Monday, April 17, 2017

playing with pretty things

Happy Monday, y'all! Hope everyone had a great weekend! The weather here was fantastic, if a little warm, and Charlie and I made it out for some fun and unexpected outings. Good times had by all, and I'll have plenty more to write about that all later.

step 1: begin visualizing the final product by laying everything together - preferably with the added inspiration of pretty spring flowers!
For today, we're talking arts & crafts again. Specifically - it's time for more customized, up-cycled, whatever-you-want-to-call-it DIY-improved off the rack fly bonnets.

i like that this cord gives the blue bonnet a 'sporty' feel
Brita was expressing frustration at finding cute bonnets at a reasonable price in her colors that fit the horse. And remembering what fun I had in creating the bridal-themed bonnet for Rachael last year, I obviously was eager to step in and help Brita in this endeavor.

the black bonnet will have a fancier feel to it with the beads
Brita went ahead and ordered the cheapest bonnets she could find on Amazon in her colors (I believe these are by Intrepid International and cost about $8 each), and handed them over for me to do my thing.

My thing, incidentally, being to follow along pretty closely with the guide as laid out by this earlier post. So if you're looking for step-by-step instructions and a list of materials on how to do something similar, check out that post.

but of course, before anything else can happen, those godforsaken tassels have gotta go
Brita wants two bonnets: a royal blue bonnet with hot pink accents for the jumping phases, and a black bonnet with blue / pink accents for dressage. She expressed an interest in using cord for accents, but basically set me free to proceed as I saw fit.

these are cheapo kinda crappy off the shelf bonnets.... but even just taking the fringe off makes such a big difference!
Obviously sometimes you're kinda limited by available materials, but I was lucky to find a lot of nice, sturdy cord in great colors for the blue bonnet. And actually came upon some beads that, while not hot hot pink, seemed like a potentially great fit for the black bonnet.

the above shows how simple upcycling one of these bonnets can be. you can literally just staple some string to it and get a better looking, fully custom (but still economically efficient) bonnet!
I'm not entirely sure yet about how the black bonnet will work out, since it remains as yet unfinished. But I went ahead and restrung the beads on wire (hot pink, natch) to hopefully reinforce and safeguard against breakage or accidents.

This also helps lend structure to bonnets that would otherwise be.... kinda gelatinous, amorphous blobs of bad crochet lol.

still not sure how the beads will work. they are pretty tho!
I couldn't find good cord in the right shade of blue to go along with the dressage bonnet, but am thinking the throatlatch from the blue bonnet (which I cut off bc ugh, just say no, kids) might do the trick. It's a little plain-jane in comparison to the sparkles and beads, but we'll see.

#needsmoarsparkles
I'm going to have to experiment a little bit to see what I end up liking the most visually for that bonnet. And naturally will probably post again once it's done, showing the steps and how I got there.

the nice thing about all these materials is that they're VERY forgiving
For the purposes of today's post, we've got the start-to-finish process for the blue bonnet. And a collection of representative photos showing the various components coming together.

The cord was surprisingly easy to work with - very easy to stitch through, and nice and sturdy. I burned the cut ends to prevent fraying, then just started stitching all three colors of cord down to the crystal grid material as a base.

the crystal grid material makes straight lines a breeze
This part got a little finicky towards the "peak" of the bonnet. Much like in the bridal bonnet, I used three separate pieces of the crystal grid material to create the right shape, and just sewed the cord down on top.

it took a little care making the bend happen tho
I had sewed the first long straight edge together before the crystal grid material was cut to size, but then sewed together the second long edge after pre-measuring and cutting to size a matching section of the grid material. If I were doing it again - I would have waited to trim that second piece too bc keeping the grid material whole meant that things stayed a little straighter while sewing.

as always, it's recommended that you have canine (or feline) supervision on hand at all times. ya know. just in case!
So the two long edges of the trim ended up looking slightly asymmetrical. Oh well tho - it's hardly noticeable and will likely disappear visually entirely once it's actually on the horse in motion.

esp if there happens to be a gray face handy to test that the colors are on point
Once the cord was fully attached to the three pieces of crystal grid material, the whole thing got sewed into place on the bonnet itself. This was maybe actually the easiest part - again bc that crystal grid material is so great to work with.

Just a few quick swoops of the needle and thread (knotting often to protect from the whole thing falling apart) and BAM, bonnet was complete!

real question tho: who wore it better?!?
Personally I prefer the look of leaving some of the original crochet as "trim" outside of the decorative accents I just created, as opposed to putting my decorations right on the edge of the bonnets.

and ta da! final product submitted for reline review!
I like this look bc I often feel like these bonnets can look a bit big, or over-sized on the horse. By bringing the design in off the immediate edge, it helps give the otherwise blobby-bonnet more structure, and actually reduces the impression of the bonnet's size. Bc nobody likes the "blanket on a face" look haha.

the sparkles underneath are subtle but perfectly catch the light so that the whole thing pops from a distance. perfect!
Plus obviously I just like adding sparkles to everything - really helps catch the light, right??

Honestly I'm pretty pleased with how this bonnet turned out and can't wait to get it over to Brita and Bella! We've got another show this weekend so I'll be sure to get lots of pictures of the bonnet in action!

And fingers crossed the black bonnet comes together as nicely and easily. I suspect the beads may be a little bit fussier than the cord, but maybe not. We'll see!

Are you into the fly bonnet look? Think you'll give the DIY-decorating a try yourself? Or do you prefer to simply buy nicer bonnets off the rack? Or maybe you've actually gone the full custom route from a professional?

Do you like to keep the aesthetics simple, or are you into all of the colors and all of the sparkles all of the time?

41 comments:

  1. That turned out beautiful! It always makes my eyes bug out to hear what people pay for custom bonnets. This is a perfect alternative!

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    1. definitely - i really can't stomach the cost of most "nice" bonnets.... so this solution is much preferred haha

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  2. Omg!!!!! I can't wait!!! It looks so nice!! Thank goodness Lyra was there...I was really able to picture what it would look like on Bella! You rock! Thanks a million!! 😀

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    1. haha Lyra wasn't the happiest of models, but it worked out ;) can't wait to see it on Bella!!!!

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  3. The dog's face!! Its a hard doggie life, for sure. I admit to having one of the awful, not really shaped for a horse's head type cheapo bonnet. It does the trick of keeping the flies out though. I like your spiffing up technique and even a not good DIY-er like me could likely handle it without messing it up too terribly badly. Next rainy day I'm going to try it!

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    1. ooooh definitely do, and take lots of pictures! this is the third bonnet i've made like this, and each time i'm surprised by how easily and nicely it all comes together. it's honestly not all that complicated or even time consuming! definitely worth a try!

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  4. Gahhh every time you post pics of these diy bonnet upgrades I always want to try it! The blue one looks terrific, I can't wait to see how the black one turns out.

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    1. oooooh do one!!!! your pretty ponies absolutely need matching sets ;)

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  5. SONKAAAAAAAAAA. And let me speak for Lyra, "Fuck you, humans. For real this time. Ugh." lol

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  6. Face blankets are the worst. So true. I don't think I can vote in the who wore it better tho because the quality of photography is so different. ;-)

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    1. haha thanks! i have a .... weird fixation with putting random shit on my head and pretending it's hats

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  8. I love it!!! I definitely want to include some cord on the next one I do. The colors are fab!

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    1. thanks! i'm thrilled with how the colors worked out - and cord is actually super easy to work with on these bonnets!

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  9. ive always thought about doing this with the intrepid bonnets. the plain ones without tassels fit REALLY nice on runkle and frequently have cord on them already that i could just jazz up with some beads.

    these look great! thanks for the DIY tips :P

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    1. ooh glad you found it useful! i think you should definitely make one! i kinda saw the original bonnets and was like, 'wow these are REALLY cheap this might be kind of a challenge...' - but nope, it worked out just fine even with the nastiest raw material

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  10. i think you should wear a bonnet all the time!! Cause we could pick you out of a crowd then :) Very crafty you are! I am not. I buy store bought and store bought they stay. I am not crafty at all. :( More is the pity. Dog looks cute in it too. Looking forward to seeing the mare in it :)

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    1. lol maybe i will wear one always!

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    2. triple dog dare you to wear one at FH :)

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    3. i mean.... anything is possible at a price! maybe that's what i need to lighten up a little bit?

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  11. I'm not crafty enough for this - I'm sure I could I just have no motivation. Props to those of you that are crafty. Annie is also kind of a weird size so I happily hand ITBF my reasonable amount of money for the custom bonnet. :)

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    1. yea there are definitely a LOT of really nice custom options out there for those who want to go that route! the professional outfits also really set themselves apart in superior materials and professional grade details like embroidery (which i can't really do myself).

      i just tend to be one of those ppl who is funny about spending the equivalent of a lesson on accessories (which is why charlie wears so much of the same stuff i had even with isabel!)

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  12. Honestly, I think Lyra needs a custom bonnet of her own now. Lol!

    After watching the whole process, I have to say it looks totally doable! But definitely snipping of the fringe is the hardest part.

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    1. ha it's totally doable!! tho damn that fringe sucks. that blue bonnet really REALLY wanted to fall apart on me. at least it's still a very forgiving material and you basically can't tell where i had to speedily re-knot the accidentally snipped loops....

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    2. Lyra definitely needs a bonnet

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  13. Ooh, it seems like Lyra and Sonka were a great help! I can't wait to try this on my own future bonnet!

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    1. Yassss plz do and send me pics of it!!!

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  14. I'm just not a fan of bling, but I do love modifying those cheapy fly bonnets.

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    1. Yea I feel ya. My interest in bling has grown slowly. I'm finally pretty ok with it, esp bc most is actually viewed from quite a distance.

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  15. But how does it look on the horse?!

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    1. We will find out when I can see Brita to give it to her, and then she can go see the horse to try it on.

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  16. That turned out great! Can't wait to see Bella model it!

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  17. Omg yeah snipping the loops can be quite nerve wracking haha I think I'm going to have to try adding some color to our fly bonnets so I've got even MORE things that match. As if more was needed :P

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  18. I'm not into bonnets but I love seeing everyone else's horses sporting them!
    I may consider using them when we show to help with the noise and hiding fuzzy ears ;)

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  19. Awh my heart hurts when thinking of Sonka. But yeah I need to do this! I paid $25 for my custom bonnets and they are delightful but spending less is always better

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