Friday, July 8, 2016

Repurposed Collar Flower For My Hound Dog

Ain't nothin' but a hound dog...

...with a flower on her collar!

I  experienced a fashion emergency this week: a trip to Vegas was approaching, and because Matilda always gets so much attention when she walks through a casino, I decided to add a pretty accessory to enhance her star quality.

I made the cute collar flower from two waiting-to-be-repurposed items I had been saving for just such an occasion.  (Both from the dollar store.  I am very predictable that way.)

The DIY:

I cut two flower shapes from the fleece glove, and two simple pieces from the metallic silver placemat:

I layered the four shapes, and sewed them onto the collar.

If you look at the finished fleur, you can see I also placed a tiny circle of fleece in the center - useful for preventing the thread from tearing through the plastic lace.

Crisis averted!  Princess Matilda is ready to make her appearance in Vegas.

Or as I sometimes like to call her, Princess Di.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Make A "Build Your Own Rattlesnake" Kit For Kids!

This little box - formerly a grocery store cheese container - holds an awesome homemade gift for a kid!

That's right, people, you can make a super fun, easy, crafty kit for some lucky child.  All you need: a handful of beads, a bit of craft wire, and a Sharpie.  A great project for girls and boys - snakes are cool for everybody.

Check out the quick-as-a-wink DIY.

Begin with a piece of craft wire, between one and three feet long.  (Some kids prefer loooong, crazy mismatched snakes.  Some kids prefer shorter, regularly patterned, beautiful snakes.  It's funny, but rarely do the two overlap.)

Twist a swirly onto one end, like so:

Find a flat bead that you can Sharpie on.  Matte finish glass beads work well.  Or choose plastic or wooden ones.  Draw two eyes and two nostrils, and anything else that says snake.

Another option: make a simple snake head bead from air-dry clay.  (You can add Sharpie details once it's dry.)  I made some extra little disc beads to match.

Next, add your snake head to the wire.

Now gather a bunch of beads and mix 'em up.  You can use random, unmatched beads - a wonderful way to use up those strays!  Or go with a color scheme.  Or even do as I tried to do here: choose some that look kinda snaky.

Include a few small disc-shaped beads if you have 'em - they make a nice rattle at the end of the tail.

Put the bead mix in a cheese box.

Tip: some of these cheese boxes have small holes in the sides.  I seal them up with bits of tape.

Place the snake head wire in the box, on top of the beads.

Print up a nifty snake picture (or draw one), and glue it to the top of the box.  I found this lovely vintage rattlesnake art over at The Graphics Fairy.

That's your finished kit!  Give one to a bored kid and watch the fun begin.

Instructions for making a snake:

String beads on the wire until almost the end.  With the last little bit of wire, use a skinny object like a pencil point to make a small loop or swirl.  Like this:

Bend some curves in your snake and display proudly!

I hope this idea rattles your cage.  See ya next time.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Fantastic Repurposed Earrings

Here's a pair of lovely, lengthy earrings - along with a little mystery.

Can you guess which inexpensive item I took apart, altered and reworked to make them?  Now, don't be hasty!  We are playing on the honor system here, so don't scroll until you have a guess firmly seated in your brain pan.

Are you ready to scroll?  Here we go...




Keep scrollin'...




Hint: I found this item at the dollar store, a favorite haunt of mine.  Hmm...does that make you want to change your guess?  There's still time.



Okay, friends, here's the answer.  It''s..tada!.

A dollar's worth of frilly, fancy plastic fan.  I bought some for fanning myself because it's HAWT.  And some for disassembling and reassembling into jewelry.

The DIY:

1. Use wire cutters to snip apart the connector holding the fan together.
2. Use the same wire cutters to trim two of the decorative spokes into a matched pair of dangles.  Tip: snip small bits at a time to shape the top and bottom - better to cut too little than too much.
3. If needed, run some sandpaper along the cut edges to smooth them.
4. With a heated poker, melt a hole near the top of each dangle.
5. Add earring findings to the two holes, as seen in the version at the top of the post.  Variation: make gold bead connectors to join the dangles to the earwires, like this:

Done!  Do you like them?  I do!  I have been wearing them every day since I made them.  Although, since I do not have pierced ears, I wear them as ear cuffs.

(Interested in ear cuffs?  For the world's easiest ear cuff DIY, click here!)

Okay, peeps, signing off for now.  I sure hope you had fun trying to guess.  See ya!

P.S. re-read the title of this post...see what I did there?  Tee hee.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Hamsa Hand Door Amulet

Sometimes I need a little protection.  From malevolent spirits; from dragons; from windstorms generated by sad ghosts; from haunted ladies who walk weeping at the full moon.

So I make these shapely, swirly amulets to hang in doorways.

The charm is a Hamsa hand - an image of an open right hand, used for centuries to ward off dangers and the evil eye.  I also make them using the Nazar or blue bead evil eye amulet.

My hanging door amulet is so simple to make!  The secret is memory wire - it's what creates the springy swirl on the long stem of beads.  You will need:

a Hamsa hand pendant (or a blue bead amulet)
some small blue beads
2-3 coils of bracelet memory wire
a cup hook
heavy duty wire snippers
round-nose pliers

The DIY:

1. cut a length of memory wire and make a small loop on one end.
2. thread blue beads onto the wire until nearly full.
3. when you have about an inch of wire left, add your amulet, then one final bead.
4. with the last bit of wire, make another small loop to finish the strand.  Optional: add a bead dangle to the loop for a little extra movement.

Here's a closeup:

In the version above, I chose antiqued silver rounds as the final two beads, bookending the pendant.

5. screw a cup hook into your door frame.  Slip the top loop of the beaded strand onto the cup hook.  That's it!

Here's how it looks hanging in the doorway of my bead studio:

For a different version of spooky protection, here's a link to another tutorial - my beaded evil eye amulet made with craft wire and simple glass beads:

A handmade door amulet makes an awesome gift!   Just right for lots of occasions.  A new home...a hostess...a dude who isn't into jewelry...a Freshman dorm room...a wedding gift...

Or make one for yourself, for when the Big Bad draws near.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Repurposed Place Cards For A Cowboy Wedding

This summer, some friends of mine are going to a rancher's wedding.  Location: New Mexico cattle ranch.  Dress code: cowboy!  Doesn't that sound fun?

Here's a mini Guess The Mystery Thing challenge, inspired by the event.  Check out these fun little place card holders:

Who can guess the identity of those interesting white bases?   Now hold your horses!  Whoa, dogies!  Take your time and don't scroll until you have it in your head. 

Got your guess?  Okay, here comes the scroll down.





Some of you will know the answer on sight.




Some of you might be offended.  Maybe?  I'm not sure...









The Mystery Thing is...

Oddly attractive shotgun loading wads.  (That's what she said.)   Don't be offended.  They are so darn cute, with their little space age feet and ready-made slits to hold a place card!

Hope you got a laugh out of this one.  Later, dogies!


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Easter Island Faux-Stone Pendants - Tutorial

I surprised myself with this project.  Never having tried fake stone before, I was unsure.  Could I pull it off?  Using Crayola air-dry clay from the kiddie craft aisle?

But golly, I love how these turned out!

I've thought of a bunch of ways to use my lovely Easter Island heads.  How about:

Mounted grouped in a shadowbox frame.
Turned into way cool Xmas ornaments.
Embellishments for decorative boxes.
Slightly insane statement rings.
Brooches or hat adornments.

Got other ideas?  Add them in the comments!

For today's tutorial, I'm going to show you my necklace version.  Check it out!

The DIY is madly simple.  I started with this awesome silicone ice cube tray, a great yard sale score for fifty cents.

Then I marbled small batches of air-dry clay.  I did it differently each time; some versions are just black and white, others have some blue mixed in for spice.

I squished my marbled clay into the mold:

Remove them gently - see my tips to follow - and allow them to dry.  And voila, stone heads!

It took some trial and error to get this right, so pay attention, class.

Tip #1: Marble gently - too much mixing will muddy the look.  Try twisting the colors together instead of kneading.

Tip #2: For a rougher stone texture, use crumbles of dried-out clay in the mix.  This discovery was a happy accident!  My blue clay had dried up in a poorly-sealed package, so I tried it...fabulous.  Now it won't go to waste.

Tip #3: After marbling a batch, let it sit for 5-10 minutes, drying out.  The drier, stiffer clay is easier to unmold.

Tip #4: Take your time removing it from the mold, and expect some stretching.  Place it on a flat surface and gently push it back into shape.  (If it turned out really deformed, no prob!  Just squish it back into the mold and try again.)

To attach the pendant bails, I used my magical aluminum tape method (tutorial here).

Okay, guys, that's the story of the Easter Island pendants.  Hope somebody tries it.  Have fun!