Thursday, April 28, 2016

Totem Statement Necklace Mystery

Hi, all!  Here's a mystery for you to tackle.  Take a look at this big, bold upcycled necklace:

Do you like it?  Me, I am superduper pleased with how it turned out.  Now for the mystery part.  Who can guess the origin of that crazy, swoopy black focal piece?

Wait!  Don't scroll until you think you've got it.  Take your time...don't be too hasty...

Got your guess?  Okay, scroll away!




Wait for it...




Okie dokie, here's the answer!  It''s...

A faux wrought-iron garden fence.  Plastic.  From the dollar store.

I just love the shape of the inner swoops!  They remind me of American Indian tribal motifs from the Pacific Northwest where I grew up.  I isolated one of them, like so:

To turn it into a necklace, first I melted holes in the top with a heated poker.

Using large jump rings as connectors, I added some big coppery chains and findings:

I added a beaded strand to complete the length, and boom, that's the necklace!

The strung strand is made of lava beads - I chose them because they are matte and bumpy in texture, very similar to the fence material.

Hope you enjoyed this one!  Let me know in the comments if you guessed right - or if not, what you thought it could be.

Oh, and I can't sign off without mentioning that other time I made a necklace from a different (but equally cute) plastic dollar store fence:

Here's the link to that tutorial.  A very different look, isn't it?  It's a fun one.

Thanks for coming around, you guys!  See ya!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Bobbin Pendants and How To Tea-Dye Beads

Hello hello!  I have something small and fun to show you today.  First take a peek at these sweet necklaces - the pendants are made from sewing bobbins and vintage buttons.

If you want to make a bobbin bauble - an oldie but goodie, from way back in the history of this blog - here's the original tutorial.

To create a necklace, all I did was add two beads up the center of the bobbin, with loops on both ends.  One loop got a tassel, the other got a beaded necklace.  Done!

The thing I wanted to mention is the two colors of beaded necklaces.  Both are is pure white, the other's a darker version.  Both started out white - and I tea-dyed one to match the sepia-tone pendant.

Most crafters have heard of tea-dyeing fabric, but did you know you can tea-dye beads?  So simple.  Just soak them in a small amount of water, along with several used tea bags.

Works a treat!

The length of time you need to soak them will vary.  With these ultra smooth and hard MOP beads, it took overnight.  A more porous material (like bone beads) would be a much shorter soak.  Just keep checking every hour or two until you reach the color you like.

I happen to have a long drawn out cold (going on three weeks now) and have been drinking lots of tea.  Next time you or a loved one is sniffling sick, save the tea bags and try a little tea dying magic.

See you next time...and take care of yourself!  (cough cough)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Industrial Lamp Makeover

Hello, my people!  Thought I'd show you this interesting lamp makeover, which looks pretty fancy but cost just a few bucks.

I started with an old cowboy-themed lamp from a yard sale.

I ripped apart a broken lampshade and attached the upper part of the shade's underwire to my lamp.  Not easy to spot: I attached it upside down, which for some reason looked more interesting.

I added an Edison bulb, knowing it would be on display, not hidden at all.

And finally, I strategically stacked on a bunch of...well, these thingies!

They are called rod chairs; they hold up rebar when pouring concrete foundations.  Awesome looking and really inexpensive - find them at any home improvement store.

How'd I stack them?  Well, it looks complex - but in fact, it's only eight rod chairs.

I connected four vertically, forming a kind of Swiss-cross shape, like so:

I tried a couple of different connection methods.  In the pic above I used aluminum duct tape.  It looked fine, but a bit too bright for my taste.  In the final version I simply wrapped craft wire at the four connection points.

I balanced the Swiss-cross on the wire circle.  Finally, four more rod chairs got perched horizontally on top, where they sit beautifully secure without any connectors at all.  Here's that close up again...

Ahhh, another satisfying hardware store upcycle.  I love how industrial chic it looks, while retaining the worn vintage feel from the little cowboy lamp.  

In case you missed it, check out my post about repurposing the rod chairs into these easy tabletop frames:

Hope you enjoyed this one.  Laters, gators!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Miniature Flowers Made From Recycled Plastic Q-Tips

Dude.  Look at these fleurs!

Some of you have no doubt guessed the upcycle: these inexpensive, brightly colored plastic Q-Tips.

I put together a big bunch of the flowers without really knowing what I wanted to do with them.  The fun was in the making!

Then I assembled some miniature vases for dollhouse decor:

After that it was time for jewelry, of course.  A charm holder-style necklace with a floral cluster:

And some single dangle earrings, a cute trend right now.

Want to DIY my little Q-Tip flowers?  Here goes!

Snip the cotton blobs off a plastic Q-Tip.  With your pointiest scissors, cut three or four slits in one end - long slits or short, to make different size flared ends.

This next move is optional, but I do think it adds something: trim the square corners of the 'petals' for a more organic look.

Now the fun part: designing a flower.  Cut your flared stems into different lengths.  Stack the segments on a headpin, along with various floral-shaped elements like bead caps or plastic flowers.

Finish with a simple loop to hold everything together.

Bing!  It's a flower!

As you see, that one is the most basic version.  As you add more layers, the flowers grow in weirdness and cuteness!  There is much entertainment to be had, experimenting with material, length and shape.

So I had some other thoughts on ways to use the flowers.

*Strung on a beaded garland, draped across a spring mantel.
*What about planting a few in a fairy garden?  Unlike old fashioned Q-Tips, these babies are waterproof and weather friendly.
*Make longer stems and group them in a bouquet - just the right size for your favorite kid's 18" doll.

Have you got any more?  I know you guys are smarter than me.  Please add your ideas in the comments!

Oh, in case you missed it, check out the tutorial for another idea for using these pretty Q-Tips!

It's almost spring, my friends - time to get flowering.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Colorful Q-Tip Bracelets!

Okie dokie!  Here's something fun and strange and cute.  Check out these bright multistrand bracelets:

Pretty, yes?  Would you have guessed they're made from upcycled Q-Tips?  Yep, I went there.

Now don't go all prissy on me - if this makes you squeamish, go ahead and use pristine, virgin Q-Tips if you need to.  But I am happy to harvest the awesome plastic centers before tossing those used cotton swabs.  They come in the prettiest colors and I just hate throwing them out.

A long time ago I showed you how I made some Q-Tip chandelier earrings:

I did indeed make more earrings this time around, but the bracelets are even simpler.

That's 'cause they're memory wire, the easiest bracelet build there is.  Here's all you do.

Snip up the bright plastic tubes of some cheap-o dollar store Q-Tips.  Instant bugle beads, people!

Cut a length of memory wire with several coils - as few or as many as you like.  Mine are about four coils.  Make a small loop on one end.

Play around with stringing patterns until you are happy with the look.  Then just get started stringing your pattern onto the memory wire.

Keep going until you fill up the coils.  Finish with another small loop.  That's it - you have a bracelet!

Optional: add bead dangles or tassels to the end loops.

Wouldn't this be fun as a group activity for older kids and teens?  Also, memory wire bracelets make great gifts because they fit anyone.

Important Tip: be sure to use heavy wire cutters for the memory wire.  It's very tough stuff and will damage delicate jewelry snippers.

Free beads plus upcycling plus kooky kolors plus simple to make - this is just my kinda project.  Hope you guys enjoyed it!


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Some Enchanted Jewelry...Vine Bracelets!

Something cool to show you today (tho not my typical repurposed project).  I have been making beaded vines by the yard, they are growing everywhere and taking over my life.   Look!

What are they for?  For making vine-y, va-va-voom-y bracelets.

This fun wirework technique can be played so many ways.  And I do so love a full, intricate-looking bracelet that doesn't take a lot of work.

These 'enchanted vine' bracelets are featured in the Spring 2016 issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry.

I did a full tutorial for them with step-by-step pics; it's available March 1st.  I'm rather excited, having been a huge fan of Belle Armoire Jewelry forevah

A fancy vine jewel makes an impressive gift, and hey, nobody has to know how easy it was to create.  How about for Mother's Day - you know it's coming up, you guys!

Or make one in bridal tones - white, taupe, oyster, cream - lovely for a wedding.

Hope you have a chance to check it out!  Now please excuse me, I have to untangle myself from a few creepers.