4 from the raw edge.

Start with the first petal and do a running stitch around the 3 edges. Pull thread tightly when you reach the end.

Sew one loop through the gathered ribbon to keep the petal together tightly. Without cutting thread, repeat on the next piece of ribbon, pulling it next to your first one. Remember to sew the loop between petals and repeat for petals #3 and #4.

Sew #4 to your first petal in a ring. Add a few additional stitches to keep the center together adding beads to some of the stitches. Tie off your thread at the back with a knot and admire your handiwork!

Daffodil or Fuchsia (5-petal with trumpet center)

Cut one 10" length of ribbon, marking lightly in pencil every 2" of your outer edge of the finished flower. The dotted line across the top is the stitch line for the trumpet, which you can mark if you need a guide (I like to freehand it).

Sew your ribbon into a ring with a running stitch and pull thread tight. Follow along your trumpet stitch line all the way around the ring.

Before you pull the thread tight, flip your trumpet edge through the center so the raw edges are on the under side of your flower. Pull the thread tight and it should look like the picture on the right.

Sew out to one of your marks from the center of the to the edge and pull tight. Like in the primrose, sew a loop to secure. Repeat at all 4 remaining marks (the 4th is your stitch that made the ribbon into a ring). Then add beads to the center to style your flower.

I glued together a few of these flowers along with a ribbon to make a simple bridal hair clip. The addition of the blue ribbon is so it can qualify as the traditional "something blue." Ribbon flowers would also make a fabulous veil base, boutonniere, mother-of-the-bride corsage, wedding favor, etc.

Why not dress up your creations with some beads from the {NewNew} team?

SweetSwoozie for crystal or GlassHouseSupplies for something more colorful.


DIY Green Cleaning Products

One of my earliest memories is of walking along a sandy winding road in Sicily with my paternal grandmother when I was three years old. She had a glass bottle in her hand that had just been emptied of the last of its olive oil. We stopped at her outdoor laundry room - a tub complete with cold running water - and she filled the bottle about half way. What she did next blew my little three year old mind - she bent down, gathered a handful of pebbly sand, which she dropped down the bottle's slender neck. Holding her palm over the opening, she then proceeded to vigorously shake the bottle for several seconds, finally dumping the entire contents back onto the ground, refilling the bottle with water for a final rinse-and-spill to clear out any remaining grains of sand.

And voilá: the bottle was spotless!

Somehow, though our grandparents kept clean and tidy homes without employing cleaning products that have nightmarish lists of health warnings, most of us are only now realizing that you can find much of what you need to clean your home in the pantry.

Here are a few simple recipes, along with some go-to multi-taskers to help you clean your abode without harsh chemicals. I think nonna would have approved!

Multi-Tasker 1: Club Soda
  • Poured into a spray bottle, club soda holds its own against much harsher and pricier all purpose cleaners.
  • Since it is alkaline, it's especially adept at getting out acid-based stains, like coffee.
  • Also a great window cleaner.
Multi-Tasker 2: White Vinegar
  • On its own in a spray bottle, a killer disinfectant.
  • Mix two teaspoons in a quart of warm water to use as a window cleaner.
Multi-Tasker 3: Baking Soda
  • Used dry, it's a great appliance cleaner; wipe it off with a damp sponge.
  • Sprinkled in an oven and spritzed with water, it makes a good (if slow-working: it needs to sit overnight) oven cleaner. After it sits, wash it out with water.
Simple Recipes

Drain Cleaner
1/2 cup salt
boiling water

Pour salt down the drain, followed by boiling water. Run hot tap water until clog clears.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
white vinegar
baking soda

Sprinkle bowl with baking soda and spray with vinegar. Scrub with a toilet brush
Air Freshener
2 cups hot water
2 tablespoons baking soda

Mix baking soda and hot water in spray bottle until baking soda dissolves. Spray those nasty odors away!
Copper and Brass Cleaner (I use this one to shine pennies before decoupaging them and making earrings)

Dissolve 1 part salt to two parts vinegar. Soak till shiny. To use as a scrub, increase salt to make a paste and scrub your little heart out!
Laundry Detergent
one part washing soda
one part borax

Mix and use as you would regular laundry detergent.
(Note: both washing soda and borax are available at soaps gone by)


HOW TO: resuscitate that old t-shirt!

as i've mentioned here on the {newnew} blog before, one of my favorite forms of recycling is wardrobe recycling, aka wardrobe refashioning. instead of heading to h+m when you feel like you have nothing to wear, why not shop in your closet instead, and re-make something that doesn't fit anymore—or just doesn't fit your current style?

one of the easiest places to start refashioning is with t-shirts. we all have them: the t-shirts we don't wear but can't seem to let go of. here's what i did with one of mine.

this was part of my college uniform:


not only is it ridiculously big (as all of my clothes were back then), it had developed some issues in the back....


...and so had since been relegated to the pajama drawer. but i never wore it, because i was afraid it was just going to keep ripping and completely fall apart. clearly, it was time to dismantle it myself.

i started by removing the sleeves, then cutting across the back horizontally at the spot of the enormous gaping hole, leaving me with this:


then i cut down the sides vertically, making two pieces, and slit the part of the back that was attached to the front down the middle, comme ca:


i decided that those two pieces coming off the top of the front piece would become straps, so i trimmed them a bit to make them slimmer and equal widths, and hemmed the edges. i also turned the neckband under in the front and stitched it down to make a uniform hem all around.

then i put it all together: pinned the side seams and sewed them up, hemmed the top of the back piece, attached the straps to the back, and hemmed the front piece— which had ended up longer than the back—at the bottom. and this is what i got:



putting it on, i realized that the part where i had hemmed under the existing neckband stuck out...


...and i was going to fix it by turning it under one more time and re-hemming, but then i realized that i liked it the way it was. i also love that the finished product retained some of the pinholes and frayed edges of the original shirt.

and so something destined for the scrap heap became a fab, totally original "new" top.

- cakehouse

renegade rolls back into town...

the renegade craft fair—the massive indie craft market that has been taking over williamsburg's mccarren park (last year moving into the mccarren pool) for a weekend for the past 3 summers—is gearing up for it's 4th annual brooklyn show, which will be on saturday june 14th & sunday june 15th.

renegade was started in 2003 by a crafter named sue daly when she couldn't find a craft show or market that reflected her DIY aesthetic. the first renegade was in chicago, where they now have a brick and mortar shop in addition to two annual fairs—one in the summer and one for the winter holiday season. and this year they'll be pitching their tents in san francisco for the the first time too.

you can read a piece from the ny times about renegade here, and see pictures of past shows here.

and the applications for the brooklyn show are up! just go to their site and click on the brooklyn link to find the online application. good luck everybody—i put my application in yesterday....


Greenpoint Hearts & Crafts Affair

Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Sunday, December 2nd, 2007
The Hearts and Crafts Affair, a network of young, bright and promising craft creators, will offer a selection of their latest work at Café Grumpy’s Greenpoint location (193 Meserole Avenue at Diamond Street) from noon to six pm. Back for a fifth time due to its unwavering popularity, The Hearts and Crafts Affair has become an opportunity that can’t be missed for the Brooklyn DIY set. Hostess Kira Birney curates a diverse and talented selection of local artists that promise a myriad of original styles. This winter the craft fair will showcase jewelry, paper goods, knit ware, confections, clothing, candles, journals, ceramics and drawings by 18 local independent artists and crafters. The event will also feature musical entertainment throughout the day by Mannequin Circus and friends.
Café Grumpy is located near the Nassau G stop as well as the B48, 43 and 61 bus routes.