eclectic fashion

  • Goodwill Vintage Fashion Design Challenge

    Becky Chaffee Makes Whimsical Cello Outfit Design

    Becky Chaffee, Owner of Violettes By Becky has been chosen as one of six designers for Goodwill Fashion Design Challenge, one of the company's biggest fundraisers of the year in Knoxville, TN. The Thursday Sept 21 event is typically sold out with over 400 in attendance. Many are unaware that Goodwill gives classes to help folks become employable with food service cleanliness training, nurse assistant training, computer classes... In addition to the training, folks receive certificates which also help folks become employable.

    The evening includes shopping at a visiting high end boutique, a dancing group, and dinner at the downtown Knoxville Holiday Inn. Here is the link for tickets.

    The Goodwill Vintage Fashion Design Challenge show will present designs by the chosen 6 to be voted on during intermission by the audience. The popular vote is only one sixth of the points to win and unknown prize. Additional criteria include:

    • 2. Incorporation of repurposed materials from Goodwill Industries-Knoxville (minimum 90%)
    • 3. Level of complexity
    • 4. Attention to detail and finishing
    • 5. Functions for runway show (not inappropriately sheer or fragile, model can walk, not prone to “wardrobe malfunctions.”)
    • 6. Creativity (interpretation of theme, unexpected or nontraditional use of materials)
    cello End Pin, Cello Lessons, Goodwill Fashion Design Challenge end pin above the model's foot.

    Becky has chosen a design in keeping with the "In Living Color" Theme for this Year. A list of material reuse is at the bottom of this page. Here are sneak preview of the cello entry with a list of materials reused below.

    Note that we have made cello purses with re-purposed goodwill materials in the past, as some of the bling is not even available at local stores, and if they were, the prices are much better at Goodwill.

    Goodwill Vintage Fashion Design Challenge - materials listed below.

    • Two Pairs stiletto shoes: used a stiletto heel and silver strip from shoe soul for end pin at back center of dress. Large jewel strips are from both pairs of shoes for cello end pin on leg, cello string ornamentation on top front center and rest as bling décor. Use all straps from shoes for cello strings on hat, note stems, and to hold tail piece on leg.
    • Hangers – to curl the ends of scroll and scrolls on cello purse and to hold back of cello “shawl” in place. Used a complete hanger in “shawl” for shape. Also used a hanger for the cello bow.
    • Corrugated hose –front of dress cello curves (Bottom part of cello shape)
    • Rubber hose fit perfectly into corrugated hose, but is stiffer, so it is use to continue edges of cello “shawl” up the back.
    • golf green for stiffener in purse, head piece scroll, tuning pegs on hat, some music notes and for green frog on bow.
    • record to support scroll in hat
    • bicycle Helmet – used helmet padding for hat to protect head. The padding is under the belt buckle glued to bottom of hat to balance it on head.
    • Jump rope is used for cello neck “strings”.
    • 3 Belts, 2 black and one yellow--Yellow belt to hold fascinator hat on. --2 black leather belts – used two leather ends of belts for: one belt buckle for model leg as cello tail and end pin piece and buckle piece for cello fingerboard dress front center.  Other belt buckle is to balance record on head for fascinator hat. Elastic Belt Centers -- to close back of dress.  -- and remaining elastic was cut into strips to hold tail piece of cello onto leg, to hold notes onto shoe and for ring.
    • two purses – beads from one purse are used on f holes and as center front décor. Used magnetic snap from one purse and strap from another for cello purse.  Used strips from both purses for note stems. Leather strips from purse for note stems. Used strips of one for inside back cello lining under gold netting.
    • Pillow – used thin case for lining of corduroy, and stuffing for stuffing of the yellow corduroy dots and some of the music notes.
    • shell necklaces – smashed shells and sprayed them silver to glue onto notes on back. The silver notes on the back top and silver of the stiletto heel end pin needed to be tied together for the eye to move across the dress.
    • Buttons from coat for notes - I have replaced all the buttons on this coat and returned to Goodwill including the broken button.
    • Car Floor padding – used to help with stiffness and shape of back of cello “shawl”
    • Four different curtains were used for fabrics: burgundy, gold, brown, and white sprayed gold

    It was a fun experience, but I do not own a form to build the outfit on, so my model visited once a week for about 5 weeks. The style and method that I chose for this piece was a time consuming arduous task. I pulled 5 all nighters because I have trouble stopping when I am in the middle of art. In addition, I changed my design plan ideas several times during the making.

  • Alma Russ, Songwriter Contest Winner

    Contest Winner Bios Continued - whimsical music gifts, held our 3rd Annual Youth Composition and Songwriter Competition for ages 10 thru 18, with scores and recordings submitted on-line. Volunteer judges are music professionals, who review the students’ entries not only for prize placement, but with an aim to provide encouraging constructive comments. The competition is divided into 2 categories, Composition and Songwriter, each with a junior and senior division.

    Songwriter contest, violin gifts, American Gifts Alma Russ, very talented 3rd Place Songwriter Contest Winner has Violin Gifts

    The competition is national, so winning is not easy. We would like to announce 17 year old 3rd place winner, Alma Russ from Whittier, North Carolina. Ms. Russ is enrolled at Jackson County Early College and is on track to receive both her high school diploma and associate of arts degree next year.  She loves singing, playing fiddle and writing music.  Fiddle playing is her passion!  She first became interested in fiddle when she discovered Alison Krauss and started taking lessons at age 12.  Originally from Oxford, Florida, she moved to western North Carolina at 13, and has taken lessons from a number of instructors including most recently, Bobby Hicks.  She has two bands, The Colby Deitz Band and Dogwood Winter.  She also sometimes plays in other bands where fiddle is needed such as Ol' Dirty Bathtub, the Breedlove Brothers. She recently recorded fiddle for The Maggie Valley Band's upcoming album.  She also sings and plays claw-hammer banjo.  She loves to read, write stories, draw, paint and spend time with her family and pets (including two pugs, a chinchilla, and a pony).  She hopes to have writing as a career in one form or another in addition to a music career.

    Contest Winner, Alma Russ song, "Next Town"

    Congratulations Alma!!! We will look for your performances when we head toward North Carolina!


    Coming in the next two weeks - Violettes by Becky Screen Printed Banjo T-Shirts. Woman's styles will be available.

    Made from Becky's own art. T-shirts will say Pick Banjos......Not Fights

    All purchases support our Youth Music Competitions. Our Banjo Greeting Cards have been very popular. Purchase a set of 8 cards Here.

    Violin Gifts, American Gifts, Contest Winner Back of card says, Pick Banjos, Not Fights. The front of our shirts will say this.
    Guitar Purse Enter to Win Guitar Purse - You can be a contest winner too!
    American flag bags or purses; guitar themed gifts American Flag Purses (or Gig Bags) created by are unique guitar themed gifts
    Violin Player Please support Violettes by Becky work with purchases. Link here to HOMEPAGE.
  • Music Lovers Essay Contest or Win Guitar Purse, Violin Purse or Grand Piano Purse

    Youth Essay Contest for Music Lovers

    Essay Contest: Do you know a 10 thru 15 year old who loves to be creative, loves music and enjoys eclectic fashion? Whether its a Guitar Bag or a Guitar Purse is up to you!

    Violettes by Becky is trying something new. Let's give it a whirl!

    Essay Contaest, Gifts for Muxi Lovers, Eclectic fashion Prizes that everyone loves, Young and Old, Boys and Girls   --                                                                                                              A Man Bag with Initials to keep spare strings or eclectic fashion statement for music lovers!
    Violettes: I have not won the lottery nor even dreamed of it. But if I did win, in the entrepreneurial spirit, I would open a Phantom Tollbooth Theme Park. We would have to of course negotiate rights with author Norton Juster. This would fulfill so many dreams.
    • A Dream Job for me to be the Park Director!
    • A dream for my daughter who initially thought of the idea when she was quite young, and who wishes to promote literacy for children.
    • A dream for my son who has always said he will design world energy solutions, as each ride could be powered by and a demonstration of a type of alternative energy.
    • Jobs and Creative Educational Attraction for East TN.
    • Violettes' Judges and Competition Winners could compose the ride music.
    • Violettes for sale in the Concession Shops!


    Essay Competition for Students age 10 thru 15:

    "Describe how each ride/attraction would be designed in my Phantom Toll Booth Theme Park."

    Alternatively, "What Would be Amazing to Do with Ginormous Lottery Winnings?"

    There must be a minimum of 10 entries for a prize to be awarded. Winner receives a Violettes Bag - choice of Violin, Guitar or Grand Piano. (If less than 10 entries, winner will receive a 50% discount - shipping not discounted).

    Entries Due by June 15, 2016

    Email entry to with heading:

    Violettes by Becky Essay Competition Entry

    Include Student's Name, Age, School, City and State, Parent's name and a note from the parent that says it is OK for the essay to be entered and to be posted if chosen as the essay winner.


    Gifts for Music Lovers, Guitar Purse, Gifts for Guitar Players Enter Drawing to Win Guitar Purse - Only Music Lovers need to Enter.
  • 5 Vacations in ONE! Music (Themed) Gifts Abound.

    Or Water Water Everywhere

    "Music themed gifts" you ask? From the Beach to the Redwoods to the Mountains and back down to the Universal Studios in California. Both Water and Music are Everywhere. And best of all is our time with family.

    (Of course in California we consider water gifts in addition to music themed gifts - for SEO speak.)*

    BTW, I chose a Violettes Day of the Dead Guitar Purse for romping in California this year.

    Gifts for Music Lovers, Day of the Dead, Guitar Purse   Music Themed Gifts at Universal Studios movie music compositions.

    Driving up and down the California coast my family listened to country music CD's - first Xmas music then that from Michael Reno Harrell, one of the Violettes' songwriter competition judges. (The MRH CD was one of my music themed gifts to my husband - we loved it).

    California was a rainin' and a stormin', so we postponed our skiing in Lake Tahoe and went to explore Death Valley National Park as I blogged about in "Peace on  Earth, Family Games and Country Music Songs". From there we drove thru storms to get to the Chaffee family for the holiday. This year for the first time since my children were alive, Grandma

    music themed gift, guitar purse, eclectic fashion Generations waiting for family photos to begin.

    Chaffee had all of her 3 (grown) children with her at Xmas time. It was indeed special. In northern California, we went ice skating, strolling in the Redwoods and wave running on the beach.

    About the music? Music blaring on the speakers while skating, music in the extreme silence of nature in the redwoods and in the beach waves rolling and roaring.

    There was music in the beat of the pogo stick Xmas gift that we all tried and from my flute as I tried to play music on Xmas even though no one wanted to listen to my personal music themed gifts!

    music gifts, guitar purse, eclectic fashion California Water and Music Gifts :                                            Founders Grove Park above in Avenue of the Giants
    Music themed Gifts, Eclectic Fashion, Guitar Gifts Snow at Heavenly


    WE headed off to return my daughter to southern CA, and stopped for a ski in Tahoe finally. It was a winter wonderland this year.

    Then, Oh nooooooo.

    Do we have to go to a theme park!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????

    Universal Studios in LA at $86 a head!! Blah!!


    It was so fabulous, I so recommend it. What a delight, and what a special surprise.

    We arrived on the last day of the Xmas "Grinchmas" Theme with awesome Dr. Seuss characters everywhere. This one in the photo loved my Violettes Day of the Dead Guitar Purse!

    Music themed gifts, Guitar Purse, Day of the Dead Dr. Suess character loved the Violettes     Day of the Dead Guitar Purse!!

    It was a plus to be there on a Sunday at the end of a long holiday when many people are readying for work. We arrived around 11AM, and at first felt angry at the long ride waits. We waited 1 hour and 40 minutes for the Universal Studios Tour, twice as long as their posted wait estimate! But it was worth it, and after the 1st 2 rides/tours, the waits were 20 minutes or less. If you can't go on a less crowded day, there are first in line passes that you can purchase for almost as much as the entrance fee.

    My 4 favorites:

    1. 1. The Simpsons Ride: Yes, I was the type of Mom that kept a TV away from my kids, and certainly did not let them get wind of the Simpsons - but, my kids are now over 20 and we have watched a few episodes. This was one of those roller coaster simulated rides. They have made them less of a painful jolt on the back since the first one I rode in Las Vegas 25 years ago. Our family was sent into our own room (Each car gets a separate room!) There was a fun safety film and movie introduction disguised as a Simpsons cartoon. We got into the car coaster (which unbeknownst to us was mounted on a 9 ft. crane). It was pitch black, but I believe the roof opened, and we were lifted into a 3D Dome room with all the other cars. We never heard or saw anyone else, as each car contains 12 speakers and the 80 ft. IMax dome holds 90 speakers! To me, the most memorable part of the ride was when we flew into the baby's mouth, she was told we might be infectious and she coughed us out - the coughing bumps were gentle and felt like a message.
    2. ===============
    3. 2. The Universal Studio Tour after the long wait was worth it! It started out slow - driving by famous people's offices, the outside of studios, through the fake cities used in different shows, and even stopping in front of a staged fight and Grinchmas show. But wowowowowow. The whole train stopped inside a couple of "Studios" that were 3D Imax shows with live actors, and the whole train got the effects of bouncing, crashing, smells, water, fire.... Truly incredible work by Universal. Just Wow again!
    4. ===========================
    5. 3. The "Animal Actors" demonstration showing ways they train animals for TV and Movies was so sweet. Can you imagine getting a cat to do something on cue??? I couldn't get enough of this show.
    6. ========================
    7. 4. They claimed The Water Show was the biggest attraction. I spent the whole show waiting for the whales and dolphins to come out. The show was quite violent. The main purpose of the show was to show stunts. (There is a different show introducing stunt people and showing how they pull off some of the stunts.) The show ended dramatically (and of course violently) with a "Sea Plane" crashing thru the walls and coming to a fiery halt just in front of the audience!
    8. ====================

    Other attractions were scary rides: Mummy, Jurassic Park and Transformers. I would think for a young child, the Despicable Minion ride would be scary too. And as I mentioned above, the stunt demonstrations were shown in the "Special Effects Show".  Coming this spring is the Harry Potter extravaganza. The castle looks awesome from the outside.

    I would not consider Universal Studios a family attraction, although they had plenty of cartoon characters and clothes for sale. I would not bring a young child to this place. I do admit that I did not check out the "Funland" and "Dinoplay" meant for young children. Maybe this is the answer for local families with kids of all ages and season passes.  I am clearly in the minority. But it was perfect for our family with kids in their 20's.

    *Music ( Themed ) Gifts were used in all of the above - the rides, in nature, at the skating rink and ski resort, at all New Years parties...Everyone is a music fan of some sort. The purpose of the blogs is to use the SEO wording for Google to put Violettes by Becky on the "map". Please spread the word and purchase your Valentines Gifts here too!

    Music themed Gifts, Guitar Purse, Gifts for Music Lovers Dr. Seuss (Grinchmas) Themed Tree.

    Out with the Old and in with the new.

    Happy New Year from Violettes!!

  • Eclectic Fashion from Cool Guitar Purse -un No. 27

    Satisfy your Fancy with Eclectic Fashion Tastes at Violettes

    eclectic fashion, guitar purse, gifts for music lovers The photogenic Abbie Moore with an electric smile buys a gift for a friend with eclectic fashion tastes.

    I think most people are this way, but Miss Abbie openly admits when asked permission to participate in Cool Guitar Purse - un Blog: "I seldom mind talking about myself …. I’m going to have to save up to get one of the El Dia de los Muertos bags. Love, love, love them."

    Abbie is talented in both visual and musical arts, as you can deduce from the interview below. Perhaps this explains her own eclectic fashion taste!

    Dear Abbie,   (couldn't resist)

    See the 3 choices of Day of the Dead Purses we have created so far on this page like a really easy Where is Waldo game. And do we have a surprise for you. Send us a picture with an idea you have in mind and color scheme for your bag, and we will make a new design for $99.

    1. Violettes:  Have you always lived in Oak Ridge? Did you

    eclectic fashion, day of the dead, guitar purse My personal favorite. Click here to purchase.

    move here with family?

    Abbie: Kind of a long story about how I wound up here. We had moved from Middle Tennessee to Des Moines, IA for my husband’s job. It didn’t work out so he was able to get a job teaching at Marshall University in Huntington WV. I couldn’t find a job in WV but had a friend working at K25 who suggested I apply for a job here. I did and I got it. Bill commuted to WV for about 16 years. Our daughter was already in college at Middle Tennessee State University when we moved here. 
    2. Violettes: Are you working?

    Abbie: I’ve been retired for a little over 5 years. I retired about 6 weeks before our twin grandsons were born and spent a lot of time in Murfreesboro on the weekends helping my daughter. We still try to go a couple of times a month.

    eclectic fashion, day of the dead, guitar purse Click here to purchase Sugar Skull Guitar Purse.

    3. Violettes:  Do you have hobbies? Tell us about them.

    Abbie: I love to make greeting cards and other paper crafts. I’m a demonstrator for a paper crafting company, Stampin’ Up!. They have fantastic products. I knit a little. 

    4. Violettes: Do you play a musical instrument or sing? Do you have favorite music, musician or band?
     Abbie: I’m learning to play the ukulele. In fact, my husband just bought my Christmas gift tonight - an acoustic/electric ukulele. I sing in the ORUUC choir and band and was part of a girl trio group at church. We called ourselves the Bandettes. Unfortunately, one of our members has left the church. I love many styles of music - mostly folk but a lot of current pop/alternative. I like Gregorian chants, Baroque guitar. I don’t have a favorite musician or band, but I like Sting, Queen, Einhorn “Voices of Light”, Jonathan Byrd (folk singer), Carolina Chocolate Drops (a.k.a. Rhiannon Gibbons), Steve Earle, Leonard Cohen, just to name a few. 
    5. Violettes: You purchased the guitar purse for a friend that from Texas? Did you buy her the bag to be part of an outfit?
    day of the dead, Guitar Purse, gifts for music lovers Eclectic Fashion 
    Abbie: My friend actually lives here in East Tennessee. She’s from Chicago, her husband’s from Texas. No, I didn’t buy the bag to be part of an outfit. She dresses very eclectically, so I know she’ll create fantastic outfits to wear it with.
    6. Violettes: Is there anything else you are involved in that's a big part of your life? Any groups or volunteer work...?
    Abbie: There are a couple of ministries at ORUUC that I’m involved in: the choir and band and the other is our monthly Free Community Meal which we have named Stone Soup. It’s a blessing to be part of these activities.

    guitar purse, eclectic fashion, gifts for music lovers

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