Monday, December 31, 2012

Anita Rivera: Paper Mâché Ballet Tutu

Anita of Castles Crowns and Cottages comes from a family of very talented paper mâché artists and inspires me in more ways than one. While looking for inspiration for the corset diaries ballet series, I stumbled upon Anita's exquisite paper tutus.

paper mâché ballet tutu by Anita Rivera
You may have noticed a blog post or two of my own inspired by Anita's writing style. The operative word here is style. You'll find the rich imagery on Castles Crowns and Cottages is full of style and gracefully woven into a tapestry of captivating tales.

Anita Rivera Designs on Etsy
I love the soft, feathery quality the hand made papers lend to Anita's tutus which is not too dissimilar from the look I have in mind for our ballet inspired corsets. Can't you just see the piles of fluffy tulle suggested by this piece? Anita is a sweet lady who would welcome your visit if you get the chance.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Corset Diaries V: Sugar Plum Fairy Template

Your sugar plum fairy corset template and diary page appear below. The dotted lines are meant to be used as cutting guides to extend the bottom of the corset in preparation for the tutu. I'll talk more about that in the video.

paper corset template - sugar plum fairy
Let the instructional video act as a spring board to help you formulate ideas for creating your sugar plum look. Feel free to add your own creativity to the mix and use whatever materials inspire your inner muse.

In closing, I'm excited to tell you about a new enhancement to the paper corsets that will happen next month. I think you're really gonna love it but I don't want to ruin the surprise by saying anything more so you'll just have to check back. Enjoy for now! :)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Paper Mâché Ballet Slippers

Are these not the sweetest little paper ballet point shoes ever or what? Not only do I think these would be very easy to make with paper mâché but they could be decorated in sooo many beautiful ways! I'm getting ideas already.

Susan Cutts - paper mâché ballet slippers
This piece called Sur La Pointe was created by Susan Cutts, a talented artist who does some pretty incredible things with paper mâché. If you get the chance, check out her website, to see her other paper sculptures.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Pinterest Etiquette: How to Pin From a Blog

Picture it. There you are, happily pinning to your little hearts content when you happen upon the loveliest pair of paper mâchè ballet shoes ever. Eager to learn more, you click the image for a closer look. Yep, you still love them even close up so you click again with the hope of being whisked virtually away to land on the blog or website where the image lives.

To your disappointment you discover that the post containing the original image is nowhere to be found on the page you landed on. Shockingly, the blog author has moved on to create literally dozens of new posts in the 33 weeks since the image was first pinned.  Now you've got to go out of your way to do additional research to try to find the original post. This truly puts the word UGH into UGHLY!

That said, I thought it was worth taking a moment to describe how to properly pin images from a blog so that you don't completely annoy the world with hap hazard pinning habits. Firstly, 99% of blog authors create titles for each post. Post titles act as a direct link to the actual post webpage where you can (and should) pin from. When you find an image you want to pin, make sure the webpage you are visiting contains only the address of the post with the image you want to pin. How do you know? I'll tell ya.

If you are visiting a regularly updated blog, generally you will see many posts when you scroll down. If you try to pin from the blog home page which looks something like this: you're going to be presented with a plethora of posts. This page is basically a list containing the latest posts first so of course, if you pin something linked to this page today, 12 weeks from now the page that pops up when we click your pinned image is not going to look the same as it did the day you pinned because newer posts have been published. Get it?

On the other hand, if the web address in your browser window says something like this: then it's a pretty safe bet you are visiting the actual post. From here you will also be able to see any comments so that's another clue you are in the right place. If you find that you are on the home page, all you have to do is find and click the post title to be taken to the actual post page. This might sound like extra work now but keep in mind that the someone looking for that great image later, that goes to that awesome, must make tutorial could be you and how frustrated will you be if you can't find it?

Sidebar images are a whole different story. If you pin a sidebar image from a blog home page then we don't have a problem because as we scroll down the page we'll be able to see that image and can click on it (if clickable) to get more info. End of story.

I realize that there are many who pin because they like the pretty pictures but there are a lot of us who actually visit the sources later and a pin from a blog home page is completely useless to anyone trying to find that image weeks or months later. It's frustrating so just be aware of what you are doing. Happy pinning! :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Artiness of a Sugar Plum Corset

Speaking through the voice of my creative hands the muse of the sugar plum fairies comes forth in a swirling parfait of feathery, pleated and crumpled paper.

sugar plum fairy paper ballet tutu - front
She teaches me artful lessons about life and about myself. She is a reflection of my inner soul dancing on Swan Lake to a tune that only I can hear. This is the creative process.

sugar plum fairy paper ballet tutu back
I've learned a lot while making this corset. Some of it I'll repeat in future work and some I'll kindly leave. Mostly I'll offer my gratitude to once again be an instrument of creative expression.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

May this holiday season 

bring everything your heart hopes for.

Love Kellie, Flora and Phoebe

Monday, December 24, 2012

Vintage Ephemera Freebie: Anna Pavlova

Anna Pavlova was a Russian Empire ballerina of the late 19th and the early 20th century. She is widely regarded as one of the finest classical ballet dancers in history. Pavlova is most recognized for the creation of the role The Dying Swan.

Anna Pavlova - Dying Swan
Here's a little Christmas gift for you. This image is in the public domain and is free for you to use in any way you wish. With my new computer up and running I now have access to CD collections I was unable to use previously so look forward to more stuff like this in the future.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Corset Diaries: Dance of the Snowflakes

I'm not a big fan of the cold but from a cozy spot in front of the electric fireplace I can appreciate the intricacies of frost as well as anyone. Ice crystals are incredible works of lacy art as only nature can create and every one of them is unique.

dance of the snowflakes via CaptPiper on Flickr
The corset diaries invites you to come dancing with the snowflakes as we celebrate January in cool, frosty style. Let's begin with some old, white lace . . .

snowflake tutus via Ballet Austin
and a call to the north winds to send us her muse. Let the inspiration of winter wash over your soul and bathe you in her magic.

ice queen via Susan Blexrud
You have shape shifted into a snowflake dancing gracefully on Swan Lake. Music rises softly from the silence of the snow but it is a tune that you alone were meant to hear.

swan lake ballet tutu via averiguare on Flickr
Still enchanted by the ballet, my inspiration for January is Dance of the Snowflakes. The corset we'll be making will be something lacy, pretty and wintery.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Worn Ballet Shoes

The attic of this old house holds many memories now hidden away in dust covered trunks among forgotten relics. Captivated by a pale, pink pair of worn, ballet pointe shoes, a hint of a smile crosses her frowning lips. Where did they come from? Who wore them?

worn ballet point shoes I found for a song on eBay
She never wanted to be a dancer, never dreamed of pirouetting elegantly across the stage and yet these tossed away old slippers still beg to tell their exquisite tale. Fragments of images begin to flash in dreamlike animation across her minds eye engaging her imagination in a dance of magic and intrigue.

altered ballet slipper tutorial on Etsy for $10
Inspiration comes in many forms and the magic is entirely up to the beholder to find. Since our corset diary theme for the month is ballet related, I thought you might like to try your hand at creating your own ballet magic. Enjoy!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Journal Prompt: You are the Queen

Visualize. Just for today place all of your worry and doubt into the ugliest suitcase you can imagine. I say ugly so you won't mind getting rid of it. Now take yourself to the seashore and toss the suitcase in. You are not allowed to retrieve this suitcase for at least 24 hours. This is the beginning of your merry little Christmas.

image courtesy of Girled Cheese - Bittersweet
Let your heart be light! Reacquaint yourself with your whimsical, inner child who once believed that sugar plum fairies danced around the kitchen sink at midnight on Christmas Eve. Remember that little girl or boy who believed so faithfully in the magic of Christmas.

sugar plum fairies - tutu du monde
Today you are the Nutcracker's Miss Clara. You can make the dream be anything you want. What did you wish for, hope for or dream of as a child? What did you believe you could do during those days when you weren't afraid to dance like no one was watching?

pink pointe shoes courtesy of Özge Güven
My sister once said "walk like you have a cape on." Nobody has to know. This idea is similar to the "fake it till you make it" concept. It's an interesting exercise to try and one that may come with some surprising results. Try it! Imagine you are the Queen today.  You can be, do or have anything. Think back to those childhood days for there will be your heart also.

Marie Antoinette courtesy of IFC FIX 
What did you learn about yourself through the above exercises? Did you walk a little straighter? Was there just a little more confidence in your stride? Have you retrieved that suitcase full of problems yet or did you decide to let it sink to the murky depths never to see the light of day again? Tell me about your day.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Beautiful Scraps Journal Pocket Freebie

Torn and cut. Crumpled, stained or aged, we begin to see life's sacredness in an ordinary piece of paper. I love holding on to bits and scraps because I never know when I might find a use for them.

beautiful scraps journal pocket shown on a corset diaries page
Mingle these old bits together and they can lead you to wondrous combinations you may not otherwise have thought of. This is the beauty of the creative process, the sacredness of beautiful scraps.
Confucius beauty quote
As part of the Corset Diaries series I'm giving you this little journal pocket to use to start your beautiful scrap collection. Keep fabric swatches, paper bits or other ephemera here to help inspire you along your creative way.
journal pocket template - click to download at full size
Add an eyelet to your pocket by using the extra discs. I separated a strand of 2 ply jute to make a tie closure for my pocket giving it a more rustic look. When selecting decorative paper, be sure it coordinates well with the template pattern. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Corset Diaries IV: "Nellie" Corset Template

After nearly a week of internet connection issues, Kell Belle is up and running again. Yaaaay! November's paper corset template is way late but here she is. I'm calling this one Nellie which is the perfect country name for our peasant corset. Did you know that the name Nellie was one of the top 25 most often used girl names in 1880? Just a little bit of trivia for ya.

"Nellie" paper corset template for November
I've done something a little bit different with the diary page this time. Notice the Inspiration page instead of the note page. I've got a little free goodie for you to put there that I'll post about tomorrow after you've had the chance to digest your corset template. You're gonna love it!

As always, your instruction/inspiration video appears above. If you create the project I would love to see your work. Feel free to leave a link in the comment section so we can come have a peek. Hope you are enjoying the Christmas season so far! Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Kell Belle's Charlie Brown Christmas

Kell Belle Studio is not only in transition to a new computer but also experiencing internet connection issues due to failing equipment.  This means no uploads. Trying to download anything (including mail) at this point is painfully redefining the term "glacial pace." UGH! I'm chomping at the bit to get the latest corset template to you and also a pretty freebie for your journals so please stand by.

my Charlie Brown Christmas tree
In an effort to cheer myself up I got out my cute little feather Christmas tree Sunday. I carefully wrapped the lights around it, placed it in the cubby over my electric fireplace and plugged it in. Only the lights you see here came on. Perfect! This about sums up the essence of my technological challenges over the past two days. *sigh*

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Corset Diaries: Miss November

Finally! Our Miss November makes her appearance. I'm not sure what to call her but I'm leaning toward something simple and country. Daisy, maybe? Not quite but it's in the neighborhood. My muse seems to be silent at the moment. She never fails me though so I'll be patient.

paper corset miss November - front

I said something about adding panties to this corset but it occurred to me that lacing the back might become a challenge so I went with faux panties instead.  Notice the slight fold of fabric and paper in the center of the front which suggests we've got a little bloomer going on here. I rather like the look.

paper corset miss November - back
I should have a diary page and template for you this weekend plus a little free bonus to help you pretty up your pages. Feel free to throw out some names if you are so inclined. Maybe it will spark something. Think peasant, simple, and country. Toodles for now!

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Paris Brocante Paper Rose Tutorial

Imagine. It's 1899, holiday time in Paris. You're entertaining the most stylish and gorgeous of Montmartre society this year and everyone knows your parties impress like no other. Proud of your Bohemian heritage, you look to the flea markets for unique finds that will leave lasting impressions and add vintage beauty to your holiday table.
shabby cottage printable favor box 
Ahhh! Are you there yet? Soft, muted pinks, lacy accents and aged texts give this holiday favor box a Paris brocante look I absolutely love. Roses are always a favorite with those of us who seem to be drawn to all things made in shabby cottage style so today I'm gonna show you how to make some out of paper.

cottage style paper roses front 
You won't need to purchase any punches for this so don't worry if you don't have any. I'll provide everything you need to make the double sided paper rose shown on the favor box. First, download the paper rose templates by clicking the images and saving them to your desktop. Print page 1 on 8 1/2 by 11 inch plain white paper.

cottage style paper roses back
Print page 2 of the template on the back side of the page you just printed making sure that it prints in the same area on your page as your rose templates did. When you are finished printing, the roses on the front should align in the center of the text you printed on the back. Once you cut them out, your roses will have text on both sides.

  •  Cut your flowers into pieces as indicated in the above photo
  •  Roll the single petal into a cone and adhere into place
  •  Slightly curl the petals of the two petal piece and roll into a loose cone by overlapping the petals
  • Form your other 3 pieces into cones by adhering the petals on either side of your cuts together
  • Curl petals as desired

  • Insert your rolled single petal into the two petal cone
  • Build your rose by inserting the smaller cones into the larger cones until your rose is formed

Now you're ready to add some distress ink to the edges of your rose and find yourself some leaves. You can use punches or just cut a leaf shape out of green paper. I purposely didn't include a leaf template to allow your wonderful imagination to come up with the perfect leaf for your project.

Le Charmed Life patterned favor box template
I used my rose to embellish this adorable little Paris brocante favor box. I made a double bow using some seam binding, added a couple of paper curls and adhered the whole shebang to the box lid. Couldn't you just eat this up?! Enjoy!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Corset Diaries and Sugar Plum Fairies

I have a friend who made a suggestion for December's corset which included something red with fur. Hmm . . . I did ponder it for awhile and while the "Santa Baby" look could have worked, I've decided to go with something more elegant.

The National Ballet of Canada
Feathery, light, a magical delight, what would Christmas be without the appearance of something Nutcracker-ish in our corset diaries? December's corset inspiration comes directly from the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies.

sugar plum fairy costume
I can see this corset with lots of torn, papers for that gorgeous, flared tutu. Perhaps even a bit of feather could go up underneath it just to give it that extra airiness. November's corset is on the craft table this weekend so look for your template and video in the next few days. :)