Mermaid Monday: DYI Net Belt

Welcome once again dear friends to a sneak peak into my world. It is Monday and do you know what that means? You don’t? It means it is #MermaidMonday and what does that translate to for you folks hmm? Time for a new post all about mermaids and mermaiding for your enjoyment!

To kick of this week I thought we would talk about something near and dear to every mermaids heart, accessories. Today’s accessory is the mermaid staple known and the fishing-net-belt. You see when you are half fish things get a little tricky. We don’t have the ability to accessorize the same way our land dwelling Fae brethren do. We don’t have feet to wear shoes or ankle jewels, and our clothing choices are pretty limited under the waves. Would I like to wear this shell bra, or that one? Do I want a seashell tiara or a lily-pad bonnet? So we finned folk have learned to dress up our wardrobe in different ways.

While you legged types get frolic in skirts, shorts, or pants, we style our lower halves with different sashes and such from items we can salvage from our watery landscape. For example scraps of netting lost to the ocean from some poor fisherman’s nets cast out during a storm. So today I am going to walk you through making your very own belt fit for a true mermaid.

Items Needed:

  • Decorative Fishing Net
  • Whoozits & Whatzits of your choice to decorate with (Shells, glass beads, Pearls, etc)
  • An adhesive of your choice
  • Thread to knot various pieces together
  • Something to lay under the netting so you don’t glue the belt to the table
*Please note that all of these things can be purchased from most crafting stores.*

Step one: Laying out your netting

Go ahead and open up your netting and select the piece you like the best; It usually comes in a couple of different pieces and so some may be better suited that others. If one piece is not going to be big enough feel free to cut some of it into different size segments and lay them out as you would like them to be. Then, take some thread and knot the netting together to create a larger piece of netting.

Step two: Start spacing your decorations

This is the fun part, go ahead and start laying your shells, beads, and pearls out on the netting where you think you want it to go. Remember there is no wrong way to go about this as long as you are happy with it. Once you have everything how you are going to want it we are ready for our next step.

Step three: Gluing

Now it is time to begin gluing the items down. Go ahead and adhere each item one at a time to the belt until you have finished.

Step four: Let dry

This is the hard part. You have finished tacking everything down and I am sure you are very excited to tie it on and see how it looks, but remember that some glues can take up to 24 hours to fully set and dry. You wouldn’t want to ruin all your hard work by rushing the dry time. So go ahead and set it up somewhere safe and check back on it tomorrow.

Do you enjoy Mermaids & Mermen? Come swim the depths with us at MerNetwork.com
Do you enjoy Fairies, Fauns, Elves, Goblins, Etc? Come join us where the faeries gather at FaeNetwork.com
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What is FaeNetwork.com

faenetwork

Hello friends, as the weather turns cold and we tend to spend more time indoors bundled up nice and toasty and days continue to grow shorter I want to take a moment to talk to you about something very near and dear to my heart. In previous posts you have seen me mention a website called Faenetwork, but it occurred to me I never took the time to explain what that is.

FaeNetwork is a forum that provides an online place for the fairy community, whether that be performers, enthusiasts, scholars, costumers, or just open minded individuals looking for a friendly place to experience some magic. A newer forum it has only being around a little under two years now, only one of which has it been out of Beta as it was modeled in a similar fashion to its inspiration and “big sister” forum of sorts, MerNetwork (The Mermaiding Community Forum). So naturally because it is such a young site, like many it is a bit quiet at the moment. However, when there is activity the magic can be found in every post.

However, It is more than just a bunch of forum threads of people talking about wings and flower headdresses. FaeNetwork is for fostering connections in the community. There are sections for posts in the media, ideas for performers, tutorials, a meet-up section, and so much more. But it can’t continue to grow without help. We are calling to all fae out there to come join us and help us create a truly special corner of the internet for ourselves where we can share our passion for fantasy with each other.

Why I chose this path

Its a warm autumn Saturday, the breeze is gentle and it rustles it way through the leaves of the near by trees, children’s laughter can be heard as they play on the equipment nearby. And there sitting on a hill under a tree is a single fairy perched on a blanket playing soft notes on a small pan flute as she stumbles her way through a non existent melody. Adults throwing confused and judgemental looks at her as they give her a wide berth. But then something magical happens, someone not so scared of what others will think spots her and their eyes light up.

“Look a Fairy! There is a fairy right over there!”

The exclamation causes more eyes to turn and children start to see her too. Their eyes lighting up with wonder as they stop what they are doing and immediately beeline for the lone fae under her tree….

I get asked all the time why I do what I do. Whether this is from confused adults who think my bubble isn’t quite centered or from teenagers and children who are so in awe that they have just met a real life fairy at the park or a mermaid at the beach that they want to know why I am out there doing this.

Miss Fairy are you real?

The simple answer is yes, I am. But when it comes to little ones I never lie. My response is always the same, “Do you think I am real?”. I let them touch my wings, asking them to be gentle because I am ticklish and sometimes I even give out trinkets to those bold enough to approach me. My only rule is that I let each individual decide for themselves how much of the magic they chose to believe in.

Why are you here?

Well it looked like such a nice day and all you humans seemed to be having so much fun at this park I thought it would be a good place to rest my wings.

People always want to know why I am at the various locations I pop up at. It is almost as if I have to have a justifiable reason for being in a costume spreading smiles, even if I am just doing that by minding my own business. As a matter of fact I remember one time my cousin and I were at the farmers market downtown both as fairies and someone was very concerned that we were hired to be there and was bothered that we were buying produce. We tried to politely explain to the woman that no, this is just how we prefer to dress and that like herself, we just wanted to pick up some fruits and vegetables from local farmers. This seemed to unsettle her quite a bit as she still continued to lecture us and demand that we “perform for her entertainment if we were going to be dressed like that at a public event”.

Please don’t misunderstand though, I will very rarely turn down a request for a riddle or something small if I am out and about in a faesona, but just because I chose to look this way does not mean that I have to do anything. I am an individual with rights just like everyone else, I just chose to do something different with my appearance.

Okay, well if you get so much trouble for it, then why do you chose to be a fairy/mermaid?

Ah, I’m glad you asked friend. When I was a wee never-bug I had an unlimited imagination and I was lucky enough to have very creative parents who sewed and were open-minded that fostered that imagination. I had an entire closet full of whimsical fantasy costumes I had dreamed up and my mother had spent hours tirelessly creating so that I could have a magical childhood. We held masquerades, tea parties, read books of far off places where dragons were real and elves roamed. My room was even modeled after what I thought a fairies room might look like: my entire ceiling was a canopy of tulle, flowers, and vines; subtle glitter sparkled across every surface; my lamps were even disguised as metal scroll work or flowers.

Growing up in such a creative and free environment gave me an opportunity to find a safe haven from a lot of the scary things that come up as we become adults, but many of my friends were not so lucky. And as we got older the differences really began to show in how much hope we fostered. Those same friends who as children were running around dreaming of being anything have settled for what they refer to ask “soul-sucking” 9-5’s that take so much out of them all they do is come home, drink, and go to sleep. They aren’t living their lives. They are so bogged down by the societal expectation that they have to achieve certain things to be viewed as successful that they have forgotten the most important part: if you forget to actually live your life along the way none of those achievements really matter. You cannot take any of it with you.

It is time we stop worrying what others will think if it is getting in the way of our dreams. I hear it all the time from adults when I am out and about in character.

“Wow this is so cool. It sounds like so much fun, but I could never do that.”

Well why not? I have chosen an unusual path because I want to do something to change this. To actively contribute to keeping the magic alive for others as long as humanly possible. The real world is a very scary place at times and if we let all the magic die what do we have left to dream about to keep us going?

I do it for the look in that child’s eyes when they first see me. The over stressed college student who feels like they are drowning in a see of stress who for just a moment can relax and remember what it was like to be a carefree kid. For anyone whoes light is starting to go out.

A Late Summer Splash

mermaid

Now that summer has come to a close and we begin our journey into the heart of the Autumn months things begin to take a change. As the weather starts to pick up a chill on the wind, the nights grow longer, and harvest colors dance across the trees I thought it would be a perfect time to share one last tale from summer before we jump into pumpkins, warm fires, and cider under the moon.

This summer brought many new and exciting changes into my life that I am ever thankful to have had to opportunity to experience. One of which was the forming of our very small local pod of mer-people. Here on the year-round sun-kissed shores of Southern California we are a common people as the weather here is prime mermaiding weather. We benefit from no really having an “off season” where we must hang up our tails till snow melts or any other extreme weather. Yes, our waters do get a bit chilling in the cooler months causing us to trade in soft sands for heated pools, but we are lucky enough to be able to take a splash all year long if the mood strikes. And because of this many merfolk are drawn to the area. If you do a search you can find a good deal of them. So, then why do I say our local pod is so small?

Well you see, while in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas you can throw a pebble in the water and hit several at once, we are just a bit north of the prime mermaid territories. The southern pods are large, but here in our county there are just a couple of us. Our pod consists of about five of us total, but more of then not it is just two or three of us and our mertenders splashing around.

Throughout the summer one of our local members made a habit of weekly featuring one of our safe, sheltered, swimming beaches in the mornings every Sunday. I had the pleasure of being able to join him for a couple of these swims in the later half of the summer and we had lots of fun. When you are swimming in live water the workout is completely different that the experience of getting your fins wet in a swimming pool. So, there we were, bobbing and splashing in the waves as we raced up and down the soft beach in the summer sun. As the days would start to progress from early morning into early afternoon the little ones would show up to build castles on the sand or wade in the shallows with their parents. I cannot even begin to explain the warm feeling you get when you catch the light in their eyes the first time they spot the pod out in the water.

First, there is a shocking disbelief. Both parent and child stare in disbelief, because they really aren’t sure what they are seeing. Next comes the excited yelling as the wee one realizes what they are looking at and Mom or Dad waves with a big smile on their face. Once we hear the excitement we know that is our queue. With grace and practiced movements we do our best to navigate our way in to shore to greet the eagerly awaiting people as they rush to grab their phones to snap away for photographs of the unexpected treat of meeting live mer-people on a trip to the beach.

And that is the true magic in it. While, many of us do it for the great core and cardio work out we receive with our dolphin kick. The biggest treat, at least for me, is seeing the magic light up peoples eyes. Sharing a smile with someone is a powerful thing and you never know how it will may effect someone’s day.

Mermaiding: Taking the Dive

It is time to introduce you all to another one of my personas or should I say Mersona. Back at the end of 2012 I was looking around online for new costuming inspirations for something new to add to my collect when I stumbled upon the most stunning thing I had ever seen. Professional Mermaiding. I am sure some of you may of heard of it because of all the publicity Eric gets as The Mertailor with his TLC spotlight, numerous online interviews ect.. But that cuttlefish is not who I am refering too, I will not go in-depth as to my negative opinion of Mertailor, but I will say that this fish does not consider him worth her time to type about. No, I am refering to Mermaid Raven, owner of Merbella Studios LLC. To make a long story short I knew that this was something I wanted to do.

For several years I did nothing but lurk on the online forum for the community (MerNetwork.com). But last fall for my birthday my wonderful boyfriend gifted me a mahina merfin that I have since made a tail skin for. Unfortunately I do not have pictures of that one currently, however I also have a second fin for work use. Now I am in the process of making this costume so please be gentle in your critism, but this is my current ensemble for my company and I thought I might like to share it with all of you…

Ariel2

A behind the Scenes shot to see how colors read on Camera in preparation for an event.

How It All Started

Like everything we are passionate about it our lives, that love or interest had to start somewhere. Whether that means ten minutes ago when you stumbled upon something intriguing on the internet or if it goes all the way back to when you were just a wee one. And once that seed is planted within us is can be hard to ignore. So then where did my love of fantasy start?

I would have to say that my passion for all things fantasy related began when I was just a wee neverbug in my parents arms. My mum has always been the artsy type. Always sewing a costume, creating a sculpture, re-landscaping our yard, painting a picture, etc. and my father has a great love of books and always has his nose in one (when he isn’t playing on the computer). Because of this my childhood was always full of magic. I grew up attending the renaissance faire each year in full period costume, danced classical ballet, had a whole closet of “dress-up” play clothes and had a vast library of books to fuel my imagination. After all, that was probably my favorite policy my parents ever put in place; while they often said no to toys or candy, I was NEVER denied a book and I grew up reading at least one page every single day.

And what kind of books are little girls usually drawn to? Stories of princesses, dragons, heroes, enchanted forests, unicorns, and in my case it didn’t stop there. I had books about werewolves, gryphons, and more! Before I could read I would be read to sleep at night tails such as C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia or J.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. Some of the earliest book series I can remember really being captivated by were The Jewel Kingdom Series by Jahnna N. Malcolm and The Unicorns of Balinor series by Mary Stanton. I was captivated by the stories and the characters and wanted nothing more than for some of their magical adventures and enchanted worlds to rub off on reality.

And of course there were also movies. Being a little girl in the early 90’s meant that Disney was everywhere. I was surrounded by the tales of Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Aladin, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and all the other Disney classics. But if I am being completely honest two films had more power in shaping my love of fantasy and the woman I grew into that any other influence I came across: Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal (1982) and The Labyrinth (1986) starring the one and only Goblin King himself, David Bowie. Long live the king….