#BadassCreatives: Michelle of Neon Rattail - Mallory Whitfield

#BadassCreatives: Michelle of Neon Rattail

Michelle from Neon Rattail

I recently discovered the blog Neon Rattail through a comment that the blog’s author, Michelle, left on my bestie Ashe’s site. As soon as I made my way over, I was instantly smitten with Michelle’s writing and quirky, silly style.

The first post I saw that really sealed the deal was Michelle’s fashion post on Five Style Lessons to Learn (and Avoid) from 90s TV. HILARIOUS, my friends and fellow children of the 80s/90s. The more I explored her site, the more I realized I had a big ole girl crush on Michelle. SOOOOO, without further ado, I bring you the latest installment in my #BadassCreatives interview series.

Tell me a little about yourself.

Hello! I’m a blogger and crafter living in good ol’ Massachusetts. I blog about fashion, beauty, food and all things DIY. I love to create, so running a blog and Etsy shop has given me an outlet for all those obsessive creative urges that I just needed to put somewhere. I’m a lover of liquid eyeliner, kitschy everything, horrible teen movies, vintage scarves, board games and graphic design.

Neon Rattail

I love your quirky sense of style. What are your fashion inspirations? What trends are you really digging these days?

My style is kind of all over the place because I tend to just gravitate towards clothes that make me happy. That could mean a furry leopard clip-on collar, vintage 70’s dress, simple black peplum skirt or a bright orange t-shirt with a stencil of a tiger riding a bike (all of which I own). I’m usually looking for strong colors, fun patterns and a great fit. I’m always inspired by my sister’s style – she wears whatever she wants at all times, even if that means striped tights and a jack o’lantern t-shirt out to dinner, but she always looks great! For celebrity style, I love Gwen Stefani and Drew Barrymore, and I think Michelle Williams always looks adorable.

I’m not a devoted trend follower – I tend to I observe and filter based on what fits my aesthetic. Some trends that I do love are vintage-inspired looks, pattern mixing, fun collars, statement necklaces, retro swimwear and black and white prints. I’m also into some 90s flashback fashion. Yes to floral babydoll dresses, no to overalls.

DIY costumes by Neon Rattail

You have some of the best DIY costumes ever. Especially your food costumes! Have you always loved costuming? What made you get into it?

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday and choosing a costume is like a sacred ritual to me! I’ve been making DIY costumes for years now, but that just came from me not being able to find a costume in stores that matched the idea I had in my head. One year I was determined to be a giant cupcake for a Halloween party, but there was no such thing to buy, and at the time not even Google could help me out with DIY inspiration! I set to work making my own version, and many, many hot glue sticks later it was created and even won me first prize in a costume contest! I got the DIY costume itch and have been making them every year since.

So far, I’ve been a cupcake, sandwich, peacock, octopus, Russian nesting dolls, sushi and ‘Broadway Dancing Corn on the Cob’, which was what happened when I reconciled my desire to dress like corn with my need to wear a bow tie and tiny top hat. I always have a mental list of my next few Halloween costumes and I try to switch it up so I’m not dressed as something edible every year. It’s hard though – I just love the look of food costumes!

My favorite so far is the sandwich costume, which included a pickle hat with toothpick accent. It definitely got a lot of looks and questions, although I couldn’t fit easily through doorways. Worth it!

Corn Cob Shop on Etsy

I love the stuff in your Etsy shop! How long have you been working with polymer clay? How did you get started making stuff?

Thanks so much! I’ve been crafting in some fashion since I was little, but I just started working with clay a few years ago. I was looking to pick up a new craft skill and I loved the finished look of clay pieces I was seeing online and on Etsy. I think clay just has this great polished look when it dries and it’s a fun way to make dimensional pendants and things without getting into resin and plastics (which I also really want to do!). Somehow, most of my shop ended up being clay items, but I do have some other things ready to add, like flower, feather and felt goodies as well as many other product ideas in my notebooks. For now, if you need a pizza necklace or a blueberry pie ring then you know where to find it!

Making stuff has always been a fun, easy way to entertain myself. When I was younger I would make collages and gifts, and as I got older I tried new creative outlets, like painting all of the furniture in my room in rainbow polka dots. I always took art classes in high school, but mostly I loved just finding crafting supplies or random junk and deciding what to make with it. That’s still pretty much my creative process. I love making jewelry and accessories, and I’m definitely no stranger to a sewing machine. I kind of consider my hot glue gun to be a third arm.

Corn Chowder

You share a lot of great recipes and cooking projects on your blog. Have you always loved to cook? What are your favorite things to cook at home?

Cooking has been a part of my life since I was a kid. My dad is a total home chef type, and after years of watching and helping him cook, it just became something I was really into, as well. When I was in junior high, I literally begged my mom to let me cook our dinners after school so I could practice and try out new recipes I was collecting. Little did I know, there was very little begging needed! She was more than happy to turn over the kitchen reins to me, so I would plan out meals and have her bring me to the grocery store to buy ingredients for the week.

Moving into my own place after college gave me a chance to curate my signature dishes and quick go-to meals. I love baking (I have oatmeal/dark chocolate/walnut cookies in the oven as I type this!) so I always make an elaborate cake for my birthday, my signature apple pie every fall and almond biscotti for the holidays.

My favorite dinners to make and eat are often simple things like inventive pizzas and burritos, but I also love making colorful stir fry with cashews and homemade peanut sauce, as well as veggie pot pie with sweet potato crust and red pepper-asparagus risotto. Plus, I recently got an ice cream maker so I’m having fun creating flavors. I really want to make sweet corn ice cream, but everyone I tell that to says it sounds gross. Disagree!

 DIY: Wooden Rainbow Bead Necklace

You’re stuck on a desert island. What five things would you bring?

All the times I’ve thought about this and now I’m kinda stumped! Okay, let’s see…

1. First, I’d have to have books – probably Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and Just As Long As We’re Together by Judy Blume because those are some of the books I find myself re-reading again and again. Don’t you love how I just totally cheated and snuck three things in as one item?
2. A super comfy blanket. I know desert islands are warm, but it might get chilly at some point and I love nothing more than wrapping myself up in a super soft blanket.
3. An adorable puppy, preferably a corgi. Having a wild puppy on an island seems easier than having a puppy at home. Way less stuff to chew and pee on.
4. A phone would cover my communication, internet and music needs pretty well. I get pretty weird when I go a long time without talking to another person. Let’s just go ahead and assume I have excellent service on this island.
5. A giant container full of assorted craft supplies. I can entertain myself for hours by fiddling around with beads, buttons, ribbon and glue. I anticipate a lot of coconut based crafting on this desert island.

This list actually looks a lot like an average night in my apartment, except with the addition of a corgi, so perhaps desert island living would be a step up? Let’s just assume they have a Target there.

Sooo…. maybe now you can see why I think Michelle is super adorable! Are you crushin’ on Michelle too now? You can check out more Neon Rattail goodness at her blog. Also be sure to take a peek at her Etsy shop, or you can follow her on Twitter or Pinterest.

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#BadassCreatives, the podcast!

Do you believe that art, creativity, innovation, and kindness can change the world? If you answered “Heck yeah!” then this is the podcast for you. Badass Creatives is hosted by Mallory Whitfield and features marketing and business advice for creatives, as well as interviews with a diverse range of handmade artists, performers, makers, and creative entrepreneurs.