Thursday, September 22, 2016

Back to the Blog on the First Day of Fall!

Well, hello! I sat here and tried to come up with the perfect first sentence, but I've found it's hard to start off again when you've been on a blog drought for almost a year!  With that said, I have been having "the itch"to get back to my blog for quite a while now, and am so happy that I finally did it!  I've picked up a new hobby that inspired me to get back into posting and sharing a few new things with you all, and I hope everybody is doing well, and enjoying the start of a new Autumn season (at least here in the States ;)  Since I have posted there has been Winter and Spring and Summer, trips and teaching and dip-netting and dip-dyeing, craving for adventures, and then taking adventures, and getting thwarted by other adventures.  All in all, life is a balance and everyday a new experience, and I am tackling each day at a time.

Back at the end of Winter, Daniel and I bought our first house.  Let me tell you, that was quite a journey in and of itself, but with it came freedom like I've never known.  Though I was afraid of the commitment of a house, the ability to paint and decorate and have parties, host friends, blast Bob Marley and have a rainbow kitchen, and do all of the things our apartment kept us from doing, has opened a lot of awesome new doors.  Yes, if something breaks we have to fix it.  Yes, commitment is still growing on me.  But guys, I have a rainbow kitchen, a RAINBOW KITCHEN!  And I love it, I have loved every second of transforming my new home.   Not to mention, I love our new area, and all of the local places I now frequent.

Lately, I have been focusing a lot on creative energy.  Ok, so most of the time that's what I focus on; but being a service oriented individual, sometimes I feel like I drain myself working and teaching and forget to blow steam through my outlets.  Towards the end of the Summer though, I began to see how absolutely crucial creativity and just "mixing things up" is to my daily life.  Even if it is just trying a new food, dancing to a song I love, or drawing a doodle, that bit of creative play and adventure in my life keeps the wheels turning and the fire burning, and I need more of it! This past year I have been expanding my horizons by becoming officially certified as a Naturalist, something I have been wanting to do for some time now.  It has involved months of lectures, journaling and experience out in the field, mainly catching critters, rifling through leaves, meeting snakes and turtles, and dipping in the water.  It's been reaffirming and admittedly pretty fun, to see how much I enjoy being outdoors, and that having that be part of my job is absolutely incredible.  I've also come to find just how much I love interacting with people, and that new experiences meeting others and also helping others is very exciting and rewarding for me.  Alongside that is my ever voracious appetite for designing, constructing and creating, which brings me to my newest hobby- tie-dying, dip-dying and ombre-ing (is that a word??) clothing!

This dress is one in a series of garments that I have transformed with nothing more than a few dye bottles, some plastic wrap and a pair of gloves (and a washing machine if you want to get technical).   I realized that I had some white and cream colored pieces hanging in my closet, acting as incredibly blank canvases for some colorful fun new projects, and since I got back into tie dying this Spring, I decided to try my hand at dip dying and ombre.  I realized that a lot of the clothing pieces I was gah-gah over were simply garments dyed in a unique fashion.  In my tulip dye kit (which I usually use for tie dye) I read the instructions on creating a gradient, added my own improvisation, and got to work giving my canvas clothes a multicolored makeover!

The process has been incredibly fun, and the results are totally rewarding.  

If you are interested in creating ombre-colored clothing too, here are some tips I can share with you!

*Especially if you are just trying this for fun, find something white or cream that is already in your wardrobe that you haven't worn in a while, or that you always envisioned looking better in color.
*Purchase a simple dye kit from any craft store such as A.C. Moore or Michaels (or if you have a local small business craft store, even better) I have mostly used Tulip dyes for my clothing and have had great results!  
*You will have best results with pieces that are entirely cotton, rayon or silk.  However, (especially if it is lace) the dye should take to fabrics that are only partly cotton.  The above dress had a shell with only 60% cotton, and though the dyes could have come out more vibrant, I felt it took pretty well considering the fabric composition.
*Leave your dye on for at least 6 hours.  This is a hard one for me, as I like to check how my things came out fairly fast, but my best results have come from pieces that have sat 6 hours or longer.  Overnight or 12 hours is even better!
*If you are not careful, some of the dye that you meant to go in one area may travel to another area.  Be careful to go slowly with your dye to prevent it from splashing up on other parts of your garment.  If you are doing it outside, make sure that the ground underneath is not causing the dye to flow the opposite way that you desire.  (For example, if the top of the dress pictured above was slanted downhill too much, more of the red would have traveled down and ran into the yellow!)
*I always have cups of water with me outside to quickly flood wayward dye before it soaks into the fabric too much
*Don't be afraid to massage your fabric to get the desired color to mix well!

On the actual process itself, I hope to go into the steps with more detail in a future post (with pictures!), but in general:
*You will need: a pair of gloves, a dye kit, paper bags or something to place under your garment while dying (I do mine outside, on top of paper bags), a cup of water for every color you plan to use, a 2-3" wide paint brush, paper towels, and of course, a project!
*pick a color scheme, and make sure you have the proper dye bottles for that color scheme
*If you are feeling ambitious, or are up for a challenge, you can use primary colors and mix them to get your secondary colors (I enjoy doing this) For example, the above dress was dyed using only red and yellow dye.  The orange in the middle was entirely a result of mixing the two colors together on the fabric and rubbing them together with a paint brush.
*You can also mix dyes together in empty bottles, so whether your mixing is predone in a bottle or done directly on the dress is up to you, but know that mixing on the dress itself is a little trickier and requires a greater deal of attention.
*Dampen your garment first, run water over it and wring out the excess.  The dye will apply much better to damp fabric.
*Start with your first color and apply the dye slowly and close to the fabric, watch to see how the dye bleeds into the fabric.  If the dye isn't completely saturating the fabric and you are using a squeeze bottle, dip your paint brush in a little bit of water, and blend with the color.  Once you have applied your first color and are happy with the placement, go a couple inches below that color (leave some white space in-between) and apply your next color in the gradient; squeeze the dye on zig zagging back and forth (don't worry, you can blend the color in the fabric with your paint brush again,)  then take your paint brush dip it in a fresh water cup and blend the two colors together, starting with the top color and brushing downwards.  You will start to see the two colors mixing and creating a new color, or bleeding into the white.  You can work with this look to your liking by either adding more water (with the paint brush, or by pouring it slowly onto the garment) to dilute the color or adding more dye to make it more vibrant.  The water will help you create more of a gradient, while the dye will bring the colors closer together.  Repeat this action until you are done your last color.  Make sure that in-between colors (especially if you go dark to light) you are cleaning your brush in a fresh cup of water before blending colors together.   
*Carefully place plastic wrap around the garment (I have my husband help me with this) and let it soak in the dye according to your dye instructions (usually at least 6-8 hours).
*Put in the washer on cold or lukewarm with a tiny bit of laudry soap and dry according to fabric type.
*Wear it, and LOVE IT!

So happy to have revisited the blog, and I plan to be back soon!  Tell me in the comments below if you have tried different dying techniques and enjoy it too, or if you try it for the first time!  I will try to get some pics together in the future for a more informative tutorial!  Thanks and talk soon! 


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Happy Holidays from The Lemon Moth!

Hello Friends! :)

It has been quite a while since I have posted on my blog, but I have been a super busy bee creating more items for my clothing and accessories line, The Lemon Moth!  I hope you have all been well and enjoying this Holiday season.  Here on the East Coast, the weather has been unexpectedly warm, which has been a happy surprise for me!

I have been having a blast this season showing my items at local artisan and craft shows, working with kids at school, taking classes to be a Pre-K teacher, and rocking the rainbow wherever I go.  

Back in August, my husband and I took a two week road trip to Austin, Texas and back and it was an experience I will never forget!  Austin was unbelievably hot, but also incredibly cool.  I am still going through my photos, and when I finish them I will have to dedicate a post to our trip and share some of the cool vintage clothing spots we found along the way! :)

In the meantime, please check out my site and see what's new! :)

Below are some photos of what I am currently featuring, including skirts, bags, necklaces, aprons and more!  Each piece is designed by me and printed with my own original art work!  Until December 17th, use coupon "HOLIDAYMOTH" to receive 10% off your order!  Happy Shopping xoxo!

Blue Cupcake Print Skirt, $36

 Moth Print Skater Skirt in Icy Mint, $36

 Strawberries and Cream apron, $25

Moth Portrait Wristlets $18-$20

Pink Cupcake Print Apron, $25

As always, thanks for reading, and enjoy the rest of your week! 

xoxo, Alyssa :)

Monday, March 9, 2015

New Arrivals on Etsy!

Hello Dear friends!

Happy March and Happy Daylight Savings Time!  Although, I do confess I have had some trouble getting up the past few mornings, I am SO happy that the days are getting longer and that the East Coast is finally WARMING UP!  HOORAH!  I have been busy as a bee this winter, getting pieces ready for Art shows, sewing, painting, printing and designing.  Please check out these new arrivals in my shop and use the coupon code below (at bottom of post) for 10% OFF!!  This coupon is only good until March 16th so use it soon! :)

All items available at 

Enter coupon code: LUNAMOTH at check out for 10% off your order!!!
Thank you so much for reading and I hope you are all having a lovely start to your March and (soon to be) Spring!!! xoxo

<3 Alyssa

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Happy 2015! :)

 Happy 2015!!!!   This year was full of challenges, experiences both exhilarating and trying.   All in all I learned so much about myself and would not trade it for anything; but I am ready for a new year and a fresh beginning!  Remembering back to my post for January 2014 I was ready for new challenges and adventures- and boy did they keep coming! Changing careers, getting back on a plane, being in two weddings, finally setting up my etsy shop, turning 27 and taking on not one or two but three jobs, 2014 was quite an adventure!  I have really gone through so many changes and experiences this year, and am so excited for the year to come.  I finally have time to focus on my art work, to work in entomology again, to teach kids and take advantage of a new path, and I feel so happy and blessed to have the opportunities set before me!!  It feels empowering to forge my own path by puzzling together all of my passions to make them my life.      

So resolutions...well, I like to call them goals.  I have a few goals for the new year, I will share a few of them here :)

1.  Keep up with my colorful life, creating art that is both inspiring and fulfilling, playful and unique.  Make TIME for my art work, take the reigns and run with it! Don't be afraid to put it out there, and absolutely make things that I love and feel inspired to make.

2.  Be good to myself, love myself and appreciate who I am, not just what I do.  Because I am a very "do" oriented person, I get down on myself when I don't achieve certain standards, loving yourself includes being kind even when you don't get everything done you want to, or take a day just to take care of yourself and have some down time. :)

3.  Spend time with the people I love and show them how much I care about them, in both my words and actions.  Spend quality time with friends, and make sure they feel valued.  Offer kindness freely without expectations, I feel happy when I can extend kindness to others and show how much I care!
So nowto the outfit, this dress and necklace were Christmas gifts, and can I just say I am totally in love?!  The necklace was a secret santa gift from a lady I work with (totally nailed it!)  and the dress is a beautiful crepe fabric dress with embroidered cupcakes from Nishe that is so fun and comfy, I have probably worn it four times already!  I am in LOVE with this dress.  The hubby got this one from ASOS and HOORAY!  It's on sale right now and you can find it here.  Nishe has amazing designs and every dress I own from them is great quality.  They are a novelty print haven and you can't help but smile wearing cute cupcakes, pink doughnuts or pretty red bows!
 The clutch is part of my self illustrated colorful moth collection on Etsy! You can take a look at this self designed fabric clutch here. :)  I am so in love with this clutch that I need to make my own soon before I take it down and keep it!  Over the holidays I got bad about restocking my etsy, but will be putting some new items up soon, including a new fabric design!  This clutch is great for adding that extra pop, and the print is so fun and lively it can complete a solid colored outfit or mix with a pattern for fun!
The cat tights are one of my favorite recent purchases.  I found them at Hot Topic while shopping for band t-shirts for Daniel, and I just could not pass them up!  I don't have my own cat right now, so I have to keep them in my life somehow!! ;)
And of course the blue dip dye, a fun little addition to welcome the new year!  I have to say I am a big fan of bright colors on my ends, and it's a past-time that I like to experiment with from time to time, I think I might like the blue more than the magenta I did last year!  

Thanks so much for reading my post and I hope you all have had a wonderful start to your year!  Here's a toast to all that is to come!  Lots of love and let's talk soon!

<3 Alyssa xoxo

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Farmer Chic and a Parable on Plaid

Plaid is one of my favorite patterns.  I am a girlie girl who loves her lace, novelty prints, cutesy hearts, butterflies and everything else feminine, but plaid always makes its way into my wardrobe.  Here's why; plaid is the perfect way to mix pretty with cool, casual with formal, outdoor with indoor; and since those are the two "polar" characteristics I like to exude in my style- plaid is my perfect punch!  And so I bring to you; three different ways I wore plaid!  The pictures below were taken in the Poconos two weekends ago when two friends trekked up the Jim Thorpe hillside with Daniel and I to take in the view. we drove up, we found the road on the way back to our cabin; but look at that view! I just couldn't get enough plaid this is the perfect accent to dresses that need a little dressing down, or a bit of warmth on top.  This bohemian denim and scarf print dress needed a topper, and when a cardigan looked a bit too "stuffy" my plaid flannel made a perfect pairing for just the right amount of outdoorsy charm.  Even Daniel broke out his plaid jacket! It was a gift from me last Fall (only $20!!!!) it's pretty exciting that plaid has found it's way back in "style" since I love wearing it so much! 

 My plaid poncho is a favorite in the Fall.  You may remember a past post when I styled this beauty with a collared shirt and pair of polka dot pants; it was a bizzare duo that somehow worked to complete the look.  When the weather is getting just cold enough, this warm flannel is just what I need for extra warmth and to bring a western/outdoorsy edge to my style.  I wore this during our 3rd year wedding Anniversary- once again, in the Poconos- what better place to wear Plaid than the mountains?

Oh Ryu, how I love thee.  I found this amazing plaid coat at Never Too Spoiled, an amazing boutique in Philly that caters to the bohemian lady with a modern femme edge.  The cut, style and details of this coat drowned me helplessly in love.  I convinced Daniel to get this for me as an early birthday gift (less than a month away now!) somehow it worked, so I could call this gem my own :) I call this jacket "Farmer Chic" since I wear a lot of plaid on the Farm I teach on, and the style of it makes me feel like a Farm Princess!

I adore this Dog print dress by Twist & Tango that I got for my birthday a few years ago from ModCloth.  It had been on my wishlist for EVER and was running out of stock so my family all pitched in to get it for me.  This dress has the same full skirt cut as the coat so I decided to wear them together and like how the two different patterns play off of each other.  It's funny how versatile this coat is; I can wear it with a pair of navy skinnies and a flannel when I am teaching outdoors, or dress is up with a skirt and blouse and fancy tights- the possibilities are endless since the pattern of the coat is more casual, but the cut and lace details are more feminine and formal.   If you are not nearby Philly and you would still like to check out this coat, you can find it here on ModCloth (slightly more expensive) but it could always go on sale, too! 

       I topped off this outfit with one of my self-illustrated moth necklaces which can be found on my etsy shop here.  I am working on more illustrations and hope to make some new necklaces or fabrics in a few months.  Winter will give me time to get busy working on creative things!
 I have truly been enjoying my work getting back outside, teaching about animals and plants and spending time with little ones.  I kind of feel like- why didn't I do this sooner?  I guess inside I always knew that a full-time business oriented job was not for me, but I tried so hard to make it work and when I stopped pushing myself to fit into that mold and just opened my eyes it was so easy to see that there was another path open to me.  I truly love teaching children. There are days that are challenging, that take a lot of patience, days when you are not on your best game, but there is so much to discover and learn, so much to be appreciated and to be grateful for.  I might not be making the "big bucks" or climbing a corporate ladder, but I am planting seeds of knowledge, igniting an interest in children as young as three, not only do I get to teach them, but they teach me; every single day!
 I wouldn't trade my relationship to nature for anything; I love being outdoors, spreading the word to protect and care for it to future generations, and doing what I can to see that it happens.  I love feeling the crunch of leaves under my feet, breathing in fresh forest air, watching the evolution of each season, all of those things I used to feel like I was missing.  
  And now I have the perfect coat to transition me into the winter; not my favorite season of the year, but it will certainly help things feel brighter!  
How do you like to wear plaid?  Do you have a place for it in your wardrobe?  Happy Tuesday and let's talk soon! 

xo, Alyssa

Sunday, September 7, 2014

In Living Color

Happy September!  I am back in full technicolor glow, excited to spend the rest of my Summer sipping watermelon lemonade, dancing under the sun, sprawled out for picnics; pushing kids on the swings and getting dirty teaching little ones about bugs! :)

The past few weeks have been full of BIG changes for me, which has been so exciting!  When one door closes, another one opens!  I am now an aftercare aid at a school, as well as a teacher naturalist and artist.  Yep, I am actually getting busy creating again, (hooray!).  I am happy to announce that my Etsy shop will finally be launching at the end of this week with my moth necklaces, and a garment or two (I am currently working on one of my bug skirts for sale!!)  One of the necklaces that will be up in the shop is the one featured in these photos!  The chain will be slightly different however, the ones available in my shop will be on a gold plated chain that is has a tarnish resistant coating and is nickel and lead free!

I can not wait to get these necklaces up in the shop!  If you have been reading my blog for a while, (thanks for sticking with me!!!)  you probably know that my love for butterflies and moths grows deep and has been a lifelong passion.  The one pictured is actually a moth, and NOT a butterfly like you would think.  It is the Madagascan Sunset Moth with wings like a rainbow, could a critter get any more beautiful??  It should be like, my lifelong mascot or something...
Oh, and about this dress!  Well, I am sure you all know that this is My Little Pony.  I actually didn't realize that My Little Pony was still such a big thing, I just rode horses growing up and had several little ponies as a child and loved the print when I spotted it in Hot Topic and scooped it up on sale.  I am such a sucker for novelty dresses, especially colorful ones! :)
You guys, I am sad to see the summer drifting away but I am SOOO excited for my favorite fall things!!!  Apple cider, bonfires, pretty scarves, trips to the mountains and bike rides at dusk.  Cooking everything imaginable with pumpkin, making tons of soups and quick breads, and picking apples at Milburn Orchards!  Fall is so beautiful and inspiring; but it can also be quite an adjustment getting back to limited daylight; that part will be difficult...but come on, sleeping with the windows open!!
I am looking forward to having more creative free time to work on posting and making more things for my shop!  It feels like I have been away from the blog for waaaay too long, so thank you to each and every one of you for visiting and saying hello!  :)

Please do pop by my shop and see what I have in store later this week! 
There will be Lunas and Cecropias, Madagascan Sunset Moths and other lovelies to celebrate the love of Lepidoptera!   I hope you are all having a wonderful summer and getting ready for the beautiful season coming right around the corner.  Let's talk soon! :)

xo, Alyssa